When the Sky Cries

3 Part Pale-(Fill up 3)

The blatant light emerged from the other side of the barrier. Everyone hissed and turned away from the uncomfortable sensitivity that plagued our eyes. I used my opposite hand to shield my blurred vision.

"Salutations Ladies and Gentleman! Please excuse my late arrival. Are we all enjoying tonight's entertainment?"

A deafening cheer thundered after the speaker's exhilarating introduction.

"What the-" Kaito stopped once the door was fully roped to the top. The slow jangle of clicks signaled the brakes of the mechanism.

"Forward!" several guards pushed us onward. I resisted even when the weight from behind came hammering into my back. My feet skidded against the cobble ground as the group kept shuffling toward the opening. With little strength, I gritted my teeth and heaved in the opposite direction.

"Don't let'em bully us through! Push back!" I turned to Ume who was as flushed as a ghost. Her eyes were petrified as the crowed behind us grieved with fright. I could hear Chile screaming against the mixture of sounds. The classical opera continued to play over our pleads. My muscles strained the more I struggled to take a step back.

"I'm so pleased with the turn out this evening! And I'm also ecstatic to announce this has been our most successful annual banquet to date! Everyone, please have your new skewers prepared because our next round is about to begin!" Tsukiyama's vibrant voice rang over the stimulated audience.

My legs shook as I held the growing weight.

I couldn't give in. I couldn't go through the door.

If we did, if we entered, our fate would be forever sealed.

"Um-Ume! Ume! Push back! Chile you've got to fight!" My sister still clung to me as my grip on the stone was slowly weakening. I was one against many. I couldn't see Chile but I heard to her grunts of strain as she attempted to hold everyone from moving forward. Even a few others in the front joined me.

As we fought, our numbers were winning until a howling pitch stopped our momentum. Against the violin's tunes a squealing shriek was penetrating our ears from behind. Some of us were able to make the daring turn but regretted the moment we did.

One of the guards had speared a student and held him effortlessly above the ground. The boy squirmed on the end of the sharpen tool like a worm on a bait hook. Nerves pricked my checks and a crawl of jitters ran down my spine as I witnessed the barbed end of the pole gorging out the front of his ribcage. His bloody hands gripped at the protruding object. I could hear the splintering of his bones and the squishing of his skin as his shifting weight caused the injury to worsen. His feet daggled over the group; the guard played with his toy. The brunette wailed, tears spilled out of his eyes.

"Forward!" The guard commanded before throwing the impaled boy deep on the other side of the door. Sprinkles of blood dripped onto our hair and shoulders of our clothes. I felt a drop dribble down the corner of my lip.

Panic flared around us. I heard Ume sobbing while Chile gagged at the horrific scene. I assumed Kaito was like me, too stunned to mutter anything.

The boy was tussled to the ground. The long spear snapped on impact as his body rolled across the stones. His flesh was scrapped and his clean attire was now coated with wine stain liquid. The boy's chest rose in a non-steady rhythm. The pole had been jarred during his fall. It was noticeable the snapped bones and torn skin from his side.

Instantly, our feet met the tainted unknown cement. Our bodies were subjected to the rays of the florescent lights. The crowed in front let out round of applause as boy slipped in his blood. His limbs were barely able to hold himself an inch above the floor.

"Bravo! Seems our delicacies have arrived, perfect timing!" The hoist chimed over the noisy crowd. My eyes watered as I surveyed the area quickly. Elaborate pillars supported what looked to be high balcony areas. Glittering fragments of paper fluttered around us. Their metallic sparkle picked up the hues of the red and gold decorations. Around us however, we were encompassed by solid grey rock. Over our heads, surrounding us, were our captors. The hungry Ghouls were excitingly awaited out deaths.

I felt the blood retreating from my head. The smell of turning meat evaded my nose. My chest pounded as the sensation of being confined strangled me. I actually gripped Ume's hand harder. And while I did, I forced myself to believe it was Kaneki at my side. That he was the shadow of encouragement, the warmth of protection.

