Tsugikuni Yoriichi is old when he dies. It does not mean his life was a happy one. He dies standing in front of a brother he failed to protect and kill. He dies bitter and sad.
It's almost not surprising when he wakes up.
He's young again, and Yoriichi wonders if it's because it's when he failed the most. He failed a lot. Maybe that's why he can't rest yet.
He doesn't know what to do. A part of him wants to follow the brother he loves and admires so much. But this brother isn't here anymore, killed by greed and jealousy. He's the one that Yoriichi failed the most, and he's not sure he wants to see the cost of this failure.
In the end, he chooses to follow the only friend he ever had.
Sumiyoshi is already old, and when Yoriichi watches him, he's sad and happy in a strange way. Suyako is dead, and if she's here then he can't see her.
Sumiyoshi dies not long after, and Yoriichi stays and watches over Sumire and her siblings. They grow old too, and die, but Yoriichi stays anyway and watches over their children. It happens again, and that's what he does for the next centuries.
He watches the Kamados dance and he's happy.
(It doesn't last, of course.)
When he sees Kamado Tanjirou for the first time, his first thought A mini Sumiyoshi.
His second is He's the one.
He's not sure if this is a good thing.
Tanjirou has a lot in common with Sumiyoshi, and Yoriichi briefly wonders if he's his reincarnation before shrugging. Sumiyoshi or not, he loves Tanjirou and his family.
Tanjirou is also an amazing brother, and sometimes he reminds him of the person Michikatsu was before hatred took him away. It hurts.
Everyone is happy, and so is Yoriichi, even if he's all alone and wants to scream a bit.
And then Tanjirou and him come home to find a nightmare and Yoriichi hates.
Nezuko is a demon. She also loves her brother (like Michikatsu never did) so she fights against her nature and wins. She is awesome, if you ask Yoriichi.
The child (well, man but to Yoriichi he's a child) is a Hashira and lets the siblings live. Yoriichi is grateful, and the man-child has sad eyes like him so he pats his head, but he doesn't notice. It'd be weird otherwise.
Then he follows the siblings, like always.
Urokodaki Sakonji is interesting. He's also training Tanjirou and taking care of the siblings, which makes him good in Yoriichi's eyes.
Tanjirou is also becoming crazy, because he's fighting against someone Yoriichi can't see, and it's making him nervous. Sometimes he calls them Makomo, sometimes Sabito, so he supposes there's two of them. He can vaguely sense them, because even death couldn't take that away, but he can't see, and it's making him anxious.
It seems ghosts can't see each other. It's rather unfortunate.
If it wasn't for the fact Tanjirou was risking his life, he would have been happy to leave for the Final Selection.
Yoriichi doesn't think the Hand Demon deserves kindness, even in death. But Tanjirou has so much kindness to give. Yoriichi wonders if that's why he will go further than him.
(Because there's no doubts in his mind. Tanjirou will succeed, and it will be glorious.)
The other survivors are strange, but Yoriichi has seen stranger. The angry one has something unusual in him, though he can't see what. The girl is strong, but Yoriichi takes one look at the blond haired child and knows that he's the strongest here. It's weird since he seems hurt, but he can feel the sheer raw power hiding in him. It's almost frightening.
(There's something else too, but it's only later he will understand what.)
Tanjirou's blade is black. Yoriichi's smile is bitter and proud.
The siblings fight demons. Yoriichi cheer on them.
And then they go to Asakusa.
How dares he.
It's been a long time since Yoriichi felt this angry. But he stares at this man who took so much away (Uta Michikatsu Kie Hanako oh Aniue-) and hates.
He feels vindicately satsified when he sees the fear in those disgusting eyes.
Tamayo is still alive, and she's working against Muzan. It calms him a little.
She's working and wants to help Nezuko, and Yoriichi wonders if freeing her was the only good thing he did in his life.
They meet the thunder boy again. He cries and he cries but his eyes linger on Nezuko's box. He doesn't say anything.
And then his eyes fall on Yoriichi, and wow, it's been a long time since he felt that kind of shock.
(It's been a long time since he felt this excited.)
The boar boy hurt the thunder one, and it angers him. The thunder boy sees it, and Yoriichi must really have gotten rusty if a kid could see it.
(He can see me.)
Once in the Wisteria House, he waits until the other boys are asleep to wake him up. They go outside.
“You can see me.”
The child blushes and stutters incoherently for a solid minute. But Yoriichi stays patient, and waits for him to gather himself.
“I, I don't know ? I just can.”
Yoriichi nods and looks at the moon. So he doesn't know why, but he supposes it was predictable. The child's question interrupts his thoughts.
“Are you a demon slayer ?”
Yoriichi lost the right to this title a long time ago, but he can't help the flash of hurt in his chest.
The child (Zenitsu, he really needs to remember it) cringes, probably for all the wrong reasons, but Yoriichi doesn't really want to explain. His next question is rushed, desperate to change the subject.
“Are you Tanjirou's family ?”
Yoriichi pauses. A part of him wants to say yes, because Sumiyoshi and his descendants were a better family than his own, but he doesn't deserve it, so he says :
“No. He is my legacy.”
It's the truth, and Yoriichi ignores the questionning look Zenitsu sends him. Instead he asks.
“Are there any other ghosts here ?”
“Oh” Zenitsu blinks, startled by the sudden question, “There is Inosuke's mother, and I think Nezuko-chan and Tanjirou's family are around, but not always.”
Yoriichi nods. He thought he heard some strange whispers, and it's a relief to know that he isn't going insane.
“No one is with you ?”
“No. I've always been alone.”
Yoriichi knows instantly he said something bad, but Zenitsu is too busy wiping his tears away to notice.
His voice is no longer blank when he speaks, instead there's something soft and gentle in it.
“You're not anymore.”
Zenitsu's eyes widen. Yoriichi gets up and waves at him to follow.
When the child falls asleep again, it's under the watchful eyes of the ghost.
(For the first time in a long time, Yoriichi smiles.)