Tomioka was frustrating to deal with. Yuichiro would much rather be helping with another patient, but he didn’t have any choice in the matter. Aoi had put him in charge of Tomioka’s care, without giving him any other options. Not wanting to argue with Aoi, especially after all that she was currently dealing with, he just sucked it up and agreed to help with whatever she asked him to do.
At least Tomioka wasn’t the worst patient Yuichiro had ever dealt with. In the past he’d been yelled at by patients who acted like he was the cause of whatever injury had placed them at the Butterfly Estate. And there were also patients who just wouldn’t listen to what he told them, which only made taking care of them more difficult.
Originally, Yuichiro had decided he would be taking care of his brother and making him his patient. Aoi had reluctantly allowed him to, warning him that it might be difficult having a family member in his care. He had told her that he would be fine, and he had truly believed it.
He had not been fine.
Well at first it had been okay. He’d changed most of his brother’s bandages with no problem. It was just like working with any other patient. He’d done this plenty of times in the past. But then he’d gotten to Muichiro’s arm.
He had been fine at first as he took the bandages off, but seeing his brother’s arm unbandaged made him feel sick. The room had started to spin, and he had thought he was going to faint. He had never felt that way when dealing with other patients with missing limbs in the past. It was somehow different with his own brother.
Luckily, Aoi had been nearby, dealing with Tomioka, and she quickly pulled him away finishing the work herself. Yuichiro had looked away the whole time, calming himself down. She had then sent him to Tomioka, telling him he wasn’t allowed to help with Muichiro anymore. They were switching places. She would be handling Muichiro from now on.
Yuichiro was secretly thankful she was banning him from Muichiro’s care. She had been right, and it was a lot harder taking care of a patient when it was your own family member. He wondered how she’d been able to take on Kanao’s care.
Yuichiro was thankful his brother didn’t bring it up whenever he went to visit him. He was embarrassed that he’d almost fainted doing something he should be used to by now. But Muichiro had never brought it up once.
While Yuichiro was fine not having Muichiro as a patient, he wasn’t really a fan of having to deal with Tomioka. He didn’t have enough patience for it. The biggest issue with Tomioka was communication. He’d known Tomioka hadn’t been the best with communication to begin with, but his injuries only made it worse it seemed.
Somehow during the fighting, Tomioka had lost almost all hearing in his left ear, which he was still having trouble getting used to. While Yuichiro made sure to stay on his right side when speaking to him, he still found himself having to repeat what he had said, sometimes more than once.
His hearing wasn’t what Yuichiro was helping with though. There wasn’t anything they could do about that. If it didn’t come back on it’s own, he just wasn’t going to be hearing out of his left ear again. Instead Yuichiro was helping with his right arm. Tomioka had hurt it in a way that was making it feel numb, and he was having trouble moving it the way he wanted to.
Since Aoi had placed him in charge of Tomioka’s care, he had been trying to help him get the full use of his arm back. He’d done similar things with other patients in the past, but usually there would be at least some improvement by now. If there wasn’t any improvement soon, Yuichiro would instead have to help Tomioka get used to only using one arm. He knew he wouldn’t be happy about that.
Yuichiro tried to be patient. He knew Tomioka was sad. He wasn’t good at hiding that. Yuichiro knew he had been close with Shinobu, from what he had seen, and he assumed the same could be said about some of the others who had died. It was just hard to be patient, when Yuichiro was already annoyed over other things.
Other things, of course, meant Uzui. It had been over a week since he had made his offer for the twins to move in with him, and Yuichiro had immediately turned him down. He had not even given Uzui a chance to try to persuade him to change his mind. He’d been avoiding Uzui since that whole conversation had taken place, which was proving to be very difficult. Especially since Uzui had been searching for him for days now.
The whole thing had at least made Yuichiro realize he needed to figure out what he and Muichiro would be doing after he recovered and was free to go. One option of course was to go to Muichiro’s estate where he had been living for the past few years. They’d lived on their own before, but with Muichiro’s current mental state and him having to now get used to his missing hand, Yuichiro wanted to be around others in case he needed help.
