Chapter 1: As our eyes met, I felt spring was a little closer
The minute they stepped into the red light district, all eyes were immediately on them. However, the attention really was undivided, as all eyes were drawn to the demure, and lovely Inoko. His cheeks were painted with a slight blush, making it seem as if Inoko wore an eternal flush of a maiden. His lips were light pink and his eyelashes were made to look a bit longer with mascara. Each time he blinked, the way his eyelashes fluttered resembled a butterfly’s wings. He never spoke to anyone, simply covering his mouth with his sleeve and smiling or turning his head if he were addressed. Exactly as he had been instructed.
Least to say, Inoko became the star of the red light district that day. Of course, Inosuke was always on the brink of challenging any men that kept pestering for his hand in marriage. Weren’t they supposed to infiltrate one of the stores in the red light district, not some rich man’s harem?
Zenitsu clicked his tongue. “Fucking bastard, don’t get too full of yourself.” That remark earns him a slight jab from Uzui.
“Shut that filthy mouth if you want anyone to buy you. You’re not exactly an Inoko.”
“Huh?! You got a problem, three wives bastard?!”
The next one to be bought off was Sumiko, much to Zenitsu’s dismay. The madam of the Tokito house was absolutely charmed by Sumiko’s sweet and earnest personality. He donned a similar style of makeup as Inoko, but couldn’t quite portray the silent wall flower type of beauty. Instead, he appeared like a newly budding flower, youthful and innocent. Sumiko was no silently wilting flower by all means, but one that just came into the world, gracing it with spring. Once they had covered up his scar, they simply added extensions to his hair, tying up a bit of it to the back with a ribbon while letting some layers loose. Of course, his hair became littered with flowers thanks to Nezuko, and Tanjirou simply didn’t have the heart to remove them at all.
As for the hotheaded Zenko, it took a bit longer to sell him. It didn’t really have anything to do with the way he looked, but more with the owners witnessing how rough he kept trying to punch and curse Uzui. In fact, Zenko was also quite a beauty. Out of all three, he was the only one that pulled off a more mature look. They kept his hair short, only adding clips here and there to make his hair frame his face better. The pins bore ornate golden flower that mixed well into his hair. The rouge on his lips were a dark red, while his eyes had more eyeshadow than the other two. Zenko was no innocent looking type, but one that was as feisty as the personality he shows.
Which was why the madam of the Kyougoku house took Zenko in.
“I can feel her fighting spirit. She wants to get back at the man that betrayed her.” She reasoned her choice of buying the feisty little thing. Then she blows smoke from her pipe as if saying that was the end of that.
And so, that started the two week long journey of the three “girls” in the red light district. Little did they know one of them would soon be subject to quite a strange love story, one which would be the talk of the red light district for a long time.
Tomioka Giyuu met her on a particularly cloudy afternoon. He had been on his way back from a mission, and was informed he won’t be taking another one for at least a while. It was a nice breather, but quite frankly a bit unwelcome. Giyuu had no idea where he would go about with his impromptu vacation, and it wasn’t like he had any plans for that matter.
He enters a strange district, filled with gaudy decorations and red lanterns. Women were waving from windows, while there were some people coaxing him to enter their stores. Whatever it was they were selling, Giyuu was not anywhere near interested. And so he does what he does best—ignoring them. He liked getting along with his colleagues and peers, not strangers, so he kept his distance and tuned them out. However, there was one particular sound that caught his attention.
“Young lady, why not entertain us a bit?”
“I’m really sorry but I’m in the middle of work. ”
“Oh, and what work does a lady have in the red light district?”
Giyuu doesn’t quite hear the whole of their conversation, but he does understand the sound of distress from the woman’s voice. He turns to the source of the noise, and heads for it. Just outside, there was a small stall where an old man was selling some perfumes, looking at Giyuu like he had lost his mind.
“I wouldn’t go there if I were you. It’ll invite trouble.”
He heard those words, except Giyuu had a sword and he didn’t really care. He enters the alleyway, placing his hand on the hilt of his sword as he glares at the sight. In front of him was a man gripping the arm of a short woman. There were boxes and crates strewn around them, some of its contents spilled on the ground.
“Let her go.”
His words go unheaded, and the only response he receives is laughter. “Listen here, short stuff. This lady here is just doing her job, so you can’t blame me for anything.” The rather hideous man spits.
Giyuu’s eyes meet the distressed burgundy ones of the woman, and that was enough for him to draw out his sword and placing the tip right at the neck of the taller man. “Don’t make me repeat myself.”
The man was stunned at the speed which Giyuu moved. His eyes hadn’t even registered when Giyuu had unsheathed his sword, he couldn’t possibly imagine keeping up in a fight. Of course, Giyuu wouldn't really harm a civilian. Knock them out, sure, but straight up killing them was a no go. With a click of his tongue, the man lets go of the woman’s arm and dashes away. The force she was pushed caused her to stumble, but luckily enough, Giyuu caught her in his arms.
“Are you alright?” Giyuu asks him, still holding onto him after he stupidly stumbled.
Honestly, Tanjirou could have handled all of that on his own, however, Giyuu arriving had shocked him so much he didn’t know how to respond. How embarrassing for them to meet again in this kind of circumstance? He’d been berated by Giyuu before for being so weak, so he can’t imagine the man’s reaction now that he saw Tanjirou “cowering” before a street thug.
Tanjirou pulls away from Giyuu, whose hands are still holding onto both sides of his arms while looking down at him. The panic grows when Tanjirou doesn’t quite know how to explain himself to Giyuu.
Giyuu removes one of his hands and places it on the top of Tanjirou’s head. He rubs his head a bit, ruffling his locks along the way. “Don’t worry, ma’am, he won’t bother you again.” Giyuu says.
Tanjirou feels a breath of relief when he realizes that he didn’t even need to muster up any excuses, because Giyuu already made one for him! In Giyuu’s eyes, Tanjirou looked like a young girl, terribly shaken from her encounter with that man. He makes a mental note to thank Aoi graciously for making him look so much like a woman that Giyuu himself couldn’t recognize him.
“Ah… Yes, thank you very much, kind sir.” Tanjirou says in as girly of a tone as he could manage.
“No problem.” Giyuu replied, finally letting go of Tanjirou. He watches the other person crouch down, returning the contents of the boxes to their rightful place before attempting to lift them up. Seeing this, Giyuu automatically took three boxes away from Tanjirou.
Tanjirou is taken aback. “There’s no need! I can carry them all by myself!” Tanjirou raises one of his arms and tries to show off a bit of his muscle, although the kimono he was wearing kept it well hidden. Instead, he just ended up looking like a frail, little girl proud of her nonexistent muscles. “I’m quite strong you know?”
Giyuu sighs, and Tanjirou wasn’t quite sure, but he could sense a hint of fondness in it. He really wasn’t sure at all.
“I know, but consider this as me making sure that man doesn’t come back.”
“So you’re escorting me?”
“You could call it that.”
Tanjirou, exasperated, simply chooses to concede to Giyuu’s offer. In the end, Tanjirou only had to carry a single box while Giyuu carried the other four. He would like to clear up that he could do the same!
As they left, the old man from the perfume shop could only feel bad for this wandering swordsman.
“Love can never properly bloom in the red light district.”
And if Tanjirou heard the old man, he would also like to clarify nothing of the sort was going to happen between him and Giyuu.
True to his words, Giyuu escorted him all the way to the Tokito house. Along the way, it dawned on Tanjirou that Giyuu wasn’t quite clear on where he was. The man seemed absolutely oblivious to the fact that he was solicited three times along their way. Upon arriving at the entrance of the store, Giyuu finally relented and left the boxes at the entrance.
