I've been around this fandom not too long and only really caught up to the manga a few weeks before the final chapter which was about a year ago. This story is great and I assumed that there would be a ton of fics exploring different creative avenues, but I soon learned that's not the case. There are a few gems, but I was puzzled as to why such a great series had an incredibly small amount of fanfics dedicated to it. Demon Slayer is still a relatively new series, therefore that was the likely answer.
I don't fully understand but that's not important. My fic will be watching the future/past of the Demon Slayer series. The only other similar one I could find was a story on Wattpad, but I was severely disappointed in the direction it took, but at the end of the day, it wasn't my story.
So if I want something done right, I've got to do it myself. No excuses.
I want to address the timeline that the characters are going to be pulled from, because of course there's going to be a generic flash of light into a cinema setting.
*This occurs after the Hashira Trial recovering at the Butterfly Mansion*
Also, the people who will be watching will only be humans. I have debated with myself and I originally thought that the upper moons and Muzan would be a cool idea, but then I thought about what happens after. The humans would have no chance to win. Of course, this is an entirely hypothetical and ridiculous situation to begin with, but I know it'd irk some people including me now that I think about it more in depth.
So, no demons, but I think it will be fine regardless.
Before you read, there will be minor spoilers, so read at your discretion. I'd recommend reading the manga anyways.
Anyways, that's all from me.
Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke are currently laying down in bed recovering from their mission at Mount Natagumo.
Suddenly they get wrapped by a bright light.
"WHAT'S HAPPENING?!" Zenitsu flails with his tiny limbs.
'An attack? We aren't in any condition to fight'. Tanjiro reaches for his sword.
"HAHAHA! Show yourself demon, I dare you!" Inosuke threatens with a strangled and raspy voice.
The light intensified to the point where they had to shut their eyes.
No demon ever showed and the 3 of them disappeared from their beds.
By the time they realize the bright light is gone they open their eyes and find themselves in a strange room.
On instinct they all reached for their swords, even Zenitsu, however they discovered that they were gone.
"My limbs!" Zenitsu hugged his body as it's back to normal.
They take in their surroundings and find that they were not the only people here.
"Hey! What the hell is this?!" A man with white hair and visible scars across his face, arms, and torso.
"Hmm?" A boy with black hair and mint green eyes looks around with a blank expression however there is a slight feeling of wariness.
"I wonder what's going on". The voice of Kagaya Ubayashiki cuts in and the hashira present almost instinctively kneels but refrains from doing so in unfamiliar territory.
And they are incredibly shocked when they look at his face.
"Oyakata-sama! Your eyes!" A man with gold hair and red tips shouts with a wide smile on my face.
"Yes, I wonder why I can see again". He thought aloud looking around and he only recognized Gyomei before his blindness. He smiles. "I'm not the only one".
The tall man was quiet for a long time because he was taken aback with tears running down his face.
"Is this how everyone else sees the world?" He looks around to his fellow hashira and connects the sounds to their voices to what they look like. Gyomei is most pleased by laying eyes on Oyakata-sama and grateful that they were both able to share this experience.
"How strange". A man with mismatched eyes and black hair mutters taking in his surroundings with mistrust to figure out what is going on for such miraculous experiences. Both previously blind people suddenly gain their vision. He narrows his eyes at a group of 3 people. 'The boy with the demon sister'. He doesn't recognize the other 2 slayers.
'How wonderful!' A pink haired girl with a slight blush thought looking between both of them with an almost opposite reaction to the Snake Pillar.
"Giyu". A masked voice calls out to him.
"Urokodaki-sensei". He bows to him and the other hashira widen their eyes.
Tanjiro would have also greeted his sensei but he felt a tense atmosphere between them and he smelt guilt from Giyu which greatly confuses the young demon slayer.
'So this is the previous water pillar?' Many of them thought. After all, most hashira never live long enough to retire. They only know of a similar situation with the Thunder Pillar.
That realization got a reaction from a few of them and turned to Zenitsu who has a haori that is symbolic to thunder breathing users. The person of interest squeaked and quickly hid behind Tanjiro away from those stares, however they dropped the matter.
'His student possibly?' The hashira concluded including Giyu who normally didn't involve himself in such thoughts that didn't directly involve him.
Tanjiro and Nezuko were a prime exception.
Shinobu, of course, was treating him and the other two of his group, so she wasn't particularly impressed with his attitude. She didn't see how he defeated the demon he got poisoned by, but he seems incredibly timid. Her interest grew in such a strange person.
"Urokodaki-san". Ubayashiki calls out to him.
"Oyakata-sama". He bows and then looks towards Tanjiro.
Luckily Tanjiro finds Nezuko's box next to him and she crawls out.
The hashira are on edge but they've already accepted their leader's decision, so they don't fuss about it. She has already proven that Nezuko is different, but whether or not she'll eat humans will remain to be seen. When Nezuko locks eyes with Sanemi she starts punching the air in front of her and Kanroji couldn't help but giggle.
"How have you been Tanjiro?" His sensei walks towards him and Nezuko.
He bows to his sensei with a smile.
"I wonder who brought us here". Ubayashiki's voice reached all of them and they all realize it's time to get to the bottom of this potentially dangerous situation.
They all agreed with their leader and came to the most logical conclusion; A demon was responsible for their current predicament.
"I see you're all well-acquainted". An ethereal-like voice calls from the front of the room.
A large screen is behind him and dozens of seats.
They all whipped around towards the voice.
"Who are you?!" Sanemi would've attacked immediately if he had his sword and many of the hashiras felt the same. His appearance was hardly human.
"I apologize for bringing you here in such an abrupt manner, but I believe it will be for your benefit, and I would like to clarify that I am not a demon". The voice states to dissuade confusion.
This voice didn't even have a body. It looked more like a wispy outline of one. Gender couldn't be identified because it could belong to either. The wispy person was neither masculine or feminine and it disturbed everyone in the room.
They've never encountered such a being.
