Actions

Work Header

Unbalanced

Work Text:

Kaneki Ken feels like shit.

He's been sitting on his bed for twenty minutes now, the bottoms of his bare feet pressed together and his hands toying with the corner of a sheet, caught in a warm, uncomfortable haze. He has things to do, but he can't bring himself to do any of them, not when his mind offers such … such compelling imagery. He'd read about this, these hormone imbalances, known they were supposed to happen periodically, as an extension of other “ghoul instincts” – but nothing could have prepared him for how he would actually feel. Useless, and slow, and stupid. Also, desperate. It's been like this for days and nothing has helped, not even long, long showers and … uh, well, doing things to himself. Often.

Kaneki shifts uncomfortably. He's all out of tissues, is the smallest and most immediate of his problems. He'd take a shower, but he literally just finished one and he doesn't think he has the hot water for another. So really, he's caught in a dilemma – hard as hell but with no way of, of relieving himself.

Visions swim behind his eyelids when he closes them. Grinning, unidentifiable strangers, crawling over him, shoving him down, yes, holding him there, handling him roughly, fucking him, slow and hard and good. Oh, fuck. Without thinking about it, he grinds the heel of his palm against his crotch and a moan slips out from between his lips. His self-control wanes quickly. Soon he's coming again, keeping himself mostly silent except for a sharp, aborted cry when he spills himself over the inside of his pants.

Shit.

Ah, that's gross. That's … really gross. The discomfort is enough to finally propel him from bed, and so he goes into the bathroom, feeling his pants press uncomfortably against him, to wash his hands. Kaneki stares at the mess swirling stringily down the drain and hates himself. Useless. He's been absolutely useless, ever since he started feeling this way. It's the worst.

He changes his underwear with an almost comically blank expression on his face, like if it was any less exciting, he'd die. After he's done, he lets the soiled garment hang on his fingertip, considering. It's bigger than a tissue, and besides, it's cloth. He could probably go for a pretty long time just using this.

No, Kaneki! he tells himself firmly. He's not going to be that ghoul. He's going to be a decent member of society, and at the very least go out and buy a box of tissues to stop himself from becoming a totally nasty pervert. And he's going to wash … everything, actually. Yes, everything he owns. And then he's going to dump a glass of ice water on his head.

Tissues first.

He almost goes out just then, but then he checks himself in the mirror – no, that won't do. Alone in his apartment, it's fine for his kagune to fan calmly behind him, and for his ghoul eye to show black, but out on the streets that's sure to get him arrested for public indecency. He spends the next ten minutes coaxing his kagune to retract – they seem to like to emerge when he's especially aroused, and lately he's been having quite a time keeping them in. There. That's better, he thinks, and when he looks in the mirror, he decides today is definitely a day for the ol' eyepatch to get some use.

That done, he throws on a coat and steps out into the chilly evening, locking the door behind him. It's not that late, by college student standards, which means by normal standards it's crazy, but whatever. He's going to buy some fucking tissues. Kaneki knows roughly where the nearest convenience store is: still on-campus, well within walking distance. He shoves his hands in his pockets as he goes, less because it's cold (the night isn't that bad) and more out of a wish to appear smaller.

The ghoul body is severely susceptible to hormone imbalance, he remembers – even more so than the pubescent human. Much like humans, ghouls will begin to suffer from such imbalance in their teenage years. The effects of this include, but are not limited to, violent mood swings, inability to control the kagune or the kakugan, and an increase in sexual desires. Unlike in humans, this does not stabilize within a few years, and ghouls may continue to feel the effects of this unpredictable behavior for up to over a decade beyond its beginning.

Or so Kaneki had read in a health textbook once, shortly after he'd woken up from a surgery and received the unfortunate news, clinically delivered, that his transplant had transformed him into an artificial ghoul. A “half” ghoul, they called him. By now he figures that name isn't quite right – there's more ghoul to him than human, at this point. Anyway, ghouls sometimes get like this, is what he figured the textbook meant. Like, horny. Like, really horny. God, is he horny. He'd never felt anything like this back as a human, and even then he hadn't been at all immune to sexual … urges. Now, though. Now. Ugh.

To his good fortune, there's still a light on in the convenience store. The blond cashier at the desk has his brightly-colored headphones clamped over his ears and his face buried in a manga, so he doesn't even notice Kaneki enter, to the ghoul's relief. Kaneki detects an upbeat song blaring tinily from the headphones as he passes, and watches the blond's mouth move and his eyes widen and his fingers fumble the pages as he reads. He finds himself wondering what that mouth would taste like, and then wants to hit himself in the face. No, he admonishes himself, that's not for him.

He finds tissues fairly easily, then wastes a few more minutes loitering around the back of the store casting occasional glances at the back of the cashier's neck and trying to keep his mind from wandering to things, while at the same time kind of enjoying the mind-wandering, and that's the worst part of this feeling, really, is the conflict over whether he likes it or not.

Just as he finally approaches the counter, box under one arm, the blond cashier gives a sudden yell. There's a book-sounding flutter and impact, probably the manga sliding to the floor. Kaneki pulls up short, and the cashier whips his head around to stare at him.

“Shit,” he says, startled. “I didn't see you come in.”

“... The book?” Kaneki ventures, when the cashier offers no explanation as to why he yelled so suddenly.

“Huh?” Fuck and double fuck, this guy is cute. Kaneki would probably want just about anyone right now, but this guy makes it too, too easy. “Oh – no!” he's saying, his eyes lighting up. “It was the song.”

“The … song?”

The cashier rips the headphones from his head, smiling big. The smile goes well with his face, is the only way Kaneki can think to describe it. It fits him, it fits him very well. “Dude, this song is incredible,” he exalts, sweeping his hand to the side for emphasis. “I'm so pumped, I could flip this table!”

Kaneki doesn't know what kind of face he's making right now, but it must be priceless, because the cashier cracks up. Everything has been so quiet up until now – quiet enough that Kaneki had been able to hear strains of the music from the headphones, he remembers – it's kind of a shock to hear such a loud, unabashed sound. Reflexively, Kaneki holds the box closer to himself. “You look – so confused!” the cashier exclaims, slapping the counter with his palm. “Oh my God, that's great. I could take a picture.”

“Please don't,” Kaneki winces, and he must seem serious enough that the man bites back his laughter.

“Don't worry, I wouldn't without asking,” he says, then reaches over the counter and grabs the hem of Kaneki's shirt, yanking him unceremoniously closer. Kaneki very nearly spooks – if he hadn't been wearing his eyepatch, he's sure he would have revealed himself. “So, whatcha got?” the blond asks brightly, apparently oblivious to Kaneki's reaction. “I'll ring ya up.”

“Just this,” Kaneki says, putting the box on the counter and quickly retracting his hands to shove them in his pockets.

“Tissues?” the cashier says interestedly. “At ten at night?”