"Wha-wha-what are we gonna do perox? Whatta we do?" Chile's frantic worries clung onto me. I was in front; I was the leader.

"Just a reminder before the next round begins-"

My eyes caught sight of Ayato hidden behind his bird disguise. His relax posture was mocking us. And though I couldn't see it, I knew there was a hint of amusement plastered on his face. I sneered at the audience.

Tsukiyama remained on track with his announcement.

"As always the number of harpoons an individual has is based on the amount purchased at the opening of this event. Any remaining spears left over from the previous round may be used again. The number-tags on the humans below is for your convince to remember and help you target the sample you most desire."

I rubbed my fingers over the livestock identification pierced through the top cartilage of my ear. The metal plate pressed coolly against my head.

"After three hits by the same thrower, the human will then be claimed by said Ghoul. It is then, that you can decide weather to have your meal fresh or skillfully butchered by our talented Scrapper. Who was generously brought in today by Madame A. Let's have another round of applause. "

Clapping followed as well as the petrified cries of the students.

My guts stirred and I was holding on to my remaining consciences. Ume wasn't speaking other than interrupted hiccups of sobs. I wanted so badly break down and weep like the rest. My heart ached for an authoritative figure, anyone to shelter my fears and embrace me in a secure hug. The nightmare was real, I was terrified, I was drowning in depression-hopelessness.

Kaneki you wouldn't be mad, would you?

"The round will conclude when the final human has fallen! À votre santé everyone!" Tsukiyama concluded his final words. My pulse rushed as the Ghoul's hollered their foul statements. We were the bulls in the arena.

The first harpoon came flying at us. Its blade sliced through the air and grazed near the group. Its thick wooden pole became trapped in the crackes of the stone floor. A loud gasp erupted from the prey as we frantically huddled together. More thrills sounded from above. And soon another couple of spears was zipping towards us.

Shrieks of agony soon followed as another member was brutally stabbed in the shoulder. The staff dug a massive hole as blood spewed like fractured pipe. The girl bent over in cries as the pain was unavoidable.

"Oh my-Oh my F/N-" Ume fastened to my side, "they're going to die!" I swallowed before moving out of the path of an oncoming arrow. The blade smiled at me as it passed my frame, only by inches.

"Perox! What should we do? Whada' we do!" Chile was glued behind me. Kaito was gasping for air as the panic was over taking his airway. There wasn't anyone who wasn't hyperventilating in some way. My mind became a juggling disaster. I couldn't think. More screams flooded the room.

My sight was clouded with the horror as I watched students being jabbed like cheese cubs. The Ghouls chanted their encouragement to others. Classical music only emphasized the torture.

More weapons came darting towards us. Their direction unpredictable, our chances of bypassing the hits were lessening. My throat went dry when I heard our escape route; the metal door's hinges ticking downward.

"The door! Stop the door!" I yelled toward the shaking group. Many had their hands clamped over their ears or eyes. Their bodies were weakened to nothing more than slabs of meat. My eyes flashed around, as I desperately tried to find anything to aid in our escape.

"Perox, look out!"

I skidded out of the path of an incoming elongated dagger. My boots were layered with a mixture of crimson fluid and puke. My hands were empty. I looked for Ume and found her scooted tightly against the corner. Her tethered dress was absorbing the pools of blood.

The door's gears twisted as the weight was lowered. Reacting, I reached for a lone spear that was available in the open. I gripped the hefty weapon and instantly ran toward the familiar entrance. The brass face was coming into view.

"Looks as though we will be needing assistance early!" The hoist bellowed over the uproar. My mind was elsewhere; I was determined to aim properly. I had a clear shot. With a quick leap, I nailed the spear's thick wood into the spinning mechanisms. The groan from the contraption slowed as the metal collided with its blockage. The wooden handle squeaked as its fibers dealt with the pressure.

I barely landed on my feet when my body was collided with a powerful force. I summersaulted backwards before turning on my back. My chest burst with a cramping pain as I tried to breathe. It felt as though someone was squishing my lungs. The coughs only intensified the imaginary punches above my mid section.

