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His hand was still on the cup, his eyes set on its dark colour. A pang shot through his heart, and a sudden sadness swallowed him. 
 
Haise brought his hand up to his cheek, feeling the wetness of a tear slowly making its way down his face. 

"Huh..?" He whispers, confused by his own actions. The other Q's laugh around him, and he tilts his head down, squeezing his hand into a fist as he forces a small smile. 

"No, it's strange." Haise pauses, lost. "I wonder what this is.." He felt like his own body was going against his will, tears coming down for no reason at all.  

"Ah, I'm sorry." He brings his hand up to wipe his eyes, slightly embarrassed by his actions. "It's delicious, it really is..." 

She gave him a smile. A smile that looked a bit troubled. And a little.. Sad. And the thought that he had such a beautiful person in his life, crossed his mind. 

~

Haise opens the door, slowly making his way to his usual table. It was quite empty today, he thought as he sat down, taking off his coat and laying it down on the seat beside him. He takes a peek at the counter, allowing himself a moment of happiness as he spots her. 

She brings up her head, and their eyes meet. A sense of familiarity hits him as he stares at her, and he knows there's something, something missing. Something he's forgetting. 

But he can't figure it out. 

She gives him a smile, already making her way in his direction. She's holding a little notebook and pen, bringing them out as she stands in front of him. 

"The usual?" She asks, an unusual teasing tone to her voice. 

Haise grins, her smile infectious. "You know it." 

She lets out a small chuckle, scribbling something down before she brings the notebook to her side. 

"Just wait a moment." She says, her voice soft and calming. He nods, watching her back as she walks away. 

Her stride, the shape of her hands wrapped around the notebook. The spin to her dress, the bounce to her feet. 

It was all strangely nostalgic feeling to him. In the weeks since his first visit, he couldn't get her out of his mind. He felt crazy, and a little bit embarrassed of what seems to be a small crush on a girl he knows nothing about. Shirazu sure liked to tease him about it, anyway. 

A clock ticks. He taps his foot. 

She was everything he wanted, and deep down he felt so attached to her that it made him go insane. He didn't understand, and it was painful. 

The sound of glass hitting glass makes him snap out of his thoughts. Haise looks down at the table, seeing her arm retreating as she set down the cup. 

"Your coffee, sir." 

Haise bites his lip, bringing his hands to pick it up. "Thank you.." He murmurs. 

She gives him that smile, the one he's been losing sleep over trying to decipher. Then, with no word, turns around. 

His throat burns, and he speaks up before he can even process what he's doing. 

"Can you.. Can you sit with me?" A small blush settles on Haise’s cheeks, and he watches as she pauses in her spot. She peeks at him over her shoulder, her eyes meeting his. She stares at him, turning around slowly. 

"You know I have work, right?" She says, tilting her head sideways slightly, almost teasingly. 

Haise's blush deepens. "Ah, uh- you don't seem busy, so I thought.." 

She laughs, taking him by surprise. He watches her intently, never having heard such a beautiful sound before in his life. 

Her laugh slows, and she grins. "Okay, but only for a couple minutes."

His smile makes its way back onto his face, and he tries to calm his excitement. 

She pulls out a seat across from him, crossing her legs as she sits down. She turns her gaze towards him. "I'm Touka Kirishima." 

He gets a sudden pain in his skull, and he flinched slightly. 

"Ah, I'm Sasaki Haise.. It's nice to meet you" he bows slightly, out of habit. 

As he watches her, he can see the sadness deep in her eyes, and it confuses him. 

"So, Sasaki, anything you wanted from me?" Touka asks, resting her chin in her palm, her full attention on him. 

Haise laughs slightly. "You just.. I mean, I can't really explain it, but, have we met before?" 

She flinches. Her eyes cloud, and she gives a laugh, so fake he picks up on it easily. 

"Ah, sorry, I don't believe so. Maybe we've just passed by each other in the past." She murmurs, giving him a forced smile. 

Haise nods slowly, letting out an awkward laugh as he massages the back of his neck. "Yeah, that must be it, sorry." 

Touka shakes her head. "No, it's no problem." She pauses, her face looking conflicted. "So, Sasaki, are you part of the CCG?" 

Haise's arm comes to his side, and he nods, surprised at her question. "Yeah, that was my squad with me a while ago." 

She looks at him in interest. "Your own squad?" 

He nods, chuckling slightly. "Yeah, I'm their leader." 

Her eyes widen in acknowledgement. "Wow, so you must be super official then." 

Haise laughs awkwardly, rubbing his neck in embarrassment. "No, no. I still have a long way to go." 

Touka gives a small, restrained smile. "Do you like it?" 

Haas stiffens, his head tilting slightly. Her eyes widen, and she shakes her hands rapidly. "I mean, like, I don't think anyone really likes it, but-" she sighs. "That was a stupid question." 

Haise gives a low laugh. "No..." He leans back in his chair. 

"I like certain aspects of it.." He pauses, contemplating his words. "I like my squads, I like the other officers. You know, It's hard, to live every day fighting against, uh, monsters, to save lives. Anyone would find it hard.. But to know I get to save so many people, it makes me happy. When I think of why I'm doing this, it's worth it." 

Haise smiles warmly, his hand reaching up and scratching his chin. "I'm happy living like this." 

Touka's eyes widen, and her glance turns down to the table, a sad smile making its way onto her face. She takes a slow breath, steading her quivering breathing. She pushes out her chair, her hair blocking her face as she starts to stand. 

"I should get going now, I hope I'll see you again." She bows slightly, her figure retreating in a matter of seconds. 

Haise can barely utter a word during this, and he feels frozen in his seat as he once again stares at her retreating form. The back that is so often turned to him.

Far, and secluded.

Touka makes her way to the back of the shop, her hand reaching up to wipe her eyes. Her arm reaches forward, pushing open the staff door as she hurries away from his gaze. Her legs are moving on their own, her heart beating like it's about to pop out of her chest.

 

'You touched your chin, Kaneki.'