He checks his watch and smiles internally that if he hurries, he’ll still arrive in time to take his lunch and even catch his afternoon classes, so he knocks on the classroom- thankfully they are in session- Class 3-B.
The teacher that answers takes one look at him, just as the classroom plunges to silence, before calling on, “Agatsuma, Kamado- both of you, Kochou, Hashibira and Shinazugawa, door.”
The six promptly follows and upon seeing him, they immediately start heading away to the reserved sitting rooms assigned for the Night Club.
(Well, Tanjirou and Nezuko drags his sleeves faster, and the other three subtly push him to walk faster, so he does-
Genya stood back, ensuring that his height would block senpai’s view. After all, had he looked back, he would have seen their classmates become wolves that were looking at something really pretty.
It’s Tomioka-senpai after all...)
Really, those Hashira should have known the middle school classes also hounded for this guy but they must have really needed to send him away… Kanao wondered.
(On the other side of the campus, Tomioka Giyuu’s year was in a free-period, but everyone winced as they saw his classroom void of his presence, and then wincing turns to dread and anxiety as 8 people will stare you down to death…
This event happens several times during the year, the worst being Valentines Day after all...)
Tomioka-senpai, or better yet, the Water Hashira unlocks the door and usher them in, letting Nezuko in first- sure, her classes were carefully situated on classrooms away from direct sunlight plus the strings to pull to make sure she lands on the same year with Tanjirou, but it was best to be careful in case she might be directly struck by natural light.
Anyhow, she settles on the couch with the Kamado siblings while the other three boys take the other seats. When they have all settled in, he secures the room, then pulls up his phone.
And her gaze is drawn to that suspicious bag- just like a typical student bag- but Senpai wouldn’t need to bring his stuff just to deliver their orders right?
It wouldn’t be Muichirou’s because he would be informed after their debriefing, or maybe when they join up for lunch later…
She shares a glance with the others while Senpai accesses his files- their gazes meet hers and they all glance at the bag then at Senpai then at one another. Then she stares at Zenitsu.
And the rest follows.
So when Giyuu looked up and was about to give the orders, Zenitsu voices out, “Why do you have a bag Tomioka-senpai?”
Giyuu blinks before setting it on the table, then unzipping it, “Pocky.”
There were lots of Pocky in the bag of various flavors. He pauses, before picking out boxes for each of them- Strawberry for Nezuko and Zenitsu, Chocolate for Tanjirou and Genya, Green Tea for hers, Almond Crush for Inosuke.
“You got this for us?” Kanao repeated, baffled.
“No, won it from a girl in a Pocky Game.”
Their senpai, the dearest one of the Hashira, has played the game?
The six share shocked looks, and their questions fire off rapidly.
“Do you know her?” Genya, narrowing his eyes.
Nope.” Senpai just took an opened box and started munching away, answering them.
“But- identification?” Zenitsu, asking the correct questions, Kanao nodded.
“Pigtails, brown hair, gray eyes- unfamiliar- but wears your level’s uniform.” Beside her, Nezuko was recording the details, rapidly typing on her phone, pink eyes wide.
“Where did you play the game?” Tanjirou pointed out.
“The East Hall’s stairway- she took hold of my sleeve.” Shit there were no cameras in that hallway or stairs after last night’s hunt.
“How did you win?” Inosuke quietly asked.
The air in the room seemed to become really silent.
Giyuu just took a new piece, “I took position then moved one inch closer to the middle and then she bit her end.”
Kanao watched as Senpai did just that, and realized all six of them were close, leaning nearly into the Water Hashira’s space, and as dark blue met them— despite the years she have encountered this person, it was really hard to become immune to the level of “unearthly beauty” this one posses- or so Shinobu-nee likes to complain.
She backed away a bit, just as the Kamado siblings did while the other three staggered back.
Just as their Senpai finished eating.
“So, ready to hear the mission?” He raised his phone, and the six blushed before listening politely.
It was basics, actually- Kanao took note of her position- Gardens with Shinobu-neechan, and everyone else, including warnings of possible attacks by a newly sighted Lower Moon, number currently unidentified.
“Any questions?” Tomioka-senpai raised, just as he opened a new box of pocky- chocolate again.
Kanao raised her box and Giyuu answered, “Yes, you can have them- I can’t possibly eat all these.”
“So why get them?” Kanao clarified.
Senpai paused, before having a familiar small smile, “Tsutako-neechan likes Pocky.”
