“And God has never played his role cause I’m the one who saves my soul.”
- The Perfect World from B: The Beginning
A reaper, that was what the ghouls of different wards were calling the figure that stalked the streets, leaving behind the bodies of those who hunted the ghouls, of humans who used ghouls to cover their own crimes. Snow was falling, slowly becoming red from the blood that covered square that the hooded figure walked through. It was strange, something so pure as the snow becoming tainted as blood seeped and consumed its purity. The flakes fell into his black gloved hands, melting into small pools. The snow crunched beneath his sneakers, the only part of his attire that held any color any longer, stepping in a slow pattern. A sad smile was on his features, hidden beneath a black bandana covering his mouth and nose. “My love, my love, remember the cries when gold ruled with iron reins. We roared, we roared, we twisted and screamed.”
“For ours, a vale of better dreams.”
He lifted his eyes towards where they stood, a line of ghouls know Aogiri Tree. It was Eye Patch who had spoken, and was stepping forward, through the snow, through the bodies that were steadily being covered. Eye Patch lifted his hand, extending it to the figure. “Hello Reaper.”
The hooded figured stood still, not moving. Despite everything, despite how good he was at what he did, he was still only human. The wings upon his back were a stolen quinque prototype. He was a human, and these were the ghouls. The one with his hand held out was the only one he believed he could trust, the only one he hoped he could.
He hesitated before he lifted his hands and removed his hood. His golden hair stood out against the gray background, a stark contrast. With a gloved hand he lowered the bandana he had been using to conceal his face. Hide smiled, tilting his head ever so slightly. “Hello…Kaneki.”
Hide opened his eyes, becoming more aware of the room that he was in. It was not his own, and every inch of his body ached severely. The room was plain, but furnished to be comfortable. His clothes were clean, in a pile on the foot of his bed. He turned his head, ignoring the dull ache to look at Kaneki. His friend was there, holding his hand, his eye watering with happy tears. “Ain’t a funeral man, don’t got to look so sad,” Hide said, smiling a bit at him.
Then he laughed as Kaneki’s eyes widened, rushing to help him as he sat up only to hug him so tightly he tried to stop him. “Hide you’re okay…”
“Yeah I’ll be fine.” Hide reached up checking for the bandages around his head, on his face, his other hand still holding onto Kaneki’s. “Kaneki…I need to ask you something…”
“What is it?” That was fear, there was fear in his voice. It broke Hide’s heart to hear his friend so distracted and all because of him.
“When was the last time you ate?” It wasn’t directly asking him flat out if he was a ghoul or not, it was asking the more important question. Because he had seen that hungry look in Kaneki’s eyes, heard his words, and had seen when another ghoul had had to stop him. He wasn’t asking out of fear though, there was no fear in his eyes, just concern.
Hide reached up and gently removed the eyepatch from his friend’s face. The eye that stared back at him was not human, it was that of a ghoul. “Look I’ve suspected okay?” he said, his voice calm, lowering the eyepatch back down, his fingers lingering on Kaneki’s cheek. “When have you last eaten?”
“Come on man. Making you an offer but I’m not about to go through with it if you’re just gonna rip my throat out.”
The statement hung in the air, the room silent as Hide continued to gaze at Kaneki. “It’s your choice. But I also know you Kaneki. Can’t bare to hurt others even if it means you suffer. Don’t have to suffer, let me help you.”
Kaneki moved so suddenly that it almost startled Hide. One moment he was beside the bed, the next, he was sitting on the edge of it, very close to him. Those eyes of his were wide, and he looked hungry. Damn him, even when he ate he wasn’t eating enough. Hide tapped his shoulder, a place that he’d have no issues caring for the wound. There was no going to the hospital with a ghoul bite. That would bring the CCG, and Hide would rather die than put Kaneki in danger.
