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Research and Smoothies

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Kaneki had noticed it in the hospital- how bad food tasted. He had chalked it up to the hospital serving food near its end date but watching other patients and nurses chow down without a care, he had a feeling he was missing something. At first, he blamed his lack of appetite on whatever drugs were in him from the surgery. Then, he decided it was a psychological thing because he disliked hospitals. Something in him told him neither of those speculations were quite right, so he kept thinking about it.

He listed a thousand things in his head that could cause his taste buds to change so drastically but none of the reasons felt right. Heh, he’d even joked to himself that the doctor turned him into a ghoul.

Fast forward a few days after being discharged to Kaneki staring in his mirror, desperately clawing at his left eye, he decides that making jokes is detrimental to his health.

He opened every package of food in his apartment and they all left him heaving over the toilet.

After realizing that he may be a ghoul and one suicide attempt brought on by temporary insanity later, Kaneki does the only logical thing in his mind.

He calls Hide.

“What’s up ‘Neki? You don’t usually call me!” Hide’s cheerful voice filtered into Kaneki’s ear.

“Um, could you come over? Like, now? Or as soon as possible?” Kaneki asked his friend, voice shaking.

“Dude, are you ok?” Hide asked, concern lacing his voice.

“I. . .I can’t talk about it over the phone.”

“Ok? You’re not in trouble are you? You sound scared. Are Yakuza bosses trying to track you down or something?” Hide joked and paled when he heard Kaneki start crying. “Woah! Kaneki, I’m sorry! Don’t cry, pleeaaasseeee don’t cry, man! I’ll be over in 10 minutes.” Hide assured his friend, trying to hide his own panic.

“Ok. Thanks Hide. The door will be unlocked.” Kaneki sniffled before hanging up.

Hide took off in a run the moment the line went dead. Kaneki, for the most part, was a pretty meek guy but Hide could count on one hand the number of times he’d seen Kaneki cry and he’d still have some fingers left over. So when Kaneki does cry, Hide knows something bad happened.

He makes it to Kaneki’s in record time and wastes no time slamming open the door; he doesn’t even take off his shoes, he just makes a mad dash over to his trembling friend curled up on the couch.

“Kaneki? What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Do we need to go to the hospital?” Hide asked, sitting down.

“No!” Kaneki gasped in alarm, looking at Hide with horror filled eyes. “I don’t know what they’ll do to me if I go back!”

Well now, isn’t that an interesting statement. Hide quirked an eyebrow at the response and took in the room; food was everywhere, the cabinets were opened, open containers of juice, milk, and soda were on the counters.

“Were you binge eating?” Hide asked and blinked in surprise when Kaneki jumped up.

“No!” Kaneki shouted, pacing back and forth. “I can’t eat anything, Hide! Ever since the surgery, everything except water tastes foul. Everything about food- the texture, the taste, the smell- it’s absolutely disgusting. I try to eat but I can't keep anything down. Just thinking about it makes me want to vomit!”

Kaneki stopped pacing; his back was turned to Hide.

“I. . .I thought it was just bad food at first but it’s not; it’s me. That surgery changed something inside of me,” Kaneki’s breath hitched. “And I don’t want to admit it, but I’m pretty sure I know what changed.” A shaking hand takes off the eyepatch and Kaneki turns around to look at his friend. Hide finds himself staring into mismatched eyes.

“They turned me into a ghoul, Hide!”

It’s a dramatic statement, a death knell, a grim reaper with a scythe.

“Wow, that’s the worst case of pink eye I’ve ever seen.” Hide says and giggles when Kaneki’s shocked look morphs into a blank one.

“Really? I tell you this life shattering news and that’s all you have to say? You do realize there’s a high possibility I could eat you, right?” Kaneki deadpans and heaves a heavy sigh when all Hide does is shrug nonchalantly- as if he'd heard this type of confession a million times.

