Chapter 1: First and Last Meal
This wasn't suppose to happen.
They should have made it, won. Nezuko would be human and reunited with her brother, remaining friends, and the Pillars. A celebration would ensue, and they would pray for their fallen comrades. Then proceed to weeding out any hostile demons left and peace would be upon them. Everything would be alright, it had to be.
None of those happened. No one came home to celebrate, the birds cried out as every Pillar had fallen. Daylight would ascend upon them, and no other updates had been made. Urokodaki hands trembled in fear, his gaze looking down at the sleeping girl in front of him. He hoped, prayed, begged in his mind that Tanjiro and his friends would make it. They had to, or Nezuko would be alone and he'd would have lost another child to those demons.
He knew, how he hated to, that he wasn't going to make it. Even if they didn't make it home, he would make sure to take care of Nezuko. If she wished to, he would train her to be able to defend herself, but he wouldn't want her to become a Demon Slayer. Her brother wouldn't want her to live such an unstable life.
Urokodaki continued to watch her, until her hands twitched. Her closed eyes scrunched up in distress, and she bared her clenched teeth. 'The fangs...', he thought in horror. Did Tamayo's medicine not work? Then, that means whatever she gave Mizun wouldn't either! His mind was in a panic, but slowed down when he saw the tears prick her eyes.
“O-Oni...O-Onii-chan...Oniii-chaan” she stuttered out, before she started to chant the word like a mantra as her claws dig into the blanket.
Hesitating, he tried his best to find the words to comfort her, “Your onii-chan has gone somewhere, he will be back soon.”
He was about to bring his hand to pet her until she bolted up. Urokodaki sat there, observing the demon. Nezuko's breath began to speed up, the veins popping throughout her body as she grew. He could feel her anger, her malice, her despair form and wrap around her in a blanket. There was never a moment he felt this immense amount of fear until now.
“Ojii-san...” she whispered lowly. The old man was caught off guard with the name.
“The..the..medicine, I can't b-become human y-yet...but...but M-Mizun weaker. I have to g-go now.”
Urokodaki wanted to ask questions, but he already knew the answers. Even if Tamayo's medicine didn't turn Nezuko human, it sped up her growth tremendously. Her sense of self was returning, along with more speech. No, it's not that it didn't work, she knew her brother needed him and fought back the transformation. If Mizun was becoming weaker now and everyone is gone, then this was the only chance they had.
“Go, don't die, and come home.” he said, as she turned to him and gave him a kind smile. One so similar to Tanjiro's before she left.
“Yes, please don't die, I don't want to lose another child.” Urokodaki muttered, his head looking down.
'N-no, I-I will not...die, Onii-chan needs me..' she thought to herself as she ran to Mizun's location.
Mizun. Mizun. Mizun. Muzn. Muzn-
She won't forgive him. Never. He took everything away from her. Her family, friends, now her brother.
He will die. Either by the rising dawn. Or she'll kill him with her own hands, eat him till there's nothing left. Mizun will pay.
All her eyes could see was red, and she let herself go in her rage.
He did it. He fucking did it. The stains of all the Pillars and the nuisance of the User of the Sun is no more. Took him this long, but he finally achieved it. All his Upper Moons were dead, but no matter, he'll simply find more. Once he has eaten Nezuko, he'll finally ascend to true perfection and be able to walk in the damn sun.
Mizun laughed hysterically, he couldn't help it. He was just so damn happy he won. Maybe a treat should be in order. He looked at the corpses in front of him, some of them twitching with their final breaths. His eyes went to Tanjiro, his body was faced down in his own blood, the last bit of life finally fading. Yes, he will do nicely, after all he was the reason everything was becoming undone in the first place, but also helped nurture a demon to walk in the sun. It should be an honor he'll be eaten by him first after all.
Just as he took his first steps to the fallen child, the place around him rumbled. He looked around, until he felt an immense pain start to spread in him. It burned, never has had such burns fill him. His body fell to one knee as he started to breath heavily, the burning sensation felt as if he was being boiled alive. Mizun tried to get his thoughts together, but that seemed to be a struggle suddenly. He needed to focus, but how did this happen?
'That wench.' he thought, he knew he should have killed that fugitive when he had the chance. A part of him wondered if he was indeed turning human, if so then he needed to quickly leave. The Pillars and the boy with the hanafuda earrings maybe dead he can't be reckless now.