"Perox, perox get up! Common get up!" I heard Chile spurring me on. My arms trembled, like the boy before me, as I staggered to my knees. I was consumed with dizzy vision. My ears were barely able to hear clear audible sounds. "Perox, you gotta move!" A wad of saliva escaped my choking mouth. Standing was more difficult than expected. My heart let out a loud pulse.

"Ladies and Gentleman our scrapper has intervened at the proper moment. Magnifique save!" The speaker cheered with the audience. I drew a sharp breath and clutched my winded chest. My eyes widened as the monstrous man came into view. His features were clocked in a scarlet mask that concealed any expressions on his face. The fabric wrapped around his blubbery neck and a single matching strap drew down to hook in the front of his pants. His bulging muscles on his arms and chest were exposed to the harsh lights. His sweaty skin shined as he waddled forward.

I licked my lips and winced at the onset pain.

Moving seemed unthinkable, until his jagged saw came swooping down towards my left side. I ducked out of its path before his blade clanked the stone floor. Panting, I watched as he drew back his weapon before letting out an obnoxious steamy belch.

"Excusee- ehme-" He pronounced his syllables like a child. Which, his babyish tone was contrary to his bulky size. This had to be something out of a nightmare.

"Good Boy Taro! Good boy! Now make mommy proud and cut our meat finely! Good boy Taro!" A woman with a high-pitched voice chanted from the stands. Apparently, even murders feed off their mother's encouragement. Automatically, the boy raised his hands in excitement before trotting off towards the shivering group of students.

The young adults screamed and scattered as his massive frame acted as a bulldozer on high speed. While some were able to carry themselves away from danger, others were invisibly chained to the floor. Their injuries prevented them from getting out of harms way.

The impaled boy from earlier squirmed in the slippery mess. His slick fingers and shoes were unable to catch a grip. Tears streamed from his bruised eyes. The more he frantically tried to get maneuver out of the situation. His frantic breathing only spiraled him more into frenzy. The spear's broken end looked like a lever as it bounced up and down.

Another harpoon came shooting from the crowd and pierced through his back. I stood mortified. His bloodcurdling scream only egged the Ghouls on.

"Wondrous aim!"

"What a hit!" Laughs and celebration broke out from the crowd. Their entertainment was no different than that of Gladiators. Only this show was hands on, total engagement. I could hear the their champagne glasses tossing to another direct hit. Their party masks were full of sinister intentions as they enjoyed the torment of humans.

"Someone help me! Someone pl-plesae! I don't want to d-die!" Vital fluid poured from his airways. The spear was wedged deeply in his muscles. "Please, someone save-save me!" His pleads were drowned by the ballroom music and clamor of the hunters. Even though I was witnessing his struggle. Even though I was seeing his life fading, I couldn't lift a finger. I was too shocked to register everything. The moment, the chaos, it was all-surreal.

The gears from the door clicked and the wood from the pole crunched.

What do I do? What do I do!

"Oh another splendid shot!" The hoist rang over the boy's cries. "I believe this one goes to Sir Harada. Congratulations! What be of your choice this evening?"

A boisterous man bellowed with a chuckle, "Butchered of coarse!" The Ghouls clapped their hurrahs as the scrapper squeaked his tight pants in the direction of the injured boy. Who was barely breathing once the third spear had entered his body. His eyes begged for mercy.

No…

"Slice him down the middle!"

"Oh he looks so tender! Nice pick Harada-"

I wanted to throw up. My insides felt as if they were being boiled in a crock-pot. The continuous screaming pulsed through my head. I trembled. All I could do was clamp a hand over my mouth at the sight of the sharp tooth blade.

The scrapper happily dragged the boy off to a nearby stained concrete slab. I hadn't noticed the butchering table until now. The remains from the previous round still were piled on the top. With a quick sweep, the knife yielder cleared the scraps of flesh and tissue before dropping the fresh load. The boy screamed endless as the saw was lifted. He was still skewered like food for a grill.