The mood crashed a bit and Kanao winced, remembering the girl that was neighbors in hospital room with Kanae-neechan. Incidentally, it was the first time she saw her senpai outside school— and an explanation to his standing: having a standard business course, managing the family business, visiting his sister, having a couple of freelancing work to fund himself and the Kamado siblings, on top of school and the nightly demon slaying activities.
“I’m sorry-” she started.
“Don’t be,” Senpai answered, “It was nice to remember that we liked this snack a lot. Kind of like having a picnic with her like usual.” Then he pat her head, as per his trademark.
“Sides, the lot of you were really interested in the snack?” Senpai raised and Kanao realized she had taken a step forward and now Senpai was really close.
The others just leaned back and she even saw Tanjirou mouth “sorry”.
So she explained, “Well, wouldn’t playing the Pocky Game lead you to kissing the other party?”
Giyuu blinked before pausing at the new stick on his hand. “Ah, I see… Was the girl asking for a kiss then?” He voiced out loud.
The others in the room froze.
So Giyuu faced them all with a deadpan voice, “That’s silly- she’s a kouhai and more so I do not know her. Maybe I should return all these…” He trailed off, looking at the bag and scratching his head a bit. “I mean, I don’t even know if people like me that much.”
Nezuko jumped to her feet in protest, typing fast on her phone, before showing it to him, But we do like you, Senpai.
“Then I’m glad- but I probably shouldn’t play that game- right? I mean, it’s not like people would want to…? It wasn’t even that fun… Maybe she was just doing it to pity me…?”
Nezuko who was about to die 2 years ago. Nezuko who continues to exist to date because of this person who has vouched for her life, her existence and her sake-
Nezuko who may sorta have a bit of crush on this senpai because he did save her and put his life on the line for her - but okay he’s just that kind and there was already a lot of people after him, for Hinokami-sama’s sake, plus Sabito-nii would murder her-
And this person who doesn’t even think he was worth it to be kissed or in his understanding, have fun-
(She’s probably going to regret this later when half of the school would try to murder her but-
Yeah right no- she could understand that the girl would want to kiss a deity at least once-
More than that, Giyuu-nii...
He looks really down. Somewhat.)
That’s not permitted.
So she shuffled Kanao aside and pulled her mask, before taking the pocky from his hands then putting it on her lips— then she tilted her head to position the other end before Giyuu’s mouth.
“You sure?” The dark blue eyes were surprisingly close, but Giyuu asked and while she thought to look away, now she really can’t, “Are you okay with this?”
He was always considerate like that, like him always asking for how they were during the first year while they were setting in.
She nodded, so he took position.
The thing is, she didn’t really think she’d do it- the taste of chocolate was only slightly familiar after being turned into a half-demon, there were only a few food one can taste to the fullest. However, the closer she nibbled, the more she became aware that distance-
Too close- their nose were almost touching.
On the side, she can barely see Kanao-chan watching them with her eyes wide, fingers barely covering her eyes- but-
He stopped, and was about to bite it- and she understood—
They are, after all, students under Urokodaki-sensei- they could almost be siblings, given how kind he treated them, and like family, they protected one another- she was also about to do the same and bite the stick, a mutual loss—
“Oi, stop being disruptive Zenitsu, they’re breaking the stick already- ah!”
Instead of the expected pull away that the two planned, or as Zenitsu tried to tug Nezuko away when he ended up grasping her shoulders, but his momentum carried her forward rather - for he has not yet applied brakes on his own force- or Tanjirou trying to cancel his actions-
So he pushed the two close—
Giyuu snapped the stick, angling his face down, as he rose a bit so that as he tugged Nezuko close, intent on making her land face first on his chest-
Instead, he got her and a lapful of Tanjirou and Zenitsu- so he carefully picked them all up in his arms, ensuring none of them got hurt.
(However, no one did see how red Nezuko was, this close- too close - she could admit just burying her head on his chest and hear his heartbeat or feel how warm he was-- but in the finite moment, she tried to memorize it forever- then calmed herself so she can face him and everyone else properly).
“I did say you are all my kouhai, you know? Why would I want to kiss Nezuko?” the Water Hashira lectured before him as he checked him and Tanjirou and Nezuko-chan for injuries.
“I’m really sorry, Tomioka-hashira-sama.” He apologized regretfully, bow at a straight 90 degree angle. “I overreacted.”