His little pocket dimension starting to crumble around him as he was trying to get up. The moment he stood on two feet, he suddenly felt a powerful presence.
He felt his body smashed down by a small weight. Head pinned down and the hand started to tighten it's grip around his head. Seeing the orange ends of the hair, he immediately knew who it was.
“Well, well, if it isn't my little meal running to me to be eaten. You made my job much easier, I was going to eat your brother first, but—GGGNRH!?” he grunted as he felt the weight on him become pressured down. Mizun tried to force his body up, but with his already losing strength he couldn't.
The young woman above him continued to apply more pressure as he felt the burning sensation return, only to intensify.
He screamed, he screamed louder when flames began to envelop his body. Burning, he was being burned alive. His eyes tried to focus on her, but her calm stare unnerved him. Mizun's strength felt like it was being drained away, the damn medicine assisting the process.
“M-Mm...you look uncomfortable.” Nezuko muttered. Mizun let out a groan as he tried to summon one of his blood techniques, but to no avail.
“Heh...what are you going to do about it then?”
Nezuko smiled, a smile sweet to the tooth, but the malice was still there. She leaned forward to his ear, her nails growing longer and whispered:
“I'm going to eat you, nice and slow, until nothing is left. If you keep regenerating, it'll still end the same.” A small giggle was heard, “I'll eat you to your last bone~”
Mizun attempted to lift his arm up only to have it sliced, he didn't think too much of it until he realized her flames was making it hard to regenerate the appendage back. Nezuko picked up the severed arm and grinned as she began to eat it. Indulging in eating his flesh, she began to slice the rest of his body up. His head remained to his neck as she started on the next part of his body. His body shook, realizing what was happening, the reality hitting him hard and he went into hysterics.
No, he wasn't supposed to die. He was perfection, he was a god!
It's all those Demon Slayers and fugitive's fault. Even in death, they never gave up. He thrashed and let out a roar as the demon above him watched in mild amusement as she continued to eat. The flames continued to burn him, making sure he wouldn't be able to patch himself together that easily. To her, he became the very thing he enjoyed doing to others.
She soaked in the desperation he was going through.
“There's no escape.” She said, turning his body over and her sharp teeth started to dig into his chest.
The place continued to fall apart as she continued her appetite. He could only watch as she started to rip into his rib cage, drinking the blood. “No one will grieve for you, except for me. I'll grieve I can't keep eating my first and final meal.”
The structure collapsed and all that was heard through the echoing hallways was the screams of terror.
The quiet sound of painting stopped in the room. Tengen turned to look over to Shinjuro as he watched Urokodaki walking to them. They all turned to the closed doors where Ubuyashiki children were and waited for a response. A hasty gasp in horror could be heard:
“S-She’s-!? She’s eating him!”
“W-we can’t hesistat now. We need to send Yushiro to Nezuko and guide the remaining Corps to escape or find an area where the place will do the least damage and kill them!” Kiriya ordered out. The sound of a whimper would be heard before the brushes started to paint once more.
“N-Nezuko...is eating him…? Do they mean Mizun Kibutsuji..?” Tengen muttered, Urokodaki lowered his head and sat down with them.
“No doubt. The moment Tanjiro fell...she knew. The medicine was starting to work, and her resistance increased until it strengthened her. I think at that point, the only option she felt right to do is to eat him.” The former Water Pillar explained. Her eyes blazed with a dark rage and despair that was reeling into him. Once she came back, he would give her the biggest hug.
“Tanjiro…” Shinjuro whispered, his head hung down the entire time. His son, now this kid. They were both too young.
The three sat in quiet silence as they waited for any upcoming updates to occur.
‘Dammit, Tamayo-sama...Tamayo-sama is gone!’ Yushiro’s mind screamed as he ran down the halls to where Mizun should be. He wanted to scream, go back in time and tell Tamayo it was a horrible idea in the first place. Now he was alone, with no one.
Yushiro could hear the hallways behind the doors collapsing as he continued. No, he wasn’t truly alone as much as pride didn’t want to admit it. He was a selfish demon, he knew, but he can’t deny someone was most likely hurting like him. Nezuko was too. When the sound of screaming could be heard, he could sense her presence with that accursed man.