His other option was staying here at the Butterfly Estate. He’d stayed here so often over the past few years, even more than he had stayed with his brother. He knew everybody who lived here, and he got along with them all. He first needed to ask Aoi if it was okay, and he was sure she’d let them, and then he’d have to talk to Muichiro, but he didn’t see why that would be an issue for him. They wouldn’t need to stay with Uzui and his wives.
He decided he would ask Aoi about that later today. But for now he was here with Tomioka trying to help him with his arm, just not succeeding very well. At least today Tomioka had been in a better mood than he had for the past few days.
An older man Yuichiro had never met had stopped by to talk with Tomioka and the two Kamados. He’d taken Nezuko when he’d left, so Tanjiro and Tomiokda could get some rest. Tanjiro had gone right to sleep once the two of them were gone.
Yuichiro was getting ready to repeat something to Tomioka for the third time, when he heard the door start to open. He turned his head immediately towards the door, and seeing who was about to enter, he dropped to the floor onto his back behind Tomioka’s bed. Luckily, he had been on the side of his bed away from the door which made hiding much easier.
Tomioka looked down at him, with a look of confusion on his face. He opened his mouth to say something, but Yuishiro put a finger to his lips, telling him to be quiet. He didn’t want Tomioka to give him away. Thankfully it worked, and Tomioka turned back away, although still looking confused.
“Tomioka, have you seen Yuichiro?” Uzui asked, speaking louder than he normally did, which a lot of people had been doing around Tomioka recently.
Tomioka was the only patient in the room who was present and awake, which was probably why Uzui was asking him. Tanjiro and Muichiro were both asleep, and all the others were not there. Kanroji had taken Iguro out in a wheelchair since he’d been stuck in bed for so long, and Inosuke and Zenitsu had snuck out, and would likely get scolded by Aoi later when she found out.
Tomioka glanced in Yuichiro’s direction. Yuichiro started shaking his head, hoping that he would understand he didn’t want Uzui to know he was there. He hoped Uzui didn’t notice Tomioka looking in his direction. He really didn’t want to talk with Uzui right now. Or ever really.
“No,” Tomioka replied. And because he was Tomioka, he didn’t say anything else.
Yuichiro heard Uzui sigh. “I thought he might be in here either with you or his brother. I haven’t seen him anywhere, and nobody seems to know where he is.” Yuichiro was sure some of those people Uzui had spoken to about him had lied, knowing that Yuichiro was purposely avoiding him.
As Uzui finished speaking, Yuichiro heard whimpering coming from the direction of his brother’s bed. He needed Uzui to hurry up and leave already, so he could go check on Muichiro. He was probably having a nightmare again. He’d been having them a lot since he’d come to the Butterfly Estate. Muichiro wouldn’t tell him anything about the dreams, but Yuichiro still wanted to make sure he was okay.
Instead of hearing the sound of Uzui leaving and the door closing, Yuichiro instead heard Uzui’s footsteps as he walked across the room. Yuichiro rolled onto his stomach ready to crawl under Tomioka’s bed in case Uzui got too close. He was glad when he heard the footsteps stop before reaching his hiding spot. He just wanted him gone.
Yuichiro heard his brother gasp, and he almost gave himself away by jumping to his feet. He needed to check on him, but he didn’t want to have to talk with Uzui at all, especially since Muichiro was here. He hadn’t told him about Uzui’s offer yet, and Muichiro hadn’t said anything, so he assumed Uzui hadn’t told him anything either.
“Tokito, are you alright? You looked like you were having a nightmare,” Uzui said softly. He must have woken up Muichiro. Yuichiro wished it had been him to do that instead. He should be the one looking after his brother. He hoped Uzui wouldn’t bring up his offer to Muichiro.
“I’m okay,” Muichiro replied after a long silence. His tone of voice didn’t match what he was saying. “I just wish they would stop.”