Almost everyone present didn't believe the voice. How could a human look like that or have such an ability?
Ubayashiki spoke to the voice.
"Why have you brought us here?" He asks calmly and decides to comply for now to avoid violence.
"To show you all what's to come. The road that lies ahead in your lives". He spoke shocking all of those present.
"The future?" Ubayashiki mutters.
The hashira couldn't believe it. Why were they going to be shown something so wonderful out of nowhere?
'The future?! I wonder if…' Kanroji blushes hard and squeals which confuses the people around her.
Giyu didn't say anything as his face tightened with an unreadable expression.
Rengoku's smile brightened.
'Will we gain insight on how to turn the tables against the demons?' Gyomei thought with a smidgen of hope. It's still unknown if such a thing is possible. Even if this...being said so.
All in all, the hashira were at different measures of hope, but they knew it could just be a farce. Seeing the future and learning from it, that's basically having a second chance. Priceless.
"The future? How dazzling!" A Flamboyant hashira shouts before his face darkens, "but it seems too good to be true. Why are you doing this?"
"Are you really buying into this?!" Sanemi yelled out.
"Yeah! What scarface said! I don't need a sword to take this phony out!" Inosuke who was silent for the longest time finally chimed in. His instincts were telling him that there wasn't any danger so he didn't immediately attack, but that didn't mean he would just stay back on the sidelines.
Sanemi grits his teeth and a tic appears on his forehead at the nickname.
"Seriously who are you?!" Sanemi looked in the direction of Zenitsu and Inosuke.
The only hashira that knew them was Shinobu, unless you count Giyu tying up Inosuke when he wouldn't calm down. They of course knew Tanjiro but were ultimately stumped on what the purpose of the other two young looking demon slayers' presence was.
"Please calm down Sanemi. The boar headed one is Inosuke Hashibara, and the blonde one is Zenitsu Agatsuma. They're both Mizunoto". Ubayashiki explains.
The two in question are surprised that he knew who they were even though they haven't been demon slayers for very long.
"Yes, The three of them are staying in the Butterfly Mansion for recovery". Shinobu smiled.
"Mizunoto...hmm. They must be pretty weak then". Sanemi concluded with a nod.
'I'm also Mizunoto'. Tanjiro looked down in depression as Nezuko pats him on the head.
"Weak?! I'll show you weak scarface!" Inosuke nearly charged at him but Zenitsu and Tanjiro held him back.
"Now that introductions are over, why are you showing us the future, and who are you?" Urokodaki asks, unphased by the conversation going on before him.
"Why? To show you the outcome of your choices and whether you'd be satisfied. There is no other reason. I am simply an observer. A guide". The voice states and everyone tenses.
'Satisfied with our choices? What are we going to see?' Most of them thought.
"Very well. I believe this is a priceless opportunity. It would also ease your concerns about Nezuko, wouldn't it?" He looks towards the hashira.
Zenitsu, in that moment, vows that if anyone hurt his Nezuko-chan, he would curse them and their family lineage to the end of time.
Their eyes widen and they realize that if they're shown the future, they would know for sure if she would eat a human and if she did they would stop her preemptively.
The hashira nod their heads in agreement.
"I must also ask how I have the ability to see again along with Gyomei-san". Ubayashiki states as his curse has never gotten better and he was fated to die young because of it.
"In this room illnesses or disability regarding sight will be temporarily restored or else you'd have to rely on sound". The observer responded.
Gyomei and Kagaya nod as they are grateful for the gift of sight.
"Okay, we're ready Observer-san". Ubayashiki replies and they all brace themselves.
"You may all take a seat wherever you wish. I will continue once you have done so" He states and they begin to seat themselves.
Tanjiro, Inosuke, Zenitsu, Nezuko, and surprisingly Giyu sat next to each other while the rest of the hashira and Ubayashiki sat farther down. The seats were a single line, left to right, and they sat in this order:
Nezuko, Tanjiro, Inosuke, Zenitsu, Giyu, Urokodaki, Ubayashiki, Gyomei, Sanemi, Muichiro, Iguro, Kanroji, Shinobu, Rengoku, and Uzui.
The hashira looked unphased when Giyu didn't sit next to them. He's always been a loner, but it did rub them the wrong way when he decided to sit with the greenies.
Shinobu just giggled, 'This is why no one likes you Tomioka-san'. She smiled before the observer started speaking again.
"I will explain the specifics of what you're going to see. This screen above me will show the future with the perspective of Tanjiro Kamado. While I may have said that you will be seeing the future. For a short while, you will see how he got to this point, or else the future would be lacking key details you would need". He finished speaking.
The audience, especially the hashira, were confused.
"Why that kid?" Sanemi looked over in annoyance.
"Tanjiro's perspective?" Shinobu asked.
"Wouldn't it be better to show a hashira's perspective?" Iguro asked.
'Oh! To watch such a cute boy's perspective! My heart's going to melt~". Kanroji starts to blush more and the others are too focused to pay attention to her quirks.
"You also have to take into consideration that Tanjiro is the only one of us who has personally met Muzan, so I believe this is for the best". Urokodaki added in and they realized the truth of his words.
"I am more concerned about time. We don't have the luxury to sit here for an extended period of time". Ubayashiki voiced his concerns.
"You don't have to worry about that since time is distorted in this room and the world outside won't flow forwards, so everything will be as you all left it. Tanjiro Kamado is a key element in the future and his perspective is the most optimal". He explained.
Everyone in the room is surprised by how large of a role Tanjiro would have, but kept comments to themselves this time.
"Very well then. You said that...screen will show us?" Ubayashiki asks.
"Yes. It will be like a movie being shown to you". The observer explains.
"Movie?" Kanroji asks.
"What's a movie?" Zenitsu murmurs.
"I see. It's like moving pictures and telling a story that you can see". The voice clarifies.
They don't really understand, but they nod regardless.
'I'll watch the hell out of this'. Inosuke pumps himself up, no longer having to squint to see clearly.