There was a sigh before him, then arms tugged him back upright, “It’s fine, no harm done- no one is hurt.” But dark blue eyes studied him carefully and—
Zenitsu admits it’s rare that he faces Tomioka-san rather than Uzui or Rengoku-san from the pillars, and while he knows there was a general infatuation of people on this guy- he just didn’t want to study it further—
Unfortunately, said subject is still before him and studying him to ensure he was okay, and yeah what did he know about Tomioka Giyuu aside from being really surprisingly otherworldly pretty (he doesn’t want to think about that lest he end up attempting to woo him because that would just be horrifyingly embarrassing, he likes Nezuko-chan already )-- but like how Tanjirou always says-
He is very kind. And gives great head pats like now coz wow he could start purring from this , “Well I’m glad no one is hurt, so don’t apologize- and don’t call me Hashira; Senpai or Giyuu works already.”
So he lifts his head in protest, about to speak against that vehemently but he forgets his rule not to get close to this one- and
Yeah, this guy must not be from this world with how his eyes drag him to the deepest oceans or how his hair frames his face perfectly and- get it together Zenitsu, or you’ll make an embarrassment of yourself and of Gramps and — just back down and back away
“He-ey, as punishment why not play the game also with Zenitsu and Monjirou??”
One of this days, he’s going to murder that pig. He was about to holler back at him, ignore the pretense of being respectful, but surprisingly, Senpai blushed and placed a hand before his mouth, subtly shaking his head—
Fuck, this guy is dangerous on a different level, Zenitsu lamented.
Side’s he would be lying if he hasn’t heard about him when he hangs around mostly with Uzui-senpai for music class and yeah he gets why that guy sort of likes this person—
And yeah maybe he does like him also a bit. Just a teensy little bit.
The drawn out silence hangs over them and Zenitsu realizes that neither he nor Tanjirou commented so he glances at his friend and realizes that holy hell Tanjirou is also blushing and now he’s also warm and—
Shit-shit-shit, he knows the tell tale heat on his cheeks—
“Enough Inosuke, that’s going too far—” Genya, ever voice of reason, starts—
“Don’t lie to yourself, you are also curious- likewise I am, and heck, even Kanao is!” Inosuke points out and now everyone else has started blushing.
From his peripheral, Zenitsu sees Senpai blush harder, sinking back on his chair and burying his face in his hands and oh hell that’s really not allowed— how did God make a male too pretty for his own good.
But Nezuko, just takes the Pocky that was toppled beside him- thankfully spilling none of the snacks, then shows her phone to Senpai, and he just shakes his head, but Nezuko-chan huffs then shows everyone—
I said we all liked Senpai earlier, didn’t I? So to be fair, everyone should also do it.
And Zenitsu swore, the room was heating up- but he couldn’t deny Nezuko-chan nor her words, so he takes a Pocky from her.
Surprisingly, Senpai composes himself, before asking him, like before, “Are you okay with this?”
“I am,” he answers and dares to ask, “Are you also okay with this, Senpai?” Surprisingly, several emotions cross his eyes before nods back— “It would only be fair, correct?” He answered and they settled.
Zenitsu has been zapped by lightning once when he was young and while he was training with Jii-chan but right now, he’s pretty sure that lightning was still under his skin and escaping unto his very being— Senpai just got closer and so did he— and yeah he could admit this guy was really pretty and all but-
He realized, Senpai has always looked at him properly in the eye, despite preferring to stay behind the rest of the Hashira— and he remembers that this guy did help him-them countless times: be it on sneaking to the hospital to visit Rengoku-san, or picking a gift for Jii-chan.
Closer and closer, but he stopped, and he knew likewise, he would do the same- as deep blue gaze reflecting him smiled and they both bit the biscuit at the same time.
If people looked at Tanjirou’s relationship with the Breath of Water Pillars, he’ll call them his older brothers, to the end- despite the fact that he has shifted to practicing their family’s Hinokami no Kagura. But anyways, on a look, some would say he gets along best with Sabito.
No, he had usually butt heads with Sabito after how he entered their lives- that is by endangering Giyuu’s— but they’ve come into good terms as they both fought through thick and thin.
Nevertheless, it is Tomioka Giyuu that Tanjirou is closest to, same with Nezuko. How could he not when he arrived on that fateful night to save his sister, and rather than cut her down listlessly, he listened , unlike any others.
Giyuu-san let them explain their escape from demons, and how Nezuko was half-demon, having ingested demon blood, but retained her human mind. All the more when he gave them both a chance at life, let his sister prove herself and then—
Gave them a home when they thought they lost theirs forever. Gave them a family when they ended up under Urokodaki-san’s care. Gave a promise to give up his own life, in the case that they would fuck up. Besides, Giyuu-san helped them get through school, taught them what he can on maths, or sword fighting or just general things when he has time, and even helped them get through everyday matters.