“You could eat me but then you’d be out one best friend. Also, pretty sure I’m equivalent to something off the dollar menu at McDonalds; you should go for a higher caliber of food like a rich person or something. I bet gold and diamonds are good seasonings.”

“Very funny.”

“Hysterical, dear Kaneki, I’m hysterical.” Hide corrected, wagging his finger at Kaneki like one would to a naughty child.

“So it doesn’t bother you that I’m a ghoul?” Kaneki asked shyly after a moment of hesitation.

“It does- but not for the reasons you’re thinking of.” Hide tacks on when he sees Kaneki pale at his words. “It bothers me that these organs were put in you without your consent. Where’d they even get ghoul organs from anyway?” Hide wonders out loud, scratching his nose.

“Um. . .the girl I was with. . .” It was a quiet mumble but it made Hide’s ears perk up.

“Could you repeat that for me, Kaneki?” Hide asks with a smile. A smile Kaneki’s seen enough times to know Hide is trying to hold in his anger.

“The girl I went on a date with. She was a ghoul. I guess they used hers because she was already dead and there was no other option. It’s not like they knew she was a ghoul so I guess I can’t be too angry at them.”

“Bullshit.” Hide replied automatically.

“What?”

“You said she was crushed by steel beams, right? All of her, not just half?”

“Yes.” Kaneki said with a wince, remembering the sound of screeching metal.

“Kaneki,” Hide said gently. “If all of her was crushed, her organs would have been smashed to bits, right?”

“I suppose.” Kaneki admitted.

“Since there’s no way the hospital would transplant crushed organs into you, that means hers were fine. Any doctor performing that surgery should have found it fishy that the organs of the person crushed were in better condition than the person that wasn’t.”

“So they knew she was a ghoul.” Kaneki said sadly, catching on to what Hide was hinting at.

“I can’t see how they couldn’t know.”

There was silence as Kaneki took in this information.

“Soooooo. . .you gonna sue the shit out of that doctor or what?” Hide asked.

“Hide!” Kaneki exclaimed with a surprised laugh. “I doubt anyone would believe that lawsuit. Besides, he did save my life.”

“Yeah but at what cost? You said it yourself, you can’t eat food anymore and I know you, Kaneki. I know you don’t have it in you to kill a person, let alone eat one.”

“I know.” Kaneki moaned as he rubbed his hands in distress. “But what am I supposed to do? You’re right, I don’t want to eat people but everyone smells so good and I’m worried I’ll lose control and go on a killing spree. Even just being around you is making my mouth water. God, I feel like a monster-”

“Hey, hey, hey! Hold up there, Kaneki!” Hide said as he scrambled off the couch and over to his friend. “Listen to me: You are not a monster. You can’t help what’s happened to you. Ghouls eat people because that’s how they’re wired, they can’t help it. And of course I make your mouth water, I’d be offended if you said otherwise. I’m a god among men! But you haven’t attacked me, you didn’t rip out my throat the moment I stepped in the door; you are not bad for having these cravings. We just have to figure out a way to combat them, all right?”

“And how are we going to do that? You said it yourself; ghouls are made to eat humans.” Kaneki said wiping his eyes as he took a deep breath and tried calm down.

“Yeah, but you’re not all ghoul. You’re half, maybe even a little less, so maybe the same rules don’t apply to you. Or they shouldn’t. I don’t know! I’m not an expert on ghouls.” Hide replied, frustrated, running a hand through his hair.

“You’re right.” Kaneki said quietly and Hide silently cursed because he knew what was coming next. “I shouldn’t have called you. It was selfish of me to drag you into this mess. I understand if you don’t want to be friends anymore but could you maybe not tell anyone?” 

“For god’s sake, Kaneki! I’m not gonna stop being your friend because of this and I’m certainly not going to spill your secret. What do you take me for? We’ve been friends since elementary school, man. There isn’t anything that’s going to stop us from being besties. Shit, I’d help you hide a body if you needed me to!” Hide exclaimed, waving his hands in the air.