Shaking hands grasped at his shoulders, and he could feel the heat of Kaneki’s breath against his skin because he’s thought of this. Of course Kaneki has thought of eating him, and here was Hide offering himself. Not all, just a bite. Hide just smiled, bringing a hand up to run through Kaneki’s jet black hair, the locks soft against his fingers.
“You can. You have to. Or you’ll be worse, you’ll become the monster you don’t want to be.”
“I’m fine Kaneki. I am.” He pressed his hand to the back of his head, guiding him closer. “I won’t hate you, I won’t fear you. I will always be here because I-“ The words died on his lips as the pain shot through his shoulder, Kaneki’s teeth ripping into the flesh of his shoulder. One of Hide’s hands grasped at Kaneki’s back, the other tangling in his hair. The faint sound of growling made his heart race all the faster.
A smile spread across his features as he felt Kaneki, who had started to tremble, shift, their eyes locking. The red blood was stood out upon his lips, concern and fear clear in his eyes. Hide’s hand slid down to cup his cheek, brushing his thumb just under where the eye patch still was. “See? I’m fine. Still right here.” Why was he leaning up? Was he really going to? This was stupid, he wasn’t thinking clearly….beyond that he was so in love with the man before him he was willing to give up everything for him.
His lips were hovering over Kaneki’s giving him that moment to pull away from him. That moment his heart felt as if it was going to leap from his chest, and he wasn’t certain how he’d respond if Kaneki pulled away from him. “Tell me to stop…” he whispered to him. “And I will. Tell me, and I’ll pull away.”
Kaneki didn’t tell him to stop. Instead, he felt his fingers run through his hair. It was not the scenario that Hide had imagined in all his long and lonely nights. Never had he thought that he’d be bandaged in a bed with a fresh bite wound on his shoulder and his mouth covering Kaneki’s mouth. But oh how he so desperately wanted to kiss him. He had thought he lost him once, twice, and he’d be damned if he was going to let him go again. He would do whatever he could.
As Kaneki’s lips met his own, Hide was certain that his heart stopped beating. The other was hesitant, uncertain, and the kiss brief before Kaneki pulled back just to look at him. Then they were kissing again, he tasted of blood, that sharp copper taste filling his mouth as his hand moved to the back of Kaneki’s neck, but his lips were soft against his own, warm, considerate in the way that Kaneki always seemed to be.
It was only when Kaneki’s hand hit the wound on his shoulder did Hide pulled back with a soft groan of pain. He opened his eyes to look at Kaneki, giving a sort of half smile. His cheeks were flushed pink, his eye dilated, lips parted, and Hide was certain he had never looked better than he did at that moment.
“Should get that taken care of,” Hide mused, letting his hand brush against Kaneki’s cheek once more. All he wanted was to pull him close, to shower him in the love and affection that he knew Kaneki deserved to know. It was everything that he had deserved to know.
“Are you okay?” Kaneki asked, and it made his heart ache to hear the sorrow in his voice. Despite it all, he knew that Kaneki felt guilt, it had been him that had caused the wound on his shoulder.
“I am, I promise.” He moved his hands away and let Kaneki stand, watching him search and then find the spare bandages that had been left behind in the room. He watched him as he carefully tended to the wound. “I’ll do whatever I have to, to keep you safe Kaneki… I always will.” No response came from him. “If you can’t hunt, I’ll get you food. If you have an issue taking the food they bring you here, I’ll find you something you will eat. I won’t let you suffer, I swear to you. I won’t.”
Remember how I said that I might mention content stuff for chapters? Beyond this point there shall be blood, murder, death, and all that sort of stuff.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was easier than he had expected at first. It wasn’t that Hide was actually killing people, just getting to accidents before the authorities and if the person was dead, making use. Depending on the accident, no one ever suspected that someone was stealing hunks of flesh from the corpses. There was no moral conflict for Hide, the people were already dead, they could no longer feel the pain others were, they were no longer suffering.
