Tokyo Ghoul: Bullet Train

Disclaimer: I do not own Tokyo ghoul or any other material in this story.

Sitting together, the silence reigning over them, the only light coming from the glow of their TV, currently engrossed in the tv series they were watching, Game of Thrones, translated from English to Japanese, a hit in the west but this was their first time either of them were watching it. For Kaneki this was the kind of thing he adored, the nuances, the unpredictability, all the meat on display, it instilled a sense of excitement, pretty sure Touka was only watching it for the sex and dragons though. Ultimately while he preferred Takatsuki's works to Martin's he couldn't deny that the man knew how to weave a story so intrinsically.

This was a little break from the complex realities of life, no school work or ghoul work in sight. It was refreshing in its own way, like a nice cold glass of water on a hot Summer's day. Living on the run meant that expenses like these were completely off the table, he couldn't just sit back, turn on the tv and watch some soapy melodrama. During his days as a stray, luxury was a word that was never used, at all. But now that he had a place of his own, a girl by his side, things just seemed a little simpler, so much easier when he took a step back and admired the full picture. He smirked to himself as two of the characters engaged in a sex scene, that sly smile of his growing larger.

"I think I might try that later." he said to Touka earning a playful pinch in his side, his ears perking at the muttering of 'shitty Kaneki' and spying the wrinkling of Touka's nose and her attempts to hold back a smile of her own. "you know, when you invited me to your apartment, I thought you might be luring me for... something else."

"Oh, you thought or hoped? or maybe you would have used that irresistible charm of yours to have your way with me." smirked Touka, shuffling closer to him as they watched the show play on, devolving into a battle sequence that was pretty epic to watch.

"Huh! I knew you found me charming." this time he received an elbow in the side for that, he wasn't sure if this was some kind of negative reinforcement or some kind of display of affection, either way he didn't mind. "Were you hoping, or thinking? I know the latter is a dangerous pastime." he teased receiving no physical answer as his girlfriend glared at him through the locks of her blue hair.

"Oh please, as if anything is running through that numbskull of yours when I'm around, don't worry you can admit it, I'm distracting, I won't tell." she said with a wink as she nibbled on his earlobe, earning a small giggle from her lover who gently pushed her away. But something did strike her, like a pile of bricks dropping right on top of her, his comment earlier, hoping or thinking, it struck a cord, a single thread in her mind as Kaneki refocused his attention on the tv show again, biting her lip she decided to take the initiative. She grabbed the remote and promptly turned the tv off Kaneki silently crying out in refusal. "I don't like this." was all she said as Kaneki looked slightly abashed, taken back by what she meant.

"What it was a good episode?" spoke the hybrid, not quite understanding what she meant.

"No, I mean us. Where are we are going with this?" she queried, Ken's startled persona fading into that of deep thought. "we flirt I know, the other flirts back, we kiss a lot, but we don't step over that invisible line. I want us to take the next step." she said Kaneki's mind going blank as he processed or words, 'the next step' she meant, that?! Was it even appropriate right now, with all the recent events being nothing but chaos it didn't seem prudent to cross the small boundary just yet. But her words did leave room for interpretation, he had to make sure what she was really talking about.

"Wait you mean, like... sex." he said carefully as if he was trying to disarm a bomb and to no surprise of his own Touka recoiled from him, her face contorting in a mixture of confusion and embarrassment as she stared at her lover, as if he had slapped her with a fish.

"What? no?! I was talking about how we go public with our relationship! What do you think I was talking about?!" she questioned, almost shouting as the heat in the room rose with their embarrassment as Kaneki tried to figh toff the blush rising to his cheeks. He only made the situation worse as he tried to cool himself with his shirt chuckling uneasily as his girlfriend angrily glared at him, and if looks could kill he would certainly be nothing more than a crater this moment. "I knew you were a perv."

"What! No! I just think there was some, miscommunication, given that the series was showing something of that nature only a few minutes ago." he said trying to dig himself out of the hole he had put himself in, his words having no effect as his counterpart crossed her arms, her eyebrows furrowing as he tried to explain himself, almost in a pleading fashion.

"My father warned me about guys like you. More interested with getting under my skirt than keeping it in your pants." the human-hybrid only silently screamed as she said this, but wait, that's when he caught on, she was enjoying watching him squirm under her, acting like a headless chicken at this point. She was doing this on purpose. A small wave of relief and dumbfoundedness washed over him.

"You are evil. Pulling my chain like that!" she couldn't suppress it any longer as a laugh came rising to the surface, hysterically so as she clutched at her sides. She was taken by surprise as she was tackled unto the couch, only to find her lover's fingers tickling her, making her laugh harder as she couldn't escape from his clutches. Their hysteria went on until the both of them rolled off the couch, the hybrid hitting his head on the floor, Touka on top of him as they locked lips, melding into the other as their passions escalated, heat rising to the cheeks. "you are evil." he said taking a breath as she grinned, as he felt her lips against her neck, another memorable night.