“Thank you, really.”
“It’s no trouble.” Giyuu replies. However, he doesn’t immediately leave, looking at Tanjirou for a little bit longer than comfortable.
Flustered, Tanjirou wasn’t quite sure what to say.
“My name is Tomioka Giyuu.”
Tanjirou stares at Giyuu for a while, not exactly sure what to make of it. But before he could say anything else, the madam of the Tokito house replies for him.
“This is Sumiko and if you want a night with her, you’ll have to pay up. It isn’t really that expensive.”
“Pardon?” Giyuu asks.
Oh no. Tanjirou, well, Sumiko as far as Giyuu knew, faced the madam and began flailing his hands. “It isn’t like that, madam. He was just helping me with work is all.”
“Is that so?”
Tanjirou nods furiously, to which the madam hmphs before turning her back on them. “If he isn’t here for services, then tell him to get lost.” Then she left.
He breathes a sigh of relief. “You really should go now, Giy—Tomioka san.” Tanjirou says as he began to close the sliding door slightly.
“What did she mean?”
“Tomioka san, haven’t you realized? This is the red light district, what else could she mean?” Tanjirou says before closing the door completely.
Well he really did it now, huh?
Tanjirou basically told Giyuu he’s a prostitute, which his role technically is, but this is for a mission! It’s just a disguise! But to be perfectly honest, he acted more as an errand boy, girl, rather than a prostitute. When the madam found out about his scar, she wasn’t too happy about it.
In the red light district, appearances made everything. A slight blemish to the face could mean the world to a woman working in this field. So such a huge scar on his forehead only meant he wouldn’t pay much in the business. However, it was thanks to that he didn’t have to go through the nitty gritty world of prostituion asides from the occasional entertaining of guests. Surprisingly, the sweet Sumiko was quite a hit for men in their late 40s whose children never visited. A niche audience, but it was better to act like some pseudo daughter than serve them in that way.
Nonetheless, the fact remains he now has to keep this secret to his grave, away from Giyuu, so as to avoid any weird impressions on the man.
He doesn’t meet Giyuu again until a day later.
This time, the sun was shining through the windows of the Tokito house as Tanjirouu was sweeping the front of the store. For the past day, he heard little of what happened to Uzui’s wives, and far fewer when it came to the demon plaguing the red light district. From day to night, he kept his eyes and ears open, sneaking around here and there. And to top it off, not only was he tired, he missed Nezuko very much! She was hidden away with Uzui since no way in hell was he letting her anywhere near this kind of place.
He soon takes notice of that familiar scent, one he had recently become very alert of. No, it was not a demon, but someone he would much prefer to not see him in this state. However, the inevitable came when he realized the scent kept getting closer and closer, so he had no choice but to turn towards that person and greet him.
“Go...Good day, Tomioka san!” Tanjirouu greeted cheerfully, although it might have been a bit too loud as it caught the attention of people passing by.
Giyuu watches him intently, and it is now that Tanjirou is suddenly made aware of just how intense this man could be. Just yesterday, Giyuu looked at him like he was some gentle flower about to be swept away by storm winds, but now he looked at him as if he was about to cut his head off. Whatever it was running in Giyuu’s mind, Tanjirou really wasn’t sure.
“Sumiko.” Giyuu says, meeting Tanjirou’s eyes.
The sudden call for his “name” startles him. “Y...yes?”
“I, you…” Giyuu can’t seem to put whatever he wants to say into words.
Tanjirou tilts his head slightly, urging Giyuu to continue.
“You…” Giyuu pulls out a light green handkerchief from his pocket, handing it to Tanjirou. “You left this.”
“Oh.” Tanjirou looks at the handkerchief being handed to him, and he can’t help but giggle at the awkwardness of his senior. He reaches out for it, their hands brushing lightly for a brief moment before parting. “I’m flattered you came all the way here for this.”
A small pause before Giyuu said something out of fucking nowhere. “It wasn’t just for that.” He says before handing him something else. It was shoved into his hand before he could process what it was or why Giyuu suddenly stormed off.
Tanjirou looks down at the item in question, and finds out it is a charm with a wisteria flower on it. He looks up at the direction Giyuu left, then down again, genuinely confused about the events that transpired.
“You done, yet, kid?”
Tanjirou jumps in surprise, turning at the madam of the Tokito house who was standing by the door. She sighs before looking down at the item Tanjirou had just been given.
“Give it up, Sumiko.” She places a hand on Tanjirou’s shoulder. “Almost every woman here had something like this happen. They say they’ll come back for you, buy you off, and marry, but before you know it, they never return.”
“What do you mean?” Tanjirou asks.
“Sumiko, darling, this is the red light district, what else do you think I mean?” She sighs then ruffles Tanjirou’s hair, something a lot of people seem keen on doing as of late. “Sometimes they get married to another woman, sometimes they find the next pretty little thing to fawn over in the next store. So I’m telling you now, cut it off.”
And with that she left a very flushed Tanjirou. It seems the madam misunderstood. No way, in every shape or form, would Tomioka Giyuu become infatuated with some random woman he met in the red light district. And certainly no way would this woman be Kamado Tanjirou who once threw an axe at him.
Two days after that, Tanjirou was busy sorting through the storage room when he heard girls squealing and cooing from downstairs. Normally, he wouldn’t pay any attention to such things, it was pretty much common occurrence here. However, when a certain name was mentioned, he immediately dashed towards the noise as if his life depended on it.
“Giyuu chan, play with me a little~”
“Don’t waste that pretty face.”
“Ooh, is this sword real~?”
Tanjirou opens the sliding door with a bang. “Giyuu san?!” All eyes turn to him, and sure enough, misty blue ones meet his. Three women were latched onto Giyuu, who looked quite a bit panicked.
When Tanjirou first met Giyuu, his impression had been of a man sure of himself, one filled with calm power unwavering against any adversary. However, the Giyuu he faces now is visibly in discomfort by the fact he’s in a rather peculiar social situation, and oddly enough, for Tanjirou, it was quite endearing. It made Giyuu feel a little bit more human than he first met.
“You, um, came a little early. I was surprised.” A sheepish laugh escapes Tanjirou’s lips.
“Really~? No wonder Giyuu chan wouldn’t react to us.”
“Who knew he preferred the pure type!”
“Anyone put next to you will look pure, you know.”
“Wah! Sumiko chan, I’m being bullied.” And thus, the three women were no longer latching onto Giyuu, but were now all over their Sumiko chan. They took turns pinching his soft cheeks, telling him good luck before being shooed off by the madam.
“So you’re finally paying up, huh?” She asks Giyuu.
Tanjirou goes back on the defensive, shaking his head frantically . "It's not like that! I was just… "
And to that, the smiling madam gladly takes him up on his offer, while Tanjirou stands there, frozen at the events that transpired.
Chapter 2: Sunlight becomes softer, the winds whisper my secrets
“This is the red light district, what else could she mean?”
Those were the last words he hears from Sumiko before she closes the door on him. With a heavy weight on his chest, one of which he can’t comprehend fully, things become more clear.
The man that tried to force himself on Sumiko was so bold to do so in broad daylight simply because of what Sumiko did for a living. If Giyuu had been a little bit off in his arrival, Sumiko would have had to walk out of that alleyway in a much worse state.
It makes Giyuu mad. He feels spite well up in his stomach, rising to his heart and spreading through every inch of him, that a young woman would have to face such things so frequently just because of what pays the bills.