I couldn't black out the hair-raising sight. I continued to watch as the saw carved through his midsection. His frantic cries were unheard as the blood poured from his stomach. Mixed colored organs began to emerge as the blade sliced deeper. Once the hacking of the bone started I literally twisted over and puked anything inside me. A blistering fever flashed over my face.

"And I'm assuming cubed is how your meal shall be prepared?" Tsukiyama raised a glass, "You'll be able to pick up your take out once the round has officially ended."

I couldn't look anymore at the dismembered body. Since everywhere around me more students were being targeted. People were swerving out of the harpoons. Others were busy trying to yank the poles from their embedded hold in their skin. The grey stone floor was barely visible as time passed.

"Perox, Perox are ya alright? Ya gotta move! Common!" Chile was at my side pulling we towards a wall. I stumbled along with her. Our shoes skied over the slop and our lungs choked at the smell of decay. Our backs rammed against the stone. Again, I found a small group of us, including Kaito and Gin smashed by the entrance corner. All of us too frightened to venture out of the safety of the crease.

Watching the ceiling rain deadly spears wasn't even something I would have ever fathomed. And I thought being locked in a bathroom was torturous. Kaneki you wouldn't be mad, would you?

"Wait-" My chest pounded, "Where's Ume? Where's my sister?" I my head jerked in all directions as I scanned for her. My tag wacked my face while my cuts burned.

"She's right here-" Kaito replied shakily as he moved away. Behind him was my damaged sister. Her innocent soul scarred from the event. She was out of touch with reality. Her lips were barely parted and her eyes were swollen wide. Her hands were clenched in fists as she sat on the ground with crossed over legs. I knelt in front of her.

"Ume-" I could tell their was no reasoning with her. Not with this situation. My fingers left her shoulders.

More spears were launched in our direction.

We shuttered as the weapons bounced off the solid walls and floor.

"Were gonna die! Oh my god where gonna end up on the table! Our bodies chopped to-" I tightened my jaw and snapped over Chile's prediction.

"No! No were not! We just have to keep our heads! The door is somewhat holding." We all glanced at the grinding gears that were holding the exit. "We can't openly flee we will be shot down instantly. We-we have to somehow confuse the shooters then out run the Scrapper. " I heaved out the last sentence in exhaustion.

Another couple of harpoons scrapped by us. Gin hissed as her skin was grazed by the glade. She cradled her injured limb.

"They're above us F/N! There's no fucking way we can fool them!" Kaito cried with dismal doubts. Again, we witnessed another helpless victim, a young girl being tossed on the stone table. Her skin was easily sliced and her insides removed.

"If we don't try, we'll more than likely end up like that." My adrenaline was kicking in. I had promised my mother, my sister, and myself that we would make it out of here alive. And, I looked at the others next to me, I promised them that we wouldn't die without a fight.

My eyes drifted to the stands where Ayato was residing. His casual posture and raised brows only fueled my fire more. I would prove him wrong. That is when my sight caught the structure of the pillars. Their solid arms were holding up the stand, which in turn provided shelter. It served like a canopy and the bonus was there wasn't a clear angle for the Ghoul's to release their spears.

'- I don't know too many chicks who can sport that bleach color and hair cut not to be able to kick some serious ass.'

"Guys, head for the shady area under the seat balcony. Move, now!" I shouted. My hand gripped Ume's arm and we spirited towards the shelter. I felt Ume tripping behind me but I yanked her tiny body onward. Spears flew in our path. Our ankles twisted over themselves as we scrambled where I had pointed. My veins ballooned as the blood coursed through me.

After tense seconds of escaping the death trap we crashed into the wall. My forehead poured with sweat as my sister and I gasped for air. The sleeves of my jacket scratched at my arms. Everything stuck to me as the perspiration soaked me to the bone. The damp air chilled my flushed cheeks.

Ume was still lightly shaking. Her hand still was entangled in mine.