The very next day Kaneki was alone, during a break in his classes he decided to sit down at one of the benches reading on his books sipping on coffee, though to his abhorrence he found that it was extremely inferior to Anteiku's brands. To him it was just another average day, the birds were chirping the sun was shining, and there was nary a problem in sight. Although, several of his female classmates had taken an interest in him, asking him out on dates or going out for some coffee, he was sure that if Touka was here, she'd probably rip out their eyes and curb-stomp them in jealousy, she was quite possessive after all. It was only a shame that Hide wasn't here to converse with him, he would have appreciated the distraction.

He was broken form his semi-reality by a strange voice speaking some foreign language he didn't recognise. He stared up to see none other than Tsukiyama, wearing those same flamboyant clothes as before, his violet hair glimmering in the sun. He was friendly, in a way, you wouldn't expect someone like him to be, he sat himself down, casually smiling as Kaneki took more sips of the shit coffee, probably an attempt to hide whatever thoughts were bubbling up. Touka had already given him an earful of what this man was capable of, rich, influential, he was the kind of ghoul who didn't care about leaving a mess behind.

"So what brings someone like you to my neck of the woods." said Kaneki offering up a dangerous smirk, leaning his head against his hand as Tsukiyama returned said smirk in full.

"Why someone as famous like you should only be found in the presence of other folks of our level, our class." he said, never betraying a single emotion. "you see, the moment I saw you, the way you carried yourself, the air around you, all of it told me that you were a man of a civilised background, I admit, you intrigued me. In a way not many have before."

"You flatter me, really, but I would hardly say I am civilised, more like, I'm just polite." he muttered, laying his book on the table, his finger scratching the side of his as the two men conversed.

"You know, we have more in common than you think." said the Gourmet, making Kaneki raise a single eyebrow in curiosity, just what could he mean by that? What was his game? "I adore books, intelligence incarnate, a single sentence can whisk you away into the wildest of fantasies and fiction. I find imagination to not only be a measure of creativity, but a form of pride and bravery itself. I believe by immersing yourself in the literary works, you gain a clearer view of the author's vision, their own imagination. By that point you are truly free to roam through the author's radiant macrocosm. As soon as your soul enamours itself within those wonders. You can let go of your real self and the rest of reality."

"You talk a lot." was the only reply that the civilised ghoul received, only offering a single chuckle in return, Kaneki could literally smell the desperation wafting off this fellow, he was using talk as a means to unravel him, make him comfortable, careless, well perhaps he would play with his food for today, give him a treat for his hard work and bravery. "it was during the worst moments of my life that I was able to immerse myself in the worlds others created. Every little detail they forged themselves, in their own corners of their minds, it makes me wonder if they get lost in their own thoughts." spoke Kaneki, throwing the ghoul a bone just to entertain himself, as Tsukiyama only seemed to smile in understanding, whether this was a ruse or reality Kaneki could only guess for the moment.

"I hear that you're a Takatsuki fan. So am I."

"Though ingenuous at first, her style is subtle but there is a profoundness to it, I just can't help but gravitate towards it." spoke the Hybrid, revealing for just a moment his true feelings regarding a matter that he should remain guarded about. Tsukiyama, hearing of his fascination and admiration, offered to treat the young man to a coffee shop run by an avid book reader he would some times frequent. Stating how the the blend of coffee and books created an ambience that couldn't be ignored even throwing on rumours about how Takatsuki frequented the establishment. Kaneki, reluctantly agreed to the proposal even if he knew to be wary around this individual.

"I see your lover has said some rather harsh things about me. I understand, I am easily misunderstood and the disingenuous assertions about me have not helped my reputation." spoke the young man, possibly feigning loneliness and sympathy. But Kaneki knew better, he had seen this type before during his days as a stray, Ghoul's were expert actors after all, pretending to be something they were not was an occupational requirement. "I'm not allowed to participate in Ward meetings, I'm always out of the loop, a result of their shunning I try to be sociable, but they ignore me for trying. I find it tedious that I must lower myself to their level just to engage with them, to stand at their level. But you, Kaneki-kun, I don't have to do such a thing, with you I feel I can speak, act and just be myself without the opinions of others hovering over me. I hardly ever see Ghoul's interested in the works of humans, ghouls like us, are rare and few in between. I'm merely looking for a friend who I can converse with and share a like-minded conversation. I'm sorry to have bothered you, and talking your ear off, I'll see myself off now, but if you're interested for a chat or some coffee, just come by the shop I mentioned on Sunday at three o'clock." with all that said and done, Kaneki just watched the retreating form of Tsukiyama, fiddling with the time in his head, wondering what he was going to do with himself.

With all that said and done, Kaneki packed up his things, only for a shadow to sit in the very same place where Tsukiyama was just a moments ago.