“... I ran out,” Kaneki says reluctantly.

It might just be Kaneki's mindset, but the grin the cashier gives him seems to imply complete awareness of why he's buying tissues at ten at night. Kaneki gulps, and fights back mental images of this cashier in terribly inappropriate situations – really, why did his mind always have to seize on the closest available flesh as fantasy fodder? Couldn't it be any more discreet?

“You ran out, huh,” the cashier is saying, clicking a scanner and flashing a red light over the barcode. “That sounds like – wait what the fuck?” Kaneki, at first afraid that the cashier had seen something incriminating (his kagune were still tucked away, right?), relaxes once he sees the blond is squinting at the computer. “You didn't pick out some special, luxury, like, gold-embroidered tissues, did you?” he asks skeptically, knocking his hand against the side of the machine. It looks old, and clunky.

“No,” Kaneki says, confused.

“Then why the fuck is this stupid thing trying to charge you so much?” mutters the cashier, now hitting the scanner against the table. “Here, let me try again.” He pulls the tissues out of Kaneki's grasp and re-scans them. “That was just once, right?” he asks Kaneki. “You heard it? Just one beep?”

Kaneki nods.

“Then, what's that?!” The cashier spins the screen around to show Kaneki, whose eyebrows shoot up.

What?” he exclaims – he hadn't brought that much money with him, and he'd been sure to bring extra. “That doesn't make sense!”

“I know, right?” says the cashier. “The sticker must be wrong? I don't know, should we go get another box and try that?”

“Sure,” Kaneki agrees worriedly. He definitely wants to avoid paying that much.

The cashier leads them through the store, humming tunelessly, and Kaneki studies him from behind, noting how his too-short jeans show off bony ankles and oh man is any flash of skin going to seem this … this intimate? Kaneki's thoughts turn weird – he thinks of sliding his hands from the man's ankles up the backs of his calves and oh God even if he doesn't get sex he still really wants contact.

The cashier stops, and Kaneki takes a moment to squeeze his eyes shut, feeling the eyepatch press against his face with the movement. “Here, how's this pattern?” he asks, holding up a box. Kaneki opens his eyes, regarding it, then shrugs. “Weird, it's got, like, little faces on it.” The cashier wrinkles his nose. “I don't like it, you probably want another one.”

“I don't really mind,” Kaneki says automatically, but the cashier is already digging through the boxes, pulling several from the shelves with noises of distaste.

“Why do we have so many ugly-ass boxes, anyway?” he complains, tossing box after box unceremoniously over his shoulder. Kaneki has to admit, they are pretty ugly, but it's just tissues. He doesn't see the big deal. He does have a really good view of the cashier's ass at this angle, on the other hand. He tries his best not to appreciate it, but it doesn't work.

“Hah!” the cashier eventually exclaims, withdrawing his head from the excavation. He knocks it against the top of the shelf in the process. “Ouch. Here, look, a normal one. Finally.”

It's a little appalling, Kaneki agrees, how many of the tissue boxes they'd had in stock were the ones with the faces, which actually are really ugly. This box, that the lightly panting cashier holds out proudly, just has stripes. They're not exactly normal – garish, loud colors, and if he was really going to be picky, he'd mention it, but of course he isn't. “That's fine, thank you,” is all he says, reaching for the box. “I can --”

The cashier has been distracted, staring ruefully around at the ground beside the shelf. “Oh man, that's a mess,” he says, scratching behind his ear with his free hand. “Whoops, I guess I didn't notice. But it's not really my fault, right? It was because of how ug--”

He looks back at Kaneki, and pauses. In reaching for the box, Kaneki had stepped forward, expecting the cashier to let go and back away – but since he didn't notice, they're now basically nose-to-nose.

Kaneki's whole body goes warm. He can smell the man's scent, warm and rich and compelling, watch the dilation of his pupils in deep brown irises, see the lightness of the ends of his short hair, brittle from bleach. The cashier is just a bit taller than he is. He really does have a very nice face – Kaneki had noticed when he came in, but now he notices all over again.

“Uh,” whispers the cashier, and Kaneki stiffens. “Uh, hey.”

“Hey,” Kaneki breathes back, not daring to move or speak up.

“Are we,” the cashier licks his lips, “having a moment?”

Kaneki blinks. That was … not very subtle. “Oh, um,” he stammers. “Uh, well?”

You can kiss me if you want, Kaneki imagines saying. You can kiss me, and do anything else, too. But no, that would be weird, says his good sense. He bites his tongue.

“Um,” the cashier says softly, and for a moment Kaneki is sure he's going to lean in – but instead he abruptly moves away, letting go of the box and leaving Kaneki with his hand in the air, confused and just a little disappointed. “You are adorable,” he announces.

Holy crap, this guy isn't embarrassed by anything. When Kaneki opens his mouth, his voice comes out strangled. “What?”

The cashier grins. “I said you're adorable. What's your name?”

“Kaneki Ken,” he says automatically. “Um, what --” Adorable is new, for one thing. Scary, sometimes, yeah, but he hasn't been called anything like adorable since before his surgery.

“I'm Nagachika Hideyoshi,” the cashier says enthusiastically. “Call me Hide, though. Please.” He holds out his right hand, and Kaneki stares at it blankly.

“I'd have to drop the tissues,” he says pointlessly. The cashier – Hide – just looks at him, until he transfers the box to his left hand and reaches out with his right. They shake hands, and Kaneki is over-conscious of the contact, firm and dry and kind of reassuring, Hide's fingers tight around his palm. “It's nice to meet you,” he remembers to say when their hands drop to their sides. “It's – yeah.”

Hide nods several times, as if that wasn't awkward at all. “Yeah, totally! Hey, you're a student here, right?”

“Yeah,” Kaneki says.

“What year are you?”

“I'm a sophomore.” So they're taking a step back, back to the formal introduction stage, it seems? Okay.

Hide grins. “Cool, me too!” he exclaims. “Somehow I've never seen you around before? What do you study?”

“Literature, primarily,” Kaneki answers, and Hide claps his hands in understanding.

“Ah, that would be it,” he says. “I'm mostly in the sciences. Social sciences. But it's weird we haven't run into each other at least once outside of classes, isn't it?”

Kaneki shrugs one shoulder. “I don't really … go out much?” he admits.

Hide's eyebrows shoot up. “Really? Not at all?”

Kaneki grimaces. “I didn't say that ...” he says, but it's true, really, and he hangs his head in defeat. “I mean … I, I have a lot of studying to do, usually.”

Bad excuse!” Hide exclaims. “We gotta fix that!” Kaneki tries to keep from flinching as Hide's hand shoots out towards him. Oh, he's only pointing. Good. “You and me,” Hide declares, “are going for dinner, after we're done with this. We're going to have fun. Have you eaten yet? What do you like?”

And now Kaneki tries to keep from flinching for an entirely different reason. “Uh...”