“Well you’re not the only one who’s been having nightmares,” Uzui said. It was true. Yuichiro had seen many other patients struggling to deal with nightmares recently. They’d all been through a lot. “And look at how your brother is doing. He used to get bad nightmares, right? He seems to be doing great now.”
Yuichiro still got nightmares now and then, but it wasn’t as bad as they had been when everything first happened years ago. But he had improved a lot, and it was nice to see that other people had noticed. Now it was Muichiro’s turn to get better, and Yuichiro would do whatever he could to help.
“I’m so happy,” he heard his brother say. “Everytime I see him, he seems to be doing so much better than before. I was always so worried about him. He’s finally acting more like how he used to be before our parents died.”
Yuichiro hadn’t thought much about how he came across to his brother, and he hadn’t realized he had changed that much after their parents died. That meant that Muichiro had been worrying about him since before they’d first been attacked. A lot longer than he’d thought. Their parents had died over five years ago now. He hadn’t meant to make his brother worry so much. He was supposed to be taking care of him, not making him worry.
“Um.” Yuichiro looked up to see Tomioka looking down at him. He looked like he wanted to say something, but he must have known better than to give him away. Yuichiro shook his head at him again. He could talk once Uzui left, but for now he was going to stay here on the floor, out of sight.
“And now it’s his turn to worry about you.” It was true that Yuichiro was worrying about his brother a lot recently, except he had been worrying about him for a while now. It was just worse after everything that had happened recently. At least he didn’t have to worry about him getting killed anymore.
“I don’t want him to worry.” It was funny how much he and his brother thought a lot. They both worried about the other, but didn’t want their brother to worry about them. Yuichiro had never realized how alike they were when it came to that. He was starting to feel bad for eavesdropping.
“It’s his job,” Uzui said. He paused for a few seconds before continuing. “You look tired. I should let you get back to sleep. You’ll be okay, right?”
Yuichiro didn’t hear a response from Muichiro, so he guessed he must have just nodded.
“”I need to go find somebody anyways,” Uzui continued. He was talking about Yuichiro, of course, but he wasn’t going to find him. He was perfectly hidden right where he was, and he was going to continue avoiding him as much as he could. He’d been doing a great job at that for days now. He was going to keep at it until Uzui finally left.
“Who are you looking for?” Muichiro asked. Yuichiro held his breath hoping Uzui wasn’t about to tell him everything. He was ready to jump up and give himself away if it meant Muichiro wouldn’t have to learn about his offer to live with him. Uzui would probably have a much easier time persuading his brother.
“It’s a secret,” Uzui responded. Yuichiro heard his footsteps walk back towards the door, and then the door closed. Finally he was gone.
Yuichiro sat up and put his hand on Tomioka’s bed to push himself back up to his feet. He looked over to Muichiro’s bed and saw that he’d already fallen back asleep. He was thankful for that, because he didn’t really feel like explaining why he’d been hiding behind Tomioka’s bed, and he didn’t want him to know he’d heard what he’d said.
He turned to face Tomioka. “Are you okay if we stop for the day?”
“Um. Can you repeat that?”
“Would you like to finally explain to me why Uzui has been looking for you for the past week? And why you’ve been avoiding him?”
Yuichiro and Aoi were eating dinner together after several days with hardly any time to talk. The two of them were so busy with everything going on around the estate, and their paths didn’t often pass. Earlier in the day, Aoi had found Yuichiro and asked if they could eat dinner together, and he’d agreed.
It was the first time they were really able to talk since everything with Kanao. Aoi seemed to be doing a lot better than she had the day it happened, but he knew she was still hurting. He still was, and they were more similar than he liked to admit.
She knew that Uzui had been looking for him. She’d told him that he was looking for him once when they happened to be in the same place at once. He’d said he was trying to avoid him, but hadn’t had the chance to tell her why. Every time they had seen each other since, he hadn’t had the chance to explain it to her, before they had to go their separate ways. Now he finally had the chance.
“I think he wants to adopt me,” Yuichiro responded. There wasn’t really much else to say. He’d just asked if Yuichiro and Muichiro would want to come live with him, and that was all. He couldn’t think of any other reason he would have asked him that.