"We shall start then". The voice disappears from view as the screen turns on.
A blanket of snow in a wooded forest is shown with the sound of footsteps along with heavy footsteps.
Gasps can be heard as they have never seen such a stunning visual. Pictures aren't in such a quality as they're seeing now, but this...it feels like they're actually in that snowy forest.
"How beautiful". Kanroji gushes and the others agree with him, especially Inosuke who never had good eyesight to begin with, along with Gyomei who has never had sight.
Tanjiro is shown with Nezuko on his back with blood dripping from her forehead. Droplets of blood staining the snow below them. Tears in his eyes, he trudges forward.
Tanjiro sucks in a cold breath as something unexpected appears.
Giyu remembered that face incredibly well as he looked younger. This must've been around the time they met, but weren't they supposed to be watching the future? He couldn't help the guilt crawl under his skin as he still feels responsible for not getting there in time.
"How? How did this happen? Nezuko, don't die! Don't die on me! I'm going to save you no matter what! I swear your older brother won't let you die!" He continues to move forward in the blistering cold as the view moves farther away from them and into the sky.
Everyone in the room now understood that this couldn't be the future because Tanjiro looks noticeably younger and it hasn't been long since they met. They couldn't lie and say that they weren't curious how exactly Nezuko turned into a demon.
"H-Hey I thought this was supposed to be the future?" Tanjiro shakily states as he never wanted to remember the horrors of this day.
"To understand the future, we must look into the past to see how events play out. This is necessary" That's all the voice offers as the screen continues playing.
The scene changes to Tanjiro picking up a basket of charcoal and hoisting it on his shoulders.
"That was rather abrupt". Iguro commented.
"Agreed". Sanemi muttered wanting to get on with what happened in that last part.
"Tanjiro?" A voice calls to him as it's revealed that his mother is calling him. "Your face is covered in soot. Come over here". He walks over to her and she wipes off his face for him. "It's dangerous with all this snow. You don't have to go, you know".
'Oh wow. That's where Nezuko gets her looks from'. Zenitsu couldn't help but blush.
'So that's what a mother looks like'. Inosuke thought to himself.
'Hmm. Is that coal or charcoal'. Muichiro thought in a daze.
"Well, I want everyone to eat their fill on New Year's, so I'm gonna sell as much charcoal as I can". He explains as she stops wiping off his face.
"So you're the provider for your family? Very remarkable!" Rengoku couldn't help but praise. The boy is young afterall.
"Indeed". Ubayashiki seconded.
'A provider? How attractive!' Kanroji blushes.
'Where's the father?' Giyu and a few others couldn't help but think.
His mother smiles at him.
"Thank you". She rests on her knees.
"Nii-chan!" A boy runs up to him along with a girl from behind. They both have red eyes and black hair; however, the girl's hair reaches her shoulders and the boy's is very short. They are Tanjiro's younger sister and brother. "You're going to town again today?" He asks.
This scene confuses most of them.
"You have other siblings?" Gyomei couldn't help but ask since he used to take care of orphans and knows what it's like being around several small children. He prayed nothing bad to them, but since Tanjiro only ever mentioned Nezuko...worry is what he felt at this moment.
'Hmm, perhaps he left them behind to find a cure?' Shinobu thought.
'Oh once he heals Nezuko, they both will go back to them! How heartwarming!' Kanroji nods to herself.
A few didn't believe it was so simple and life is rarely forgiving.
Tanjiro couldn't help but feel the sadness of seeing them once again, however, he was also happy that he could see them like this one more time. Even if he'll hate what happens after.
"I'm going with you!" The younger sister declares.
Another boy with a hatchet across his shoulder comes around the corner and widens his eyes when he hears what's going on. He looks older than the two newly introduced siblings.
Their mother gets on her feet.
"Oh no, you're not. You know you can't walk fast like Tanjiro". She walks up to the younger siblings.
"Kaa-san!" The boy whines.
"You may not. Since he can't use the cart today, he won't be able to give you a ride when you're tired". She explains.
The sister looks ready to beg while the younger brother begins to pout.
"You really have some kind siblings, Tanjiro". Shinobu smiles.
"Thank you". Tanjiro would always love that about them, so willing to help him even though he's the oldest. A pang of hurt as he remembers that they're no longer here.
'If only…' Giyu thought to himself in shame.
'So cute! I just want to glomp them!' Kanroji blushes.
"Nii-chan". The younger brother jumps into Tanjiro's chest holding him.
"I wanna go with you! I promise I'll help you!" The sister looked up to him as she moved in front of him.
Tanjiro puts a hand on her head.
"Thanks, Hanako," She smiles in hope, "but you're staying home today". She looked disappointed with a tear in each eye. He crouches down and places a hand on his younger brother. "You, too, Shigeru. But i'll get you tons of goodies, okay?" He promises.
Tanjiro couldn't help but smile sadly at that. 'I never did get to keep that promise, did I?'
'Surrounded by such kindness. Is this where he gets it from?' A few who knew Tanjiro thought this.
"Really?" He asks with excitement clear on his face.
"Yeah". Tanjiro smiles at him and Shigeru responds in kind. "And Hanako, I'll read for you when I'm back". He also promises to Hanako with a hand on her head. She nods with a smile.
"Thank you so much, Tanjiro". She expressed her thanks as he got up from the ground.
"Sure. Okay, I'll be heading out now". Tanjiro turns to the boy in the back. "Takeo...Will you chop as much wood as you can?"
"Sure, I'll do it, but…" He looks to the left bashfully, "I was hoping we could do it together". Tanjiro walks up to him and rubs his head.
"So cute!" Kanroji actually says that aloud.
Sanemi couldn't help but think about his own brother in this situation, but he quickly squashes that feeling and continues to watch.
Ubayashiki couldn't help feel conflicted as that introduction scene clashes with this heartwarming one. He feels something bad is about to happen soon. That pains the man.
"There, there". The oldest playfully teases him.