He had only met Sumiko for a brief moment, but he could easily tell she had a faint air of dim-wittedness to her. She smiled as if she had no care in the world, and yet Giyuu realizes that that isn’t the case. Giyuu walks away from the establishment, but Sumiko would have no choice but to stay there.
He walks past the alleyway he first laid eyes on her, and he stops to stare at it just a little bit longer. He hears a slight chuckle from the side, and turning to it he sees the nosy old man from earlier on. Giyuu thinks it would be wise to not pay attention, but the man proves otherwise.
“Young man, I believe this belongs to the little lady you were with.” With a shaky hand, the man raises a light green handkerchief towards Giyuu.
Giyuu looks at him incredulously, unsure of what he should do.
“The only way to meet with her again is if you pay for her services, and you don’t seem like that kind of lad.” He wrenches Giyuu’s hands open, stuffing the handkerchief in it. “Take it. It’ll be a good reason to see her.”
Giyuu opens his mouth to say something, but he finds that no words would come out. And in the end, he didn’t have to, as a group of young men stops by the stall.
One of them hums as they eyed a bottle. “I think this was the same one Zenko san wore.”
“Really? I thought she had a softer smell.”
“Hey, do you think Inoko chan would like something like this?”
“Bah, such cheap perfume won’t make her fall for you!”
“What are you calling cheap?! Damn brats, scram if you aren’t buying anything!”
And before the argument began, Giyuu left the stall, handkerchief in one hand.
As night fell, Giyuu decided to stay in a nearby inn. Around him were a group of drunkards, all merrily talking about the women from the red light district. From what Giyuu hears, an oiran went to greet one of her customers, a rare occurrence, but to be perfectly honest, Giyuu could care less of it.
Instead, Giyuu’s mind is filled with the young lady, Sumiko. He holds the handkerchief in front of him, thinking about how he intends to return it. Giyuu was anything but a thief and thus it was only right for him to return it to Sumiko. The only problem had been that he isn’t quite sure how to go about it.
As he ponders all possibilities in his head, a hand slams onto his table. A rough voice he is all too familiar with begins filling his ears.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Uzui, dressed in simple clothes and letting his hair down, sits in front of him and crosses his arms. “I didn’t receive any word that there would be backup.”
“I didn’t come here on orders.”
“Huh?! Are you saying I can’t do this on my own?” Uzui’s eyes darken, feeling a little bit underestimated by the tone Giyuu uses. Uzui would prefer not to cause a scene, but quite frankly he is exhausted. All three of his wives are missing with an upper moon on the loose and he doesn’t have a clue of where to go about this.
Uzui was about to press on further, but then he notices a slight perfume waft in the air, He looks down at the source of it and sees a handkerchief in Giyuu’s hands. Oh, that’s what he meant.
Uzui sits back down, sighing. “Please, for the sake of everyone’s peace of mind, say something.”
Giyuu tilts his head in confusion.
“So, who’s the lucky girl?” Uzui said with emphasis on the word lucky.
“I...don’t know what you mean.” Giyuu replied in his usual deadpan manner.
Uzui points at the piece of cloth in Giyuu’s hands. “That’s what I mean. You met someone.”
“Oh.” Giyuu nods in response, understanding finally what Uzui meant. It was a proud moment for Giyuu, because he got understood, and in turn understood, what one of the pillars met. It was a good sign they were getting along.
However, contrary to the simple minded Giyuu’s belief, he understood jackshit. In Uzui’s eyes, the typically quiet and proud Giyuu, had found a sweetheart. And in the red light district no less. This was going to be one hell of a story for the other pillars.
“She’s, well she works in the red light district.”
“No shit man, we’re a walk away from it.” Uzui grabs some of the snacks on Giyuu’s plate. “So what’s the deal?”
Giyuu looks to the handkerchief once more, unsure how to bring up the topic. “I’m not sure how I can see her again.” How he could return the handkerchief.
Well who knew that the Tomioka Giyuu would one day have troubles of the heart. For a guy like him, it must have been tough coming to terms that he liked a woman who slept with other men for a living. But for Uzui Tengen, to hell with all that nonsense! If the heart is in the right place, who cares what kind of life the person you love has lived?!
Uzui leans on the table, making sure to have eye contact with Giyuu. “It’s simple. You march in there, and tell her what you want to say. Don’t beat around the bush, just say it.”
And, upon meeting Sumiko once more, he really did just say what he meant to say. He returned the handkerchief to Sumiko, and in the process, somehow made her smile. It makes him happy that he was at least able to brighten up her day.
However, he did add a little something.
After seeking advice from Uzui, he had found out from him about the presence of an upper moon in the red light district. Women would suddenly disappear, but due to the nature of this place, it would simply be brushed off as them committing suicide or running away. It was never looked at with a hint of suspicion. Upon remembering Sumiko, Giyuu couldn't help but give her a little something for his peace of mind.
He receives advice once more a day later.
“What the fuck? and you just left?!”
Giyuu nods. When he met Uzui again during lunch, he told him he had done what he set out to do. In what Uzui understood, the dolt basically stormed off after giving the handkerchief, not at all saying anything about his feelings. So even a guy like Tomioka Giyuu could get butterflies in his stomach.
“You idiot!” Uzui grabs Giyuu by the collar, alarming the staff. “You definitely upset her!”
Giyuu’s eyes widened. “I...did?” Hadn’t he made Sumiko happy?
“Yes, you did!” Uzui sat back down as per the request of the store manager. “How would you feel if some random guy you met just shoved a handkerchief to you before storming off?”
Giyuu tries to think of what Uzui meant. For Giyuu, he thinks he would be happy if someone returned something that belonged to him. Now that Uzui points it out, he doesn’t quite understand how to approach Sumiko.
Approach. Does that mean I want to see her again?
Uzui sighs and drinks his cup of tea. “Listen, why don’t you just go there and have a proper conversation with her?”
“The madam said I should pay.”
“Well, that’s tough…” Uzui hums as he thinks. He jumps when he thought of an idea. “Why don’t you flamboyantly go in there and do as she wants?”
“I’m not making her…”
“You don’t have to, dumbass!” Uzui shakes him. “You’re going to pay for time with her, and you can use this time to get to know her! It’s brilliant!”
And that was how Giyuu ended up sitting in a very soft bed covered with layers and layers of satin and gauze. To his right, a bottle of alcohol and two cups had been laid out along with some snacks. Across from him was a blushing Sumiko fidgeting as she covered the redness with her sleeve.
He can’t help but blush at the implications of what he’d just done.
Sumiko stands up and faces Giyuu with the most distressed face he’d ever seen on her. Well, he had only known her for a few days, and the only time he saw that expression was when she was with...with that man.
“Tomioka san, I’m really sorry, but I can’t do this!” She bows in front of him.
Giyuu, at a loss for words, simply puts his hand on her head. And as he did the first time they met, he rubs her head affectionately. Sumiko raises her head and looks at him with her lovely, big eyes that are covered in worry.
“I really am sorry, Tomi—”
“Giyuu is fine.” He said as he helped Sumiko sit back down on the bed, making sure there was a reasonable distance between them when he sat down as well. “I’m really not here for that.”
Sumiko tilts her head to the side. “Huh?”
Giyuu raises his hands and smiles faintly, as if saying he was harmless. “I just wanted to talk.”
He pauses. “I’m not really sure.”
Out of the blue, Sumiko laughs. She laughs as brightly as the sun, as if she hadn't been terribly afraid mere minutes ago. She laughs so loud that it rings in Giyuu's ears, and he is sure that it will be something he will remember for as long as he shall live.