‘I’m almost there, hang...in there…’ his thoughts stopped midway as the smell of burning flesh met with his nose. It smelt of vile and rot, absolutely disgusting. He growled and covered his nose as he continued.
He walked into a sea of corpses. The Pillars, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, Inosuke, Genya, Kanao… all were laying there. Yushiro treaded carefully, not wanting to cause any unwanted damage left on the deceased. His eyes landed on the burning leftovers that Nezuko was holding in her hands.
Nezuko’s kimono was soaked in Mizun’s blood, which she was currently drinking from the severed head. He could only watch as Mizun’s horror stricken face etched into his mind forever. Not that a huge part of him minded, that’s what the bastard gets for killing his precious Tamayo-sama. Though, he was still clearly disturbed regardless. He knew the younger sister was peaceful unless enraged if something happened to her brother.
His head turned to her brother’s dead body and he could only confirm he was indeed dead. ‘Ironic that the one you wished to eat led you to be her meal instead.’
“He flesh tastes disgusting.” She said finally as she began working on eating his face. “You smelled it too?”
Yushiro nodded, as he noticed the collapsing structures started to rebuild itself. The demon wondered if she absorbed all his blood and his powers. He knew, no demon was exposed that much of the man’s blood, or more importantly, consumed it. A part of him wondered if it was a good or bad thing.
“I don’t think I can finish eating this…” Nezuko’s face scrunched in disgust before she completely set the remaining head bits on fire. “The life from already disappeared once I got to his shoulders.”
A distant look came to her face as the place shifted and they were suddenly back on the surface once more. The former sister got up, and walked towards Yushiro, pricking her finger.
“Drink a drop, go in the shade and try to see if you can walk into the sun.” She instructed. He stared back in uncertainty, before he did as she commanded and waited under the trees as the sun started to rise.
Not surprisingly, she didn’t burn. She stood there proud and signaled Yushiro to take his hand out as the sun dawned higher. Cautiously, he did and to his own surprise he felt no ash or fire consume him. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he walked forward and into the sun. Cracking his eye out, he saw Nezuko smiling gently to him.
“The sun is so warm.” Yushiro muttered, tears starting to prick his eyes. “I-If only Tamayo-sama was here to feel this. She should be here, not me!”
The distant noises of the Corps came through before she walked towards the former assistant to attempt to give him a hug. In his own grief he slashed at her face, gasping at what he had done. Frozen still, she cupped his cheek and continued to move to him. He didn’t move and let her. She wrapped her arm around his back and hugged him, her free hand patting his head.
“Don’t let their deaths be in vain.” She said quietly as she held him. He stood there, feeling her tremble against him. Nezuko was trying to be strong for him, for them. It pained him. It pained him so much. He returned the gesture and hugged her as well, the sound of wailing cries were heard as the Corps soon caught up.
The door opened, and the three former Pillars looked behind them to see the eldest son. Kiriya look at them with a solemn smile.
“You three are free to go over there. We need to gather the bodies, and give an honorary burial for what they have for everyone.”
“What about--” He raised his hand up to interrupt any hesitation.
“You were close to a few of them and wish to say good-bye to Tanjiro as well.” he started, “Please comfort Nezuko, she needs to grieve. Just like the remaining family of mine will.”
“Kiriya…” Shinjuro said quietly.
“Me and my sisters will start the process of proper burials for all that have fallen, with Muzan dead, there will be no need for guards right now.
When the three men reached their destination, they saw the Corps lining the bodies on the ground and placing cloth over their faces to signify their death. They walked quietly and they noticed Nezuko there holding Tanjiro’s cold hand. Her eyes were blank, distant, and she kept rubbing her thumb over his hand repeatedly. Yushiro stood over his body. His body then lowered to lay down a bow as the hanafuda earrings and sword lay next to him. He didn’t move, quietly mourning as Murata was sobbing nearby next to Zenitsu. The rest of the Corps prayed and cried as well, bowing to the two men as more people arrived.
“Nezuko…” Urokodaki called out quietly. She didn’t look up to him, continuing her robotic motion over her brother’s hand. A small humming could be heard, a song her mother sang so long ago.
“O-Ojii-san.” She spoke after finishing, looking at him with a sad smile. “Can...can we bring Onii-chan back home? I want him to be buried with the rest of my family…with Zenitsu and Inosuke. They were all so close to each other..”