Kaneki's mind races desperately for an excuse. Or, well – it wars with itself over if he needs one. See, he hates pretending to eat human food. It tastes terrible, and he's nowhere near used to it, in the short year since the surgery. On the other hand, Hide seems nice and Kaneki kinda wants to get to know him better and also he's hot and maybe it's worth choking down a human meal to spend some time with him. “Are you allowed to leave on the job?” Kaneki stalls doubtfully, shifting his weight onto one foot.

“Pshhh, my shift's gonna end really soon anyway,” Hide dismisses. “Wait, riiiight. I'm at work, aren't I?” he exclaims. “What was I even doing?”

“The tissues,” Kaneki prompts.

“Oh, right,” says Hide. “That. Thanks.” He bends down and begins to reorder the boxes. “So,” he goes on, sticking his ass in the air in a way that's really not helping Kaneki's critical thinking. “Where do you want to go? I know a burger joint that's always open, wanna try it out?”

“I, uh, I don't know?” Kaneki hazards, wincing at how dumb that sounds.

“Or, if you're not that hungry,” Hide adds nonchalantly, “we could just go to the coffee shop down the street. I haven't gone there much, but I hear they make really good coffee.”

Kaneki shifts his weight onto his other foot. Okay. That settles it. He is going with this guy. “Uh, coffee sounds good,” he says, trying his best to sound not too relieved. “I mean, I've kinda eaten already, so ...”

“Great!” Hide straightens up with a bounce, the last three stray tissue boxes in his arms. “It's a date! Now, let's go see if the computer gods smile upon us, then, shall we?”

 


 

 

“Is it really a date?” Kaneki asks thoughtlessly, following Hide back to the register. Then he blushes – he can't believe he actually asked that. “Or – uh, what kind of date?” he tries. Nope, nope, shut up, Kaneki, You're just making it worse.

“It's a date date, of course!” Hide answers, sounding almost offended. “We had a Moment, didn't we? That means it's definitely a date!”

Kaneki can hear the capital letter in his voice. He flushes again. “That was an accident,” he protests weakly, but the look that Hide shoots him lets him know he's not buying it.

“Come on, they're all accidents,” he says. “You were staring at me and I was staring at you and things were all quiet and it was like oooohhhh – you know?”

Kaneki knows, and he wishes he didn't. “Let's just go see if it works,” he says instead. Ah, the old subject change tactic. Nice one, Kaneki Ken!

“The checkout? Yeah,” Hide says, suddenly worried. They reach the counter, and Kaneki sets down Tissue Box II. “Okay, say a prayer,” Hide commands, pressing his palms together.

Obediently, Kaneki copies Hide's motions, but all he thinks about is how cute that is, and how he'd really like to make out with Hide probably. “Here we go!”

Beep, goes the scanner, and Hide makes a show of closing his eyes and holding his breath and crossing his fingers before he turns to the screen and cracks his eyes open again.

“Aargh!” he exclaims.

He spins the monitor towards Kaneki – its display still shows the same inordinate sum as before. Kaneki raises his eyebrows. “Oh. Well.”

Siiiiiigh,” Hide articulates, miming putting his fist through the computer screen. “After I found the only not-ugly tissue box in the store, too.” He turns back to Kaneki, planting his hands on his hips. “Okay, for real,” Hide says to him. “How bad do you want these tissues? If it's a computer issue and not a barcode thing, I have no literally clue how to deal. I could try, I guess, but my shift's ending basically now and I just wanna go have coffee. Can you live without?”

Kaneki shrugs. “I won't die,” he says.

“Awesome!” Hide exclaims, with great relief. “Okay, we are scratching the purchase. Let me just make a note of this for tomorrow, then I'll clock out and we'll go. All right?”

“Yeah,” Kaneki says. For some reason, he feels lighter. He's not sure how to adequately express this. “Um, sure,” he finds himself adding, and – and smiling.

Hide, scribbling something on a piece of paper, looks up suddenly. “Aaaahhh!” he yells, staring at Kaneki.

“What?!” Kaneki asks urgently.

“You're so cute when you smile, oh my God!” Hide says, pounding the table with his fist. “Do that again!”

Kaneki isn't sure he can do it on command, but he tries anyway, scratching unconsciously at his chin. “Yeah!” Hide says. “Or, sort of! Man, I am going to make you smile. Like, twelve more times. Tonight.”

Kaneki is suddenly really glad he agreed to this date. “In a row?” he asks dryly.

Hide looks up at him again, eyes sparkling with humor. “Yeah, like one of those video game things. My score will say: 'Longest streak: 12 smiles.'”

Kaneki grins. “Does it only count as one even if I smile for a really long time?” he asks.

“Hmm, I'll have to think about that,” Hide replies, mock-seriously. “That was number one, by the way!”

He's finished writing his note now, putting his pen in a jar and taping the note to the monitor. Next, unceremoniously, he – well, he starts taking off his shirt. For some reason. What the fuck. Kaneki's eyes go wide, his mood changing so rapidly it almost gives him whiplash. “Um!” he says, trying to ignore where every single blood cell in his body just rushed. “What are you doing!?”

The sight of tan skin and the curve of his hip and the slightest bit of curly dark hair visible above the waist of his pants makes Kaneki's stomach do ridiculous things. Holy shit, he's hot. Kaneki wants to lick

“Relax, I'm just getting out of uniform,” Hide is saying, pulling off the beige polo bearing the store logo, to reveal a bright red-and-orange striped shirt underneath. Throughout, the hem has barely risen above the base of his ribcage. When it's clear that's as high as it's going to get, Kaneki's heart stops feeling like it wants to jump out of his chest. Okay, that was it, no need to panic, he says to himself. Also, stop being disappointed. “Why do you ask?” Hide smirks, trying to smooth down his ruffled hair, with minimal success. “Are you having another Moment?”

“Are you finished with the changing?” a mortified Kaneki asks.

“Yep,” Hide says. He takes the shirt and slings it over his shoulder, then makes a show of dusting invisible dirt off his hands. “I'm all done! So, we're going on this date now, or what?”

 



“Can I take your order?” Touka says, staring hard at Kaneki. Kaneki tries to sit straighter in his chair. It's not fair, she's younger than him, she shouldn't be able to make him feel so awkward, but there it is.

“Uh, yeah,” he says, grabbing pointlessly for his menu before remembering he doesn't need it. “Just coffee?”

“What kind of coffee?”

Kaneki glares at her, because she knows what kind of coffee. Why must she make him say it? “...Black,” he says eventually, not looking at Hide. He probably wouldn't guess about Kaneki's ghoul status on the basis of that – most people don't know much about the coffee thing – but it's a hint nonetheless.

“Okay,” Touka says, making a show of writing it down on her pad. “And you?” she addresses Hide.

Hide lifts his head. “Oh! Uh, I'll have coffee, too. But with cream. And like six sugars.”