"Popular today, aren't we?" spoke the man removing his bowler hat and placing it on the table, revealing his features to the hybrid. He was a middle-aged man of late forties to his early fifties with minor wrinkles and grey streaks through his combed hair. He wore a blue tie, and a blue black suit and a pair of oval shaped glasses resting on his face. Somehow, as Kaneki stared at him, everything about this man seemed... familiar, as if he was looking in a mirror. Though he couldn't quite put his finger on it. "Though I'm glad that I was able to catch you, gives us a chance to talk." he said Kaneki only staring, slightly bewildered at this newcomer. "Oh apologies for not introducing myself, I'm Professor Tanaka Shoseki, of Meiji University, the department of Literature, the School of Arts and Letters. A pleasure." he said offering a hand as Kaneki was flabbergasted by the introduction. "I've been impressed by your work for a long time now, your lectures and writings regarding the styles of several well known authors has become a much debated subject among my colleagues. As well as your dissertation regarding the notes of Leonardo Da Vinci has not gone unnoticed. "

"Umm, thank you." Kaneki said nervously, unable to handle the influx of information that was seeping into his mind. "but if I may ask, what brings someone of you standing all the way out here? it couldn't possibly be about me despite your flattering opinion." to this, Shoseki only smiled, chuckling somewhat as he adjusted his glasses.

"Young man, I have a special opportunity that only a few would refuse, under special recommendation of myself and a select few of my colleagues, we can offer you a place within our prestigious university under the department of Literature. And don't worry about the expenses of moving to the First Ward, the university will cover that, we're just unwilling to let a talent like yours pass by without a single glance." he said, offering his card as he pushed it unto the table. "you may start late in the term, but I don't think that will be too much trouble given your capabilities. Really, talent and competency are such an exotic birds in these woods that I just can't help but appreciate it whenever I see it. Whether you take the chance to leave the nest and spread your wings is completely up to you, I won't fault you for it, only, don't know your life away for causes as asinine as a humble and comfortable lives when you can live in luxury. good day to you." he said, picking up his bowler and placing it on his head again, tipping it slightly for hybrid as he was soon on his way, Kaneki grabbing the card and inspecting it in his hand.

"Was this real, was this an opportunity one couldn't pass up, while the first ward was near inhabitable for Ghouls given the fact that the CCG headquarters were located there, sometimes, you just have to take risks to earn respect and prestige. And he has taken many a risk in his days, perhaps two more was exactly what he needed to alleviate his boredom.

Thus he was one his way home, still holding that card the professor gave him, it was a huge decision, such a thing would probably lead to many possibilities. He could become a tenure professor, or a leading expert in literature, the paths this gift paved were numerous, like encountering multiple forks in the road and not knowing which to follow. For a brief moment, Kaneki didn't feel like a ghoul or even half a ghoul, just human, the one thing that all ghouls really wanted to be, a chance, just a single fleeting moment that would justify their lives.

He was travelling up an alley when he heard the sound of skin and bones colliding against skin and bone, in not in the pleasurable sort of way. He turned the corner to see three ghouls ganging up on a sole victim, beating the man into ground with bloodied knuckles and scuffed boots. He instantly recognised the beaten down ghoul as Nishiki, the student from Kamii and Hide's attempted murderer, a moment in his life that he would never forget. If Hide was anything to Kaneki, he would be the Yoriko of his life, his human anchor. Kaneki's own expression was impassive as he watched the abuse, slightly amused by it as he saw Nishio's blood being splayed across the concrete ground. To be honest, he didn't even feel like lifting a finger for his former enemy, but after hearing the breaking of bones, he knew he couldn't sit on the sidelines, like some spectator at a wrestling match, not doing anything was worse than participating in his opinion.

"Ok, that's enough!" he said as he turned the corner garnering all their attention as he threw his bag off his shoulders, preparing for a scuffle if need be. "get out of here before I turn you into my new punching bag." he warned, the other ghouls not even intimidated in the slightest, with the exception of Nishiki as his breath hitched at the sight of the hybrid.

"Look little punk, what do you see when you look at us? Huh?" queried one of the three activating his kakugan as he stared at the half-ghoul, unaware of who he was.

"Corpses." answered Kaneki plainly, cooly, unafraid of the thugs as they laughed.

"Kaneki Ken?" breathed Nishiki a foot at his skull, barely able to see through the corners of his sockets than see a clear, picturesque image.

"So is this piece of shit your friend or something? If not then do us a favour and get lost, your mother's waiting for you and you're interrupting our meal." spoke thug as he took a swing at the hybrid only to stare in utter shock as Ken caught it without a problem, only to then rip the Ghoul's arm right out of its socket, said man screaming in utter pain as Kaneki threw the severed arm over his shoulder. His friends only gasped and shook like leaves in the wind as their friend fell to the ground, clutching the bleeding stump as the waiter stepped over him.

"So, you three are just a bunch of small timers, too scared to even leave your house, Nishiki-san must have given you trouble before, otherwise you wouldn't have gone through all this trouble to put him in your place. But there are times when a man must stand up and take hits or hit back. But, you see, my fists are reserved for men, the kind that take a beating, bitches like you get slapped." said Kaneki his single Kakugan flaring to life, instilling fear into two of the ghouls who took their chances and quickly ran past him, getting way as quickly as possible before something horrible happened to him, one of them being the one he wounded just moments ago. The last one standing only stared as Kaneki grinned to himself. "Guess I found my new punching bag." he said his grin growing wider only for the ghoul to run way without saying a word, the distinct smell of urine in their air. Watching their retreating forms did Kaneki cast his grey eyes back on Nishiki, standing over the defeated ghoul, he would prefer to leave him there on the ground, believe me he was really tempted, but this guy went to university, he wasn't just a complete nobody, should he go missing, the police will be involved and trouble will follow like falling dominoes, he released an aggravated sigh as he hefted the man up and carried him to his home.