And it dawns on Giyuu. It dawns on him that Sumiko was so pretty that it makes his heart flutter. It was a feeling so alien to him that he isn't quite sure what to make of it.
Sumiko was lovely, but Giyuu saw her beauty in the slightest of things. In the short period they had known each other, Giyuu realized he likes the way Sumiko's curly hair flowed. He likes the way her burgundy eyes look up at him, and the way her cheeks would flush when she laughed.
Giyuu was at a stand still.
"Then why don't we get to know each other?" She shifts her seating position so she was more comfortable. "What is Giyuu san's favorite food?"
And it goes on like that until the sun was close to setting. Sumiko would ask something about him, then he would ask her the same. Asking what their favorite food, color, season, or whatever it was that crossed their heads wouldn't take this long, but it did when it came to them.
They would get sidetracked, what starts out as a simple answer would end up as some anecdote of something else. Sumiko tells him of a story where a rather cowardly friend of hers accidentally stepped on a boar's foot, then proceeded to get chased around by it for hours. Sumiko tried to defend him, saying that even though he was like that, he was still brave in his own way.
Giyuu didn't understand. If this cowardly friend of hers didn't like fighting, then why bother storming through work that involved it? It's half-assed. But if Sumiko calls him brave then he'll believe it.
At some point, he finds out she has a little sister, one she loves very dearly. Sumiko's little sister was gravely ill, so she was doing her best to find a cure for it. Many people would misunderstand her just because of her illness, but Sumiko knew that she was kind and loving.
Giyuu smiles fondly. It wasn't so bad getting to know her, because he might be getting to know something about himself.
After paying, Sumiko walks him to the exit, still smiling. She talks about how wonderful the weather is, and how she hopes Giyuu will be well as he travels back.
As he walks away, he waves back at Sumiko, who was enthusiastically bidding him goodbye.
Giyuu hopes, prays, that she will be well through this whole ordeal. And if he plans on acting on that.
He stays. He stays to help Uzui hunt down the upper moon, but they were trickier to find than they first thought. It upsets him that he can't rid the danger looming over Sumiko, over the red light district that is.
And even though he was frustrated everyday, he found solace in visiting Sumiko.
He is a bit afraid of how he might get used to this, of how he might have already gotten used to this. Giyuu couldn't exactly reveal the details of this mission, but he did complain about how it had been draining him. He wants it done and over with as soon as possible.
And as always, Sumiko would reply by smiling and reassuring him. She was happy Giyuu visited her every single day, and found peace in the fact that time with Giyuu meant she didn't have to attend to others. So in return, she would spend her afternoon talking with him.
Sometimes Sumiko would suggest very childish games. She said these were ones she played with her siblings before she had been sold off. Giyuu went along with them, and quite frankly they were very boring, but they became fun because of Sumiko. Because he got to spend these moments with Sumiko.
Because he likes Sumiko.
On one particular afternoon, Giyuu had fallen asleep before Sumiko arrived in the room. It was a humid day and so he decided to open the window and sit by it. The night prior, he had been out hunting demons and searching for traces of the upper moon with Uzui. The situation became more and more dire as one of the people Uzui had sent in to search for his wives also went missing.
Giyuu barely had a wink of sleep, and normally, this wouldn't be a problem for him. He doesn't even qualify as a pillar as is; it would be an embarrassment if he couldn't slay demons just because he didn't get his full eight hours.
His body and mind call for rest, but he knows he cannot do that. Every moment he doesn't spend searching for the upper moon is a moment someone's life is in peril. All the scenarios ran in his head. What if while he had his eyes closed, someone had gotten hurt? What if that someone was Sumiko?
He feels a light breeze on his face and turns his head towards it. He squints his eyes when he feels the pillow underneath his head move. He tries to adjust it back in place, and it dawns on him that, no, pillows don't move by themselves.
He hears a small giggle. "Alright, Giyuu san, I'll adjust."
And he certainly doesn't remember falling asleep with a pillow. His eyes shot open, and true enough, they met burgundy ones that looked down on him fondly. Giyuu wanted to sit up and apologize for troubling Sumiko, but she pushes his head back down to lie on her thigh.
Sumiko continues fanning him. "You must be tired from work. Sleep."
Were the eyebags that hideous? "I can manage." Giyuu replied.
"You walked in here like there was a heavy weight dragging you. I have no doubt you can manage, but that doesn't mean you should."
Giyuu pauses, actually considering going back to sleep, but notices the lack of sunlight outside. Oh no. "I have to go."
"Giyuu san, I'm really concerned you might pass out."
"I can handle this much."
"I know but even you can't handle-"
"I know I'm weak! That's why I can at least do this much!"
Giyuu realizes he had raised his voice against Sumiko, and he feels like something in him drops. He had gone and done it. Sumiko had been nothing but kind and sweet towards him, and he knows she meant no ill will, but look what he has to pay for it. He lashed out at someone that didn't deserve it.
Giyuu sits up and covers his face with his hands. He bites the bottom of his lips. "I'm sorry." And he knows he doesn't deserve to be forgiven, but he hopes Sumiko will at least remember him for trying, instead of some monster that runs away after acting so horrible.
However, to his surprise, he feels a hand rubbing circles on his back and another placed on his arm.
"Giyuu san has nothing to apologize for." Sumiko said, smiling. "I can't judge someone's character based on the one time they're in intense turmoil."
"But I shouldn't have taken it out on you."
"I know. But you have been nothing but kind to me." Sumiko removes Giyuu's hands from his face so she could meet his eyes. "I'll consider this a one time thing."
Of course she would. Who else in this world would have the patience to deal with his bullshit? The only ones that did were already dead.
He leans against Sumiko's shoulder, who in turn wraps her arms around him and continued to rub soothing circles on his back. "Everyone I loved died because I was weak."
He can feel Sumiko tense up a bit, but he can't help but let the feelings pour out. He's glad that Sumiko only tightens her hold.
"My family died when I was young and I couldn't protect them. I wanted to get stronger so something like that would never happen but…"
"I trained with a boy named Sabito."
Upon uttering that name, Sumiko's eyes widen in recognition.
"We became close friends, and when we took the final selection together, he had been so strong that he wiped out all the demons in the mountain. I was so weak that I passed out from after an attack and when I came to, he… Everyone survived but him, no, it was thanks to him. I don't deserve this position, but he did, so the least I could do is try. "
" If I don't do this, someone might get hurt again." You might get hurt.
By this point, Sumiko had Giyuu in the tightest hug possible, burying her head against his shoulder. “Giyuu san… "
"You probably don't believe what I'm saying, huh? All this demon nonse-"
"No. Giyuu san, I completely understand." Giyuu hears a sniffle from Sumiko. "But you are trying. And I’m sure that whatever it was that Sabito entrusted you with, it is something that will keep you together for as long as possible."
Giyuu is in utter disbelief. In utter disbelief that he is hearing the same senetiment that Sabito had told him after punching him from the Sumiko who was gently hugging him. He is in utter disbelief that Sumiko, someone who he's known for a week and a half, is crying for him.
And he is in utter disbelief that in that timespan, he has fallen so deeply in love with her.
Truly, he is unable to comprehend how such a girl could ever come into his life. He doesn't know, but he would fight to keep her in it.
“I can't stay for long but," Giyuu circles his arms around Sumiko. "Can I sleep for a little longer? “
“Of course you can Giyuu san."