Touka raises her eyebrows, but doesn't comment. “Got it,” she says. “Anything else?”

Hide raises his eyebrows at Kaneki, who shakes his head. “Okay,” Touka says again, and departs with a very slight, subtle flip of her hair.

Kaneki studies the table intently, clenching his hands in his lap. He doesn't dare look at Hide's face.

He hears Hide lean forward. “So, you're a black coffee kind of guy, huh?” he says gently. Kaneki goes still, heart thumping.

Fingers press under his chin, tilting it up, and he meets Hide's eyes.

“Don't be upset, I guessed already,” Hide says, and there's no disgust in his voice, no discomfort – just gentle patience. “I minor in Ghoul Studies, you know. It's okay, I don't mind.”

At that, Kaneki's eyebrows come together. “You don't mind?” he asks in confusion. “Everyone minds.”

“Nah, why would I? Ghouls are interesting!” Hide says, his eyes lighting up. “I think it's totally possible to live in harmony with them – with you. Especially with the way synthetic meat has been developing lately. And some ghouls have really cool stories to tell. You know, the owner of this coffee shop spoke to our class, once?”

Kaneki shakes his head, surprised – he had no idea the manager did anything of the sort.

“He's a cool old man,” Hide says. “Super interesting stories. He grew up with the old ways, so it's like – like listening to history, when he talks. Hey, do you know him?”

“Yeah, I do,” Kaneki admits.

Really?” Hide says excitedly. “I mean, I didn't want to assume – like, I know there's a stereotype all ghouls know each other and have secret evil ghoul conferences and stuff, but ...”

“Okay, it's not quite like that,” Kaneki says, wrinkling his nose. “But, he taught me a lot, when – when I --” He trails off, uncomfortable.

“When what?” Hide asks curiously. “Hey, do you have a tragic backstory, too? Like I don't want to pry, but also –”

“You have a macabre interest in other people's difficult business?” Kaneki suggests humorously.

“Yeah – exactly!” Hide is clearly trying not to seem too desperately interested, but failing.

“Well, it's not that bad, actually,” Kaneki says, trailing a finger over the tabletop. “It's just, I wasn't born a ghoul. So I had kind of a rough transition period for a while.”

What?” Hide demands, pounding the table incredulously. “But that's not possible! I know, I studied this, you guys aren't like vampires! Right?”

“No, not at all,” Kaneki says wryly. “Things like – like me – they aren't supposed to happen. I had to have a transplant and there was an accident, the organ donor was a ghoul and they didn't know. When I woke up ...”

Hide sucks in a breath. “Oh, man,” he says. “Oh, man, that's like the worst thing ever. Seriously, that's some shit.” He runs his hands through his hair, shaking his head. “I mean, not that I think it's worse to be a ghoul than a human or anything,” he goes on. “Just – it's a lot of brand-new crap to deal with.”

“Yeah,” Kaneki agrees, nodding. A lot is an understatement. “Really.”

“So you had to learn? How to be a ghoul? At age – what, when was this?”

“Last year. I didn't have anyone to talk to, until I met the people at this coffee shop.” Kaneki notices Touka coming over, and falls silent.

“Here's your coffee,” she says, setting down the tray and passing out the cups. “God, it's fucking late. Why are we open so late?”

“You wouldn't want to miss our business, would you?” Hide says, picking up his frothy cup. Only one other group is in the shop – three women pouring over a mess of papers, speaking in low, thoughtful voices. “Crazy college students are very important customers, after all!”

“Huh, important customers,” Touka says skeptically, picking up the empty tray and spinning it absentmindedly. “Enjoy your coffee.”

“That wasn't sincere at all,” Kaneki says to his cup, and Touka stops her walking away to whip around to glare briefly at him.

Hide sips at his coffee, which Kaneki can smell from here – the rich smell soured by the addition of milk. He picks up his own cup, blowing ripples across the surface to cool it, remembering how hot the water always came out of the machine when he worked here over the summer.

“So, do you know her, too?” Hide asks eventually, setting his cup down with a click. “Still don't wanna assume all ghouls know each other, but, like ...”

Kaneki isn't even surprised Hide guessed about Touka. “Yeah,” he says. “I mean, I know most … ghouls who come here.” It's hard not to lower his voice on the word ghoul.

“So is this one of those safe community things?” Hide says. It's kind of a new experience for Kaneki, meeting someone who acts as if ghouls are intriguing, not threatening, and looks at him like he's just another person, and not a tragedy. “I've read about that.”

“I guess?” Kaneki shrugs, lifting his coffee to his lips. “Yeah, I think so.”

“Cool,” Hide grins, sitting back in his chair and looking around as if the building itself could have somehow become more interesting. “Sorry I keep asking you this stuff, man, I'm just kinda a ghoul nerd.”

“It's, it's fine,” Kaneki finds himself saying, smiling shyly down at the table. “I don't mind.”

Hide says something quietly to himself.

“Hm?” Kaneki asks, looking up.

“I said, that's four,” Hide repeats, grinning. “Four smiles.”

Kaneki's smile widens. “You've been keeping track?”

“How could I not?” Hide says, a light of teasing entering his eyes. “You're so cute when you smile. I know I said that already, but whatever.” Holy crap. Kaneki drops his head, turning red. “Aww!” Hide says. “Are you embarrassed?”

“No,” Kaneki lies, bringing a hand to cover his face.

“Darn,” Hide says, and some mischievous quality in his voice makes Kaneki flinch. “I'll have to try harder.”

“Please don't,” Kaneki says, voice muffled, but Hide pretends not to hear.

Kaneki feels the touch on his other hand, the hand that lies on the table, like an electric shock. Uh-oh. Yeah, the sex drive thing is still a problem – it may have been slumbering for the past half hour, but this brings it all pouring back again. Kaneki inhales sharply, stiffening, as Hide weaves their fingers together. “What about this?” Hide asks lightly. “Does this embarrass you, Kaneki?”

“No,” he denies, trying to hold himself very still. “It's --” His face feels very red, belying his words. Maybe he should just admit to embarrassment and have Hide end this game – but something keeps his mouth shut, keeps him from speaking up. Warmth spreads down his spine, and he shivers.

It was probably his traitorous hormones, he thinks fuzzily, as Hide leans forward further, reaching for him. The air feels thick as he inhales, swallowing. He wants Hide to touch him more, of course. Touch his hands, his face, his mouth – a thumb runs along the back of his knuckles, and it's embarrassing, what that does to him. Gently, Hide pushes his hand away from his face, and runs his fingers up along Kaneki's jaw, trailing from under his ear to the tip of his chin. Kaneki knows he can't hide his blush anymore, and stares desperately back at Hide, wanting him to stop, wanting to kiss him, wanting more.