"I'm gonna kill you." muttered Nishiki as Kaneki all but dragged him up the staircase leading to his associate's apartment.

"The line's back that way." mocked the hybrid as Nishiki grumbled ineligible words under his breath.

"When I get better I'm gotta strangle that smart-ass neck of yours... ughh, why me?" he groaned again in discomfort as they stood in front of the door. Turning the handle, the half-ghoul opened it up before pushing Nishiki through, his role in this affair officially ending. Expecting a thank you at some point for saving his life. Unexpectedly, he dodged a swing from a young woman around Nishiki's own age, the ghoul weakly calling out for her to which she stopped and ran to his side. "Kimi, don't he's..."

"The one who did this to you, you've never been the same after that incident and here he is on our doorstep." she cried, trying to form some ground for an argument and expel this beast from her doorstep.

"I know, this punk turned my organs inside out, but I think he's actually here to help. He's not the ones we need to worry about." he then coughed again as his girlfriend comforted him, a small attempt to ease his pain. "Dammit, everything's gone to shit ever since Rize bit the big one. The Gourmet, the doves dying, all that shit with the Gaichuu. I can barely hunt without worrying about the doves, shit." the ghoul then lost consciousness as he drifted off into a still sleep, his girlfriend laying him down softly on the floor before turning to Kaneki.

"You're a ghoul, aren't you Kaneki-san?" the hybrid merely nodded as Kimi suddenly took him by the hand, a her voice cracking and her hands shaking, obvious dread in her eyes. "Please, don't say anything about this! I won't tell anyone, not a single soul. Please, Nishiki can't defend himself right now and if someone finds out that I was aiding a ghoul, that's worse than helping a human criminal."

"Why would I tell anyone? There's no point, it will just be inconvenient trouble." grunted out Kaneki, shrugging off Kimi's hand, a small wave of relief washing over her. Still, he didn't know whether to trust this girl, although Nishio trusted his existence to her didn't mean she would feel the same about any other ghoul. "You're human aren't you, not many of you would just help one of us out of the kindness of your hearts." Kimi didn't say anything else other than promising to tell him a story as she helped Nishiki into his bed, getting him comfortable as he rested with Kimi and Kaneki leaving the apartment in the middle of the night in favour of a park bench, a single light shining over them, cups of coffee in hand as Kimi recounted and explained why should would help one of them.

"I want to be with him. Even if he kills others, so long as he doesn't hurt my friends, I will turn a blind eye, although I would be more grateful if he killed awful criminals from time to time. And I'm sure my feelings won't change. We all need to eat, don't we? If I was a ghoul, I'd be killing, just like him, but I just happened to be have been born a human, that's the only reason I'm allowed to live a life of morality. Please Kaneki-kun, is there any way I can help Nishiki-kun?" she pleaded with him, the white-haired man remaining impassive as he mulled over the options.

"If he doesn't eat flesh or drink blood and because he's too weak to go hunting, he'll most likely die of starvation." Kimi couldn't help but tightened her fists against the hem of her shirt, some tears falling from her eyes as Kaneki remained impassive, releasing only a sigh when an idea came over him. "Come with me." he said, pushing himself up from the chair with Kimi following behind into a dark alley. The Hybrid spilled the cup of coffee in hand, the brown contents pouring across the floor, he pulled up a sleeve and took a hard bite into his wrist, the sight of which unnerved the human. He held his wrist over the cup, his blood dripping into it until it filled up halfway before his wound healed itself, placing the lid back unto it. "Take this to him, make him drink it, he will feel better, it's not a perfect substitute, but it will stave off the hunger. Let me see what I can do, until then just wait." he said handing the cup of his own blood before walking away, Kimi staring at his retreating form in a mixture of relief and worry.

Was this blind faith on his part? Likely, but perhaps the idea of humans and ghouls living together was not such a farfetched thought as it seemed. Nevertheless he never thought that he would meet someone who thought the way Kimi thought, the only other person he knew who had done such a thing before was his human father. A man he couldn't even remember. Although the main reason for doing this was mainly because of Anteiku's influence, if they hadn't taken him in, he'd still be a murderer, or at the very least he would kill more people than usual. Even if it means a life in shackles, if you have somebody who accepts you, than how reassuring can that be?

He then pulled out his phone, seeing two texts from Touka, wondering where he was? He looked at the time only to see that it was well into the night. For humans, such a thing would be slightly strange but not anything to worry about. For ghouls it was a sign that something may have happened to them, the doves, cannibalism and the like. Hoping to ease her thoughts he texted back, telling her he was fine and that nothing had happened. When he forwarded it, felt the presence of the the card from that Meiji, professor, taking it out, he stared at it in curiosity with a hint of what was, wonder? It was a big decision, something that he would have to think about, but perhaps this probably may be the best thing that has happened to him.

