a private taste

The way that Akabane-san licks blood off his scalpels disturbs me.

I know that Ban-chan says that he's probably doing it just to disturb me, and I know that I shouldn't watch, but it's one of those things that sort of draws the eye. Like . . . looking at something which you're not supposed to. Something private. Even though he doesn't do it privately. He does it right in public, in front of me and Ban-chan and everyone.

It's bad enough that he kills people, but --

And now it seems stupid that I'm arguing that it's worse that he licks blood off his scalpels than that he kills people. What sort of way is that to argue? I've seen enough people die. Having him lick his scalpels ought to be a small thing in comparison.

It's the way that he does it. The sidelong air that says he knows he's being watched, that he expects to be watched, and that he finds it all oh so amusing. That he almost pities us because we don't quite get it.

Though Akabane-san doesn't pity anyone. So it can't be that.

His tongue flicks out and back. He doesn't cut himself. At least, I don't think he does. He never shows any sign of cutting it on the scalpels when he licks them. Maybe they just sink into his tongue, the way he normally stores them in his body?

I'm almost sure he doesn't know that I'm watching him. It isn't the sort of thing I'd watch.

I've tasted my own blood before. Everyone does. When you get knocked down, when you graze your finger and suck it. It tastes like blood. Why should it taste like anything else?

What is it that he's tasting, when he licks his scalpels?

And he slants a glance towards me as if to say, wouldn't you like to know.