“How about now?” Hide says, and his tone is still deceptively casual, but there's a heavier undercurrent to his voice that quickens Kaneki's pulse. He runs a thumb over Kaneki's bottom lip – he runs a thumb over Kaneki's bottom lip – and Kaneki makes a noise, then, a tiny, strangled thing, and Hide's eyebrows shoot upwards.

Kaneki thinks he's going to die. He thinks he wouldn't mind if he did, actually. He closes his eyes, so he doesn't see Hide's face when the man whispers, with some kind of gleeful disbelief, “Kaneki – you're not … no. Are you?”

“What?” he asks, pushing the word out from between clenched teeth.

Hide doesn't answer right away, just – experimentally, it seems – brushes over Kaneki's lips again. Kaneki's breath hitches audibly. “You are,” Hide says incredulously. “I thought so. You're having one of those things, aren't you? One of those hormone things? Right now?”

Kaneki's really, actually, going to die. He squeezes his eyes shut, scrunching against the eyepatch. “Please … stop touching me,” he grits out, and feels a mixture of relief and disappointment when Hide does. Groaning, he flops forward onto the table, folding his arms around his head.

Hide starts laughing, and it doesn't sound mean but Kaneki is dead anyway. His soul can float away already. He doesn't want to be here anymore. “Dude, no, it's okay,” Hide is pacifying him, “really!”

“Nnnnoooo,” Kaneki mumbles, knocking his forehead against the wood.

“Like, I literally do not care,” Hide says. “I get it, it's fine. I've been there – well, it's probably not the same, it's probably harder for ghouls --”

“Did you really have to use that word?” Kaneki interjects, voice muffled by his sleeves. “Harder?

Hide pauses – and then he snorts. “Sorry, sorry! Oh my God, Kaneki --”

Kaneki maybe doesn't want to die quite so much. He removes his arms from around his head and sits up, looking intently at the tiles on the floor to his left.

“Hey,” Hide says, suddenly gentle. “Kaneki. It really is all right. Just, don't get awkward on me, okay? I actually don't care if you have a boner the size of --”

“Hide!” Kaneki exclaims, whipping around to swat him in the arm. It was a bad decision, because as soon as he turns he sees – Touka, standing across the shop where Hide can't see and making lewd hand gestures vigorously in their direction, smirking. “Oh God,” Kaneki groans, flopping back in his chair and dragging his hands down his face.

Hide gives up on not laughing.

Somehow, that clears the air, and when Hide calms down, wiping tears from the corners of his eyes, Kaneki feels a bit better. He takes a sip of his coffee, as calm as he can, though his hands shake a bit and he has failed in not thinking about how attractive Hide looks, shaking with mirth. “Are you done?” Kaneki asks, a bit testily.

“Yeah, yeah,” Hide says, fighting his grin away and knocking back the remainder of his coffee. “Mm. Good coffee here, huh?”

Kaneki copies Hide, mostly in an effort to shove away thoughts of Hide's throat bobbing as he swallowed. “Yeah,” he agrees.

 


 

Somehow, Hide convinces Kaneki to go to the park with him after they finish their coffee. It's pitch black outside, but somehow – a combination of the coffee and his heightened senses, probably – he doesn't feel at all tired. Excited. He's glad he's not going back to his empty room, for another night of trying to ignore his urges as best he can, another night of getting no sleep. He's glad he's going to spend more time with Hide.

Hide pays Touka, who keeps shooting annoyingly knowing looks at Kaneki over Hide's shoulder. Kaneki wants to leave. Finally, the transaction finishes, and the two of them head out into the night.

It's colder than it was before, and Kaneki shivers, zipping up his coat. They walk in silence for a while, Hide doing the hands-behind-head thing and gazing at the stars, Kaneki gazing at Hide. “It's so clear tonight,” Hide remarks.

“Yeah,” Kaneki agrees.

It's not a very long walk to the park – well, the grassy, tree-y area over by the west building. There, on the side of the gently sloping hill, Hide takes a seat. Kaneki follows suit, and when their legs press together, from knee to hip, he goes warm, but doesn't move away. “So, literature, huh?” Hide says, still staring at the sky.

Kaneki had almost forgotten he told Hide his major. “Oh – yeah,” he says.

“Why literature?”

Kaneki tips his head back thoughtfully – as thoughtfully as he can manage, hyperaware as he is of Hide's presence. “I guess, I've loved to read all my life, and I wanted to do something that would let me keep doing that?”

Hide nods. “That's a good reason,” he says. “You can't do that with everything, you know,” he goes on conversationally. “For example, I always used to love eating bugs when I was little, but later, I found out that gourmet insect chefs don't exist. So that's out.”

Kaneki bites back laughter. “Good,” he says fervently, and dares to lean a bit against Hide.

Hide grins. “Well, it could have been worse,” he says. “I could have wanted to go into the arts.”

That really does surprise a laugh out of Kaneki. “Oh my God,” he snorts, shaking his head. “That's horrible.”

“Isn't it?” Hide says with relish. Accidentally or not, his hand brushes over the top of Kaneki's thigh, and Kaneki gasps softly. “Man, because the social sciences are so much more secure than the arts, right?”

“Uh-huh,” Kaneki says shakily. Hide's hand has come to rest on his knee, and all of his attention zeros in on that one point of contact. “Well, I mean, I guess the world needs --”

He looks up, and Hide is looking back. Oh. That's very close, isn't it? There's still mirth in the blond's eyes, mirth and something else, some gentle question. Kaneki swallows. His eyes flick down to Hide's mouth, watch with fascination as Hide bites his lip briefly and releases it, he wants to kiss him so badly. “Kaneki,” Hide whispers.

“Yeah?” Kaneki asks. Does he dare to move closer? Or is it too late – is he already moving? He can feel Hide's breath on his nose.

“I think ...” Hide is definitely looking at Kaneki's lips, too “... I think we might be having another Moment. Yeah?”

If he tilts his head, their noses won't get in the way and he can get even closer. “You think so?” Kaneki murmurs.

“Uh-huh,” Hide says breathlessly. “I definitely, definitely think …”

“You sure?” Kaneki breathes. He lays a hand on Hide's chest, mouth filling with Hide's scent – and Hide kisses him with a groan.

He tastes incredible. Kaneki's lips part easily for him, eager and wanting, and Hide responds exactly the way he wants, biting his bottom lip ever so gently, tracing it with his tongue and sucking on it softly, lifting his hands to Kaneki's face when Kaneki moans and fists his hand in the fabric of Hide's shirt. This, this is perfect, Kaneki thinks dazedly, as Hide's hands slide under his jaw to lift his face to kiss him better, this is exactly what he's been aching for, and when another noise escapes him he doesn't care. It gets to be too much, soon, and he wraps his arms around Hide's neck, burying his hands in his hair, and this time it's Hide who moans, crushing their mouths together with an intensity that sends Kaneki reeling.

They break apart, breathless, and Hide gives Kaneki a brief look up and down, eyes widening. “That textbook wasn't kidding about those hormone things, huh?” he says.