Touka received the text, pursing her lip in slight worry as she read over every single word. It was understandable, given what she was, she had lost many friends who vanished off the face of the earth, never knowing what happened to them or where they are now, though she assumed most were either six feet in the ground or minced up in a machine. She threw her phone on the couch releasing a sigh as she bit her fingernail in slight anxiety. She wasn't home, well not her home anyway, she was in Kaneki's apartment, the one she had the key to, it was a quaint little place, books lining the walls, a single tv and one bedroom, though one seemed to be enough.

Deciding to wait for him she wandered around the place, taking in the view, most of the time Ken would come over to her place, this was one of the rare few times she was left to explore his own hovel. She opened the door to the bedroom, noting the grey pallet and the darker grey bed, her eyebrow ticked at the sight of a bedside table with drawers and a single lamp, probably used for late-night reading, it was predictable really. She opened the first draw she touched, to her surprise there was nary a book in sight, only noting his personal belongings, which were few in number. Though there was one book though, it was tattered and dirty, the cover worn and frayed but still intact, reaching for it, it felt decayed in her hand, the musty smell of dust hanging over it. She opened it up, revealing some ripped and torn pages, until something fell out of it, landing back in the draw. She instantly assumed it was a book mark, used to mark his progress through the story, you could imagine her stunned expression upon realisation that it wasn't such a thing, it was a photo, in mint condition, not a single speck of dust, no tear in its frame nor worn over the passages of time.

When she picked it up, she noted the date, realisation washing over her as she stared at the imagery. She wanted to throw up, the shock, the sheer disgust she felt as she stared at it, she had to cover her mouth just to stop her lunching from spilling over the photo. She summarily dropped it, backing away from it as if it was cursed by a demon. She had seen many things of that nature, many ghouls were unfazed by it, but to see such a thing, recorded like that, it made her stomach turn and bullets of sweat to come barrelling down her brow, fingers trembled as if diseased from the touch of the photo as she gasped and choked for air.

The photo was of a woman, one with neatly tied black hair, a pair of glasses which were cracked and broken. Except this wasn't the simple woman smiling in an old photo, no, this woman was crouching over the bodies of several children, chewing on their intestines as their blood coated her hands and mouth. Her black and red eyes flaring in the dimly lit light of the photo, the children's tiny bodies splayed across the ground, meaty chunks of them remaining as a severed head stared into the camera lens.

Touka ran out of the room, shutting the door behind her with a slam as if she was trying to keep some horror from escaping. She gasped and choked as she tried to regain her composure, shockingly asking herself why he would keep something like that?! She knew she would receive an answer when he came home, the young she-ghoul trying so very hard to scratch the image of out her thoughts.

Kaneki was currently unlocking the door to Anteiku, he had promised that he would do something to help Nishiki and he would see that promise through, even though he thought that man was a pitiful bug, it didn't matter to him either way. When he stepped into the fridge, the area where they pack their human meat for their customers he felt a jab in his jackets pocket, right in his left pectoral region. He reached a hand in, pulling out the card that Professor Tanaka gave him, he breathed a sigh, leaning against the walls of the fridge, the scent of blood and flesh wafting into his nose.

He sighed again, for him, there was no choice this was a chance at a better life, a life worth living, although he love Anteiku, he loved helping his fellow ghouls, but when it came down to it he wanted to be worth something, to someone. And he was no fool, he tripled checked the card, all the contact details, the history, everything seemed legit. He was going to do it, he would take that position at the university and never look back. He just needed to break the news to Touka, tell her everything, he was sure she would be proud, happy even.

It took him another hour to arrive at his apartment, pressing his keys into the lock, never noticing that it was unlocked because of Touka's presence. He raised his eyebrows as he noticed the lights were on, Touka sitting on his couch, head low as she fiddled with her fingers. His first instinct was to tease her, but the image of her body language seemed to suggest a different sort of response was needed.

"What's wrong?" his question startling Touka as she only jumped slightly in her spot, warily might I add. Before he could even defend himself, she rose up from her spot, holding something in her fingers as she took some steps forward.

"What the hell is this?!" she almost yelled holding up the photo as Kaneki's expression of confusion faded into that of regret and dismay. He had hoped that she would never find it, never see it lest it paint a picture of him in the wrong kind of light. He knew that she had looked through his draws and given the fact that she didn't like reading she obviously had to entertain herself with what was available. Still it irked him to know that she would have done something like this.

"I hoped you never had to see this." said the hybrid sullenly as he plucked the photo from Touka's hands, her features contorting in a mixture of hurt and anger. She didn't have to ask what it meant, she knew he would answer anyway just to alleviate her disgusted personality. "you might know that my mother was a teacher, she taught young children how to read and spell, this was taken at a especially low point in her life, when food was scarce and times were hard. Unable to control her hunger she ate three of the students she was tutoring after school, a fellow teacher took this photo, remaining hidden and... I'm pretty sure you know what happened next." he said tucking it into his pocket as he walked around his lover, placing his bag by the side of his couch. Touka turned herself around to face him, having some closure on the subject had brightened her mood, only a little of course.