The old man felt tears start to fall under his mask as he walked to Nezuko and kneel down to hug her.
“I’m just glad I didn’t lose you too.” He whispered. The demon felt like her throat burned to let something out, but she wrapped her arms around him and just sighed. She turned to Yushiro, who looked to her and nodded.
“I want to go home.”
She bowed to the two former Pillars as she prepared to leave with Yushiro and Urokodaki. Nezuko had a brief speaking with Kiriya earlier, explaining she planned to weed out any remaining demons that sided with Muzan or wanted to continue to consume demons once she finished the burial back at home. She could give a bit of her blood to each demon, ensuring they can survive under the sun, but also not look to humans as a food source. The young boy smiled, understanding what she needed to do was necessary. They would continue to communicate a potential alliance down the line once things settled down.
“Forgive me for not staying around longer, but I know there are a lot of things I need to do.” Nezuko said, her eyes glowing with determination. “However, I will honor the ones who have fallen for this, and give back as much as I can for putting up with me.
“Don’t sell yourself short, you’re the reason we made it after all this time.” Tengen gave her a pained smile before putting a hand on top of her head and pet her gently. “I understand now why he put his neck out for you, you’re a sweet girl. If you ever need help, me and my wives got your back.”
She saw the women wave at her from afar showing her a kind smile. Shinjuro bowed and gave his regards as well. He wished for to take care of herself and she was welcomed to the Rengoku Estate whenever she wished. Nezuko felt a bit overwhelmed by the kindness they were showing, and shook her head. Their hospitality meant a lot, but she can’t keep relying on others so much.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
“Yashiro, I’m sorry it’s a long trip, but I promise to make it up to you.” Nezuko said quietly as they walked up the mountain. The trip was a quiet one, but she always insisted on taking breaks and checking on everyone to see if they were alright. The two other companions would let her do it without much question. They were used to it now, seeing her doting on them was a change of pace compared to her blank stare and silence before. The nights they would rest, she would never sleep. She was always on the lookout, and go out to search for demons nearby. When she would return, Yushiro would ask how it would go, and she gave him a small smile. Before they made it to their destination, they buried Giyu nearby Urokodaki’s home, and let him mourn his loss quietly.
She never took off the hanafuda earrings and held his sword since they left. The shredded haori she held close to her when she did let herself rest. Nezuko never cried.
Once they go to their location, they began to make the burial and unloaded the bodies. They placed each of them gently down before covering them in the dirt, praying over each of them. She was the one to bring Tanjiro down and brought her hands together and prayed quietly. Yashiro let her be and walked to the home that’s been slowly decaying since the day her brother left it. Urokodaki followed the demon and looked at the inside.
“This is where it all began…” he muttered, walking inside and observing the dry blood. Muzan no doubt was determined to kill with the amount of blood that was shown. He wanted to make sure this family perished for good.
“I’m going to start cleaning it up.” The demon near him said, as he started to take down the bits of the door that was stained with blood. “She’ll no doubt be staying here sometimes to pay respects. It would be no good to have a place still look disgusting like this.”
“You’re kind to do this for her.”
“Tch, it’s not like I want to. However, I know...Tamayo-sama would want me to take care of Nezuko and stay by her side. I may have failed before, but I won’t this time.”
The former Water Pillar began to help clean up the debris as well, a small smile on his face. Those Kamado siblings...they truly are special children. He reminiscences through his memories and wonder how was able to live to the day Muzan Kibutsuji perishing and a new era is upon them.
I’m sorry. I failed, I didn’t get to kill Muzan, I wasn’t able to see you be human again...I…
Tanjiro eyes snapped open and he started to look back and forth. What happened? Where was he? Was he dead? Questions swirled through his head and he heard a kid yell for him. Slowly he turned, and saw his family. Takeo, Hanako, Shigeru, Rokuta, mom, and...?? Wait, where’s Nezuko?
“Onii-chan!” his siblings cried out as they hugged him. They all pushed their weight on top of him and he fell over, tears staining his sight as he held them. He missed them, he missed them so much.
“Everyone, I missed you all! W-Where’s Nezuko?” He muttered, a part of him trying to tell him the truth. Kie, gave him a sad smile, before turning to show Nezuko kneeling over his grave praying.