So yes, he was already someone Tanjirou held on such a high pedestal, only superseded by Nezuko.
He doesn’t even need to look at his appearance to adore him, as he has already known long ago that Senpai was a really great person.
So he takes his piece from Nezuko and Senpai asks, “Are you okay with this?”
“I am. And Giyuu-san,” Tanjirou glances at Nezuko before smiling at him, “I’m really glad Nezuko and I got to meet you.”
The answering smile was really sweet, and Tanjirou gets it, really— because this was the person Sabito-nii really loved the most, and he and Nezuko does love them both, as their older brothers . And it may be betrayal to Sabito-nii but he did see how Giyuu-nii sometimes does not really like himself, like earlier, it might have been a bit of a ramble- but—
It was painful to see that disbelief directed when Giyuu-san has been nothing but someone that deserved to be believed in, to be loved and adored and definitely, someone never meant to be lonely—
He understands why Nezuko did it because had she been a moment later, it would have been him offering as the first one.
The stick disappeared in a few bites, the taste of chocolate as sweet as the piece he gave them in that fateful night of their meeting.
Dark red and deep blue met before mutual understanding, of respect and adoration against the promise of absolute faith and protection, reflecting in their eyes and they broke the snack like one.
He doesn’t really get why they were all flustered earlier, it was just being close to the face-
But he registers how their pulse raced and their faces flushed so he wonders if the game was really that exciting? It was just a snack after all.
Besides, more exciting was that he was going to test himself against this guy, the first one that ever beat him in this school— going so far as to secure him in a rope, then admonish him for fighting when he wasn’t in a good shape.
So yeah, count him curious and ready to battle it out.
“We just have to get to the middle first right?” he clarified again with Genya, who just nodded, before blushing again.
Really, these guys.
So he approaches after Tanjirou and Senpai asks, “Are you okay with this?”
“ It’s a challenge, a challenge!” He reiterates.
He expects him to stare flatly at him, but instead he cracks a small grin, and his eyes— clear, deep pools like that night, melt softly, “I suppose it is.”
So they start and he was about to just take a couple of bites to eat the entire thing before he realizes—
Too close. TOO CLOSE.
This was what everyone was doing?!
Body temperature closing in at 97.8? 98 Farenheit. The room is not cooling instead. Heart bpm fast-
He could almost melt into him as one being?!
He halts, then realizes, Senpai was coming closer, taking small bites— I’m going to lose at this rate?! Small bites, I could do that—
They were really close now, noses close and
His nerves feel like he was on fire and he barely heards how his teeth chomp hard on the snack, or how Senpai pulled back before placing both hands on his cheeks to catch his attention, before dropping them—
“Repeat after me. Take a deep breath then hold it” Like the voice of a Hashira, Inosuke follows, feeling his lungs expand and he could almost lose himself at the sharp blue gaze before him—
“Exhale.” He relaxes, and barely manages to keep standing.
Somehow, he calms down, and Kanao and Senpai guide him sit back, without touching him directly so he asks, “How come I’m affected like this?”
“Sensory overload, you aren’t used to coming that close to someone else right?” Senpai lightly brushes his hand on his forehead, and he leans into the warm hands as he feels himself become clammy.
He could agree to that. “So what did you do to calm me down?”
“A breathing exercise to help you focus on something else. Genya, thanks for getting water.” He takes the cup and lightly guides it to his mouth, “Drink.”
So Inosuke follows and gulps the water down.
“I’m weak like this—” He feels a small tap on his forehead and he meets deep blue, but this time farther away.
“Nope, your mind was excessively stimulated by a direct frontal approach, if I was not mistaken. You’ve never had to approach someone that close right?”
Inosuke reflected, then agreed.
“Well, better we knew that now than later in the battlefield. Remember to ask Shinobu if she knows any sensory integration exercises or better treatments. For now, just relax and calm down.” Senpai told him.
“But no one else—” he started again.
“What temperature did I have?” Senpai asked.
It took a minute but he answered, “98 Farenheit.”
“Correct, that’s my average. Can either one of you, tell the same just by coming close to me?”
Around him, everyone shook their heads.
“It was a position disadvantageous for you Inosuke, so you should take a break and understand your body can tell you more details about someone just by coming close to a person. Moving forward, it becomes your choice how you use that information. You weren’t weak, you just got more data from coming close to me than everyone else, ‘kay?”