"I'm sorry, Ken, I understand if you're angry." she said, her hands in front of her, fingers gripping themselves tightly.

"You didn't have to confront me over it, I was probably going to tell you about it anyway." he breathed, his face in his hands as he sighed some more, this night was just full of drama.

"Why do you keep it? It can't be for sentimental value." she queried taking a few tentative steps forward, wanting to know what it meant.

"Now those are some treacherous waters you're stepping into." was all he said, refusing to look at her as he hid the truth. "and don't bother asking again because I'm not going to tell you, you should just forget about that photo, and leave it be." he said with a hint of anger, not willing to spill his feelings regarding the matter, not when things were finally going to change for the better. "Just, lets put this behind us, I have some good news anyway that I wanted to share with you." the she-ghoul raised an eyebrow in curiosity, following the hybrid's advice and leaving the photo where it belongs, in the past. "I was a approached by a professor from Meiji Univeristy, under the department of Literature. He wants me to come to enrol as a student under the special recommendation of their most highly-regarded professors with them evening granting me an apartment to live in... and, I've decided to take that offer." whatever smile he was wearing quickly faded as he saw Touka's dismay features, almost horrified at what he just said, as if a bunch of bricks were dropped right on top of her. "what's the matter?"

"How can you make a decision like this?" she accused, hear voice almost like a grunt as she forced the words out. Anger clearly visible in her sole visible eye, almost outraged that Ken could do something like this.

"It's easy because it's my decision." he bit back, irate at her words, not understanding why she was so angry at this monumental news. He ran over what he did in his mind, searching for any clue that could have frustrated her so, but no matter what he thought up, there was no indication that her said anything that could have provoked such a response.

"You couldn't have thought this through?!" said Touka, unbelieving that this book worm could have possibly not thought over all the consequences that were at stake.

"Do you think I'm that stupid?! Doves, food, ghouls, fitting into society I know the cost of each." he said standing up sharply startling the bluenette slightly at his actions and slightly infuriated that she insulted him by not insulting him, it was a strange paradox indeed but it was the only way to describe such feelings.

"You really believe that I'm just going to stand here and let this happen?!" shouted Touka, standing defiant against the hybrid even as he took steps forward, his movements sharp and to the point.

"And do you think you can try?" he warned his own face inches away from her, pulling away and skulking back to the couch, his brow furrowing as he attempted to keep his anger in check. Anything could have set it off, like a glass balancing on a tightrope, a single shudder it knock it free.

"Did you even consider me when you thought this through." she stated her words triggering something in him as he clenched his fist, his breathing more like a angry bull's than the calm and laid-back individual than he usually. He turned to face her, a single vein bulging above his left eye as steam was all but rising from his figure.

"Now don't turn this into a popularity contest. Not every thing I say or do revolves around you, as much as you would like to believe that." accused the hybrid, spitting out his words as if they were venom in his mouth, pointing a single figure at Touka who did not shy away from such accusations, her own anger swelling just like his.

"And what would you gain from this venture, a cushy life filled with expensive cars, penthouses and women on each arm!" she argued, making her thoughts known and heard as the hybrid digested them for a split second. To her it was like floodgates being unleashed and only being restrained with a fishnet, almost impossible to contain.

"Don't. You. Even. Dare!" he seethed with barely subdued rage, his face almost going red as a tomato. "You of all people should know what its like to be born with nothing. You don't value what we have achieved together! And when I present an opportunity for a better life you throw it back in my face and say it's not enough! We have had to fight our way, kicking and screaming, for everything in our entire lives! And the moment our dreams are in reach is the moment you give up on everything we have worked towards! All the sacrifices we make will be in vain because you cannot swallow your pride!-" he then recoiled, a fist to his mouth, almost forcing himself to swallow whatever hurtful comment was rising to the surface until he spotted his mother's photo on his couch, plucking it from its place and holding it between his fingers, hissing like a serpent. "Do you know why I keep this photo? Do you know?! Because it is one of the few moments in my fucked up life when I was proud of my mother! That this woman, in this moment, as abhorrent as this is, is fighting to survive! To give me the things I have today! She was doing whatever it took! And so will I! With or without you!" he yelled a comment that broke a chord in Touka, like a strings on a guitar being broken, she would have said something in response if it wasn't for the Half-ghoul continuing his rant. "So no! I will not have this conversation and I will not indulge you any further! You are letting this go or you can see yourself out that door!"

"I'm not letting this go Ken, and you're right, it is not enough." snarled Touka, glaring at the hybrid as he returned it in full.

"Then what the hell do you want?! Tell me just what is you want? Is the first ward not enough! Is Anteiku not enough! Just what is it?" he said pacing back and forth, arms in front of him as he questioned her over what could satisfy her, what could end this argument and let them get back on with their lives.

"No, Ken, you've decided to stop fighting. You're not enough." she hissed, grabbing her purse and seeing herself out of the door, the only thing that she left behind being the slamming of the wood. Leaving Kaneki to fume by himself. He only retreated into his bathroom, staring at his reflection in the mirror as he gripped the sides of the sink, the thin metal cracking under his strength. His sweat falling from his brow, his eyes heavy, he offered one final glance to the glass before cracking it with his fist.