"Oh common!"

"Seriously! Get those rats out of there!" The crowed grew furious as more of us humans, managed to hide from their arrows. I saw the last of the students tearing into the shelter. Their rapid chests were eventually placed next to my sister and I. My eyes glanced on both sides of me as I mentally did a quick tally of the remainders. I would have counted seven but one of our members was being picked off. His weeping mouth haunted us. One of the spears had gone straight through his arm and was stuck in the crack of the stone floor.

The bone was cracking as he wormed under its hold.

I swallowed my sickness. I couldn't risk the chances of being killed. If I died now, no one would live. We would all perish. The scrapper strutted towards the injured prey. His massive hands snatched the student's legs before giving a firm tug.

Snap.

His limb and spear were all that was left.

"Holy shit-shit." Kaito stammered as he caught his wind. I nodded as I noticed Chile had also managed to join us. Gin was whimpering as she put pressure on her wound.

"F/N, you're bleeding." Ume's tearful voice caught my attention. That's when I felt the cool drip of blood running down my leg. I grimaced as I looked at the fleshy cut. It was deep enough to leave my limb in agony. The swollen red tissue was throbbing from the upper half of my calf.

"Crap-" I hissed. Ume grabbed both of my hands and tenderly squeezed them, in her motherly way.

"Hang on hun, we'll bandage it-"Ume was stunned when I interrupted her. I shook out of her grasp.

"No, don't worry about it. I'm-I'm fine. We don't have time for medical attention." The hacking of the blade against whole meat filled our ears. The cries from the innocent soul on the table felt like a drill to my skull.

"Sweet Jesus. Dude were gonna die!" Chile whined in distress. The other students began to do the same. My head pounded. I pulled at the collar of my jacket and then ran a nervous hand through my choppy hair. The damn number tag kept tickling my face. I let out a frustrated huff as I swatted at the metal.

"This piece of-" I stopped when an idea stormed inside of me. My fingernails clawed at identification. I pursed my lips. "Everyone, listen. Listen to me-hey-hey-shut up!" Soon I had everyone's attention.

"What on earth are you up to now, F/N." I heard the bittering anger from the hoist. His evening wasn't going according to plan. I sent a glare before turning my direction back to the surrounding members.

"Guys, take out your piercings." I instructed harshly. My hands were already fumbling with the zipper on my jacket.

"What?" Kaito piped up, "Are you fucking insane? These are solid, permanent tags! There is no way we can get them off. You heard Tsukiyama they are basically bolted in!"

I narrowed my eyes at him before swiftly ripping the piercing clean from his ear. Kaito yelped as his ear turned cherry red from irritation. A small seep of blood trickled down by his hearing passage. I removed my jacket.

"Now-everyone remove them; hurry!" I faced Kaito whose distrusting face starred at me, "take off your shirt and trade with someone else."

"What?"

"Just do it!"

Hisses and groans filled the line as we all tore our thick steal bullring tags out from our cartilage. I bit my tongue as the stinging radiated from that area of skin. Chile helped Ume, while I tended to directing everyone with changing their attire. Regardless of gender, the outfits were switched.

"Chile hand me your sweatshirt." Obediently, she tossed me her top and I began making knots to conjoin hers and mine. "Hey-you-hand it over." I was holding my hand out to another when Gin's sobs overpowered me.

"May-maybe we shouldn't make them mad! Maybe if we stay quiet and behave Tsukiyama will let us live. He's been a gentleman-" I was about to protest when Chile took over. A loud smack quieted the hesitant Gin. Her cheek was blistered from the hit.

"Wake up! These are Ghouls not police officers! Perox knows what she's doin'. She stood up to them! She's our leader an-an we have to follow her!" Chile looked at me with her stern green eyes. She then pulled Gin's shirt from her before throwing it to me. She gave me a quick nod.

"Alright, this is our only shot. " I cinched a knot in another jacket sleeve.

The crowd over us was ranting in agitation. Their party was flopping from the lack of blood being spilt. Their hunger rose the more we kept hiding like church mice.