“The only body I would have to hide would be yours.” Kaneki said with a small smile.

“Cold.” Hide replied, sticking out his tongue and they looked at each other for a solid minute before laughing in sync. It was the kind of laughter that killed all the tension in the room and reminded the two why they were best friends in the first place.

“Ok, but seriously, what are we going to do? You can’t starve yourself, Kaneki.” Hide said, wiping the tears away from his eyes.

“I don’t know. I don’t suppose there are vegetarian options out there for ghouls.” Kaneki admitted weakly and blinked when Hide snapped his fingers.

“I’ve got an idea!” Hide exclaimed and Kaneki felt dread pool in his stomach.

“Oh?”

“Yeah! We’ve been looking at this all wrong. We don’t need a body. . .” Hide trailed off for dramatic effect.

“. . . we need ingredients for a body!” He ended, thrusting a fist in the air.

“Hide. . .” Kaneki groaned, knowing where the other was going.

“35 liters of water, 25 kilograms of carbon, 4 liters of ammonia-”

“Hide.” Kaneki tried to cut in but the other talked over him.

“250 grams of salt, 80 grams of sulfur-”

“Hide, stop quoting Full Metal Alchemist.”

“But Kaneki! It’s perfect. We just have to get those ingredients and make you a smoothie or something. No bringing back the dead or anything like that!” Hide whined.

“4 liters of ammonia would kill me.” Kaneki dryly told him.

“Would it?” Hide asked, looking thoughtful and Kaneki wanted to groan but stopped short. Hide was right- they didn’t know what Kaneki could eat, barring the obvious.

So Kaneki Ken decided to show his mettle and take a chance.

“Hide, you told me you would hide a body for me, did you mean that?” Kaneki asked gravely.

“Yeah, why?” Hide asked, a little scared at how serious Kaneki looked.

“I’m about to ask you to help me with something, something much worse than hiding a body.”

“Kaneki. . .” Hide trailed off, looking warily at his friend, knowing full well where the other was going with this.

“Hide, we need to do some research.”

“Noooooooooooooo.” The other moaned in despair, flopping back down on the couch. “Kaneeeeekkkiiiiii, we’ve spent the last few months doing that for our classes. We’ve finally been given a break and you- and you want to-”

“Please, Hide? I don’t want to be a flesh eating monster and this could help.” Kaneki begged and Hide made the mistake of looking into big grey eyes that always made him agree to things he’d rather not do.

“Fine! But I’m not taking notes!” 

It is a sacred rule that all college students, at one point or another, were forced to learn the fine art of research. There isn’t a student out there that hasn’t had their soul die a little due to this. That being said, college students may have large lazy streaks but when they were forced to do research, they fucking researched.

The next few weeks felt like studying for finals all over again. Hide and Kaneki visited almost every library they could find. Books upon books, internet searches that probably put them on some government list, notebooks filled with scribbled theories and citations were fast becoming a norm for them.

Thankfully, the day after Confession Day (as Hide dubbed it, much to Kaneki’s horror and embarrassment) they had discovered Kaneki could drink coffee. This led to several days of experimenting with coffee, coffee beans, coffee grounds and so forth.

What they learned: Coffee beans are edible (but not tasty) and black coffee is best. Coffee as a seasoning does not improve the taste of regular food. Also, coffee can only hold off the hunger for a short time.

“So, it’s like junk food.” Hide concluded, closing a book. “You can eat it but you’re not getting nutrients from it.”

“Yeah,” Kaneki sighed dejectedly. “At least we learned that the reason everything tastes bad is because of some enzyme and the structure of the tongue.”

“This would be a lot easier if these books would tell us which enzyme.” Hide groan, popping his back. “I still think we should try my FMA smoothie idea.”

“Ok.” Kaneki agreed absentmindedly, cracking open another book.

“What.” Hide looked suspiciously at his friend. “You were against it when I first brought it up. Why the change of heart?”