From the warmth in his face and in other places, Kaneki's sure he must look similar to how he feels – dazed and desperate. But now, he's past embarrassment. “Kiss me again,” he just says. Hide does.

Kaneki clings to him, as close as he can, unable to keep his hands wandering down Hide's back. He wants – wants to be touched everywhere, wants Hide – oh, Hide's thumb skims the band of his eyepatch and that shouldn't feel as intimate as it does. “Whaa's this for?” Hide mumbles against Kaneki's mouth, slipping his fingers under the string.

“Nothing, really,” Kaneki says, out of breath. “Um. Just that, that this is the eye that turns when I get – well – I mean, I have a hard time controlling it sometimes, so ...” and Hide goes back to making out with him, so talking doesn't happen for a while longer. Fingers pull at the eyepatch band, curious, eventually tugging the patch up and off Kaneki's head. Kaneki pulls back with a gasp that's only part surprise.

“Whoa ...” Hide says, enthralled. Hesitantly, his thumb smooths the skin of Kaneki's cheek underneath his left eye, and Kaneki knows it must be black as ever. “Just one?”

“I'm not all ghoul,” Kaneki manages, before Hide crushes their mouths together again. Uuuh, his kisses are just the right combination of gentle and rough – just the way Kaneki longed for. He yields in Hide's arms, digging his fingertips into the muscles between his shoulder blades and when Hide licks his mouth open, lets out a moan that Hide swallows neatly.

“That's … that's kind of hot,” Hide says eventually, touching the skin around Kaneki's eye again. “That eye. Is that weird?”

“Why, Hide,” Kaneki says, managing a small smirk. “Could you be one of those … those people, one of those perverts, who goes for ghouls?”

Hide chokes. “No! No, of course not! I just think – it's really cool!” Their foreheads rest together, Kaneki smiling slyly at the blushing Hide, then leaning in to kiss him again.

“It's fine if you are,” Kaneki says sweetly. “I don't mind.”

“D-does it mean you're hungry?” Hide blurts, not sounding so much nervous as wanting to change the subject. “That your eye's dark, I mean?”

Kaneki pauses, bringing one hand higher to stroke idly at the back of Hide's neck. “Hmm... no, I've eaten recently,” he says, and nips at Hide's lip.

There's another moment of silence and quick breath and urgent touches.

“Then … what does it mean?” Hide says.

Kaneki just hums against his mouth. “You're the one studying ghouls,” he says evasively. “You figure it out.”

“Oh.”

Mmm.”

Hide's mouth on his neck is just about the hottest thing in the world. Kaneki feels pressure in his back and swallows, focusing, and after a moment the feeling fades. It's difficult, though – keeping his kagune retracted, and he hopes he's not asked to do anything that requires thought for a while. He's being loud, he can tell, as Hide noses under his jaw and licks at the skin under his ear, but he doesn't care and Hide seems to … to like it.

“We should – we should --” Hide is saying, and Kaneki clutches him closer, brain refusing to process anything except that Hide is moving away a bit and that's not acceptable. Hide breathes a laugh, tickling at Kaneki's hair. “Kaneki, let me move. I swear I'm not – Kaneki!” Inwardly, Kaneki is pleased by the breathless quality to Hide's voice, but he's pleased more by the feeling of the bare skin of Hide's back under his fingertips. “That's not – we're in public!

“I don't care,” Kaneki says absently, trailing his fingers up Hide's spine. Ooh, he smells good. People's scents get stronger when they're – they're aroused, Kaneki has noticed. Wait – his kagune. Kaneki focuses, realizing they've started to emerge, and forces them to retract again.

“I wouldn't, either, but – hhhh --” Hide gasps when Kaneki's hand skim his belt, then twists around and grabs his wrist. “No!” he hisses firmly. “Not – not here!”

“Mmm, why not?”

“Think about it!”

Kaneki blinks, shaking his head to clear it. They're … in a park. Outside. The small part of Kaneki that has any shame left begins to make itself known. This is a public place, and not a comfortable one, either – not for … those kinds of things. Besides, they don't have supplies with them. “Oh,” he says. “Right.”

Hide's hands in his hair. Hide's grin, pressed briefly against his own mouth. “You crazy hornball,” he says affectionately.

Kaneki's face flushes, for a different reason than it had earlier. He covers it with his arm. Oh God, he is, isn't he? “At least I let you take me for coffee first,” he says into his sleeve.

Hide pushes his arm away, and then he does the nose touch thing again. “True,” he says lightly. “And at least you have the excuse of your weird ghoul mating cycles for acting this crazy on the first date. Me, I can't say anything.”

Kaneki feels himself relaxing, slightly. “Um,” he begins shyly, looking down. He's not sure how to ask this – before, it's always just kind of happened, without many words exchanged. “Do you,” he attempts, “do you want to ...”

“Want to what?” Hide asks brashly. “Want to bang? Hell yeah.”

Kaneki's eyes fly open. Wait, he's not ready for language that clear. “Uh–!”

Cute,” Hide snorts. “Are you embarrassed again?”

“No! I, uh–!”

“Do you not want to bang?”

Wait. “No!”

“You don't want to or you don't not want to?”

Kaneki groans, falling forward against Hide's shoulder. If he says nothing, he might not get to – well, he might not get to 'bang' Hide, and that is what he wants to do, isn't it? “...The second one,” he admits reluctantly, then buries his face in Hide's shirt. At least all the blood rushing to his cheeks means there's less left over for his dick.

“Wow, what enthusiastic consent,” Hide teases, rubbing a soothing circle on his back.

“Let's just go already,” Kaneki grumbles, moving to get up.

“Ah-ah,” Hide says, holding him down. “I'm not doing anything with you until you're clear with me. As a literature student, you should be appalled by that atrocious double negative.”

Why?” Kaneki asks, the question directed less at Hide and more at whatever god might listen.

“Hey, weren't you the guy trying to rip off my shirt a second ago?”

Kaneki pulls back and gives Hide his very hardest, best glare. Then he leans forward and kisses him soundly. Yes, this ought to wipe the smirk from his face. Kaneki kisses him until he feels Hide give in, going loose and wrapping around him with a sigh.

“Yes,” he says, when Hide is good and out of breath. “It's … it's embarrassing to say things like this out loud, but yes, I want to – to sleep with you.” By the end of the sentence, Kaneki's resolve to speak firmly has gone shaky, along with his voice. His eyes flit from Hide's and fixate on a clump of grass to the right of his head. “Satisfied?” he mumbles.

Hide's face breaks out in a wide grin. “Oooh, very,” he says, and pulls Kaneki down for another kiss.