The first time that he had killed someone had bene at the site of one of the accidents he had stumbled across. It had just happened, Hide had actually watched as the car slammed into a parked truck. It took the roof of the car clean off. He pulled his dark hood over his head, the bandana around his nose and mouth before he approached. What he saw though was enough to break his heart. A piece of glass from the windshield had been driven into the woman’s neck a young child in the seat behind her crying.
“S-Sav-“ The words were coming, blood spurting from the wound, foaming at the corners of her mouth. It was easy to make out the word. Save.
Hide moved quickly to the back of the car, using his knife to cut the belt that kept the child strapped in. The poor girl’s leg was hanging useless, and she was screaming in pain. But he managed to get her out, holding her head against his shoulder as he carried her a safe distance away. The scent of gas, the distant wail of sirens, had Hide cursing under his breath. He set the child down, looking around before he went back for the mother. But as he looked, the wound was worse, not just her neck, part of the car had been driven through her abdomen.
Mercy was not something he had expected, but that look in her eyes. There was nothing but pain left in them, fear. “She’s safe,” he said, his voice hushed. “She is safe. I made sure she was safe.” Sirens were getting closer. If he got caught here he was not certain that he could explain his way out of this one. She couldn’t breathe, more of the foaming blood was coming from his mouth as he placed his hand on the piece of glass at her throat, and shoved it further in. Blood spurted from the wound, and in a matter of seconds, the woman’s eyes closed.
As he stepped back from the car, his eyes locked onto a figure by the girl; a figure with black and red eyes who was salivating as the girl continued to cry. Hide, without a second thought, lunged forward and drove the knife into the ghoul’s abdomen.
“You’re…you’re human?!” The ghoul snarled, trying to shove Hide back. Hide locked eyes with the monster, pulling the blade from his stomach, and driving it into his throat. It was not what he intended, but the child was an innocent and he had to disappear. Let them find the dying ghoul, let them blame the dying ghoul who would have willingly eaten a child. The little girl had gone silent, staring with wide frightened eyes towards him. The ghoul fell to the ground, clawing at his throat to try and stop the bleeding. Without food though, he could not regenerate. Hide lifted the small child holding her until the last possible second, when he spotted the cars in the distance.
The black clothing he wore helped him to disappear into the darkened ally and hid the blood that had splattered his clothing, watching as police and emergency personnel swarmed the area, one of the going to the little girl, the others drawing their guns on the ghoul. Damn it his intention had been to get food for Kaneki… He had failed miserably. With one glance back, he saw the child still staring at him, but he couldn’t go back for her, he had to leave.
It only hit him when he got back to Kaneki’s place, letting himself in with the key that was above the door frame, that he had just killed two people. His hand was shaking so badly that he was unable to turn the water for the shower, having already stripped down and out of the black clothing, sticking them in the wash with as much salt as he could find to remove the stains and detergent to remove the scent. “Damn it come on Hide you had no choice,” he snapped to himself reaching for the handle again.
He saw the woman’s eyes, and his hand grasped so hard at the handle of the shower, that for the first time he became aware of the gash on his palm. For a long while, he stared at it, he had been so unaware that he had not felt the glass slice into his skin.
Kaneki was there, coming up behind him, reaching around to turn on the water. “I’m sorry Kaneki, I messed up. Woman was still alive when I got there, had a kid and another ghoul showed up cause of the blood and I-“
“What happened to the child?” Kaneki took hold of his hand, brushing his thumb just under the gash, then over it, checking for fragments of glass.
“Saved her…killed the mom and the ghoul,” he muttered, his hands starting to shake again. Murderer. Murderer.
“Would the woman have died either way?”
“Would the ghoul have eaten the child?”
“Then,” Kaneki said lifting Hide’s hand, bringing his palm to his mouth to run his tongue along the wound. It was the strangest feeling, the pain sending shivers that weren’t unpleasant down his spine. “You did what you had to to save the child. She’d be dead if not for you. Clean up. I’ll make you something to eat.”