“She brought you back to us, along with your friends so they wouldn’t be lonely. Your sister, she knew you were in trouble and refused to turn back into a human so she could save everyone else.” She walked over to stare at her daughter, she had a prideful smile. “I’m proud of you two.”
Tanjiro felt everything crash onto him. His sister knew he was dying and put her own life on the line to finish Muzan off. It hurt, he was supposed to be the one to protect. He promised himself once it was all over he would buy her new clothes, give her everything she wanted once she was free. Now...here he was, leaving his sister all alone.
“Y-You’re wrong…” He stuttered, feeling the tears starting to cascade down his face. His siblings lifted him up and looked at him with saddened eyes. “I failed, I failed to be by her side. I-I failed to be her only one!”
He got up and stood in front of Nezuko, his eyes saw his sword, the hanafuda earrings on her and the torn haori on her lap. It tore at him, this shouldn’t have happened. He needed to be there for her, he needed to be the one holding her right now and saying it was alright.
“Even though I’ve trained him for over a year, I want to know what Tanjiro was like in your eyes Nezuko.”
He saw his former teacher standing next to Nezuko and looking down with her. She didn’t move for a moment before opening her eyes and the smile he saw so long ago appeared on her face. Despite being a demon, her eyes were back to her normal color and the Nezuko he loved fully returned. How he wished he was there to see it himself.
“Onii-chan was an amazing brother. We all loved him so much. He always thought about his family before himself, he took over the duties our father left behind and never thought about himself first.”
“Nezuko, you were the same. You were wonderful...don’t give me all the credit…” he muttered, she always thought of the siblings first too. She helped their mother and did what he couldn’t do sometimes. Despite their lives being a struggle, she never complained and took it all in stride.
“I remember, Okaa-san asked me if I would ever marry since I was nearing the age to find a husband. I couldn’t bear the idea of getting married and leaving my family behind. This was before Oto-san had passed, and he asked if there was someone in particular I wanted.” She took a moment, a small blush appearing on her face. “I told them, I wanted my Onii-chan. At the time I didn’t think there would be anyone else that could ever be like him. He was someone I admired, and if I married him, I wouldn’t leave my family behind.”
She brought her hands to hold the haori and bring it close to her.
“In a way, I guess he is my first love. He did set the standard high.” Nezuko tried to joke, before closing her eyes. “I don’t think he heard when I asked him if he would be my only one, but that was ok. I’ll make sure to honor the life he gave me and continue to live on.”
“Nezuko...I do remember that, you Onii-chan just wasn’t sure how to approach it to you…”
Urokodaki kneeled and started to ruffle her hair. The bond those two held felt like it would continue on from life or death. He contemplated on what he wanted to say, before he decided to speak out.
“Have you ever heard of reincarnation…?” Nezuko looked over to him and shook her head. She wasn’t educated too much, so her knowledge was limited. That thought pained her, and later she would confront Kiriya on a possible pursument of education. The old man started to talk about what it meant, and her eyes were wide by the end of it.
“I’m sure one day you’ll meet them, him, again.”
“Even so, maybe I’ll miss him in his next life. H-He...won’t remember me either…” She said, trying not to get her hopes up.
“The bond you two have, I’m sure he’ll find his way back to you.” Urokodaki said, giving a reassuring nod before bringing her up. “Let’s go help Yushiro.”
Tanjiro felt his fists ball up as the burning feeling in his throat overtook and he yelled, his eyes were still full of tears.
“Nezuko...NEZUKO! I promise, I PROMISE, I’ll come back to you! I don’t care how long it will take, how many lifetimes I have to go through till we cross...I-I...I find you. Once that happens, I’m never letting you go, I won’t leave you alone ever again!”
He watched them walk away as his siblings and mother held onto him to comfort. His body stiffened when she turned to him and stared at where his body was. Her eyes made his body shake in grief. His sweet sister was hurting, and he could tell she wanted to cry. She was trying to be strong, but he knew better than anyone else. He sniffed one last time as she turned away and muttered:
“I love you Nezuko...please wait for me. I’ll hold you in my arms and promise to be with you forever.”
This wasn’t the end for him. For them.
I feel like if they weren't thrust into the situation they were in now, I highly doubt they would ever marry anyone due to their dedication to taking care of their family. Also researching marriage through Meiji-present and before about the culture was an interesting read I guess.