Disclaimer: I do not own Tokyo Ghoul
There were 8 tapes in all. Black and labeled 1-8. They made Amon nervous. He hoped their lack of title meant they were blank but he had seen the inside of that room-'that hellhole,' his mind whispered- and he knew they weren't. He's not sure he wants to see what's on them but there's a small part of him that wants to know; wants to see with sickening curiosity.
Looking around the room, Amon takes a small comfort in knowing he's not the only one.
A few people he can understand being here; Marude and Shinohara were leads in the countermeasure attack so it would make sense for them to want to see any information gathered in the cleanup. Kuroiwa couldn't make it due to his injuries. Juuzou was also in attendance, sitting on a table next to Shinohara, swinging his legs back and forth like a child. Amon could hear Shinohara gently trying to persuade Juuzou to leave but the young investigator wasn't budging.
"Shinohara, nothing you say will make me go," Juuzou giggled before giving his mentor a sadistic smile. "I was the one to find and kill Jason but he was already injured when I stumbled upon him. I wanna know who tore him apart; they did a beautiful job~" He ended with a carefree laugh.
"H-Hey, is that really something to laugh about?!" Seidou asked nervously and let loose a muffled 'oomph' when Akira casually elbowed him in the stomach. Amon had no idea why those two were allowed in on this viewing; neither had participated in the raid and he felt that the less people to see these tapes, the better. Akira wasn't even part of their squad. Shortly after her father's death, headquarters had assigned her to the 20th ward for a trial period to see if she would work well there. She had been assigned as Amon's partner. Despite Amon's efforts, they didn't mesh well. Still, as time passed, their teamwork was improving.
The last-and most surprising- person in their group was Arima. Amon almost had a heart attack when he had walked in and saw the CCG's Reaper sitting at a table. Perhaps Akira and Seidou had showed up because Arima was here; a ploy to prove they were competent investigators or something. Whatever their reasons, Amon hoped they wouldn't come to regret it.
"All right, everybody shut up," Marude snapped gaining everyone's attention. "Just to recap, these tapes were recovered from our raid on the 11th ward. We don't know what's on them but from the description of the room and certain items found there, these tapes aren't family friendly."
"Certain items?" Akira asked ignoring the annoyed look Marude sent her.
"A broken chair, chains, handcuffs, pliers and some buckets filled with severed toes and fingers." The man said pleasantly ignoring Juuzou's excited laugh and the way Seidou paled at the description. "Ghouls aren't known for videotaping their . . . escapades, so if you feel the urge to vomit, the bathroom's next door."
That was the only warning they received before Marude popped in the first tape and pressed play.
The TV screen flickered to life and Amon sucked in a breath as that room appeared. There's a chair with a body tied to it; obviously male but his face was covered. There's a bucket of severed fingers and toes sitting nearby.
The man wasn't moving.
The sound of a door opening made most of the people in the room jump and Amon watches with a sinking heart as two figures enter the room.
The first one was a bulky ghoul in a white suit that he recognized on sight. Jason had been one of theirs before escaping and he was not a ghoul to be trifled with. The second figure was a young man. He was petite with pale skin and black hair. Amon could see shock and horror dart though grey eyes as the boy took in the body.
"Welcome to my room." Jason's deep voice resonated throughout the room as he gave the kid a smirk while pointing at the body. "That's for messing up."
The air was tense as the investigators watched Jason fiddle with something in his jacket.
"Do you know what this is?" Jason asked the boy, showing him a syringe. "It's an RC suppressant fluid-"
"What? How'd he get a hold of something like that?" Amon heard Shinohara ask but he was focused on the boy. He looked familiar. Why did Amon feel like he had seen him before?
"Can you guess where the injection is made?" Amon heard Jason ask his charge.
"N-No? No idea." The other stuttered and Amon gasped when he realized who he was looking at.
I'm begging you . . . don't make me a murderer!
The words flowed through Amon's mind as he watched the syringe go through an eye and Eyepatch scream over Jason's laughter.
"Imagine the 'worst possible' scenario you can. What's next will be 'much, much' worse." Jason's cold voice rang out in delight as the tape ended.
The room was silent except for Seidou's heavy breathing. Everyone was pale but no one seemed deeply disturbed by what they just seen. Amon can understand that; as investigators, they'd done some gruesome things to ghouls in their effort to exterminate them.
"So that was just a little taste of what we're going to be seeing. Would anybody like to leave?" Marude asked.
"I'm suddenly very glad Juuzou killed that ghoul. Not that I wasn't before! It's just . . . after seeing that, I'm extra glad." Seidou's voice rang out with a relieved laugh.
"At least Jason was practicing on other ghouls and not humans." Arika's cool voice rang out and something snapped inside Amon. Whirling around in his chair, he looked her dead in the eye.
"He didn't deserve that!" He snarled at her and saw everyone raise their eyebrows in surprise at his defense for the ghoul.
He was surprised himself.