Chapter 3: This place sings of love, but it’s your voice that grounds me
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The first time Giyuu visited him, Tanjirou was at an absolute loss as to how to approach, but he soon found that it left him on a good note. Giyuu was awkward, unable to fully say what he means. It was double effort on Tanjirou’s part to fully grasp what it was that Giyuu was trying to say. After all, he did genuinely think Giyuu was planning on, well, sleeping with Sumiko. Who knew all he intended to do was get to know her?
But for the life of Tanjirou, he didn’t know why Giyuu wanted to get to know some random woman. Whatever reason it may be, he’s at least glad it isn’t for the reason most men trek the red light district.
However, something was bothering him. Something was bothering the good and honest Tanjirou.
After seeing Giyuu off, Tanjirou went inside, his face contorted into an expression that seemed as if he were in intense pain. He really is in deep, isn’t he? He was straight up lying to his senior, Tomioka Giyuu, who was a pillar.
Tanjirou is glad that it was over, and Giyuu would finally move on and away from this place.
Or so he thought.
A day later, as he was cleaning Koinatsu oiran’s room, he was called over by the brothel madam into a room. Inside, much to Tanjirou’s surprise, was Giyuu once more. He was drinking a cup of tea, and this time no alcohol was in sight.
He feels a slight push from the back. “This guy is loaded, huh? Good luck.” She pushes Tanjirou into the room, and before leaving them by themselves, she whispered something into his ear.
“Remember, don’t go in too deep. Not everyone here is lucky to find a man who’ll take them.”
Tanjirou is left blushing once more, simply staring back at the closed door painted with flowers. A hand is placed on his shoulder, startling him from the lack of sound the other man made. Tomioka Giyuu really was a pillar, through and through, not making even the tiniest bit of sound.
“Sumiko, is something wrong?” Giyuu walks in front of Tanjirou, placing a hand on his forehead before positioning his head against it. “Are you running a fever?”
Tanjirou pushes him away in a panic, waving his hands in a gesture of reassurance. “No, it’s not that, Giyuu san. The madam just said something surprising is all.”
Giyuu nods to himself, before sitting on a chair and offering Tanjirou a cup of tea. He makes a small smile. “I wanted to see you again.”
And as Giyuu said that, Tanjirou could’ve sworn he caught a faint scent of fondness, one that someone infatuated with another would have. One he’s smelled so many times whenever some stranger makes the mistake of professing their undying love for Inosuke. Tanjirou didn’t want to believe it, because there is absolutely no way that would happen.
Perhaps he’s mistaken. There is, most definitely, a logical explanation to all of this.
And now that he thinks about it, maybe it isn’t even Sumiko he was after! That’s right, based from their conversation, Giyuu was a sitting duck in anything that involves socializing. It was completely plausible that he was trying to catch the attention of another woman, and because he didn't know how to approach her, he decided to use the one leverage he had.
Whoever Giyuu was after, Tanjirou, or rather Sumiko, would make sure to help them.
Tanjirou sits down in front of him, and to his surprise, he had brought along some biscuits, the ones Tanjirou told him that he liked. He beamed at the other man, then as gracefully as he could, which really wasn't all that much, Tanjirou stuffs them into his mouth as Giyuu smiles at him fondly.
Whoever this woman was, perhaps she can wait a little longer. Tanjirou really likes these biscuits.
After leaving, Tanjirou chose to stay and clean inside the room instead of accompanying him to the door. There really wasn't much to clean per se, but he feels that he needs a little time off from Giyuu.
He picks up the dishes and trash then walks out with a dazed look . Giyuu really did have a tendency to be confusing, didn't he? The scent of infatuation and fondness was quite clear in the air, and still, Tanjirou refuses to acknowledge its presence. It must be a mistake, it must be. Because otherwise would mean…that he was lying to Giyuu.
Which he really was. He was lying to Giyuu who was actually telling him all his truths and insecurities, things that he might not even bare to him if they had met as Tanjirou and Giyuu. It's a bit disconcerting that Giyuu wouldn't, but who was he even to the man?
He stops mid in his track when a pair of girls carry the items for him and pushes him back to his room. "No way, Sumi chan!"
"Wait, wait, I can handle this on my own."
He hears soft giggling on the side, and smells the scent of strong, but sweet perfume carrying a hint of kindness wafting in the air. Soft footsteps come closer, and Tanjirou finds a beautiful woman smiling at him. She had beautiful, deep red painted lips. Her eyes were gentle, but held the maturity that could draw one in. Her hair was a deep black like the sky, and the stars that littered her hair were golden ornaments. It was none other than Koinatsu, the oiran of Toukito house.
"Let them help you, Sumi chan. You must be tired, right?“ She lets the girls walk away with the items Tanjirou had been carrying before turning back to Tanjirou. "I must say, Tomioka san is quite...active. You wouldn't think so with one look. "
With those words, Tanjirou's entire face burned a bright red. Koinatsu giggles at him once more before ruffling his head.
"No need to be shy." She fishes something from the sleeve of her kimono. It was a few sweets wrapped in pink cloth. "Take this and rest."
She then walks away, smiling. Young love, she thinks. It wasn't rare for a man to get so infatuated with one of the girls in a brothel. It was, however, rare, for someone to be so infatuated that they would forgo all interactions with a more popular girl, an oiran no less.
It was when Giyuu entered the brothel that she happened to pass him by. Returning from a greeting with a customer, she was dolled up in the finest things. As per courtesy, she smiles at Giyuu, but not even a lick of attention was given to her. Instead, he immediately walks away in search of his Sumiko.
What a strange occurrence. She was no means as conceited as others might think, but she at least knows the power she had over men. After all, it was what got her this far. However, she hadn't encountered someone who this had little effect on. And if she thought about it, there was no effect at all.
Perhaps it's because of that one simple fact. It seems it was only her that had noticed it, but "Sumiko" had quite the secret.
But she was not one to destroy another's life, let alone someone else's love. She truly hopes all the best for them.
On Giyuu's fifth visit, it is then that he comes to terms with something his nose had been telling him.
Giyuu always brought presents. They weren't as grand as the ones Koinatsu received, but they were endearing no less. Often, they were in the form of food Tanjirou had no means of getting here or in small trinkets embedded with wisteria. He figures that Giyuu gave him that because of the looming threat of an upper moon. This is especially given because he smells worry whenever Giyuu gifts him these.
On this day, however, it was the first time Giyuu had given him the actual flower itself. It had been freshly picked, it’s stems wrapped with white cloth cloth tied with a light green ribbon. Giyuu hands it to him, and at first he thinks it’s another attempt at keeping him safe, but is proven otherwise.
“I thought of you when I passed it.”
And as he said that, there was not a single hint of lying in his scent. Instead, it was laden with love, and fondness, and so much sweetness that Tanjirou doesn’t know what else to do. And apparently his body already did as he feels tears welling up in his eyes.
“Sumiko?! Is something wrong?!” Giyuu asks with his hands hovering around Sumiko, unsure of what to do.
Giyuu, because of the ever so awkward Giyuu, Tanjirou was unsure of what to do now. He was lying to someone so kind, someone who…
Someone who loves him so dearly.
Tanjirou could only wipe his tears and hold onto the flowers tightly. He leans his head against Giyuu’s shoulder, sniffling. “Sorry, I might get snot all over your haori.”
“I...it’s quite alright.” Giyuu’s hands no longer hovered around so aimlessly, but instead gently circled his waist to put him into a soft, albeit a bit of an awkward hug.
He finds this so endearing. Lately he finds Giyuu so endearing. The way he had been awkward around him, stumbling over his words until settling on simple, but very easily misunderstood words. Giyuu was fortunate it was Tanjirou, otherwise he might have caused a fight with his unintentionally tactless words.