The younger boy backs up quickly.
"What's with that all of a sudden?" He blushed at the sudden contact.
Shigeru points at him.
"You're blushing, Take-nii!" He grins widely.
Takeo turns to him quickly.
"Hey, you shut up!" He denies profusely.
Tanjiro does it again.
"I said cut it out!" He stammers.
Everyone couldn't help but laugh at that one besides an obvious few exceptions.
They all begin to laugh and they wave him off.
"Hurry back, okay?" Shigeru shouts.
"Be safe, okay?" Hanako smiles at him.
Tanjiro waves back at them as he walks away.
'That was the last time I saw them before…' Tanjiro gritted his teeth.
A pair of footsteps approach him.
Another younger sister calls to him with a smaller boy wrapped up on her back.
"Nii-chan!" The girl smiles at him.
"Hey, Nezuko". He walks up to her.
A lot of eyebrows were raised. This was what Nezuko looked like before becoming a demon? It was so different.
"WOW! NEZUKO-CHAN IS SO PRETTY!" Zenitsu had hearts in his eyes and swooned heavily for her.
This time everyone could agree on that. She was an attractive young lady.
"I was putting Rokuta down for a nap, or he'd make a scene when you leave," She looks back at the small boy, "He misses Dad a lot after he passed away". Tanjiro puts a hand on the boy's sleeping head. "And everyone follows you wherever you go". He smiles at that.
"That's a lot of siblings". Rengoku couldn't help but comment. He wondered what it would be like if there were 4 more Senjuros running around and that made him smile.
Sanemi grimaced at the thought remembering his own family.
'So many cuties! I just want to hug them all!' Kanroji smiled at the heartwarming scene.
"See you later!" Nezuko smiles with her eyes closed.
The scene changes to the wintry scenery.
"We don't have an easy life," Tanjiro begins to narrate, "but we're happy". He is shown walking down the mountain with charcoal on his back.
"But life could change suddenly like the weather. It shifts and moves on. It's not like it always stays sunny, and it's not like it ever snows endlessly. And...whenever happiness is destroyed, there's always...the smell of blood". He finishes as the view moves up to show a snowy town.
Many of them tensed at this and those who were already feeling wary were now worried for Tanjiro's family.
Even Inosuke can tell something bad was about to happen. Zenitsu looked ready to wage thousands of years of war to whoever would harm Nezuko and his future in-laws.
Gyomei prays for their safety even though they're watching the past.
Shinobu didn't want to watch what happened next as she had already felt the pain of such loss.
The scene changes to show snow covered houses and people walking on the snow in the streets. A woman is sweeping off the snow from her doorstep. She turns around and notices a familiar looking boy.
"Well now, Tanjiro! I can't believe you came down from the mountain on a day like this". She voices her disbelief as Tanjiro walks towards her. "You're such a hard worker. You might catch a cold, you know?"
"This is nothing, really. Do you have enough charcoal?" He asks.
"Hey, Tanjiro!" A man asks from a distance and the boy looks towards him. "Can I have some charcoal? Thanks for fixing my sliding doors the other day".
"I'll need some charcoal, too!" A woman further behind waves to him.
"A close community. You really are a great child". Ubayashiki praises his ability to bring people together even if it was as simple as selling charcoal.
"T-Thank you!" Tanjiro couldn't help but blush and he does miss the people in his town from time to time.
Tanjiro is happy to hear this as a sliding door abruptly opens behind him.
A boy with a bloody nose is being held by an older woman. "Tanjiro! Oh man, what perfect timing! I've been accused of breaking this plate!" He takes out a purple cloth and unwraps it to show a plate in multiple pieces. "Help me out, will you? Sniff it". The man begs him with a tear in his eye and holds it up to him.
'Sniff it?' Many of them ask themselves at the unusual request.
Tanjiro leans down and takes a few whiffs.
"I smell a cat". He looks up to the woman.
"What a stylish ability!" Uzui complimented the boy.
"That does seem useful". Iguro muttered and Sanemi agreed as well.
'Hmm. Doesn't that roof have more snow than that other one?' Muichiro looked at a completely different place than the others.
The boy looks extremely relieved.
"See? I told you!" He looks up to her.
"Oh my, so it was a cat?" She looks down at the plate.
"I told you it wasn't me!" The boy has a tic mark on his forehead and felt angry at being slapped around for something he didn't do.
"Tanjiro!" A man behind the boy on the ground calls to him. "Can you give me a hand with this luggage?" He waves to the black and red hair colored boy.
"Helping people in need. Such a great quality!" Rengoku comments.
The scene abruptly changes to a dark sky as Tanjiro is shown walking down a snowy path.
"You were selling all day?" Gyomei asks abruptly.
"Ah, yeah. I usually do that everytime I have a basket's worth of charcoal to sell, especially during the wintertime". Tanjiro explains.
'To have such responsibility'. Many of them thought.
"Jeez, it's late already. I'm glad they're sold out, though". Tanjiro begins to walk up the mountain as an older voice calls out to him from below.
"Hey, Tanjiro!" The boy in question turns back to see a man through a window in a small house. "Are you gonna go back to the mountain? You'd better not. It's too dangerous". The man worries for him urging him not to go.
"I've got a great sense of smell, so I'll be fine". Tanjiro tries to reassure the man that he'll be fine from any wild animals.
"I'll put you up for the night. Come on. Get back here". The older man tells the boys.
"But…" Tanjiro frowns in confusion as to why he's so insistent.
"Don't argue! Come on! Before the demons show up". The man has a serious look on his face.
The atmosphere changed around them to a much more tense one.
"It seems he has had an encounter with them before". Iguro comments on the man's serious tone.
"I believe so as well. He wouldn't have urged Tanjiro inside if he didn't believe it fully". Urokodaki comments.
The view changes to Tanjiro and the older man inside as the boy finishes up his meal.
"Thanks for the meal!" He puts his chopsticks down and sips on the tea. "Hey, Saburo-jii-san, what are demons like?"