“Because we’ve read that a ghoul can survive for about two months eating one body. I’ve been a ghoul for three weeks and I haven’t eaten; I’m aware that my time is running out. At this point, it’s try everything or go insane.” Kaneki admitted, refusing to look up as Hide took a deep breath.

“This means we’re gonna be-”

“-Hide don’t say it-”

“-ALCHEMISTS! I’M SO PUMPED!”

They were kicked out of the library.

The next day, Hide showed up at Kaneki’s place, ingredients bulging from several bags and a blender tucked under his arm.

“Ready, Alphonse?” Hide teased, stepping inside and setting everything on the kitchen counter before Kaneki had a chance to slam the door shut.

“Ah! Safety first!” Hide chuckled as he put safety goggles on Kaneki’s head.

“How’d you get all the ingredients so quickly?” Kaneki asked in dazed wonder as Hide commandeered his kitchen.

“Told the science department I was doing an experiment and they let me have the stuff. I’m surprised it worked.” Hide hummed, wiggling in excitement. “Ready, Kaneki?”

“No, but I don’t have much of choice do I?” The other said, adjusting his goggles.

“Nope!” Hide snickered, turning on the blender. “Here we go!”

It takes several attempts before the pair made anything that somewhat resembled a smoothie. On the first few tries, they discovered that the ingredients had to go in a specific order (boy, wasn’t that fun to figure out) otherwise nothing would blend. Then, things kind of blended but were still chunky, so they had to find a way to fix that.

“We need a liquid base.” Kaneki concluded in a voice that Hide mentally called “Kaneki Ken: Science Mode.”

“Ok, what should we use?” Hide asked.

Kaneki shrugged. “Um, I think the only two we can use are water and coffee.”

So, after many a trial and error, there sat before them two prototypes of the human smoothie: Plain and Coffee. The plain one looked like a vanilla shake and the coffee one respectively looked like chocolate.

Neither looked or smelled pleasant.

“So, here’s the moment we’ve been waiting for.” Hide whispered excitedly.

“The moment you’ve been waiting for.” Kaneki corrected, looking at the smoothies with trepidation before picking up the plain one. “Hide, keep your phone out. You may need to call an ambulance to have my stomach pumped after this.”

Kaneki took a deep breath before bringing the drink to his lips and taking a big gulp. Hide looked on in awe.

“It tastes weird. . .not bad, kinda chalky.” Kaneki admitted before grabbing the coffee one and taking a sip. “Ok, the coffee one is a lot better.”

“So you can keep it down. That’s good but does it stop the hunger?” Hide asked. 

Kaneki sighed. “Only one way to find out.”

They walked to a crowded shopping district and spent the next few hours wandering around.

“It’s odd. I’m not sure how to explain it. Everyone smells nice and my mouth still waters at the thought but the urge is gone. I guess the best explanation is like when you smell good food when you’re full. It still smells nice but you won’t eat because you’re not hungry.” Kaneki’s eyes snapped up his own revelation and looked at an equally ecstatic Hide.

“I’m not hungry, Hide. It worked! For the first time in three weeks I’m not hungry!” Both let out whoops of laughter and screams better suited for a football game but neither cared about the stares they were getting.

Of course, this was just the beginning.

They discovered that all the ingredients they needed could be order in bulk online so Hide wouldn’t have to keep lying to the Science Department. Then they spent the next several weeks trying to put said ingredients into other forms such as meat patties.

It was a work in progress to say the least.

They hadn’t stopped researching. Hide wanted Kaneki to be able to taste normal food again. Now that they knew about the enzyme issue, they spent quite a bit a time bugging several professors at their school that specialized in anatomy and physiology.

Some of these professors wondered why a literature and an international studies student were so interested in the subject but were willing to share their knowledge. The information did help but since ghoul anatomy wasn’t a subject, they were still stuck.

“Kaneki! Look! Look! The answer to our problems!” Hide yelled out one day as he tackled his shy friend, shoving a flyer in his face.