 


 

Eventually they end up doing the annoying couple thing of stumbling around with their arms around each other, laughing and kissing every few steps. Hide's got a roommate, but Kaneki doesn't have much stuff, and obviously the convenience store is closed now, so their annoying couple walk is prolonged by a detour to Hide's dorm on the way to Kaneki's apartment to pick up supplies. That visit is nothing but awkward, really – Kaneki loiters in the hallway while Hide pops inside, burying his face in his hands when he hears Hide announce, smugly, that he's not staying in the room tonight. It's even worse when the roommate follows Hide out of the room, asking eagerly, “Is this the guy?” and having Hide answer by pushing Kaneki against the wall and kissing him. The roommate whistles, and Kaneki feels so glad his eyepatch is back on because this is horribly embarrassing but at the same time he might have just discovered he has a small exhibitionism kink.

Hide nearly doesn't let them get into the apartment, hanging off Kaneki and being very distracting as Kaneki fumbles with the lock, eventually shoving them both against the door so that when it finally opens, they crash gracelessly inside. Kaneki just manages to kick the door shut again before Hide's crawling on top of him, kissing him hungrily and grinding their hips together.

Kaneki groans, and Hide rips off his eyepatch. “God, yes,” he moans, upon seeing Kaneki's darkened eye. “Fuck, you're hot.”

“You … you really are,” Kaneki manages between frantic kisses. “One of those … those perverts.”

“Shh,” Hide shushes him humorously. “I don't want your backtalk, I want your hot ghoul body.”

“Oh my God,” Kaneki says, rolling his eyes

Somehow they end up on the bed, and then Kaneki's shirt is on the floor, and then Kaneki's remembering he didn't lock the door – getting up, locking it, nearly running back – and then he's on his back underneath Hide which is great until his kagune begin to push their way out and then it's just uncomfortable.

“Aaah, Hide --” he pants, squirming. “Can I – sit up for a sec?”

“Sure,” Hide says, immediately scooting back. Kaneki pushes himself off his back, sucking in a breath as the movement makes them rub together. “Wh-what's up?” Hide asks, leaning forward on his knees and cupping Kaneki's face in his hands inquiringly.

Your dick, Kaneki's inner middle schooler thinks automatically, as he reaches around to feel the hard bumps on the skin of his back. “Nothing,” he answers, trying to get the kagune to stop, “I just --”

“Are you all right?” Hide says anxiously. “Do you want to stop?”

No,” Kaneki is swift to say. “Believe me.” But he doesn't think a couple of wiggling things sprouting from his back would be very sexy, either.

“Then what is it?”

Kaneki looks at his honest, open face, and remembers who it is he's doing this with – Hide, the Ghoul Studies minor, Hide, who hadn't been weirded out by his ghoul-ness yet. “It's … my kagune,” he confesses. “They're misbehaving.”

Hide's eyes go very wide. “That because of me?” he asks.

“Probably,” Kaneki admits, wincing as the pressure in his back only intensifies. “But don't worry, I can probably take care --”

Hide kisses him. It's a softer kiss than the ones before, patient and, and understanding. “Let me?” he asks quietly, pulling back only a breath. Then he leans in again, and Kaneki feels suddenly suffused with warmth, from his head to his toe, at the gentle press of Hide's mouth and the lick of his tongue and he groans and opens his mouth and relaxes, melting forward against Hide's chest.

“Okay,” he agrees.

Hide moves his hand down from Kaneki's face to press against his side. Kaneki shivers – Hide's hand is warm, and strong, holding him firmly. Slowly, he runs his hands over Kaneki's skin, feeling Kaneki jolt at the contact, then relax. The kagune slip their way out, and Kaneki hisses, pulling back in alarm.

“No, shh, it's okay,” Hide says. He shifts, climbing into Kaneki's lap, and kisses the tip of his nose. “You don't have to hide anything,” he says soothingly, his palms making circles on Kaneki's hips. Kaneki closes his eyes, breathing through his nose. The appendages flex, curled in on each other, until Hide reaches around and touches them. “Come on, you can show me,” he whispers, and shyly, Kaneki does.

“Like a flower,” is the first thing Hide says, his voice full of awed appreciation, staring at the kagune flared behind Kaneki. Kaneki makes a noise, small, in the back of his throat. “You're a rinkaku?”

“Mhmm,” Kaneki manages, casting his eyes downward. Tears unexpectedly prick his eyes. He feels Hide's warmth against him, then a hand brush over one of his kagune. Automatically, it ripples, the tip curling gently around Hide's wrist. Hide lets out a surprised laugh.

“It's really flexible!” he says, almost in awe. “Liquid muscle, right? Wow, that's so cool.”

“Are you planning to bring me in to show your class?” Kaneki tries to quip, but his voice cracks and he wipes quickly at his face with the back of his wrist.

Hide pauses, trying to look at him, but Kaneki hides his face. “Hey,” he says softly, pulling his wrist out of the kagune's grasp and cupping Kaneki's chin again. “Oh, Ken, you idiot. Did you think I was going to be freaked out by your awesome tentacles? Because I'm not. They're awesome.”

Kaneki makes a negative noise.

“No, really, they're cool and I've seen them now and I still want to bang you – so stop that! It's sexy time, not sad time.”

Hide kisses him, and Kaneki, after a moment, kisses back, clutching at Hide's shoulders and feeling his kagune stretch comfortably, finally, and as Hide's hands move from his waist to his belt he slowly becomes less conscious of the kagune and more so of other parts of himself. Hide is mumbling against his mouth, mostly-unintelligible things that sound approving, and Kaneki catches some stuff about how he's gorgeous and amazing and would blush if he had any room for embarrassment left. Hide unzips his jeans and brushes his hands across the front of Kaneki's underwear, and Kaneki sucks in a breath, jerking his hips closer. “Pants ...” Hide mumbles in his ear, climbing off of him. Ah yes, the pants stage. Kaneki had never figured out how this was supposed to go, how the taking-off-pants part could be anything but awkward for everyone. Maybe if the pants were skirts, it would be easier … but the pants are not skirts, so there's going to have to be some shimmying.

“Is it still okay?” Hide checks, as Kaneki shimmies out of his pants and casts them aside.

“Of course,” Kaneki says, drawing him down for kiss and feeling gratified when Hide's hands immediately move to explore his legs. Kaneki's proud of his legs – he worked hard on them, exercising, and so he's glad they're getting appreciated. Hide runs his hands over the tops of his thighs, then under his knees, and Kaneki shivers as he's tugged forward, legs spread apart, and Hide's hands are suddenly exploring the skin between his thighs and slipping into his underwear and oh, he's not even touching anything sensitive but Kaneki is coming undone.

“Wait,” he gasps, holding a hand to Hide's chest. “You, too --” and there's another short break while Hide ditches his pants.

Hide celebrates his newfound liberation from clothing by grabbing Kaneki's ass. “Yeees,” he exclaims.

“Hey --” Kaneki gasps, wrapping his legs around Hide's waist before he falls backwards. His kagune make lying on his back rather uncomfortable. “Hide … haaa –!” Without their jeans in the way, the grinding thing works a lot better, and Kaneki shudders and jerks against his partner, his moaning muffled by his shoulder.