Giyuu had been cluing him on it for a long time; that he loved Sumiko very dearly. He showed it in the way he spoke to her, so soft and gentle. He showed it in the way he visited everyday despite being so tired from hunting down an upper moon. He showed it in the small gestures and trinkets that would protect Tanjirou if Giyuu wasn’t around, but Tanjirou is sure Giyuu would never let her be hurt.
But it dawns on him that these are not for Tanjirou, but for Sumiko. He had never heard Giyuu speak to him in that way. They only meet by circumstance, and this was one of the more fortunate ones. Giyuu didn’t give Tanjirou jack shit because why would he?
To Giyuu, Tanjirou was just a passing acquaintance, but Sumiko was a whole different deal.
He holds back the tears, because he at least wants to savor this moment while he is still Sumiko. While Sumiko was not some distant, bitter memory for Giyuu because they will never meet again. Sumiko does not exist.
“Thank you, Giyuu san.” He pulls away slightly, but not enough that he would leave the warm embrace. He’ll let himself be spoiled with this. “I haven’t received anything like this before, and I don’t think I will again in the future.”
“That’s not true.” Giyuu smiles at him, and in a bold move, he plants a kiss on his forehead before letting go and sitting by the window. He covers his blush by turning to the outside. “It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?”
Tanjirou, stupefied, can only make a sheepish smile. He sniffs the wisteria in his hands. “It really is. I wish it could stay like this for a while.”
I wish you would stay like this, loving me, and I loving you.
It had been Giyuu’s ninth visit by this time, and true to his words he had brought him wisteria flowers every day which Tanjirou has savored every bit of. While Giyuu was away, he would spend his time searching for clues about Uzui’s wives. He can feel it, that this mission will come to a close soon.
It lasted longer than they expected, but Uzui couldn’t blame them. Zenitsu’s mature look combined with his skill in the koto and shamisen, he was an instant hit. Inosuke’s beauty could speak enough for itself, he was basically being called for left and right. It’s a miracle they managed to dodge having to bed them. They were kept so busy, they could barely balance acting in a manner that isn't suspicious while also sneaking around. All eyes were on them. Meanwhile, Tanjirou had his hands full with only one customer.
He doesn’t know how exactly Giyuu would react, but he’s sure it would be unpleasant, and that itself sent Tanjirou into a dark mood.
Giyuu had just left, and so Tanjirou was now tasked with sending some presents to Koinatsu’s room. It took some convincing to let him do work, but they finally relented. They seem to have misunderstood the nature of Giyuu’s visits, and thus wanted him to rest after they’d spent hours together.
He knocks on the door before Koinatsu opens. She gasps. “Sumi chan, you shouldn’t overwork yourself so much!” She huffs. “Honestly, this Tomioka san is a bit too much, isn’t he? Everyday is too much!”
Tanjirou blushes a deep red, no longer bothering to clear up the misunderstanding. He had given up at some point since no one believed him. They simply thought that he had been very shy as this was his first man, and a rather "passionate" one at that.
Seeing the quiet Sumiko, Koinatsu felt like she wanted to envelop her in a hug. Lately, she had been noticing that Sumiko looked gloomier and gloomier after Giyuu’s visits.
“Why don’t you come into my room? Let’s have a chat.”
Tanjirou isn’t sure what he did, but for some reason, he was invited into Koinatsu’s room. She brought out some sweets for Tanjirou, before sitting in front of him in her full, graceful glory. Tanjirou swallows, preparing himself for whatever it was Koinatsu was about to say.
“Is Tomioka san bothering you?”
He pauses before letting out a startled noise.
… “I knew it. He’s a little too obsessive.” She puts a finger against her chin as she thinks. “He might be dangerous if he gets too obsessed with you. If you like, I can ask the madam to-”
“No, no, no! You misunderstand, Koinatsu oiran!” Tanjirou, face flushed, defends Giyuu. “He isn’t like that, believe me. He’s kind, he sends me presents, and he never mistreats me.”
“Sumi chan, I know you’re happy he didn’t reject you for your secret, but please understand that a man too obsessed might do you more harm. Just because he’s nice now doesn’t mean he will still be in the future.”
Tanjirou is left in confusion again. “Secret?”
“Oh, dear, I hadn’t meant to let that slip out…” Koinatsu covers her mouth. She nonetheless meets his eyes. “Yes, I do know you’re a boy.”
“But don’t worry, I haven’t told anyone, and I don’t think anyone else has noticed.”
“...Then, um, that’s good.” Tanjirou sighs before returning to their prior topic. That's a matter for another day because Giyuu's pride was on the line here! “But I can promise you, Giyuu san is kind. He doesn’t even...sleep with me at all.”
“Sumi chan, no need to lie.”
And there it was again. He smiles despite this; he doesn’t want anyone misunderstanding someone he likes. “It really is the truth. He came here with the intention of knowing me. He’s awkward and can be a bit blunt but he’s gentle. Not one day goes by where he doesn’t make me happy. Everyday he visits, my room is filled with more and more wisteria flowers.” A fond smile graces his face. "And everyday it reminds me of him."
And it was Koinatsu’s turn to be surprised. Sumiko, she… “You like him.”
“I do,” he looks down at his hands that grip the fabric of his kimono tightly. “But I don’t think he will when he finds out.”
Oh. Oh no. Koinatsu was at a loss for words, finally understanding fully what Sumiko was going through. She was fortunate that a man had been willing to make her his wife, but Tanjirou didn’t have the luxury of that. Especially now that she knows Giyuu was unaware that Sumiko was a man.
All she could do was envelop him in a hug, trying her best to comfort Sumiko who was now crying. This whole week, Sumiko hadn’t despaired over an obsessive lover, but over a love she, he, wasn’t sure would continue on after the truth had been revealed.
Once Sumiko had finally calmed down, he smiled at Koinatsu. “Thank you.”
“It’s no problem.” She returns his smile.
“I at least want you to know my real name.” Tanjirou sat up straight and met her eyes with calmness. “Kamado Tanjirou.”
“Well then, Tanjirou, I wish you all the best.” She hands him another piece of candy. “All my customers love it, I’m sure Tomioka san would, too. I really wish you all the best.”
Once the moon was high, Tanjirou left the building and waited on the roof of a different brothel for Zenitsu, Inosuke and Uzui. Giyuu rarely was on these meetings, and if he was, Tanjirou makes sure they don’t meet at all. Who knows when Giyuu would catch on and for extra measure, Tanjirou is sure to remove all traces of the Toukito house on him. The minute he smells anything remotely close to Giyuu, he goes on high alert and makes up some excuse to leave.
He hates that he has to hide, but he knows that it was Sumiko that Giyuu loved, not Tanjirou. Thinking about this, he sighs and hides behind his knees. He then feels a heavy weight leaning on his shoulder.
“Mm.” Nezuko says, trying to comfort her brother.
He laughs, feeling pathetic. “I’m fine. I’ll get through this.”
“Mm?” She says in a more concerned tone.
“I really am. I’m sorry for worrying you.” He pats her on the head in reassurance.
“Well you have more to worry about.” Uzui says, appearing out of thin air. “You and Inosuke should go back, it’s too dangerous here.”
“Like I’m telling you, the demon is in Ogimoto house!” Inosuke shouts at him from behind.
“And I’m telling you, it’s too risky. Even your friend wasn’t so lucky.”
Tanjirou and Inosuke both turn to him in surprise. “What happened to Zenitsu?!”