“Why are you so calm?” Hide asked, staring at his friend as if he was out of his mind, only to feel his soft tongue on the cut on his palm again. “Kaneki…”
“Hide, I need you to get cleaned up.” When their eyes met, his ghoul eye had taken over. “I will not hurt you.”
Without another protest, Hide stepped under the hot water, letting it wash away the traces of blood, the sweat from his body, and ease his tense muscles. His eyes were on his hand, fingers brushing over the wound as the scent of food started to waft into the bathroom. He had brought death to someone who had deserved it, the ghoul had been about to kill a child. He was a reaper, claiming the life of someone who dared to threaten others. Was there anyone even bothering to look out for those who couldn’t defend themselves?
He knew there were people out there making their crimes look like ghouls, letting them take the blame for their own crimes.
The water had run cold by the time he stepped out of the shower and put on his clean clothes, pajamas that hung loose over his frame. He padded barefoot into the kitchen, wrapping his arms around Kaneki, pressing his lips to his shoulder. He felt Kaneki relax back against him, one of his hands raising to brush through his golden hair. “You don’t have to do this for me,” he said softly. It was a conversation that they had had multiple times over the past several weeks since they had kissed. “I can survive just with Anteku.”
“You can’t…the police patrol that spot you and the others would use to find food.” Hide knew, he had gone and checked. Spent several days going there at different times at night to see a police car there every single time. It just was not worth the risk. “You’re the one who told me they need help, they have those there who cannot feed themselves. Hinami, yourself. There are those who need what you provide and you can’t. So I’m helping.”
“I never wanted you to kill for me.”
“I told you once Kaneki,” he said nuzzling the spot right by his ear. “I’d do anything for you.”
It was the following day while they were both at Anteku that the owner, Mr. Yoshimura asked to speak with him. Hide followed him, exchanging a single glance with Kaneki who would not meet his eyes as he went to one of the private rooms. “Kaneki told you?” Hide asked once the door was closed, shoving his hands into his pockets.
“I cannot condone what you did or what you are doing,” Mr. Yoshimura said softly, his voice kind and patient in a way that made Hide shift uncomfortably. “You went from gathering food to killing two people in a night. I am aware you had no choice-“
“I didn’t. The mother was dying and the ghoul would have eaten the child.”
“How far are you willing to go to keep your friend safe? Are you really willing to sacrifice everything that makes you human for him?”
Hide fell silent his eyes dropping to the floor.
“What I have built here, a safe place for us, we do not, we cannot have attention be drawn to our ward. If you must continue. It must be outside the city.”
Hide’s eyes were on his bandaged hand, images of Kaneki, of that kind smile he had flashing through his mind.
“Let me be clear, we never had this conversation, and we will not be there to help you if you should find yourself in danger.”
He could still remember that fearful look in Kaneki’s eyes when he had confronted him about what he was, and the blood on his lips when he had bitten and eaten his flesh. Or the terrified eyes of the little girl from last night at the sight of the ghoul.
“Nor am I asking you to help us. Do we have an understanding?”
“Yes sir,” he said lifting his eyes to look at the elderly man. He turned to go.
“Do you have a mask?”
“I do. No one can tell who I am.”
“Good luck Mr. Nagachika.”
Hide left the room venturing back downstairs to the table he had been sitting at to work on a class assignment. His fingers were toying with his golden hair, and he paused. He’d have to stop by the drug store on his way home…there was still one part of him that would be noticeable when he hunted otherwise.
It escalated quickly, this chapter was not what i had intended but I rolled with it.
It had been three days since Hide could last remember he actually slept. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw the faces. Those faces from the other night, the woman, the ghoul, the child. Haunting him, mocking him, asking him constantly. Why?
“Shut up!” Hide shouted, his voice seeming louder in the otherwise quiet apartment. “Shut up and leave me alone!” His fingers tugged at his hair as his body hunching forward. It was not supposed to be like this, it wasn’t. This was not what he had intended to have happen at all. He had never wanted to be a killer, had never wanted to become what for so long he feared. He was like them now wasn’t he? No. He was worse, those two he had killed he had not eaten, he had not taken any of their flesh back for Kaneki to eat.
