Giyu Tomioka, 3:27 PM- Do you remember?
Sanemi Shinazugawa, 3:29 PM- When and where?
Giyu Tomioka, 3:30 PM- Sorry, what?
Sanemi Shinazugawa, 3:31 PM- When and where do we meet up, idiot.
Sanemi Shinazugawa, 3:31 PM- I mean, you sent me a cryptic message out of nowhere, so I’m assuming you want to meet up.
Giyu Tomioka, 3:32 PM- Oh… yeah, I want to meet.
Giyu Tomioka, 3:32 PM- You do remember though, right?
Sanemi Shinazugawa, 3:33 PM- Isn’t it obvious? Yes, of course I remember.
Sanemi Shinazugawa, 3:34 PM- Assuming you’re talking about demons, right?
Giyu Tomioka, 3:34 PM- Yes. So, where are you right now? I’m in central Tokyo.
Sanemi Shinazugawa, 3:35 PM- Funny coincidence, so am I. Want to meet right now?
Giyu Tomioka, 3:35 PM- Sure. I know I know a pretty good cafe, let me send you the address.
Giyu was already there when Sanemi arrived. What more, he had ordered ohagi.
“Could have gone for something more original, you know?” Sanemi grumbled as he pulled up a chair.
“I thought we should start off on the right foot,” Giyu explained with a flat expression on his face.
Sanemi chuckled. “I suppose so. I guess I’ll have to take you out for salmon next time.”
“That would be nice.”
Sanemi took in a moment to take in Giyu’s appearance.
“You kept your hair short.”
Giyu ran his hand through the short black locks. “Yes. I felt… more comfortable with this hairstyle. You don’t have your scars.”
Sanemi laughed a little. “Not yet, anyways.”
They settled into silence.
“Have you found anyone else?” Sanemi asked after a moment.
Giyu shook his head. “Sabito was there for a moment, but he-”
Sanemi bowed his head in condolences. “Sorry to hear that.”
“Other then that, my parents and sister are the same, but they don’t remember anything.”
Giyu didn’t miss the look of passing jealousy on Sanemi’s face.
“What about Genya-”
Sanemi shook his head, cutting him off. “Stillborn,” he said after a moment. Giyu remained silent, not having the words to console him.
More silence. Sanemi buried his face in his hands.
“I thought I was gonna go insane, Giyu,” he murmured, shoulders shaking. “I couldn’t understand and my Newparents couldn’t understand. What kind of sick joke is this? I- I was so scared I-”
“I know,” Giyu said softly. “I felt the same.”
After a moment, he added, “Do you want to hang out every once in a while? So that we could talk?”
“Yeah… I’d like that.”
Sanemi took Giyu out to get salmon the next time they met. They talked more, discussed what they were doing in this life.
“What did you do? After I died, I mean?” Giyu asked.
“Traveled,” Sanemi said simply. “Not much else. Tokyo was nice.”
It felt nice to finally have someone who understood. Much like how they grew to understand each other in the last few years in their past lives. There was a certain comfort in the familiarity, someone they could rant and vent to about the new world they couldn’t seem to adjust to.
“I can’t so much as get a paper cut at work without the cops breathing down my neck for ‘illegal Quirk use,’” Sanemi complained.
“Sounds unfortunate,” Giyu replied. “I still don’t really understand technology.”
Sanemi laughed. “You’re like an old man.”
“I guess so.”
These meetings continued for the next three months.
“Should we move in together again?” Giyu suggested.
“Can I keep the dog?”
“So long as she doesn’t bite.”
Giyu helped Sanemi move into his flat. Tsutako seemed overjoyed he finally found a “boyfriend.”
“Are we still… you know, together?” Sanemi asked after Giyu ended the video call.
“Do you still want to be together?” Giyu asked in return.
“Yes, of course.”
“Then you already know the answer.”
Sanemi sat in on the next video call so that Tsutako could meet her brother’s new - well, not really new - boyfriend.
They lived together for the next three and a half years. Giyu continued working at the library, while Sanemi fully transitioned into being a math tutor. He kept doing vigilante work at night, and would often return to the flat covered in bruises and blood. Slowly, the scars that defined him in his past life began reappearing on his skin.
“I wish you’d stop fighting,” Giyu told him as he was patching up his wounds one night, the TV softly playing in the background. His nose was plugged to avoid the effects of Sanemi’s Quirk.