"Kaneki-kun?" spoke the voice of Shuu Tsukiyama sitting directly opposite the hybrid as the former remembered his heated encounter with Touka, the first fight, that incident had distracted him from then on, he couldn't stop himself from falling into a small stupor, even Tsukiyama had noticed the wariness, although he didn't know the cause of course. Thankfully he was able to break the half-ghoul from hi daydreaming, the white-haired young man breaking from his trance with a small startle. "you seem distracted?"

"It's nothing to worry about, something like this will blow over." said Kaneki taking a sip of some iced coffee. It was Sunday, and as he promised he turned up to the quaint coffee shop that his associate mentioned, the one coated with books across the walls. The former fugitive had to admit, being in this place seemed to ease him, calm down on his nerves and made him forget about the other day's events. It was not a memory he would like to revisit anyway.

"Does it involve Kirishima-san?" the narrowing of the grey eyes was all that Tsukiyama needed to know. "I see, lover's spats are oh so terrible affairs, whether or not both parties are guilty, would you like to talk about?" inquired the Gourmet to which Kaneki raised a single eyebrow in caution and curiosity. He didn't exactly trust this individual, so to let him in on sensitive information, Touka would skin him alive if he did such a thing. Although she wasn't here to complain now, is she?

"I got recently offered an invitation as a special recommended student at Meiji University, I'm going to follow through on it and well... I told Touka-chan. She wasn't as excited about it as I thought she would be." recounted Kaneki taking another sip as Shuu's smile fell, resting his head on his hand as he mulled over the hybrid's recount.

"Huh? Meiji is incredibly prestigious, I thought she would be nothing but supportive in such a endeavour, I figured she would be jumping over the moon over such a great news. Though if Kirishima-san has proven anything over the years we have known each other, she is as unpredictable as a cat, you just never know what she's going to do. Although, that can be applied to women in general." spoke Tsukiyama Kaneki giving him only an indifferent grunt which carried a hint of agreement. "honestly, Kaneki-kun, relationships are a difficult yet perplexing thing, if I was you, well, I would establish my dominance, show her who wears the pants. But I see I have distracted you again, this isn't about Kirishima-san, lets just enjoy ourselves, we did come here to relax after all."

"Yes, this place is perfect for reading, laid-back, no worries, I probably will get used to it soon enough though." said Kaneki, a small grin stretching across his lips as he took another sip from his coffee. "I'm sure Rize-chan would have liked it, we were a bird of a feather." he said taking another sip evoking a nonchalant response from Tsukiyama, what the pure blooded ghoul failed to realise was, Kaneki never did anything without purpose, he came here to learn of the man's motives, his methods just what did he want with someone like him. Since Rize was all but queen of the feeding grounds in the 20th ward, he assumed she must have at least butted heads with the Gourmet at least once or twice. His slow arrow hit its mark as he observed Tsukiyama crack the cup in his hand out of sheer anger. Obviously the Eater and the Gourmet were not so friendly with the other, despite their mutual admiration for food in general. "She didn't care as long as it satisfied her appetite. Like a pig huddling over its garbage, that lowly sow mocking my pursuit for the most exquisite of cuisine." he said out loud, his voice barely above a whisper as Kaneki grinned in victory, a pig eating its garbage, that was one way you could chalk up Rize in a single sentence. "I'm sorry, I lost my cool there for a second, to be honest we were only on good terms for a short while, a conflict of taste."

"Quite a mess, let me help." Kaneki said reaching one of his hands towards the broken cup, only for Tsukiyama's own finger to touch his for just a split second, but that was all that was needed as a gash opened up on the tip of the hybrid's finger. The Gourmet apologised for such a thing, dabbing the half-ghoul's finger in a handkerchief he carried around that was quickly stained with red from the blood. "You know, Shuu-kun, I find myself aching for some, exotic appetisers. You wouldn't happen to know of a place that would serve someone of my reputation." smiled Kaneki, wagging the bait in front of the ghoul, the gentlemen giddy with the thought.

"Here, let me take this, lets go to the Restaurant, we can go together, and I can really treat you like someone worthy of your station. You will have to excuse me for a moment, I need the restroom." he said taking the handkerchief away and quickly scurrying away like a lizard with a cricket in its mouth. In front of the mirror, running the tap to calm his nerves did the predator breathe a sigh, his breath shaky and nervous, alarmed that he might have spooked his prey. "won't be long now, once I know what he likes and how to best serve him, everything will fall into place." he then took a whiff of the bloodied handkerchief, savouring its delectable aroma, the smell of flowers on a spring breeze, the coffee and the books together, it was too much! He quickly spasmed as he sniffed the piece of cloth as if it was cocaine, his eyes bulging and going white as they receded into his skull. "the tranquil aroma, the harmonious sweetness. The discovery of a new viand, this novel delicacy, delights me more than the discovery of a new star. Oh Monsieur Savarin, you were exactly right."