"Man-eating demons have always prowled the land once it gets dark". The man pulls out a futon for the boy to sleep in. "That's why you should never stroll around at night. If you're done eating, go to bed. You can set off for home at first light".
"A good rule to live by. You should never be unarmed if you must go outside during the night". Rengoku states.
Many of them nod to that.
Tanjiro lays down staring at the ceiling.
"These demons wouldn't come inside your house, would they?" Tanjiro asks.
"Yes, they'd come in". Saburo takes a puff of his pipe and exhales.
"Then, everyone would get eaten up by the demons". Tanjiro looks over at the man.
"That's why the demon hunters have protected us by slaying them since ancient times". Saburo explains as he taps out the leftover ashes from his pipe into the bowl. "Lights out now. Go to sleep". He gets up and turns off the light.
"He even knows of the demon slayers. Not many civilians do". Ubayashiki states that the demon slayers are a relatively unknown group even after all this time.
Tanjiro couldn't help but wonder if the reason Saburo's family is gone is because of demons. He frowned at that.
Tanjiro closes his eyes.
"Saburo-jii-san is all alone after losing his whole family. So, he must be lonely. I'll bring my brothers and sisters next time, and say 'You don't have to be scared. There are no demons. You're safe'. But, come to think of it…"
The view changes to a young Tanjiro sitting on an older woman's lap smiling up at her.
"...my grandma used to say the same thing when she was still alive". Tanjiro ponders on that before falling asleep.
'So cute!' Kanroji blushes.
A new day with the early morning sun just rising above the mountains as a shot of the landscape is shown.
"You be careful now". Saburo waves off Tanjiro from outside.
"Okay!" Tanjiro runs up the path.
The view changes to Tanjiro walking through the snowy forest as it's switched once again to a snowy mountain.
"Whenever happiness is destroyed, there's always…"
Tanjiro stops suddenly and his eyes widen. He sniffs the air and he grimaces as his heart sinks.
"The smell of blood!" Tanjiro runs forward and he eventually stops to take a look at his home and a sight that would forever be etched into his mind is shown to him.
Nezuko covered in blood with her arms wrapped around a young Rokuta with blood underneath them and leading out from the doorway.
Gasps are heard throughout the room and a look of anger could be seen on a few.
'Demons truly are the scum of this world'. Sanemi narrows his eyes and this scene is horrifyingly similar to his own memories.
Giyu is feeling an overwhelming amount of guilt even if there's nothing he can do about it now.
"Who did it! That demon will meet my blades!" Inosuke shouted and Zenitsu was feeling similarly fired up.
Urokodaki and Ubayashiki look down in sorrow.
"Namu amida butsu". Gyomei chants with tears running down his face hoping for their souls to rest in peace and to find the light in the world of the dead.
Shinobu was feeling angry at what she was seeing.
Kanroji is sniffling with tears in her eyes.
Even Muichiro isn't unaffected.
His eyes widen as he zooms in on both their bloodied forms. A strangled cry erupts from his throat as his eyes constantly fluctuate with sweat pouring down his face.
Tanjiro threw down his basket and ran forward with reckless abandon towards his fallen siblings and kneels in front of them.
"Nezuko!" He is torn on whether or not to touch them afraid of what to find out. "What happened? What's going on?" He sets his hands on her. "What happened here?" He turns to look inside as he gets up to take a look inside.
This was very difficult to watch and Tanjiro was doing his best not to cry as Nezuko held onto him.
The view switched from a top-down perspective as he entered his home with the doors on the floor with blood everywhere inside.
Tanjiro puts his hand on the door frame as he slides down revealing the bloodied bodies of the rest of his family members.
A haunted empty look on Tanjiro's face appears.
"Kaa-chan...Hanako...Takeo...Shigeru...Rokuta…" Tanjiro calls to them in despair as his voice sounds completely broken.
They were all silent as they mourned the loss of Tanjiro's family. Most of these people have seen such tragic death time and time again, but it never gets easier. Anger and sadness is the primary emotion in the room.
The view changes as Tanjiro is shown to be frantically running with Nezuko on his back.
"Nezuko's the only one who's still warm!" Tanjiro explains as Nezuko's zoomed in face is shown.
'So now we are back at the first scene'. They all thought.
Tanjiro slides down the path before running once more.
"If I can get her to a doctor, she might survive! How did this happen? Was it a bear? Was it a bear that wasn't able to hibernate?" He desperately searches for a reason as tears fill his eyes desperately running forward.
Tanjiro climbed over a log and kept running but it hurts.
"I can't breathe! The air's so icy! My lungs hurt! Keep moving forward! Move your legs faster! We still have a long way to go before we reach town. Hurry! I won't let you die!" He continues to run towards the town.
Many of them urged him to keep going and find help, but not from a doctor since they already have a feeling that this is where she turns.
Nezuko's hand begins to twitch.
Tanjiro continues to run along the cliffside.
"I'm gonna save you no matter what! I swear your big brother will save you no matter what!" He runs forward oblivious to what's happening to Nezuko.
She begins to move her head and starts snarling with blank eyes. Her teeth enlarge as veins bulge from her forehead.
'So that's how it happens'. Many of them thought. Blood from a demon turned her and the one who killed their family.
They could now understand his situation better and some feel sympathy.
He finally notices as he looks back at her. She struggles against him sending them both off the cliff.
A few of them gasp when he fell.
"Oh no!" Tanjiro screams as he falls and lands on the padded snow with his arms flat against the ground.
"I was saved by the snow. I slipped because of the snow to begin with". Tanjiro sits up and looks around. "Nezuko?" He finds her standing in between trees with blood on her kimono. "Nezuko, are you alright? You don't have to walk! I'll carry you to town, okay?" He runs up to her to try and carry her again, but she looks up at him.
They all tense in preparation.
'This will prove whether she can control herself'. Iguro thought
'Let's see it'. Sanemi looked intensely at the screen.