Aoi nearly started choking on her food. “What gave you that idea?” she asked, looking surprised. “Don’t you hardly know him? And don’t you hate him?”
Yuichiro nodded. “I think he’s crazy,” he said. “A week ago he asked me if Muichiro and I would like to move in with him after everything is all set here. I said no, and now he won’t stop bugging me.”
“Do you and Muichiro have plans for what you’ll be doing after he recovers?” Aoi asked. “That doesn’t seem like a bad idea. It would give you somewhere to stay, so you two wouldn’t have to be on your own.”
“I thought we could stay here,” Yuichiro responded. “I’ve been meaning to ask you, I just haven’t gotten the chance yet. I’m here all the time anyways. You wouldn’t mind if Muichiro stayed as well, right?”
“Of course you both can stay here. You’ll need to talk with your brother first, of course.”
“Thank you.” Yuichiro smiled, happy that Aoi was letting them stay. He didn’t see why she wouldn’t, but he was happy to get the confirmation. He’d get to be with his two favorite people. “I’m sure he’ll agree to stay. I don’t see why he wouldn’t.”
The two of them went back to eating their meal for a few minutes, before Aoi spoke up again. “Oh, that reminds me. Kanroji is going to be staying with us now.”
“She is?” Yuichiro hadn’t really thought about what any of the others would be doing after everything. It wasn’t really his concern. He hadn’t thought anybody would be willingly staying once they had healed. He thought it would just be Aoi and the little ones as well as him and Muichiro.
Aoi nodded. “She and Shinobu were really close, so she said she’d like to stay here to make sure there was somebody to look after me and the little ones. Iguro will be staying as well. The official reason that he’ll be staying is that he still has a long way to go with his recovery, but I’m sure he would have stayed regardless since Kanroji will be here. They’ve been really close recently.”
“What are you going to do once all the patients are recovered?” Yuichiro asked. With the demons gone, there wouldn’t be any Demon Slayers who would be needing attention, and they made up almost all of the patients.
Aoi frowned. “I don’t know exactly. It’s going to be so different now. There’s no need to stay open anymore, but I don’t want to close the hospital down. This is all I’ve been doing since I was little. What will I do?” She was starting to tear up.
Yuichiro thought for a bit before responding. “You could keep it open as a regular hospital,” he suggested. He knew she already had so much change she was dealing with, with Shinobu and Kanao no longer being here. She needed something to stay the same. “You could take in regular patients. You’ll have me and the girls who know what we’re doing. And the others could probably help a bit as well.”
Aoi wiped at her eyes, her tears stopping almost as soon as they’d started. “I think I’d like that,” she said. “Everything is just going to be so different now. I can hardly remember what it was like before my family was killed. I can’t remember what it’s like to live without knowing there’s demons.”
“Me too,” Yuichiro replied. Since Amane had first showed up at his house to try and recruit him and Muichiro years ago, the demons had played such a big role in his life. He and his brother had been attacked by a demon on more than one occasion. Muichiro joined the Demon Slayers, while Yuichiro split his time between staying with the leader of the Demon Slayers and the Butterfly Estate. And now that was all over.
He wondered what it was going to be like now. It was definitely a good thing that the demons were gone, but he was going to somewhat miss what it used to be like. Not only had so many people been taken from him, but now even his daily life was going to change. But he’d still have Aoi, and now he’d get to see his brother more often.
“Are you alright?” Aoi asked. “You look like you’re about to start crying.”
He wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. He hadn’t even noticed. “I’m fine,” he said, but he wasn’t sure if he really meant it.
She seemed to believe him, because she continued on with the previous topic of conversation. “It’s going to be so weird.”
“We’ll get used to it.”
After waking up the next morning, Yuichiro made his way to the room where his brother was staying. He was finally going to talk to him about what they would be doing after he recovered. He was hoping he’d agree to stay at the Butterfly Estate, and he didn’t see why he would say no. He was worried though. What if he ended up refusing to stay here? Then what would they do?
