there's a truth in the blood

Published: Jan. 27, 2022.

Words: 2,217.

Chapters: 1/1.


The Gun Devil demands the most primal of instincts from its mortal host. Aki shuffled home. Aki knocked on the door. Aki speaks Denji's name to a raw, red soreness.

(Makima warns him, but the Gun Fiend is too familiar for Denji to fight.)


please mind the archive warnings and tags! this fic features heavy noncon and bodily harm being inflicted.

title taken from the lyrics of to the blade by everything everything.

On AO3.


He likes how Makima says his name. She looks him in the eye and smiles, pretty and lovely and kind. First, fifth, tenth time, it doesn't get old, perpetually fresh and rejuvenating.

"This time--"

He likes it, too, when she gives him orders. Makima removes the complexity from the hard stuff. She tells him to do something, and he does. Simple and rewarding, Makima requires no thinking and makes it so even an idiot like him can succeed.

"--don't think about anything while you fight."

Sucks, then, that he can't follow this order. Because the Gun Fiend knocks at the door, and Aki isn't home yet, and Power and Meowy can't be far enough away, and--

Aki fires a bullet. Compressed metal rips through Denji, sheer close-quarters force rending top from bottom as the pieces of him fly out with detritus into the street. Dull perception filters a cacophony of chaos--Power yelling from an indiscernible direction, screams from the dying and now dead, buildings buckling in the wake of destruction--as a splatter of gore revives itself in the shape of Denji. Bones creak back into the correct angle, and muscle sleeves itself over. A backdrop of terror crescendos with every modicum of awareness he regains.

And, it'd be easy--easy like Makima makes it--for Denji to let it go, to not think. It's what Makima told him to do before the phone went dead and the gun-tumor face of Hayakawa Aki groaned out Denji's name.

Natural, a pure no brainer, Denji pounds across concrete to position himself between Power and Aki. Of course he wouldn't let Power get hurt; she'd never stop complaining if he did. He shouts her off, locks tight gun and chainsaw, and though she looks back at the Gun-Fiend-that-is-Aki, Power clears out. Like Denji, she's stupid, but, also like Denji, she knows when to cover her ass and book it.

Except Denji can't leave. Not with the Gun Fiend leering him down, tottering toward him and biting out Denji's name.

Once, twice, thrice, he keeps saying it, but it's not like how Makima says it. It's not like how Aki should say it either. It's so deeply and utterly not Aki that Denji doesn't want to process what he knows is reality, and even if you subtract the gun barrel pushing out of Aki's cranium, Aki wouldn't be a pretty girl like Makima. Aki's never been pretty or lovely or kind.

But he's Aki.

And Denji's sorry Makima. He really is, but he can't stop thinking.


"Aki, you stupid idiot! Listen! I don't want to hurt you! Stop this fucking bullshit!"

Chewed over and spat out, like Aki's snagged his teeth in it again and again and again: "Denji."

Smiling--this foul mimicry of Aki smiles as he shoves Denji back with inhuman strength and aims. The bullet incinerates all that lies in its path, less a tangible object and more an arc of death. Annihilation sears blisteringly near, and Denji ducks aside of it then swings back in through the too-warm, smokey air.

A rhythm subsumes them. In, swiping without intent to hurt Aki, to hurt the living weapon possessing Aki. Out, dodging destruction by the slimmest of breadths. In, and out. In, and out. A thousand-layered chorus of grief resounds, pounding in Denji's ears as Aki's bullets incinerate any and all in their path. Inevitable tragedy compounds because this is a losing battle, no matter how well Denji holds his own, and it must be a losing battle. Victory would mean the inconceivable.

Screams of Aki's name punctuate each of Denji's actions, but the Gun Devil mires Aki deep within itself. Nothing constrains the monster possessing Aki, so it's a matter of time before Aki gets in a good hit and topples Denji onto his ass. Except it is truly less being knocked over and more half of Denji's side being blown off, or so it feels as he bleeds out on the concrete, intestines slipping out in a sick slide of gravity. Chainsaws melt away into the emptiness splitting Denji's hands and forearms in two, devilish influence making a valiant attempt to knit that and the singed hole in his side back together.