“Can I --” Hide asks, plucking at the band of Kaneki's underwear, and Kaneki gasps out an affirmation, barely able to consent quickly enough. Hands on his bare skin, then on his waist, then on his stomach, just above – oh, they're going lower now –

A warm hand wraps around him and Kaneki keens, the sensation spreading throughout his entire body. Oh, he'd so needed to be touched like this, gentle but firm, and he bites down on Hide's neck. “Aaah, I--” he pants, unsure what he even wanted to say before he's cut off, and Hide pets his hair with his free hand, murmuring into his ear about how good he's being, how nice he sounds and holy shit that drives Kaneki wild. “Hide,” he groans, feeling himself getting close. “You should --” stop, he meant to say, but he's coming already and Hide's stroking him through it, whispering soothing things that only make him come harder.

“Hide,” Kaneki mumbles into his shoulder, once it's over.

“That was quick,” Hide replies after a few minutes, sounding impressed. His hand hasn't stilled in Kaneki's hair, toying with the strands and that feels weirdly good. “Wow. Ken, you're really hot when you're coming all undone like that.”

Kaneki sucks in a breath, appalled to feel his dick respond. “Um,” he tries, but Hide's still talking, his tone taking on an undercurrent of wickedness.

“You sound fantastic,” he murmurs, “and holy shit, these kagune. They go crazy, you know that? Respond to everything I do to you.” The hand leaves Kaneki's hair, in favor of stroking a kagune, near its base, and the touch racks Kaneki's body with heated shivers. Hide finally removes his other hand from Kaneki's pants and – and licks it clean, holding Kaneki's eyes the whole time. Holy shit.

“I wonder how they'd act,” Hide says slowly, and Kaneki can't be getting hard again in this amount of time – he can't possibly. “I wonder how they'd act if I fucked you.”

Kaneki whines – he whines, a sound he's sure has never come out of his mouth before in his life. “Oh my God,” he mumbles, clapping a hand over his mouth, and Hide snickers.

“That a yes?” he asks, pleased, and Kaneki can only nod.

This is where the Stuff comes in handy. The underwear gets discarded and Kaneki only has a moment to be embarrassed before Hide works a slick finger inside him, entering easily and Kaneki melts forward against his chest again. He can't lie on his back, and in this position it's a struggle to hold his hips still – a struggle not to shove down against Hide's fingers (two of them now), so desperate he is to feel that pleasure again. Strange noises escape his mouth, more noises he's never heard from himself before, broken and hungry. When Hide finally lies back on the bed, it's all he can do to hold back.

“Protection,” Hide reminds him breathlessly, holding up a square of foil. Kaneki snatches the condom from him, tearing open the packaging and nearly dropping the contents before he can use them. He catches it, though, earning a chuckle for his clumsiness, which is quickly transformed into a moan when Kaneki's hand wraps around Hide's dick. “Um – aah!” Hide gasps, and Kaneki rolls the condom on during his distraction, making sure to pinch the tip because that is Good Safe Sex.

(Also, when storing condoms, be sure to keep them in cool, dry places – not your wallet or your car. And check the expiration date! If this fic was going to demonstrate truly good Safe Sex Practices, it would have him do that, but this is porn, not a textbook. Thanks!)

Then it's just a matter of lube – important – and Hide grabs Kaneki's hips, holding him steady as he lowers himself down.

Kaneki watches Hide's face twist in pleasure through half-lidded eyes and adjusts, wincing slightly, and waits for himself to relax. The stretching burns, in a way he's kind of grown to like, weirdly. His legs, holding much of his body weight, begin to tremble. “R...ready?” he asks shakily, splaying his hand over Hide's chest as he adjusts his legs underneath himself better. Hide nods, clapping a palm over his mouth.

Kaneki rocks down and they both make a noise, Hide's muffled behind his palm. Kaneki loves this position, he'll admit it – it's so intimate, he thinks, his mind a haze. His body gives over to pleasure and muscle memory and he barely registers anything after that as he moves, slowly at first, and then faster and more clumsily as they both get closer to their highs. In the moments before Kaneki finishes, Hide reaches forward for the his kagune. His gentle stroking brings Kaneki over the edge, crying out brokenly, thinking that somehow it makes everything ten times more sensitive, to be touched gently where hardly anyone has ever touched him before.

“God,” Hide says to him later, pressed against him in Kaneki's small shower. “You sure know what you're doing.”

“Mmm,” Kaneki murmurs, feeling pleasantly achy and relaxed. He manages to work up enough energy, however, to sink to his knees under the spray and show Hide another area in which he's talented.

It's a gross thing to admit to, but Kaneki supposes it's a ghoul thing, liking the taste of … that.

Cleaned off, they stumble into bed. After his small surge of energy in the shower, Kaneki is spent, unresisting and pliant in Hide's arms. They don't dress, merely switch off the lights and fall onto the mattress together, then Hide tucks them in.

 


 

A warm body, pressed against his, arms holding him, a face nuzzling his neck. Staying in bed until late in the morning

Kaneki shakes himself, wiping the foolish smile off his face. It's the next day, the afternoon. Though he feels much better, it's still too easy to slip back into idle fantasy, let the warm feeling of arousal overtake him. God, that had been good. Great. Probably the best night of his life.

He casts a look over towards his bed, still horribly rumpled from the night before. He can't bring himself to wash the sheets, saturated as they are with the smell of sex and Hide. He doesn't want to erase any memory of that. Even though – he thrills, thinking about it – he has Hide's number saved in his phone.

But now it's study time. He has work to do, damn it, and he should take advantage of his relative mental clarity to accomplish that.

A few minutes later, a light breeze blows in through his open window. He pays it no mind, focusing on his books – the reading assignment for next lecture is intense. Subconsciously, he scratches at his nose. He sneezes.

Kaneki looks up automatically, casting around for his tissue box.

Wait a second.

 


 

When Hide begins his shift at the convenience store he is pleasantly surprised to find the computer perfectly operational once more. That's a new, great thing. Usually he has to figure out how to fix it himself.

Work is slow for the first hour or so. Usually he sees at least a few people he knows, but for some reason his friends aren't buying anything today, and so, eventually, he pulls his headphones and manga from under the desk and gets to reading. When the door opens again, he doesn't notice, focused intently on the book.

A quiet clearing of the throat, barely audible above his music, alerts him to the presence of someone else. Hang on … there's something familiar about that. Hide pauses his music, removes his headphones, then looks up.

A grin breaks out over his face.

“Just this, please,” Kaneki says shyly, setting the tissue box down on the counter. In the back of his mind, Hide notes that it's the same box he found for him last night – the one with colorful stripes, not one of the ones covered in ugly little face things.

“Ken,” Hide says, feeling kind of dumb but also really happy, and pulls him in for a kiss.