"Get them outta there!"

"What the hell is this? This is a fucking rip off! Common, dammit!" The Ghouls growled.

"Patients my dear people! I'm sure a little force will scatter them like roaches. Madame!" The speaker called across the stage. The audience cheered with their leader as she smooched to the Scrapper.

"Taro what a good boy! Oh Taro go scramble up the livestock, would you? That's a good boy! Momma's so proud! That's it!" The dense boy came thundering at us. His toes squished between the graded pieces of intestines. The monster's bare feet sounded like multiple earthquakes as he charged. His blade and skin were coated in a crimson layer of fluid.

"Yes Mamma!"

I felt all eyes on me as I let out a jittery breath.

"Normally, I would say we should stick together but-" I watched the hideous butcher chugging towards us, "but we won't be successful that way. Kaito, when I call you, come up next to me. We will take him down. Chile, when you have an opening, secure another pole in the gears. That should buy us some time. Ume, Gin, and everyone else, help anyone who ends up injured." I could tell everyone was shocked at my words. It was risky. I was asking everyone to adhere to a plan in a time of chaos. I was asking for trust and for people to keep their heads.

I thought of Kaneki.

"No one leaves the chamber without everyone regrouping. If we scatter individually the guards on the other side will pick us off." I twisted the fabric in my hands.

"Alright, lets get these bastards." Kaito whispered next to Ume who was quiet. Chile wiped her mouth and got ready. The Scrapper was close enough that we could hear his raspy breath. My gash in my leg pulsed as I shifted my leg back and crouched lower.

Please work, please work.

"Mamma!" The Scrapper shouted as he took several more giant leaps at us. My heart slowed to a quiet murmur. Everything was calm before the storm. I held my breath.

"Scatter!" I shouted over all the noise. Instantly, the seven of us darted in all directions like ants. I jumped out of the path of the incoming blade. My weight spurred me forward so quickly that I caused myself to tumble over the floor. My shoulder and sides collected the puddles of blood as I continued to roll. The uniform from Gin, no longer resembled its tidy pressed appearance. It took me a moment to collect myself before leaping up and out of the way of additional arrows. My feet slipped and regaining wind to run was a heavy effort.

"The hell? They're all different!"

"Who's my target?"

"Where'd number fourteen go?" The crowd exploded in an uproar, as they noticed none of us could properly be identified. We have messed up their plan, thrown them off their game. We had to hurry though.

"Taro go after them! Kill them all!" The screeching lady from the balcony gave the Scrapper new intentions. I skidded to a stop. I hadn't planned on that possibility. Why did I think they would be the least bit civilized? Ghouls playing by the rules, what a misconception!

The childish man squealed in delight as he was given permission to slaughter us raw. I wasn't hallucinating as I witnessed his muscles ripple with sheer driven motivation. I didn't think it was possible for one's figure to bulk up more, but his did. The women's words were fueling him like wildfire. His breathing, stride, and weapon yielding all spiraled out of control.

In a split second, he became a rapid dog.

"Oh god-"

His massive frame went into frenzy as he went on a rampage knocking anyone in sight to the floor. It was hard to think as the sprays of blood drenched my vision. The student's were crawling across the floor in a desperate attempt to escape. Many, with multiple wounds were still fighting for their lives. The spears would appear in every corner of my sight. I had to dodge as I ran.

I quickly glanced behind me and noticed Ume pulling a spear from Gin's chest. My heart sank, I hoped we would be able to save as many as we could. I circled around the butcher who was swinging his blade in all directions, his excitement getting the better of him. Maybe I could slip in. The Scrapper's back was turned against me. My eyes scanned the area until I noticed Kaito glued to the wall on the other side. His face pained with fear.

"Kaito!" I called for him. He shook his head, as he refused to leave his security spot. The harpoons were thrown at my feet. "Kaito get your ass over here! We have to do it now!" The door's gears were suddenly turning uncontrollably. My chest pounded as I saw the splintering wood no longer able to halt the function.