“I’ll stop when the Heroes pull themselves together,” Sanemi mumbled. “They’re too complacent.”
“Well, there’s no more demons,” Giyu said, “so there isn’t much reason for you to keep fighting.”
Sanemi sighed. “I… I don’t think I could do that yet. Fighting’s what I know. There’s still people to protect, maybe not from demons, but still…”
“Maybe we need therapy,” Giyu suggested. “Have you ever considered that option?”
“Yeah,” Sanemi murmured. “I’m not gonna do it, though. Don’t need people telling me I’m crazy. It hurt enough when my Newparents did.”
“You told your parents?”
“I tried to. They told me I had a ‘vivid imagination.’ Have you told your parents?”
Giyu shook his head. “I got called mentally ill when I tried to tell people about demons in my past life. I didn’t want to risk going through that again.”
“I don’t think you’re crazy,” Sanemi mumbled. “Maybe a little stupid sometimes, but not crazy.”
Giyu let out a dry laugh. “Thanks. You, too.”
A new story came up on the TV. “Breaking News! Villain attack on UA High!”
Sanemi and Giyu jumped up in shock. Giyu scrambled for the remote and turned up the volume.
“Earlier today, a group of criminals that called themselves the League of Villains launched an attack on the Unforeseen Simulation Joint, otherwise known as the USJ. Their goal seemed to be killing All Might, but the first year Hero students of Class 1-A were caught in the crossfire. Pro Heroes Eraserhead and 13 got injured while trying to protect the students, but both are expected to recover.”
“I know that Eraserhead guy,” Sanemi muttered. “I met him a few times at night. One of the few Heroes who’s chill with vigilantes.”
“All Might was able to defeat the strongest villain there, and none of the students were seriously injured. However, the ringleader of the group, Tomura Shigaraki, escaped before he could be captured. The powerful villain known as Nomu has been apprehended. He is capable of regenerating, has extremely high durability-”
“You hearing this, Giyu?”
Giyu nodded. “Regeneration and high durability. Sounds like a demon.”
The TV showed a picture of Nomu being led away in restraints. He looked absolutely terrifying, with an exposed brain and a bird beak lined with human teeth.
“But, he’s walking in the sunlight,” Sanemi muttered.
“Nezuko had sun immunity. And, for the brief moment he was a demon, so did Tanjiro,” Giyu retorted.
“But demons always at least looked sort of human,” Sanemi said, running a hand through his hair. “This thing-”
“And demons are supposed to be gone,” Giyu said. “At least, all of them except-”
“I think we need to pay that Yushiro a visit.”
Yushiro, one of the few “good demons.” He helped them in the fight against Muzan before retreating somewhere to live the rest of his immortal life alone. The last surviving demon.
The next day, Giyu and Sanemi began searching for any signs of Yushiro. The one good thing about technology, it made things really easy to find.
“Look,” Giyu said after half an hour. “Yushiro Yamamoto. An artist known for only painting a single woman by the name of Tamayo.”
“Isn’t Tamayo the name of that other demon?” Sanemi asked. Giyu nodded.
“But this says he died back in 2023. That’s over two hundred years ago.”
“Did he have next of kin?”
Giyu nodded again. “One kid per generation. All boys. No mention of any spouses. All of them carried on the same painting legacy.”
Sanemi grinned as he pieced it together. “For someone who lived for so long, you’d think he’d find a better cover story.”
They managed to track down his address to a small house in Asakusa. They arrived there at night. Sanemi knocked on the door. A moment later, the door swung open and a rifle was pointed directly at them.
Sanemi jumped back. “What the- you can’t just do that!”
Yushiro lowered the gun. “Oh, it’s you. How did you find this place?”
“We looked up the address,” Giyu explained.
“No,” Yushiro shook his head. “I used my Blood Demon Art - or it’s Quirk now, I guess - to hide the building. Well, thanks for letting me know it’s worn off.”
“We have some questions for you,” Sanemi said.
Yushiro shrugged and waved for them to come in. “Don’t get too comfortable. I’m not letting you stay the night.” Chachamaru rubbed against his leg. Yushiro pulled up three chairs and settled into one, the cat resting on his lap. Sanemi and Giyu sat down in the other chairs.
“I go by Yugoro these days,” Yushiro interrupted Giyu. “It’s a hassle. Have to fake my death every few decades.”
“Either way, you sure didn’t seem surprised when two people who are supposedly dead turned up on your doorstep,” Sanemi said in an accusing tone.