Yuichiro made it across the Butterfly Estate and to the room having successfully avoided Uzui once again. When he made his way inside, he was surprised to see Tanjiro sitting on his brother’s bed with Muichiro asleep on his lap. He clenched his fist and took a deep breath, telling himself that everything was okay. He needed to let his brother have his own friends. He didn’t need to get into an argument over that again.
Once he was sure he was calm enough, he made his way over to Muichiro’s bed. Tanjiro looked up at him as he crossed the room. His eye was still wrapped in bandages, but Yuichiro had heard Uzui had given him a matching eyepatch to wear once his face had healed more. It didn’t really surprise him.
“He’s been having trouble sleeping,” Tanjiro started to explain. “I was just sitting here to talk with him last night, and I think he accidentally fell asleep on me. The good news is it doesn’t seem like he had any nightmares overnight.”
“You stayed up all night?” Yuichiro was amazed that Tanjiro was so patient. He just let Muichiro sleep on his lap all night. Even Yuichiro would have eventually shoved him away, so he could get sleep himself. He wouldn’t have expected Tanjiro to just stay there all night with his brother.
“I’ve gone longer without sleep. It’s fine. I didn’t want to wake him.” While Yuichiro still wasn’t the biggest fan of Tanjiro, he was glad he had stayed with his brother. He had let him sleep, and somehow Muichiro had been able to make it through the night without any bad dreams. It must have meant his brother was comfortable enough around Tanjiro.
“Just don’t let Aoi find out,” Yuichiro warned, trying his hardest to be nice to Tanjiro. “She’ll be upset with you if you don’t rest.”
Tanjiro smiled at him. “Of course.”
“Yui?” Yuichiro looked down as his brother opened his eyes. He looked to be struggling to push himself up, so Tanjiro helped him off of his lap.
Once Muichiro was sitting up, Tanjiro stretched his legged and slid out of the bed.. “I’m going to go get some sleep,” he said. “I’ll let you two talk.” He then made his way across the room to his own bed.
“Was he here all night?” Muichiro asked, still sounding like he wasn’t yet fully awake.
Yuichiro just nodded. He climbed into the bed next to Muichiro, taking Tanjiro’s place. Muichiro leaned against him and yawned. Yuichiro decided he’d wait to bring up the topic until his brother was more awake.
However, that didn’t go as planned, and Muichiro spoke up first. “Yui, when do we get to leave? I don’t want to stay here any longer.” That was not what Yuichiro was hoping to hear. He hadn’t even been able to bring up the suggestion yet.
“Well I was thinking we could just stay here,” Yuichiro said, hoping to change Muichiro’s mind. “I talked to Aoi about it, and she said it was okay if we stayed. Me and her are going to keep it open as a hospital. You wouldn’t need to help, of course. Unless you wanted to.”
Muichiro shook his head. “I don’t want to stay in a hospital. It doesn’t feel like a home here. Can’t we just go home? I have my estate. You’ve stayed there plenty of times. It’s big enough for both of us. There’s no reason we need to stay here.”
“But we’d be on our own.” Yuichiro didn’t want them to be on their own. He wanted other people around. He’d gotten used to having a lot of people around him all the time. It made him feel safer, and he knew with how Muichiro was right now, it would be better if they weren’t alone.
“We were on our own before. After Mom and Dad died, it was just us, and we did fine. We were a lot younger then too. And I’ve been mostly by myself for the past few years.”
“When we were by ourselves, Amane came to check in on us a lot, and when you were by yourself she always made sure somebody was there to check up on you. We’ve never been fully alone.”
“I just don’t want to stay here.” Muichiro was starting to sound annoyed now. Yuichiro knew if he continued pushing it, they’d just get into another argument. It didn’t seem like he’d be able to get his brother to change his mind. “I don’t care where we go, but it’s not like anybody is offering to take us in.”
Muichiro didn’t know it, but there was somebody offering exactly that. Yuichiro hadn’t wanted to accept the offer, but now it was looking to be the best option. He didn’t want the two of them to be on their own, and Muichiro didn’t want to stay here. It was the best option that would make them both happy. He slid out of the bed.
