"Come here, Yoriichi."
Kamado Tanjurou smiles gently as his eldest son settles beside him quietly and fixates a stare on the baby in Kie's arms. His face is as expressionless as always, almost solemn, even. He can understand. Tanjurou will never get over the wonder of Kie giving birth to another child of his.
She's small, pudgy, pink, and officially one of the most adorable things Tanjurou has ever laid eyes on - a daughter, he has a daughter, oh gods she's so cute - and though he's almost used to it, Tanjurou almost misses the unreadable emotions that break through his son's passive poker face.
Tanjirou - born two years after Yoriichi - doesn't have any reservations with expressing his adoration and excitement as he aaahs, bouncing in his father's lap energetically.
“Her name is Nezuko," Kie says, gently patting her curious, confused daughter. Tanjurou falls a little bit more in love. "Meet your little sister, Yoriichi, Tanjirou."
"Netshuko!" Tanjirou tries to say.
"Nezuko," Yoriichi repeats loftily, but the way his tiny hands are clenched tightly betray his calm. "..."
"Dhaaaa," Baby Nezuko coos as she latches on Yoriichi's finger.
"She's adorable," Tanjurou sighs in bliss, beaming as she starts drooling on his eldest son's sleeve.
"All our children are, darling." Kie beams.
It might have been his imagination, but Tanjurou could've sworn he saw his eldest child nod in solemn agreement.
When Tsugikuni Yoriichi used up the last dregs of his life to decapitate his brother, he had never imagined he would open his eyes again.
(Then again, never had he imagined that his gone-missing brother would have decided to become a Demon. )
This isn't something he imagined himself ending up as, Yoriichi thinks.
A father that declined in health, a young mother that was no less fragile than an average human, and little baby siblings, born after himself in the years that followed. Peasants, commoner people, fragile human beings.
As Tsugikuni Yoriichi he had grown up as the less favoured child of their house, then gone off to grow under the regalia of war and death and demons. Violence, war, death, power struggles, pride and strength and Breathes and Demons. That had been everything that the life of Tsugikuni Yoriichi's life revolved around.
He had been hailed as one of the greatest swordsman in the land, and now look at how he ended up as?
Strong and scarred hands are now chubby, tiny, clumsy. All his technique reduced to a pitiful level under the constraints of a young body. His lungs aren't even capable of withstanding the Sun Breathes the same way as before. All his power, all his Breath technique and sword skills, reduced to nothing.
His brother would've positively abhorred such fate.
And yet, this is probably the life Tsugikuni Yoriichi could've only dreamed of.
In that dream he lives in a hut high in the mountains, surrounded by wildlife and trees, with parents that cared for his health and happiness and didn't condemn him for the mark in his forehead, a little brother that totted after his footsteps with adoring admiration, and a little sister that would wave her hands happily as soon as he appeared and munch on his sleeves.
In that dream, his name is Kamado Yoriichi, first born son of Kamado Tanjurou and Kamado Kie, and big brother to Kamado Tanjirou and Kamado Nezuko.
There's no war, no power struggle, no violence.
Only his family and the wide forest around them.
Life as Kamado Yoriichi is so vastly different, so much that he hadn't been able to adjust, not until Tanjirou's birth.
(Oh, how he wished his brother could experience this bliss, this contentment with no family succession parting them.)
Yoriichi lowers his eyes and observes the tiny bundle of pink in his arms. Tanjirou sits besides him.
He had offered to look after both of them, after seeing how tired his Mother was after childbirth, after seeing his Father growing weary. He isn't strong enough to help them the way he wants to, but this... this, he can do.
Tanjirou reaches over and grasps one of Nezuko's tiny hands. Nezuko coos and smiles.
"Nii-chan! Look! Smile!" Tanjirou says happily.
"Yes, Tanjirou. Nezuko is smiling." Yoriichi adverts his eyes, unable to deal with the turbulent emotions at the sight of both his baby siblings smiling.
(It might have been fascination. It might have been awe, love, or adoration Devotion. Determination. Responsibility. Or maybe it had been fear and a quiet sort of terror of failure - the same failure that had haunted Tsugikuni Yoriichi in the form of his twin brother's form.)
(Was this what it meant to be a Big Brother? Yoriichi isn't sure.)
Tanjirou beams at him, then goes back to playing with the baby in his arms.
Yoriichi absentmindedly wipes off another bubble of saliva from Nezuko's chin, listening to the laughter and giggles of his siblings.
His gaze softens as he looks at them, at his almost perfect family, and a smile tugs unbidden at his face.
(This time, this time for sure... Kamado Yoriichi will not fail to protect his family. He will not fail them the way Tsugikuni Yoriichi had failed Tsugikuni Michikatsu.)
(Not again. Never again.)