“Commission of Counter Ghoul Tour: Come to our office on June 1st to learn about ghouls! You’ll be able to tour our buildings, look at our research department and speak with our investigators.” Kaneki read out loud with a big smile. “Where’d you find this?”

“Professor Yana gave it to me. She said I might be able to ask about the differences between ghouls and humans there and get better answers. So, we’re gonna go, right?” Hide asked with a big grin, already knowing the answer.

Kaneki’s hand clutched the paper.

“Definitely, but I wonder why the CCG is doing a tour?"

“Probably to raise awareness about ghouls. Lots of people still think ghouls are myths.” Hide reminded the other.

“That’s true.” Kaneki nodded, remembering an old memory of him and Hide arguing about what ghouls looked like.

“I wonder how many people will show up?” Kaneki wondered, absentmindedly putting the flyer in his bag.

As it turns out, not very many. Specifically, only Hide and Kaneki showed up.

“Did we get the date wrong?” Kaneki asked quietly, looking around the lobby as he nervously played with the band of his eyepatch.

“No, it’s June 1st. Maybe they cancelled it? That or they’re bad at advertising. I haven’t seen any other promotions for it.” Hide said as they walked to the receptionist.

“Hi! Is the CCG Tour still happening today?” Hide asked her cheerfully. She gave them a look conveying her surprise that someone actually knew about the tour.

Ah, so it was bad advertising.

“Yes, it’s about to start. Here are some visitor passes for you. Let me call the tour guide to let them know you’re here.” She told them with a polite smile, handing over two white badges.

Amon enjoyed his job. He likes bringing justice to the world. He likes taking down ghouls and avenging orphans. He likes his colleagues (most of the time) and enjoys the fast-paced work environment of the CCG. Today, though, today was a day he should have called in sick.

Every year the CCG has a tour for civilians and every year no one shows up.

Because no one in the CCG understands advertising. Honestly, 50 posters is not enough publicity. The best part? The tour guides (read: whatever investigator picked the short stick; this year it was Amon.) can’t leave in case someone does come to the tour. Amon’s positive that’s never happened.

So it was with great surprise when the call came in that two people actually showed up.

Amon’s not sure what he was expecting when he went down to the lobby. The two thin boys waiting for him were not what his imagination had stirred up.

(He had been thinking their guests might be middle-aged women who wanted to be informed or those buff, fighter type guys that wanted to fight everything and everyone.)

A boy practically bursting with energy and another boy so quiet, Amon hadn’t noticed him at first, were a surprise.

“Hello,” He greeted them, gaining their attention. “Are you here for the tour?” At their nods, he smiled. “Good. My name is Amon. Please follow me.”

“Yes sir! I’m Hide and this is Kaneki.” The hyper one chirped as he dragged the quiet one through the RC scanners. “Nice security scanners.” He commented.

“Oh, those are actually RC scanners; they detect the amount of RC cells of anyone who walks through. No ghoul can enter without setting them off. Hopefully, when they’re not so expensive to make, shops will be able to install them.” Amon told them enthusiastically. He hadn’t turned to look at them, so he missed the horrified glances they shot each other and Hide silently mouthing, “Oh my god!

“So, what made two high school students want to come here?” Amon asked, pressing the elevator button. His brow furrowed in confusion as Hide puffed up his cheeks and crossed his arms. Kaneki had an amused smile on his face and shook his head slowly.

“We’re actually in college, Amon-san.” He gently corrected the man. Amon’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.

“My apologies.”

“It’s fine.” Kaneki assured him. “By the way, is it all right to take notes?”

“Um,” Amon had no idea. There were guidelines and restrictions to the tour but he never learned what they were. “That’s fine. No pictures though.”

The tour wasn’t as bad as Amon thought it would be. Both boys listened attentively to what he said and Kaneki would write things down every now and again. Amon explained what he did, what the CCG did, the academy and many other things. It was only when he got to the subject of ghouls that things began to get a little odd.