And Inosuke understood. So he laid back there and decided to follow their advice, and rested, letting his mind calm down..
Before he drifted away, he was glad that this guy was at least looking out for them.
Genya nudged Kanao beside him. “If I do this, ‘Nemi is going to murder me.”
But Kanao was already holding a pocky for him, “I am already resigned to dying to Shinobu-nee later so we might as well all go…”
“Oh my God, Kanao.”
So as Inosuke drifted away, surprisingly with half lidded eyes, Nezuko nudged Senpai to face him. Seriously, Nezuko is insistent.
“Are you okay with this?” Surprisingly Senpai is on his feet and— he’s towering over him, he realizes.
No, but I might as well go for it
No, because Niichan is going to murder me after this.
No, but I think I understand why ‘Nemi likes you a lot.
No, because it’s you.
Genya could list a lot of reasons but Senpai just waits for him— waits patiently, as he tries to make his voice work, and he says “Yes.”
Because I am testing if you are worthy of Niichan—
He noticed it earlier that Senpai would match the pace of the other, so he starts slow and starts speeding up, and as expected, Senpai follows through- and soon enough they are really about to touch—
The snack has already been bitten off without him realizing and Senpai has already backed away, hands ready to catch his face and his body, and just watching him carefully as he nearly topples over.
Right, he’s forgotten that for all that this guy was pretty, or kind— he is a Hashira, reflexes and all included.
“Keep chewing,” Senpai advised, “You’ve eaten too fast and there was a long piece,” and Genya paused, realizing he was right, before savoring his food carefully.
Then as he swallowed, Senpai handed him another box of chocolate. “I forgot, I think I saw Sanemi without your bento, so take another one.”
So thoughtful, Genya sighed internally, he can’t fault his brother for forgetting their food given how late he arrived last night, I would still have food for later at least.
He lightly bowed, seeing those deep blue eyes happy and let him pat him on the head.
If it is you, then I accept you for Niichan...
So he turned to the last person in the room.
Kanao faced Giyuu-senpai and nodded just as he asked his question. Best get it over with, after all.
However, he did pause, then asked, “Say, what flavor does Kanae like? I can’t remember?”
She glanced at the bag and pulled out a strawberry flavored one. “Okay, I might drop by later this weekend again, you going?”
And she recalled Shinobu-neechan’s schedule and winced. It would be an exam day for her, and so she won’t go.
But she’d like to go visit Kanae-nee… Even if there was no assurance she was going to ever wake up from her coma...
“Alright, I’ll ask Shinobu if you can come with me to visit them. Then we can give the Pocky together.” He offered and she smiled. “Hopefully, she’ll trust me to be able to bring you back safely…”
I’ve already known that Nee-chan doesn’t really hate you- and yes, Shinobu-nee trusts you dearly, Giyuu-senpai. Kanao would have loved to say, but she knew, those words where things he needed to hear from her sister and not her. So she nodded again.
She was not really having any differing intents from Genya, but she’s long known this was someone worthy of her sister— the problem was everyone wanted him, except his own self, apparently. Which was a bit surprising, but somehow there were only a few person who knew this fact.
Surprisingly, she was included in that list- when she asked him before on how to perform the Breath of Flower, having learned it was an offshoot of Breath of Water— since Kanae-nee was in the hospital and Shinobu-nee uses a different variant.
Also, she may or may not have learned Breath of Water style just as he has subtly learned Breath of Flower style but they both keep that as one of their secrets after all.
She could readily admit she likes him a lot, as a mentor, as an older brother figure or even as someone for her sister— but never herself, this was someone that trusted her to know his faults just as he has done the same for her.
So she knew he would never kiss any of them, not only because he was their Senpai, nor because he dislikes them but most probably because he thinks he doesn’t deserve it.
Which is pretty much the same thoughts that resound in her head.
But facing one another and as they make that distance shorter, they have that mutual agreement— For they have both been loved by people.
And with mutual secrets of how they would need no other people to learn of this occurrence, Giyuu knew, just as how their reassurance of liking him, for their various personal reasons they have has brought back light once more in his eyes, Kanao knew.
In unison they broke the snack.
Just another secret for the two of them.
Just as the alarm bell rung.
Giyuu glanced at his phone and realized, he’s going to have to find Muichirou in the crowd for lunch because he has wasted an entire period in dealing with their juniors.
Nevertheless, as they waited for the crowd outside the room to lessen, as he gave them one all one last head pats before they parted ways and as he secured the bag full of Pocky, he could admit, It was nice to be liked, after all.