Blood gurgles in Denji's throat as a misshapen shadow falls across him. Eyes warped sightless, smile a grim rictus, voice tasting Denji's name--this isn't Aki. It couldn't be Aki. But this close, it's Aki, it's Aki, it's Aki.

It's Hayakawa Aki.

Makima was right. Don't think about anything. If Denji never let the gears in his brain start turning, it would have been better because it's Aki, it's Aki, it's Aki, and maybe it isn't even the blood loss undermining Denji, maybe it's just how fucking much he hates this.

"Aki--" He coughs, rasps out the rest: "I don't want to hurt you!"

A pause like Aki might have understood, taken a mental club to the Gun Devil and shoved it aside. His lips quiver; the smile remains steadfast. "Denji."

"No, no--Aki. Aki, listen to me. It's Denji."

Aki knows, can't shut up about how yes, it is Denji; how nice of Denji to confirm it in case Aki worried he had the wrong useless moron. Because fuck, this is about the whole of Denji's negotiating tactics beyond beating the shit out of an opponent until they keel over. His head aches in tandem with his side, pulsing with his frustration and anger and fear at how Aki won't fucking listen.

Denji wishes this moment could prolong itself, stretch and hold until he miraculously divines a way to resolve this with both himself and Aki alive. The devil in Aki couldn't care less. Mercy, the luxury to retreat into nonaction vanished with Denji's chainsaws, and so Denji can only hazily stare up at Aki's blighted face.

A gun barrel hovers over Denji, and this--this might be where Denji dies, where Aki shoots through his borrowed heart then wanders off to blast a crater in place of Tokyo. But instead of shooting, the barrel stabs into Denji's mouth and knocks against his teeth. His tongue burns against the rifle muzzle, still scalding hot after repeat firings. Aki looms over him as he pumps the muzzle in and out of Denji's mouth, like the rifle truly is his replacement arm and the muzzle is the finger he's jabbed in out of curiosity, like a kid poking a dead animal with a stick.

Is that what Denji is? He might laugh if his mouth weren't in state of semi-permanent injury, healing and burning anew. What a miserable place to die. What a way to disappoint Pochita. He expects the spit-coated muzzle to fire off in his mouth, smear his pitiful brains on the pavement in testament to how he failed Makima.

As sharp and callous in its withdrawal as it was in its insertion, the rifle barrel whips out, and Denji, lips numbed in the heal-and-burn process, drools and gurgles, "Aki."

Shaped by Aki's smile: "Denji."

Denji might have lost a few teeth from that shit, but all of Aki's glitter white in the rictus formed by his mouth. A hazy sort of pain spreads through Denji, so wide in what it encompasses even where his intestines leak from his split-open body and numbs it to near equality with his sore mouth.

Aki's knees crack against the pavement as he drops down, and faintly, so very faintly, Denji frowns. Annoying. Aki needs his body; the Gun Devil's fucked near everything, but treating Aki's body that callously is a more personal affront.

Aki straddles Denji's thighs, one of his knees dipped in a puddle of Denji's blood and gore.

A gun goes off. The sound and its vibration are so powerful that Denji's vision smears and blurs, Aki's awful visage warped enough to maybe be mistaken for just Hayakawa Aki. It takes a long moment of a sky dyed bloody by dusk, of smiles stretched around the syllables of "Denji," but Denji does realize it. His head lulls to the right, and there, he witnesses the charred stump of his upper arm, the rest incinerated by the blast. The shock and distant thrum of fresh pain steal over him.

It's been worse. Denji's been chopped to bits and thrown in the trash. Right now, he's mostly intact--lost an arm, had a chunk ripped out of him with intestines spilling out (maybe, he can't see, and who the fuck cares), bruised and bloody all over. But that's not bad.

In a microcosm, it's really not bad.

And, oh, how truly fucking out of it he must be to unfocus enough to try and account for his body's state when the weight of the Gun Devil's vessel presses into him.