You were probably wondering why the hybrid would so something like this, why he had taken a interest in baiting Tsukiyama. Ever since he showed up at Kamii, the half-ghoul had an inkling that hits man wasn't what he seemed. Indeed all his interactions with him, while civil, have always had an underlying purpose for both parties. One simple, the other complex. For Kaneki, he was now a staunch follower of the rules, something that the Gourmet had little interest in, thus, wanting to catch him in the act, purposely harming a member of Anteiku, that would provoke a response from the others, lawbreakers must be punished, it's a rather simple idea, but it was only a small cog in the clock tower.

Thus he was outfitted with a suit, sitting at a table next to Tsukiyama, a small area down below. He sipped at some fermented blood, akin to human wine. He had of course heard of the Ghoul Restaurant, a place where the upper class of their society congregated to partake in cuisine that was outside of the usual menu for their kind. The waiters of course waited on them, fussing over them as if they were china dolls, bringing them appetisers for the meal to come. Of course he was wearing his iconic black, leather mask, a standard piece of clothing in a establishment such as this.

"I do hope you enjoy yourself Mukade-kun, I don't bring just anyone to these sort of clubs, many of my friends look down upon the simple folk, as you can understand." spoke Tsukiyama who, for the remainder of his time here, would be going by the name of MM. The upper class ghoul took his own sip of fermented blood, normally he would have thrown Kaneki into the ring below, but he knew the dangers of such a thing, not only that, he wanted to see what kind of delicacies the half-ghoul enjoyed, so as to make the meal so much sweeter, when the time is right.

Soon enough their attention was grabbed by the arrival of the meals, three delicious humans all served on a platter. It didn't fill Kaneki with guilt, no, these were men and women who were disconnected from society, that or they had no social lives that would instinctively lead the CCG to their doorsteps. The platters of flesh cried out in betrayal and hurt at their 'friends' who had served them up, many laughing and dismissing them, referring to them as nothing but food.

Kaneki scanned his single eye across all his new associates, most of them were thrilled to have such a celebrity in their midst. He didn't know if he was flattered or insulted to be honest, many of these guests and patrons were people he would utterly despise in the outside world, of course this wasn't the point of his presence but at the very least it didn't hurt to watch out for someone. He noted the gargantuan brute known as Taro, who was the restaurant's scrapper, the one that served the dishes, mincing them int exactly what his customers wanted. Kaneki could only cringe at this gorilla of man, unable to form a single intelligent thought, he behaved more like a child than anything else.

He raised an eyebrow as the ringing sound of laughter pierced his ears, watching as the chubby woman offered up one of her fellows towards the brute in an attempt to stay alive longer despite the futility of it all. It didn't take long for all the humans to be ripped apart, piece by piece, their limbs thrown about and their bodies chucked like ragdolls. Unfortunately for Kaneki he was too distracted by Tsukiyama's antics to notice the leg flying towards him, smacking him in the face, almost causing him to fall from the chair.

Tsukiyama startled and scared that his own dish was to be bruised before it was officially served quickly ran to his side taking an arm as he hefted the university student up, only to catch a glimpse that almost made his heart beat from his chest. The eye patch that was usually wrapped around the young ghoul's eye had been pulled off, handing limply from the mask and the drops of blood tht coated his upper face had caused his single Kakugan to manifest, the black and red colours blazing like a couldn't believe it, the rumours were true, the rare hybrid born from the union of humans and ghouls, this was no star he had discovered, this was the discovery a new galaxy! His hand twitched, beads of sweat rolled down his brow and his breathing was heavy, thankfully no one else had seen it, no, he couldn't allow these cars to partake of this field of grass, no, this delectable flower belonged to him, only him. This was a luxury he couldn't afford to lose as he hung his face in his hands.

Kaneki meanwhile had situated the eye-patch back on his face and stared at the ring below, taro was playing with his food, every time the one-eyed Ghoul looked at this pitiful excuse of a human being. Not even pity arose, but the annoyance that dogged him at every turn, perhaps it was a mercy to put the thing down, like a sick animal. Thus he lifted himself off the chair and approached the hulking behemoth, staring the creature down with a single eye.

"Who you?" asked the monster dully, uninterested with the dangerous creature before him. He never received an answer as Kaneki turn the brute apart with his bare hands, splitting apart flesh and bone with barely any effort. Many of the onlookers were slightly shocked, they wanted to watch the show for just a little longer, they whispered amongst themselves, how Mukade was strange or how he had no taste. They only received a few words as the hybrid stood atop Taro's corpse, Madam A yelling out how he was a disappointment.

"All you can eat buffet!" holding his arms out as the customers quickly cheered in response, Tsukiyama only breathed, removing his mask as he breathed hoarsely, as if struggling to breathe. No one could have him, but someone like him. The greatest dish this small world could afford.

Tonight dinner was served, but for Tsukiyama, he wanted to skip straight to dessert.

I do Hope everyone enjoyed that chapter, Kaneki and Touka have had their first fight, wonder what will happen now and who is really at fault for this. I really wanted to create subtle way to show that Kaneki is the one at fault and not Touka, it will be interesting to see if anyone picks up on it. So next chapter Tsukiyama's grand design will come full swing and then we will be moving on to the Aogiri arc, so exciting! until then

Juubiwriter99 is down and out