Veins bulges from her forehead, fangs from her mouth, bloodshot eyes and slitted pupils. Even her iris has changed to a pinker color.
She grabs onto his haori with her mouth open. Her hair is shown to have orange tips to it down her back.
Tanjiro pulls out an ax and pushes it into her mouth as they fall to the ground with her on top of him.
She growls at him.
This is not looking good for Nezuko as she cannot control herself at all.
'She really can't control herself'. Sanemi frowned and knew that it was only a matter of time before she ate someone.
'Just as I thought. A demon is a demon after all. No matter the unfortunate circumstances'. Iguro shook his head.
'Even if she was able to resist Sanemi's blood, will that always be true?' Rengoku thought as he watched and doubt was growing within him.
"Sh-She's...a demon!". Tanjiro realizes as the view changes to the treeline with both siblings in the background.
"I just remembered what Saburo-jii-san told me. Nezuko's a man-eating demon?" Tanjiro thinks back with Nezuko smiling with her pink kimono and checkered obi. "No! Nezuko's a human ever since she was born!"
A baby Nezuko is shown in their mother's arms with Tanjiro smiling at her. A larger man behind Tanjiro is also smiling but his eyes aren't visible.
Kanroji would have said something about her being cute but knew that it wasn't appropriate for that. This is incredibly bad for Nezuko. She hoped that the girl would control herself.
Nezuko is shown to be struggling against Tanjiro.
"However, she no longer has Nezuko's scent. But it wasn't Nezuko's doing!" Tanjiro thought back to the scene where Nezuko was laying on Rokuta. "She was lying as if she was protecting Rokuta, and there was no blood on her mouth or hands''. Nezuko's hand pressing against his shoulder is shown. "And there was one more...there was one more scent!". Tanjiro kept struggling against Nezuko before he gasped.
'Must be the demon who did it, so at least it's reassuring that she tried to protect her siblings until the very end'. Shinobu thought with a frown.
Giyu was feeling worse and worse as the past kept being shown, even if there wasn't anything he could realistically do about getting there sooner.
Nezuko started to grow larger until she became bigger than him.
"Sh-She just grew in size!" The view zoomed in on both their faces struggling. "And she's getting stronger and stronger! While I was sleeping carelessly at Saburo's house, they were murdered brutally like that! I know it must've hurt. You suffered, didn't you? I'm so sorry I couldn't save you. If only I could help Nezuko at least! But she's too strong for me to push her back!" Tanjiro continued to struggle and lamented at his inability to help his family.
'An interesting ability, so she shrinks to fit inside Tanjiro's box?' Uzui thought.
'Her eyes are a lighter shade of pink. Or was it always like that? I forgot'. Muichiro wondered.
Tears began to leak out from his eyes falling down his face.
"Nezuko! Hang in there, Nezuko! Don't give in! You gotta hang in there!" He began shouting at her hoping for some kind of recognition.
The view changes to someone running through the snow quickly.
That grabbed everyone's attention. It seems a slayer is coming.
Giyu knew instantly that it was him.
Tanjiro may know what happens but it's still nerve racking to watch.
"Don't turn into a demon! You gotta stay strong! Hang in there!" Tanjiro continues for her to hopefully snap out of it and for her to regain control. "Hang in there!"
Teardrops are shown hitting Tanjiro's face as his eyes widen as he gasps.
Nezuko has tears falling from her face as she recognizes who's underneath her.
Everyone's eyes widen.
"Just like that? She recognized him?" Sanemi was astonished. It couldn't have been more than 10 minutes since she woke up as a demon and can already tell that she's attacking her brother.
"How flamboyant! She really came through at the last minute". Uzui nods to himself.
'Such love for one's sibling! How cute! She really recognized him through his voice. It gets my heart excited!" Kanroji blushes again.
'It seems I wasn't wrong in my decision'. Ubayashiki smiles.
"Nezuko overcame it!" Zenitsu swoons over her at her mental strength to resist her demonic urges.
'I don't really get it, but since everyone else is acting like it's a big deal, she must be strong then!' Inosuke is fired up.
The view changes to a man running forward with a sword in his hand as his haori billows in the wind with one half of it being red and another with a combination of green, yellow, and orange patterning. His blue eyes looking forward.
The hashira raises their eyebrows in surprise.
"This is where you met them?" Shinobu asks.
"Yes". Giyu responds shortly.
"He must live close to your patrolling district then!" Rengoku smiles at the screen.
He jumps into the air ready to take off the demon's head, seemingly trying to eat the person underneath her.
Zenitsu looked ready to kill him for such an unforgivable sin while the others understood that he doesn't see anything else but a boy and a demon trying to eat him. They still grimace at the scene.
Nezuko notices and turns her head towards him as Tanjiro quickly flips each other over to take the blow for her.
The man's eyes widen as he changes his striking angle.
Tanjiro's long hair is cut and the icy wind is blown back. Nezuko and he are rolling across the snow until Tanjiro's back hits a tree as he groans in pain. The young demon also reverts back to her normal size.
The swordsman is shown standing back up from his striking position into a neutral stance.
"What the…Who's that?" Tanjiro asks nobody in particular as the man looks down at them in an emotionless expression. Although, there is a frown laid upon his face.
The man's eyes narrow as Tanjiro's eyes are widened as his voice trembles.
A black and blue sword is shown with 'Destroy Demons' etched near the red patterned hilt.
"A sword?" Tanjiro asks, wondering why this man seems to carry one.
"Very observant of you". Sanemi states in sarcasm and Tanjiro can't believe he said something so obvious.
'Mustn't laugh! You mustn't!' Her cheeks inflated.
The man finally speaks.
"Why are you protecting it?" He asks, staring at him.
"She's my sister!" Tanjiro responds instinctually. "She's my younger sister!"
Nezuko begins to growl and the man's eyes narrow. She struggles to get away with Tanjiro holding onto her. "Nezuko!"
The man's face is entirely unamused by what he's seeing.