“There are two physical differences that differentiate ghouls from humans. The first is their eyes-when they’re hungry the iris turns red and the sclera becomes black. The other difference is their kagune; it’s an organ that ghouls use to. . .” Amon kept talking and they were listening, but Hide was eyeing Kaneki up and down, silently asking, ‘Did you know about this?’ and Kaneki was shaking his head, ‘Nope. No idea what he’s talking about.

Amon was having the time of his life. He had no idea how cathartic it was to unleash all his passion about fighting ghouls on unsuspecting bystanders.

“Hey, that’s cool and all, but what about the tongue enzyme?” Hide asked. Kagunes sounded awesome but they were on a mission. Besides, he would poke and prod at Kaneki later ‘til they figured out what kind he had.

“Tongue enzyme?” Amon asked, stopping to look at the two.

“Yeah! All the books we’ve read say part of the reason ghouls can’t eat food is because of one of their enzymes but they never say which one. You know, right?”

“I do.” ‘I think.’ Amon thought. It was something he had studied in the academy and then forgot about after the test. “I can see why it’s not in most books; it’s not very important in the long run.”

“Are you kidding?! It’s the most important thing ever!” Hide exclaimed.

“Well, the enzyme does help identify ghouls, so that helps when it comes to exterminating them. Are you two interested in working for the CCG?” Amon asked, trying to contain his excitement.

“Eh? No, not really and I don’t care that it helps you identify ghouls; we need to know the name of that enzyme.” Hide replied, waving his hand lazily back and forth as if to shoo away Amon’s suggestion.

“Why?”

“To fix it of course.”

“Fix it?” Amon asked, brow furrowed in confusion.

“Yeah, so ghouls can eat human food.” Hide responded bluntly.

Thus, the Great Debate began.  Somehow the tiny group had made their way to the cafeteria to break for lunch, Hide and Amon bickering all the way. Akira, Takizawa, Shinohara and a few other investigators raised their eyebrows when they saw Amon sit down with a scowl on his face.

“Are you alright, Amon-san?” Takizawa asked hesitantly as Amon slammed his food onto the table. A blonde boy sat across from him with a frustrated look on his face while a black haired boy pulled a shake and book out of his bag and began to read.

“Even if combating the enzyme would allow ghouls to eat regular food, they’d still crave human flesh.” Amon told the boy, ignoring Takizawa’s question.

“You don’t know that. I bet a lot of ghouls would be happy to eat like us.” The other shot back.

“No they wouldn’t, Hide. They’re ghouls; they eat flesh-”

“Because that’s all they can eat! You’re not being fair.” Hide blurted out.

“Fair? They eat humans! Do you have any idea how much heartbreak their existence has caused?!” Amon roared back.

“Yes, I know they eat humans; I took Ghoul 101.” Hide responded sarcastically. “And, yes, I’m aware of the tragedies surrounding their eating habits; that’s why breaking down the enzyme is a good thing. They’ll have more options.”

“Again. They eat humans.” Amon stressed, trying to understand why this kid couldn't see how bad that was.

“The way I see it, they don’t have much of a choice, do they? Just because that’s all they can eat doesn’t mean all of them want to. But what choice do they have? It’s either eat or starve. Human food is poison to them. It’s like if someone who was severely allergic to peanuts was forced to eat peanuts. You make it sound like eating humans is the worst thing in the world.” Hide complained.

“You don’t think so?” Amon asked dryly.

“It’s up there but if you guys really thought it was that bad, why is Issei Sagawa free and alive?”

“What?” Amon asked deadpan.

“Issei Sagawa.” Hide sighed around his noodles and Kaneki took a sip of his drink. “He killed a girl, ate her and is now living the life of a minor celebrity because of it. Oh and here’s the kicker: He’s human. So why is a cannibal allowed to get away scot free while ghouls are persecuted for something they can’t help?”