“He suddenly cut off contact. He must’ve been taken by the demon, and if you don’t leave, then you’ll be the same. Listen, it’s the winners that survive, so you have to go back.”
“And I’m telling you that ain’t happening!”
“I don’t want to leave!”
No, not yet. It’s true that Tanjirou was worried sick about Zenitsu. He wants to stay to go search for his dear friend. If anything happened to him, Tanjirou would never forgive himself for being so distracted. For having this brief moment of happiness in such desperate times. And it was also for the same reason he doesn’t want to leave. The minute he stops being Sumiko, Giyuu would no longer love him.
“What the hell, why can’t you just follow orders? Didn’t I say I’d be god here?!”
Inosuke wanted to voice out his concerns, but Tanjirou made it first. “I’m not leaving. I’m not leaving everyone alone when there’s a demon on the loose! Not anyone in the Toukito house, and certainly not Zenitsu!”
A heavy silence envelops the group.
Uzui, unable to counter, scratches the back of his head. “Fuck, you’re just like Giyuu. Damn guy won’t leave his little sweetheart.”
And as the name was mentioned, Tanjirou smelled the scent of Giyuu, which had been mixed with the scent from the Toukito house. It makes him a bit embarrassed at how long they spend time together there. But enough matters of the heart, he had to make a dash for it!
By the time Giyuu arrived, Tanjirou had made his bold escape.
“Kid must really hate your guts, huh?”
On the night Giyuu laid out the entirety of his past, of his connection to Sabito and why he refuses to acknowledge himself as pillar, Tanjirou understands him a bit more.
And it pains him that he can’t do the same for Giyuu, to tell him the truth.
When Giyuu wakes up, Tanjirou had already fallen asleep by then. The moon was at its peak, and while he did say he won't stay long, he ended up sleeping longer. Who could blame him, when he had fallen asleep in the arms of a woman he really liked? It was a comfortable and warm, and Giyuu hopes that he can wake up to this every morning one day.
He closes the window and brings Sumiko to bed. Before leaving, he turns around and gives her a quick peck on the forehead. He blushes then coughs, storming out of the room as fast as he can.
“Please run away with me.”
Hello! Two more chapters before it ends! I'm really glad you guys like it I reread the comments a lot because they make me so happy!
“Do you think I’m an idiot?”
Those words earn him a slight punch, well, punches.
“Message received, I got it.” He said, putting Nezuko in a tight hug. “I’ll tell him.”
It certainly wasn’t fair. Not to Giyuu, and certainly not to Tanjirou. He realizes that the longer this went on, the more guilt and awful, awful things build up between them. And perhaps what was worse, the other party would be clueless.
He owed the truth to him, and to himself. Let everything be damned, he’ll just let Giyuu throw an axe back at him for good relation’s sake.
And even if Giyuu did that, he’d still like him.
Even if the feelings were unrequited.
He’ll get over it, maybe he won’t. But at the end of the day, he made a choice. It may not be the right choice, but it was what they deserved. If Giyuu was getting hurt, best it be from Sumiko her damn self and not someone who would claimed she “lost her footing.” If Tanjirou was getting hurt, let it be from a blatant rejection and contempt rather from watching someone else suffer for his own foolishness.
He swallows a lump in his throat, and readies himself for the night to come. Before all of this came to an end, Tanjirou plans on telling Giyuu straight to his face.
He stands in front of the mirror, careful not to bump into the dim candle. None of the women in the brothel knew he snuck out, so he often had to sneak around in total darkness. They all just assume he was too tired to move, much to his embarrassment. Not only did he lie, but he also ruined the man’s reputation apparently.
He takes of the makeup on his face before slowly taking off his kimono to put on his uniform. However, just as it was past his shoulders, he heard a loud noise behind him.
After having spent his night with Sumiko, not in the way one might think, Giyuu spent his search in a contemplative mood. He had laid out a lot of his past to Sumiko this night, and he isn’t quite sure what to make of that.
Once the demon encounter was over, he’d have to move out of here, leaving Sumiko alone. He doubts any demon threat will make its way to her, and he’ll make sure she’s properly protected, but what could he do when he’s away? Of course, there was always the thought of buying her off but that presented an issue all on its own.
He feels someone hit his head and he is sure who was the only one around bold enough to do that.
“Was that necessary?”
“All three of my wives are missing and so is that blond brat while there's a raging boar somewhere. Yes, it’s necessary.” He tries to hit Giyuu again, but fails as Giyuu dodges it. “Why the fuck are you standing around and not flamboyantly hunting a demon?”
Giyuu’s brows furrow a little bit more upon hearing the word “flamboyantly.” Honestly, what did “flamboyantly hunting a demon” even mean?
Upon being assured no assault would occur, he dusts off his haori. “I was just...thinking.” He hears a snicker from the side.
“Oh please, that sweet thing you’ve been having encounters with.” Uzui puts his hand on Giyuu’s shoulder, making a smug look. “And by encounters I mean se–”
“I know what you mean.” He brushes the hand away. “And no, we’re not doing that.”
Before Uzui could make any remark, Giyuu cut him off. “It’s something else.”
“What have you got there, lover boy?”
Giyuu weighs the pros and cons of telling Uzui of his concerns. For one thing, the man had been relentless in his teasing since Giyuu told him they’d hit it off. All the nicknames and jokes, sometimes rather crude if he may add, were not always welcome. There were instances Giyuu was really, really close to hitting him on a particular joke about Sumiko’s chest. It’s like he even saw her, so how was he to comment on Sumiko? In Giyuu’s opinion, those things didn’t matter at all because it wasn't like he's eyes wandered around where they shouldn't.
However, he did realize a few things these weeks. Obviously that he apparently fell for a woman in the red light district, but another was that he was having...fun. Not the best way to describe a rescue mission and a demon hunt but he really couldn’t call it anything else.
It was because he got closer to Uzui, something he realizes has not happened much with the other pillars. Shinobu absolutely did not count because the last time they met she had a rather barbed remark about his hair hidden in a coat of her sweet voice.
No, nothing like that, they were actually talking without sarcasm and remarks. At least he hopes so. Uzui jokes with him and has a couple of meals with him. Granted, they were more focused on Giyuu’s love life than anything else but it was good progress. Soon, they’ll be having long conversations about other things over lunch, and perhaps if things went well, they could have training sessions together.
So now that he was somewhat close to Uzui, he figures it would be fine to tell him his worries once more.
“I… I’ll miss her.”
“Woah there, buddy, she’s not dead.”
Giyuu clenches his fist. “But we’ll be leaving soon. I don’t want to be apart from her, let alone while I know she might be with other guys.”
Uzui hits him in the back all of a sudden, causing Giyuu to be surprised. “Then drag her out of there, idiot.”
When Giyuu stays silent, something in Uzui’s head clicks.
“This isn’t just about not being able to bring her with you.” Uzui scratches the back of his head. “It’s about if she wants to go with you.”
Giyuu lowers his head, his eyes obscured from view with his bangs. He nods slightly as he sat down.
Uzui follows him, a bit ticked off he has to deal with this in the middle of an even bigger deal. But he supposes it was nice to get to know the little bastard was human.
“Look, this girl, I’m sure she likes you.”
“Or she’s just humoring me.”
“Maybe. Who knows?” Uzui looks up at the sky, feeling a little awkward with this. They weren’t always close before, so seeing Giyuu at his low point was new, and frankly, a bit uncomfortable. “But I know those kinds of people. They’re too honest for their own good and I doubt they wouldn’t just humor a sad, lovelorn prick like you. Pretty sure that a bright eyed brat like that would’ve fallen for an equally naive brat like you.”