“I’ve been around for longer than either of you were born, including your past lives,” Yushiro replied. “It’s reincarnation, simple as that. I’ve seen others from your Demon Slayer Corps get reborn, too. Sometimes with memories, sometimes without. There doesn’t seem to be a set pattern.”
“Is there a reason the two of us were reborn at the same time?” Giyu asked.
Yushiro shook his head. “I’m not an expert, but there doesn’t seem to be a set pattern for the order of reincarnation, either. Last one before you guys was that butterfly girl. Shinobu Kocho, right? She died about fifteen years ago.”
“That would have been when we were children,” Giyu said forlornly.
“You’re wasting enough of my time,” Yushiro said with a scowl. “Why are you here?”
“You saw the news about the attack on UA a few days ago, right?” Sanemi asked. Yushiro nodded curtly.
“In that case, I’m going off on a limb and guessing you’re here to ask about that Nomu.”
Sanemi and Giyu nodded in unison. Yushiro sighed.
“No, Nomu is not a demon. I haven’t been making any demons. It’s just me and Chachamaru. My only intentions are preserving Lady Tamayo’s legacy.”
Indeed, the entire room seemed to be covered wall to wall in portraits of Tamayo in almost every art style conceivable.
“I will make sure she is remembered,” Yushiro said. This time, his voice seemed passive, tired. Melancholy. “You Demon Slayers only have an anecdotal book that’s largely regarded as fiction. You may be forgotten in the eyes of history, but Lady Tamayo will live on. Admit it, you wouldn’t have won without her.”
“Back to the topic at hand,” Giyu said, “if Nomu is not a demon, then what is it?”
Yushiro leaned forward. “I’m probably the only person still alive that was there in person. After all, it’s been over a hundred years.”
He paused to collect himself before launching into the story. “This isn’t in any of your textbooks, because it’s the sort of thing the government prefers to keep covered up. When Quirks first started appearing, there was a humanitarian crisis. People didn’t know what still counted as human. From the chaos arose the most powerful villain of all time. He went by the name of his Quirk, All for One. He had the power to take Quirks from others and forcibly give them to people. Sometimes, the sheer power of a Quirk would be too much for the human body to handle, and they’d morph into something like Nomu. Super strong, super resistant, super obedient.”
“Well, that seems to describe demons pretty well,” Sanemi scowled. “Fine, most demons,” he amended when Yushiro glared at him. “How do we know this All for One guy isn’t a reincarnation of Muzan or something?”
“It’s a possibility,” Yushiro said. “But unlikely. All for One is a lot smarter than Muzan ever was. And, there’s no precedent. I’ve seen almost every single human reincarnate at least once. No one that died as a demon has been reborn yet, so it might not even be possible.”
Sanemi fell into a stunned silence. Giyu recognized a fearful, terrified look in his eyes. They had to wrap this up quickly. “So, what you’re saying is that there are more than one Nomu, and that All for One is behind them?”
“Yes, to both of them,” Yushiro replied. “Based on the news I watched, that Tomura Shigaraki is far too immature to even lead a band of small time criminals. No, there is someone else pulling the strings there, definitely. I wouldn’t put it past All for One to have stolen some type of immortality Quirk, so he could definitely still be alive.”
Giyu bid Yushiro goodbye and he and Sanemi left the house. It vanished from view behind them as Yushiro recast his Blood Demon Art.
“Sanemi, are you-”
“‘No one that died as a demon has been reborn yet, so it might not even be possible,’” Sanemi echoed Yushiro’s words. The meaning dawned on Giyu.
“But, does that mean that Mom can’t be reborn? Or Genya? My pathetic excuse of a father has a better chance of being reborn than them? What kind of messed up world is this?”
“You don’t know that for a fact,” Giyu tried to console him. “Yushiro himself wasn’t sure, and there’s no way he knew every demon in existence.”
Sanemi just shook his head in response, and he was silent the whole way home. He only spoke up again when they were home and in bed.
“Giyu, I’m gonna find that All for One, and I’m gonna put an end to him. Even if he’s not a reincarnation of Muzan, he-”
“I know,” Giyu murmured. “But, I’m not letting you walk this path alone anymore.”
Within a week, with uniforms retailored and Nichirin blades resmelted, the Wind and Water Pillars once again took to the nighttime streets for the first time in over three centuries, vowing to keep the innocent people safe from the evils that lurked in the dark.