"I can understand his reaction". Shinobu relates as she would also be skeptical of what she's seeing.
Everyone else agrees that Nezuko isn't looking her finest right now.
"...You call that thing your sister?" He asks as if to prove a point.
Tanjiro still doesn't like how Nezuko is being referred to as a thing, but says nothing about it.
He frantically looks at him as if he understands what he's trying to say. Tanjiro frantically tries to find a way out of this situation, but before he could think, the man charges straight at them.
Tanjiro ducks down with her sister only to find out he's not holding her anymore as he opens his eyes frantically looking around.
The man is shown at a distance holding onto both of Nezuko's arms as she struggles against him.
'Ooh. How fast. Just like last time!' Inosuke thought.
'That's a hashira?!' Zenitsu shaked.
Tanjiro quickly gets up. "Nezuko!"
"Don't move". He says immediately after. "My job is to slay demons. Needless to say, I'm going to decapitate your sister".
"Geez. Why don't you sugarcoat it less? He may not understand what you're saying". Iguro sarcastically stated.
Giyu rolled his eyes. No point in beating around the bush.
"Hold on!" Tanjiro quickly tries to dissuade him from doing so. "Nezuko hasn't killed anyone! Back at my house, there was another scent that I'd never smelled before! Back at my house, there was another scent that I'd never smelled before! That's probably the one who killed my family! It wasn't Nezuko! I don't know why she turned into something like that, but…but still…"
"It's quite simple. Because her wounds were exposed to demon blood, she turned into a demon. That's how man-eating demons multiply". The man responded quickly after his explanation with one of his own.
'You could try being more sympathetic, you know?' Shinobu laughed into her hand.
Tanjiro takes a step forward.
"Nezuko would never eat humans!" He declared as a fact.
"You gotta be kidding. Just now, you were about to be devoured". He responds to the fact that she was on top of the boy with the only thing stopping her was a wooden hatchet.
None of them can refute that even if Tanjiro wanted to.
"You're wrong! I'm sure she knows who I am! I won't let her hurt anyone! I'm going to turn Nezuko back into a human! I swear I'll heal her!" He holds his fist to his chest in his proclamation.
'As you are now?' Many of them thought.
Tanjiro looked back at how naïve he had been. Without Urokodaki-sensei's guidance he wouldn't have any hope on acting on that promise.
The man just stares at him in the same emotionless expression.
"She can't be healed. Once you become a demon, you can never go back to being a human". The man explains as an indisputable fact.
Tanjiro throws his arms out in a panicked fashion.
"I'll find a way no matter what! So, please...don't kill her! I'll hunt down the one who slaughtered my family! I'll make everything all right!" The view pans toward the man with his sword raised horizontally and brings it closer to Nezuko. "Please! Don't do it!" Tanjiro has tears in his eyes.
Everyone was silent through this whole speech.
An image of the rest of Tanjiro's family who just died appeared with happy expressions.
"Don't take anyone else from me". He narrated to himself.
Tanjiro gets on his hands and knees.
"I'm begging you not to! Please! Don't kill my little sister! Please don't do it! I'm begging you…" Tanjiro begs the man as he starts to cry.
Many of them felt incredibly bad for Tanjiro but they also knew that it was a hopeless attempt. It was incredibly sad to look at and difficult to watch.
An emotion finally appeared on the man's face. Anger. He grits his teeth.
"Don't ever give others a chance to murder you!" He yells at him with a wild look in his eyes. Tanjiro gasps with his eyes wide. "Stop that pathetic groveling! If it was the least bit effective, your family wouldn't be dead! Can a weakling who can't take the initiative in such a situation heal his sister?! Hunt down the enemy?!
"Don't make me laugh! The weak have no rights or choices! Their only fate is to be relentlessly crushed by the strong! The demons might know how to cure your sister! But don't think that a demon would respect your will or wishes! Naturally, I have no respect for you, either! That's reality! Why did you throw yourself over your sister earlier? Was that your way of protecting her?
"Why didn't you swing your hatchet? Why did you show your back to me? All those blunders led to your sister's capture!" The man continuously berated him for his foolish and incomprehensible actions as he pointed his sword at the boy. "I could've skewered her along with you!"
All of the hashira were shocked at seeing the emotion in Giyu's words. They had never seen him like this before. He was always a loner and seeing this side of him was incredibly surprising. It seems Tanjiro brought it out of him even if he didn't mean to.
Nezuko continued to struggle as Tanjiro just stared at him with tears in his eyes completely devastated as he's frozen.
'Don't cry. Don't despair. Now's not the time for that. I know you're devastated. Your family was massacred, and your sister's become a demon. I know it's painful. I know you want to scream. I get it. If only I'd gotten here a half-day sooner, your family might not have ended up dead.
"But there's no way to turn back time. Feel the rage. The powerful, pure rage of not being able to forgive will become your unswerving drive to take action! With such a fragile resolve like yours, you can't protect your sister or heal her...or get revenge for your family!" The man raised his sword once again.
Shinobu smiled at his thoughts. 'Maybe he isn't so bad'. Even if he was about to stab Nezuko, she's still here isn't she?
"No!" Tanjiro got up to one knee.
The man stabbed Nezuko through her left shoulder.
"Stop!" Tanjiro threw a rock from behind him towards the man.
'A rock?' Many of them thought.
'Kill him. Kill him. Kill him'. Zenitsu was chanting in his mind urging Tanjiro to slay the one who hurt Nezuko.
'Well...At least he's trying!' Kanroji mentally cheered.
The rock was blocked by the man's handle as Tanjiro ran towards his fallen hatchet and grabbed it. He ran around the treeline to the side of the man as he threw another rock towards him.
He dodged the incoming projectile as Tanjiro charged at him with his hands behind him.
"A straightforward attack driven solely by emotion…" A distasteful and sour expression appears on his face. "You fool!" He slams his handle onto Tanjiro's back and he gets knocked out. Nezuko, with wide eyes, stares at Tanjiro with concern.