“I have to go do something. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Surprisingly, it took Yuichiro a while to find Uzui. After days of struggling to avoid him, now that he was actually looking for him, he wasn’t anywhere where Yuichiro was looking. He’d checked multiple rooms around the estate, and started to wonder if he’d finally gone home with his wives, and Yuichiro just hadn’t been told yet.
Yuichiro was about ready to give up when he finally found him outside talking with somebody. He waited until the other person had left before making his way over to Uzui. He wasn’t really ready to have this conversation, but he didn’t feel like he had any other choice. He was doing this for his brother.
“I’ve changed my mind,” Yuichiro said, looking up at Uzui. By the look on his face, he could tell Uzui hadn’t expected to see him. Yuichiro had been avoiding him afterall, and now he was the one seeking Uzui out.
“What?” His voice matched his surprised expression.
“I said I’ve changed my mind,” Yuichiro repeated, sounding annoyed. He didn’t feel the need to try and be patient with Uzui like he did with Tomioka. “We’ll go with you. You’ll still let us stay with you, right?”
“Oh right. Of course. I didn’t think you were actually going to agree to it after you said no last time.”
Yuichiro glared up at him. If he hadn’t thought he’d agree, why had he been making Yuichiro’s life difficult by trying to stalk him around the Butterfly Estate for days. It didn’t matter though. He and Muichiro had a place to go. He turned to go back inside to inform Muichiro, but he was stopped when Uzui suddenly grabbed onto his arm.
“What do you want?” Yuichiro turned to look at Uzui and saw a big smile on his face. It was a bit concerning, and he was starting to regret his decision. He just knew something was going to happen. Something he wasn’t going to like.
He was right.
Instead of responding, Yuichiro felt Uzui wrap his arm around his waist. His first instinct was to pull away, but it was too late for that. He wasn’t able to pull himself out of Uzui’s grasp in time, and before he knew it he was getting tossed over Uzui’s shoulder.
“Put me down!” he demanded. He started squirming around and kicking his legs, trying to make it as difficult as possible for Uzui, so he would put him down. He did not want anybody to see him like this, and his cheeks started growing hot at the thought. If Aoi or Muichiro saw him being carried around like this, he thought he just might die.
Uzui just tightened his grip on Yuichiro, and it didn’t seem like he would be dropping him anytime soon. “I’m taking you to your brother,” he said, making his way towards the door. “We’ll go tell him the news.”
“I can tell him myself. I was already going to. Now put me down!” Yuichiro continued to struggle without much success.
His protests were unfortunately not heard. “It’ll be more fun if we both tell him.”
Yuichiro gave up on struggling after a while. He told himself that this would be over with soon. Once they reached Muichiro, Uzui would most likely put him down, and he could forget this all happened. He mostly just hoped that at least Aoi wouldn’t see him as he was carried through the Butterfly Estate.
Unfortunately, nothing was going the way he wanted it to today. Shortly after Uzui had walked inside, the two of them passed Aoi in the hallway. Yuichiro gave her a pleading look, but she just watched as he was carried away, a big smile on her face. He was happy to see her smiling like that for the first time in over a week, but he just wished it hadn’t been at his expense. She was never going to let him forget about this.
When they finally made it into the room where Muichiro was, after passing far more people in the hallway than he would have liked, Yuichiro was gently tossed onto Muichiro’s bed on his back. He threw his arm over his face, trying to hide his embarrassment. He still felt his cheeks burning.
“Yui, what are you doing?” Yuichiro pulled his arm away from his face, so he could look up at Muichiro. His brother was covering his mouth with his hand, very obviously trying to hide a smile. The traitor.
Yuichiro just groaned. “I think I’ve made a mistake.” He looked over to Uzui, who looked like he was waiting for Yuichiro to continue speaking. At least he was going to let Yuichiro be the one to tell his brother what was going on. Not that that made anything better. He sat up and faced his brother before continuing. “I think that we’ve been adopted.”