"Amon, he's a ghoul. In case you've forgotten, our job is to kill them." Akira reminded him, her eyes looking like fine chips of ice but Amon wouldn't be cowed.
"I have not forgotten," He told her through gritted teeth as he tried to restrain his anger. "But that was torture for the sake of torture. It's one thing to kill your enemy, it's another to torture and mock them simply because you can."
"Ghouls kill people every day." She reminded him, treating him like a forgetful child.
"Yeah? Humans kill other humans every day too. As far as we know Eyepatch hasn't done anything-"
"Eyepatch?" Shinohara interrupted Amon's tirade, sending him a questioning look.
"The boy in the video," Amon admitted, trying his best not to sweat under all the gazes locked on him. "I met him when I was trying to track down that ghoul child awhile back. There's not much to say. We fought and-"
"You kicked his ass?" Seidou cut in with an eager expression.
"I lost." Amon admitted, a little amused at seeing Seidou deflate at his response. "He ripped through my quinque like it was nothing. He told me to run but I wouldn't and then . . ." He trailed off, thinking of the fight; of the boy he had first was weak.
"And then?" Amon vaguely heard Juuzou ask.
"He asked me not to make him a murderer." Amon answered softly, still seeing the tears overflow in that one grey eye. A snort shook him from his musings and he saw most of them looking at him in disbelief. "What? That's what he said." He ended in a defensive mutter.
"Hmmm, he didn't try to eat me either. He's a nice ghoul." Juuzou chirped with a happy grin as he turned to look at Shinohara. "Remember that night you had to pick me up from that police station? I met Eyepatch earlier in the night. I stole his wallet." Juuzou giggled.
"Did you find anything identification?" Marude immediately asked as Shinohara released a heavy sigh at Juuzou's actions.
"I don't remember boring stuff like that," Juuzou said in a sing song voice, kicking his feet. "All I remember is that we're the same age and he didn't have enough money for me to buy snacks with. He was polite; I don't think he even reported the wallet missing."
"Marude-san." A quiet voice that held a tone of authority spoke. Amon winced at the sound. He had forgotten Arima was here. The most powerful investigator in the room heard Amon defend a ghoul; not the best career move.
"Please put in the next tape." Arima asked, his voice never changing tone.
"Alright, alright," The older man muttered. "Part two, ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy." He sneered sarcastically, pushing play.
Amon wished he hadn't.
The first video in no way prepared him for the sheer viciousness shown in the second. No matter how many times Eyepatch pleaded-
"Pl-leaasee! Stop! It hurts!"
"I'm taking your middle toe next, ok?"
-Jason would not-
"Stop! Please stop!"
"You regenerate so fast! Let's see how many fingers I can take from you today!"
Over and over he took Eyepatch's fingers and toes and over and over they would regenerate.
The boy would not stop wailing.
"Isn't this fun, Kaneki? Aren't you having fun, Kaneki? AREN'T YOU HAVING FUN?"
Buckets upon buckets of blood and severed appendages and Amon had to stop himself from looking away. Eyepat- no, Kaneki, had suffered through this and Amon would not disrespect him by looking away. His eyes narrowed as Jason leaned in, putting his foul lips next to a tear stained cheek.
"Even if you could fight me, you wouldn't, would you? Remember Kaneki, all I have to do is say the word and your friends will be right up here with you. Do you want that?"
Kaneki stiffened and his eyes widened. He had a look on his face- as if he just remembered something incredibly important before it morphed into a look of defeat.
"No. Please keep your word, Yamori." His hoarse voice croaked out and Amon wanted to grab him from that room and take him somewhere safe.
Yamori took off his mask and gave Kaneki an assessing look.
"You're such a timid little thing, yet, there's a hidden strength to you. I think I'll enjoy our time together, my little conundrum." He said with a dark purr, giving Kaneki no warning as he snapped another finger off. Yamori was about to take another when his head jerked to the side, looking at something off screen. Amon could hear the muffled sound of someone talking and Yamori nodded, putting down the pliers. The ghoul didn't say anything to Kaneki as he left.
The moment the door clicked shut, Kaneki's muffled sobs became louder. It took a moment for Amon to realize the boy wasn't simply sobbing; he was talking to himself.
"Stay strong. Stay strong. Remember what mom used to say: it's better to be hurt than to hurt others. It's better to be hurt than to-" He repeated the mantra over and over to himself until his tears had dried and he had calmed down.
Then he looked directly into the camera and Amon's breath became caught in his lungs.
His face was pale and bruised. Dark bags clung under his eyes like stubborn clouds. It was his eyes, however, that caught Amon's attention.
They were weary but warm.
"I will protect them." Kaneki mumbled as his eyes rolled into the back of his head and the tape ended.
The room was quiet for a long time.
"Do you still think he deserves it, Akira?" Amon asked in the silence.
She didn't answer.
No one did.
A/N: Some of Yamori and Kaneki's dialogue was taken directly from the manga.