Aki's not gentle. Their first meeting personifies it, and Denji might forgive it, but he certainly hasn't forgotten it. Aki's no softer on Power, perfectly willing to come back at her with all the force necessary when she's being irritating. So, Aki sitting heavy on Denji's legs isn't strange--some drifting though of Denji's wondering what the hell he did to piss off Topknot, but--


Aki digs his fingers into the open wound on Denji's side. They splay out inside him, prod up against his flesh like an alien creature threatening to burst out from within him. Heaving gasps of air wheeze out between his blood-flecked teeth, pain an all-consuming constant.

It's some kind of horrifying parody of intimacy: Denji splayed out on his back, flushed and out of breath, gasping addled pleas and Aki's name. Aki looms over him, intent and smiling and with a hand shoved inside of Denji. Not just a parody, it's like a fucked-up allegory, like a fucked-up allegory where this is how Denji loses his virginity.

Frightening how close it errs to that--or it would be if Denji weren't tapped out physically and emotionally already. Idle, so idle as Aki plays with his guts, Denji lingers on a fact: the Gun Devil rots Aki from the inside, but Aki still came home, and again and again, he asks for Denji.

Maybe it's not an allegory. Maybe it's not an accident. Maybe the Gun Devil's brought something buried deep to the surface.

A dry, bitter scoff of a laugh crashes into a mouth-straining extended cry of pain. Impossible, all so damn impossible, and yet--

Pain hazes and obscures, and belated hysteria devours Denji alive as freedom blesses his legs. Who the fuck knows why, but Aki removes himself, and it's almost a relief, the distantly numb pain entangling with a searing internal pain that might boil him alive.

Shadows grow long. The sky darkens, a gradient of bloody to black. And the most stark and unsettling realization overcomes Denji.

"--Aki, no, d--" Words gasped out of him, through spittle and blood. "Aki."

Like an echo back at him, encompassing him so utterly and completely: "Denji. Denji. Denji."

The Gun Devil demands the most primal of instincts from its mortal host. Aki shuffled home. Aki knocked on the door. Aki speaks Denji's name to a raw, red soreness.

Why Denji. Why not Power. Why not Makima.

(It's not a question. Because it's not an allegory or an accident.)

Bad goes to worse in a way too quick for Denji to perceive. He has reached an equilibrium of pain, all surfeit and dull to its sting, but something new and sharp and sudden pierces his awareness of pain. Foggy, vague, his vision spirals across the darkening sky.

Inside him, something moves. Smooth and unbending, long and thin, cold and sapping him of warmth, this is unlike the hand thrust in him before. Slow from terror and slow from blood loss, he cranes his neck to look down the length of his body.

Aki smiles, and Denji understands what is inside him.

And worst yet, a comedy of misery, the audience raring back in raucous laughter--Denji's blood-starved, half-dead body refuses comprehension. The raw scrape of the gun barrel inside has turned him on. His stupid fucking dick is hard, and arousal slams up against the numbness suffusing him. Tears streak his cheeks, staining red and filthy as he weakly sobs. It cannot be the action itself, the insertion and brutal thrusts; no, not at all. Denji isn't a masochist. He doesn't enjoy this, pleading with Aki to stop hurting him. Desperation throttles Denji, suspends any reasoning far beyond his grasp.


It is what it is. So, Denji limply lets Aki fuck him dry on the rifle grown from the stump of his left arm. It comes in short punches of motion--in and out, in and out--Aki uncaring as he smiles, dragging Denji across the ground.

Makima--Makima, he's so sorry. He should have listened, but he couldn't. Even now, Denji knows he wouldn't be able to do it.

This isn't Aki. A devil stole his face and uses it to wreak chaos. But it is Aki. That is Aki's smiling face, that is Aki's whisper, and that is Aki's shadowed gaze held rapt as his smile grows wider and wider.

Contradiction mires Denji beyond answer, beyond comprehension.

He's already too overwhelmed to feel much when Aki finally pulls the trigger and the blast sears through him.