About as much as they expected. An untrained boy had a zero chance of defeating a hashira.
The man notices something missing.
"Where's his hatchet?" He asks to himself as he looks down before his eyes widen. The view shifts above him as an audible swirling sound of a hatchet comes flying down. He dodges to the left as the weapon embeds itself into the tree.
The hashira eyes widened.
'He wanted to take him out after he was unconscious'. Sanemi concluded.
'Not a bad tactic for someone untrained'. Iguro thought, looking at the screen.
"A little close don't you think Giyu?" Uzui laughed.
Giyu looked mildly embarrassed now that he saw how close the hatchet was to his face, even if it never would have reached him.
His eyes look at the hatchet to his right.
'Just before he hid behind the tree, he hurled that rock toward me and, at the same time, tossed the hatchet in the air'. He thought back as snapshots show Tanjiro throwing his weapon from behind the tree and again when he charged straight for the man, hiding his hands. 'He hid his hands as he pretended to attack so I wouldn't realize he was unarmed. He knew he couldn't beat me. He tried to bring me down after I struck him!' He realized.
'This kid…' He thought to himself.
With that moment Nezuko was able to break free because of his inattention and kicked him away as he landed a few meters away.
'Is this it?' They thought with disappointment. Tanjiro may be here now but it doesn't change the fact that she still tried.
'Damn! She'll devour him'. Nezuko runs towards Tanjiro.
The man's eyes widen and mouth slightly open in astonishment.
Tanjiro's voice appears in his head.
'It wasn't Nezuko. She'd never eat humans!'. Tanjiro's words came back to him as Nezuko kneeled down to protect him.
"Yay! Nezuko!" Kanroji cheered for her.
Tanjiro also smiled since he never saw this when he was knocked out.
'Is this why Oyakata-sama was so adamant about accepting the both of them?' The hashira thought with a new perspective. Maybe they are different, but time will tell ultimately.
She charged straight at the man.
He was deep in thought. 'Long ago, someone once said the same thing, only to be devoured by a demon'. Nezuko ran towards him as the scene shifted to a bloodied person with a demon biting into his arm. 'It will kill and devour even its own parents or siblings. Because they're nutrient-rich. I've seen it happen more times than I can count. This girl has been wounded, and she's expending energy to heal those injuries'. He dodges multiple strikes from Nezuko.
'She must've drained vast amounts of her strength as she transformed into a demon. That means she's severely starved at this moment, without a doubt. She must've wanted to feast on a human right away, even if it's her own brother…' He thought back to the image of her crouching down to protect him. 'Yet, she protected him instead, and she even intimidated me…' Nezuko jumps towards a tree to use as a springboard and launches herself at the man.
'I wonder…' He sheathed his sword. 'These siblings might be...different from others'. He chops her in the side of the neck as she gasps before falling unconscious.
'This is what convinced Tomioka-san to protect the both of them'. Shinobu thought back to the time on Mount Natagumo and how he refused to let her kill the demon.
The scene changes to Tanjiro on the ground with his recently deceased family members kneeling next to him in concern. His mother leans closer to him.
"I'm sorry to leave you behind, Tanjiro. Take care of Nezuko for me, okay?" She pleads and apologizes for not being able to be with him any longer.
Tanjiro reaches out and opens his eyes to see Nezuko with something attached to her mouth. She is also wearing the same large blue kimono she had on earlier. Tanjiro had tears leaking down from his eyes.
"You awake?" The man calls to him as he is resting against a tree.
The boy immediately holds Nezuko close to him and looks up to him.
"Go see an old man named Sakonji Urokodaki who lives at the foot of Mt. Sagiri. Tell him that Giyu Tomioka sent you". He moves off the tree. "She seems to be alright since it's cloudy now, but never let her be exposed to sunlight, okay?" He disappeared in a burst of speed that seemed more like teleportation to the young boy.
'Old man, hmm?' Urokodaki thought.
"So this is where Tanjiro's training starts?" Rengoku thought aloud.
'It seems things are about to get more interesting'. Ubayashiki thought.
"Training with a former hashira. What an incredible opportunity". Gyomei stated.
'I wonder what the training is like for a water breather'. Muichiro finally thought of something that is relevant. He is a mist breather which is an extension of wind breathing. Most people would think it was an extension to water, so he would naturally be curious at why people think that.
The scene changes back to the Kamado home as Tanjiro leans over the newly dug burials of their family members with his hands together. Nezuko watches from behind.
They all offer their prayers along with Tanjiro while Inosuke just looks at them strangely.
'What's the point of that? He thought.
"Let's go". Tanjiro holds her hand in his bruised and blistered hand as they leave their home.
Tanjiro stops to look back before starting to run forward. The view moves up to show snow falling with the mountains in the background.
At the end it showed a black and red hemp leaf patterned background with 'Cruelty' in the top right.
'That sounds about right'. All of them thought about the horrific day they watch, but there is also some hope for the future.
"That is the end of the first part. Are you ready for the next?" The observer asked.
They took a few minutes to recollect themselves after that emotional showing before they all nodded.
"Here we go then". The voice disappears.
The view shows a crow flying over a field with intersecting paths.
...And done! I won't lie. That was exhausting to write. It was fun though.
I always wanted to write a fic like this and I'm proud to finish the first chapter.
The first thing I want to address is my update schedule. Because of how exhausting it is to write a story like this. There will likely be a chapter every week or two weeks. It took a few hours just to translate the episode into a worded format. I will do better next time to shorten it so I could hopefully push out more chapters, but no guarantee on that.
Second is that this will eventually cover manga material and even some spoilers coming up. I warned you up top but it will be inevitable if you don't know these characters' backstories and what they know. It will come out one way or another.
Besides the manga is awesome, I'm currently reading 1 volume every single day. And I ordered a few new ones.
That's all from me!
Edit(5.7.2021): I made the mistake of calling mist breathing an extension to water but it's actually a derivitive of wind.