He smirks, remembering how he and his wives were the first time they met. They were never as love struck and clueless as these idiots, but they were young and still figuring love out. “It’s kind of what brats do.”
Giyuu raises his head, blue, misty eyes overlooking the red like district’s bright colors. “You think?”
“I at least know that works out for me.”
It was Giyuu’s turn to smile as he stands up. “Thanks.”
“And I’m guessing you aren’t going to continue you’re work?”
“I’ll bring you the head of that demon.”
Uzui waves him off as he stands up. “Yeah, yeah, do whatever. Bring Sumiko to bed first.”
Giyuu blushes madly, running off with a frown. Uzui knows how much it pisses him off when he says things like that, but he can’t help it. “Sumiko, huh?”
Then he dashes off of that roof and onto the next, headed the other direction.
He slowly leaps down from the roof, making sure no one saw him. His foot comes into contact with the window’s balcony. He was already aware of the reputation he amassed with the residents of the brothel, he wasn’t about to make it worse as the window lecher.
Wait, would Sumiko think that?!
Thinking of Sumiko’s face contorting into disgust from his actions, he slips and almost fell. How very becoming of a demon hunter.
He grabs onto the balcony’s edge and pulls himself upright. However, as he would like to give undeserved credit to fortune, not to his own foolishness, Sumiko hears him while making a rather distressed sound.
Panicking, all his mouth could utter was her name. It was thanks to the window being closed that she couldn’t see his horribly flushed face. However, the window did not obscure Sumiko’s form being illuminated by the candlelight from behind her. Her kimono was bunched up past her shoulders as her arms were crossed. He notices something rather peculiar, however. Was that a bit of muscle on her arm? Was she really as strong as she says she is?
Kind of hot, if he thinks about it. But he would rather not because he is a gentleman.
But for the record, if he did, it really was kind of hot.
“Sumiko, it’s not what you think!” He flails his hands, almost falling from the railings once more. What a show for a demon hunter, and in front of a girl he likes no less. “I’m not here for...unsavory things.”
“What are you talking about?!”
Giyuu purses his lips, trying to think of things he could say to explain that he was not outside her window to enter her room–which he would–and forcibly push her down the bed–and he wouldn’t!
“Sumiko, I just, I wanted to tell you something.” He opens the window slightly, but forgets the state Sumiko was in, only realizing as she runs to close it again. “Ah, right, sorry about that.”
“Right, I just, well, I wanted to tell you that…” Giyuu trails off, pondering his words. “I really like you.”
The other side of the window is silent, not even a slight shift of her footing. And with that utter lack of response, Giyuu’s mind became equally silent, not at all working and matching his treacherous mouth.
“I know this is sudden, but I really like you! Everyday makes me happy, and I would like to do it more with you–wait, no, that sounds weird. What I meant was that I’m taking you with me, wait that sounds like I’m kidnapping you. I meant–”
Was it weird she only said his name so far in this conversation?!
Giyuu was really losing it now. He always thought of himself as a quiet man, but he really was being thrown for a loop in this love business, but he was glad it did. He was glad this got him closer with his subordinate. He was glad this found him someone he wants to devote himself to. He was glad he made his first step in a long time.
And now, he was going to take another step now.
“What I wanted to say was–” He takes a deep breath. “Please run away with me.”
Please don’t let the next words she says next be his name. Or maybe he should set his priorities straight and hope it wasn’t next to an I’m sorry.
“I really like you, too.”
His heart leaps out of his chest, and the red light district seems brighter tonight than it ever was mere minutes ago. His cheeks turn red once more, but this time his elation prevents him from wanting to hide it. Instead, he wants to be in front of Sumiko, and give her a hug from the most wonderful thing he’s ever heard from her.
Of course, that wasn’t the only wonderful thing, and he’s glad it won’t be the last. Because now he’ll spend his days hearing more of them. Perhaps they’re arrangement will be that she travel with him. Or if that were too dangerous, she could wait in his estate, that way, he would look forward to returning to it from here on.
“But I’m sorry Giyuu san.”
“I’m really sorry.”
The window opens, making them face each other for the first time tonight. The moonlight landed on Giyuu’s back, shadowing the smaller figure. However, it didn’t hide one thing. His breath hitches at the sight as the person's face becomes visible. The hold he has on the railing tightens, and he could've sworn he heard some cracking. Somehow, however strange it may seem, he felt that this person never looked more lovely in his eyes. It was the first time he saw Sumiko without makeup, and surely he could see the more tanned skin and the rough edges around her face. He feels his chest tighten, but he realizes one big fact.
They have known each other for a long time.
On Sumiko’s forehead was one big scar, and normally, this wouldn’t affect his attraction in the slightest, but the face it was on, unobscured by makeup, rang a bell in his head. He knew this person very well, and apparently too well now that they’ve spent so much time together.
The two of them are face to face, and he sees Sumiko, no, Tanjirou’s face pained and on the brink of tears. Giyuu doesn’t know what face he makes, doesn’t even know what he thinks about this, but tears threaten to fall down on Tanjirou’s face. His mouth slightly quivers, the way Sumiko does when she is on the brink of tears, and his nose twitches slightly. He had covered himself up and he clutches Giyuu's sleeve as if it were the only salvation he had left in this miserable night.
His mind is blank, unable to comprehend what it is that he’s supposed to say to the boy that he apparently likes. Did Tanjirou do it on purpose? Was it all in his head? But Tanjirou did say that he also...liked him.
So all of this, from a simple mistake, became a complicated love. How could Tanjirou not even bring this up, at all?! He messed with Giyuu’s feelings, making him think he spent his happy days with the person he likes.
His happy days with the person he likes, was apparently with Tanjirou.
And now that he thinks about it, what was it that made him so filled with joy in his time with Sumiko? Was it her sweet smile? The way she would let him lie on her lap? The way she would speak of her family with such fondness? The way she listened to him on his bad days?
Seeing the tears in his big eyes, he realizes they weren’t really all that unfamiliar to him.
Should all that credit be given to Sumiko?
He raises a hand to wipe his tears, and Tanjirou’s eyes widen a bit as his cheeks turn a slight red. Yet another familiar sight, just not exactly a name he associated it with.
However, their moment of epiphany had been interrupted by an malicious presence that presses into their very being. It felt as if they were being suffocated by the heavy air, and it was clear who had made their appearance.
Having no time to change at all, Tanjirou had to suck it up and go fight in a rather heavy and stuffy kimono.
The fight was long drawn out, and a bit freakish if Giyuu might add. He knew immediately that the lady wasn't even the upper moon at all. It was her brother that sprouted from her back that really made the fight more complicated than it was.
For the first half of the fight, Tanjirou was lucky Giyuu was there to coordinate attacks with. They were a bit off on timing for a while–well, for most of the fight. They would bump into each other, fall over the other, or sometimes try to read one another. Normally it would be cute, but he had just found out the girl he likes isn't a she and they were fighting an upper moon that came out of nowhere with her freakish ribbons.
To add to that, the kimono was really hindering Tanjirou's movement, which was frankly distracting with all the coming to terms Giyuu is having right now. But he had no time to dwell on identities as soon as the fight grew more heated and her brother sprouts from the beheaded woman's back like some demented pair of wings.
He is unsure of what is to come after all of this, but he is now assured of one thing.
That sadly, Giyuu was a fool.
I'm really sorry for the short and late update :( There was a scene I couldn't decide on for a while