What if that girl had been Kaneki?
Hide lifted his head looking around the apartment. There had been a voice, he was certain of it. A voice he knew, that was so familiar to him. “Who’s there?”
What if that small child had been your best friend while you lay dying in a car? What if Kaneki had been about to be eaten by a ghoul and you- Oh wait. You already did stand by.
Hide pushed to his feet, heading towards the small bathroom. There was the sound of the shower, and the sound of the voice, steam billowing out from under the door. He groped along the wall, picking up the nearest object, a broom, holding it as if he would a bat. Why didn’t Kaneki have anything that even resembled a weapon?
You had a bad feeling about Rize. You did, and yet you let him go on the date anyways. You should have been there, you should have protected him. You failed him Hideyoshi. You failed so miserably and you failed again.
Hide shoved open the door, but there was no one. The shower wasn’t on, there was no one standing in the bathroom. He went over turning the water on as hot as he could. A shower that was what he needed, something to wash away the fog from his mind. It would help him wake-
It was as he straightened up that he caught the reflection in the mirror. It was himself, in the black hoodie with the bandana wrapped around his face. All it took was a quick glance down to reassure himself that no he hadn’t been wearing it. He was in his usual bright clothes.
It took every fiber of his being not to shatter the mirror with his fist. He did jerk back, his eyes widening at his reflection as it reached up and lowered the bandana. His mouth was covered in blood.
Oh dear Hide, look at you, scared of your own damn shadow. Such a sad thing to see someone fall just so far. You failed him again.
“I didn’t. I had no choice I.”
You did. You could have left the child in the car, it didn’t explode. She would have lived. You would not have risked her being eaten by the ghoul, you would not have had to kill the mother. You would have been able to feed your friend. But look at you, not even able to offer yourself again.
No. I’m not. You need to listen and listen good kid. You haven’t been sleeping right? You’ll get sloppy. That’s how you’ll get caught and you can bet they’d look into Kaneki and then kill him. Maybe everyone at that shop. Get your fucking act together or you’ll hurt Kaneki again.
Hide’s hands grasped at the sink as he stared at himself. His eyes were different, they looked no longer human, no longer happy. “I’m not a murderer.”
No. You’re not. You’re a reaper. You bring death to those who have it coming anyways. Those who deserve to die. A black gloved hand reached through the mirror, grasped his chin. You can be fearless, and limitless. Become a hunter, a wolf, and do what you have to to keep your pack safe. The reflections eyes flashed and he was staring into the eyes of a ghoul. Or become what you fear most as you watch Kaneki die.
Hide jerked back with a surprised yelp, stumbling, his head cracking hard against the wall. The door to the bathroom burst open again, and Kaneki was there kneeling beside him. His stomach was in absolute knots as he lurched away from Kaneki and towards the toilet, coughing harshly as he gagged. The bile burned his throat his mouth, his hands trembling as he covered his mouth.
He was only half aware of Kaneki pressing a cool glass of water into his hand, insisting he rinse his mouth out. The whole time Kaneki continued to talk to him, telling him exactly what he was doing while he did it. Kaneki got him up, helping him to bed. He laid him down, stroked his hair. He mentioned something about going to work, that he’d call him later to make sure he was okay. That he was to rest, and to not go to university that day. His voice sounded so far away as Hide let the darkness consume him and he drifted asleep.
By the time he woke up, the sun was beginning to dip behind the horizon sending orange red light into the room. His mouth felt disgusting, as if he had swallowed a wad of dry wool. His hand fumbled for his phone. No messages from Kaneki. Wait, hadn’t he said he would call? Maybe he just had forgotten or something had happened that he got held up. Kaneki was not one to just forget when he said he was going to do something.
It was a simple decision, Hide decided as he got up, pulling on his shoes. He would go to the coffee shop and see if Kaneki was still there. But first, he desperately needed to brush his teeth.