(At this point, Kaneki had ignored them entirely and was having a lovely discussion about The Black Goat’s Egg with the white haired, bespectacled man who sat next to him.)

Amon’s mouth was moving but no words were coming out. Intrigued by this strange boy, Shinohara joined in the debate.

“I understand where you’re coming from but what would you have humans do? Just lie down and accept that ghouls need to eat them to survive? That’s not fair to the humans.” The older man pointed out.

“I know. Which is why ghouls need second, thirds, even fourth options for foods.” Hide told them with an annoyed look.

“I’m afraid that’s not possible right now.”

“Human cloning.” Hide replied bluntly and Kaneki held back a snigger.

“Er-well. . .”

“Synthetic meat. The components of the human body blended into a smoothie. Experimenting with things that humans don’t eat to see if ghouls can. You’re telling me an organization this big hasn’t thought of one peaceful way to resolve this issue? You guys suck.” Hide told them bluntly, ignoring Kaneki’s warning kick to behave.

“The quinques-”

“Oh yes, ripping a kagune out of a ghoul and molding it into a weapon.” Hide interrupted. “How very noble of the human race, hmm, I wonder why ghouls hate us again? I’m shocked a ghoul hasn’t come along, ripped off one of your arms and beat you to death with it- it’d serve you right.”

Pure silence interrupted only by Kaneki’s soft cough.

Of course once the investigators gained their bearings, it was a full on argument filled with slamming fists onto tables, screaming, frustrated tears and so forth. Kaneki looked upon the chaos and quite suddenly remembered why Hide was forced off the debate team in high school. Closing his book and thanking Arima-san for the riveting discussion, he poked Hide in his side to get his attention but the other was too busy arguing to notice. With a sigh, Kaneki stood up, put a hand on the back of Hide’s head and forced both himself and Hide to bow to the investigators.

“Thank you for allowing us to view your wonderful facility today but I’m afraid we must be going.” Kaneki told them. “I do find it rather sad that instead of finding peaceful solutions, you’ve resorted to extreme violence but I understand your reasoning. Please excuse us.” The calm boy told the seething investigators as he dragged a still yelling Hide out of the room.

“They’re anarchists, Kaneki!” Hide grouched on the way home. “Anarchists in the form of a government agency. Well, at least we got the name of that enzyme. I still can’t believe it’s called the RC enzyme; what a boring name.”

“They’re within their rights to feel as they do. I’m sure many of them have suffered greatly because of ghouls; it’s natural for them to fear and hate. Also, I’m sure they would have been more receptive to your ideas if you hadn’t lambasted them.” Kaneki pointed out.

“Bah!” Hide said, folding his arms behind his head. “So, now that we know the name, how do we break down the enzyme?”

“I have no idea. I’m not a scientist.” Kaneki replied.

“Me neither.” Hide snickered, elbowing his best friend in the side. “So where do we go from here?” Hide asked.

“Dunno. Probably have to do more research and talk to the biology professor.”

“Arg! You’re killing me, Kaneki!” Hide whined.

(As it turns out, Arima found several ideas from their young tourists quite interesting and worth investigating. Researchers at the CCG soon received several orders involving cloning, synthetic meat and the study of breaking down ghoul enzymes. Within the next year, a drug was created that allowed ghouls to temporary eat human food.)

Of course, Hide and Kaneki were unaware of this development until the drug was already available, making Hide throw a mini-fit in their apartment and burn some of their notes.

“They made it before us! Can you believe that, Kaneki?! The CCG is full of thieves!” Hide mock-complained.

“Of course they made it before us; they have actual scientists. Our end product would have probably killed someone.” Kaneki pointed out, putting out the flames.

“Oh shut up.” Hide pouted and Kaneki smirked.

“You know I’m right.”

“Yeah.” Hide admitted with a grin. “Want to go pick up this drug and head over to Big Girl? It’s been a while since you’ve had a burger.”

“I thought you’d never ask.” Kaneki said with a smile, grabbing his coat.