The Scrapper slashed his blade into another individual's back. The crowd rejoiced as the murdering continued. What could I do? My jittery hands kept playing with the knots in the jacket's sleeves. I couldn't do this alone.

"Perox! What are we ganna do?" I looked at Chile with disbelief in my eyes.

"Why aren't you securing the door? Chile-"

"Kaito is already takin' care of it!" The girl shouted over the crowd. I looked to see Katio heroically performing a duty. His hands were shoving any and all objects into the gears. Even though his flesh was being torn, he used his strength to lock the tumblers. Everything became of use, even the butchered remains of past students.

I nervously nodded before returning my attention back to Chile.

"I-I don't know how well this will work. We need to bring him down-trip him. It will delay him from snapping at our heels as we make a break for it. " Another hideous cry erupted.Chile instantly grabbed the other end of the jackets. "I gotcha back." A small grin tugged at the corner of my mouth. The Scrapper was hacking away at his current victim. He didn't even need a table to be crafty at his job. My stomach turned.

"Alright-to the front!"

My partner and I ran full force in harmony into the vision of the Scrapper. She and I maneuvered around the chopped corpses. Our lungs puffed as our legs pounded harder to escape any potential spears. The blade yielder noticed our frisky actions and immediately perked up at us.

"Taro kill them! Make mamma proud! Get them Taro!" The women from above commanded her pet. And as expected, the immature child came raging towards us. Chile kept her head, so I had to keep mine. We worked like a team, each of us reading one another's moves.

Chile was the first to swing in front of him and dart to his right side, while I went left. The roped jackets made a thin line by his ankles. The monster didn't have time to register what trick we had up our sleeves. His massive body went crashing to the ground. My hands were racked raw once the fabric was pulled through my palms. His forward weight caught Chile and I off guard. We were jerked backwards; our spines collided with the floor.

"Ow, Ow!" I heard Chile whining. I refused to feel anything until the job was completed. With deadened nerves, I whipped myself around and ran at the Scrapper. He was still struggling over the slimy brick floors; his heavy frame prevented him from effortlessly getting to his feet. I took advantage of the situation. My heart pounded as I cleared his wildly waving limbs.

I grabbed a piece of the rope and did my best to tie a knot around his ankle. My face took a few beatings before I was successful. I accidently bit my tongue as I tried to climb over his flapping legs. I was nearly crushed before I reached the other side. With a slight bit of sleeves left I did the same to his other limb. The fabric pulled as his feet were roped together.

"Mamma!" The beast cried as he splashed in the puddles.

"Taro stop being worthless-get up! Taro!"

I backed away from the thrashing Scrapper. My rapid breathing plagued my lungs. I glanced around the room. Hardly another was in sight. The door grinded as I frantically took in the tally. This wasn't possible.

My thoughts were blackened when a stinging slice dragged across my front of my throat. I jerked back at the sudden pain. A trickle of blood leaked down my shirt. My eyes went wide as I glanced square on at my attacker.

"Ayato aren't you watching? Ayato watch me-watch me! I'm going to finish them off and then-and then I'll be free right? Just like you promise? Right-!"

All the blood drained from my face. I was completely horrified. I wasn't even sure if I was processing everything correctly. My sister stood before me with a splinted harpoon. Her hands were gripping the weapon intensely as red juice oozed from the end. Her glasses were slightly twisted on her deranged face. And a faint crack had appeared in the corner of her right eye.

I shook my head in shock.

"Um-Ume-Ume stop. What are you saying? Ume?" I held a hand up as I quivered my words. I was still trembling from having to out maneuver the Scrapper. My hands were blistered from the jacket's zippers catching on my skin. The cuts and deep wounds were starting to burn. We are so close, so close to being free.

"Ayato watch me! Ayato-"

I shouted over Ume's rant.

"Ume, common! Listen-listen to me he's not going to save you! He's a liar. Common we have to leave! Ume the door!" I tried to reach out to her but she jerked her stained arms away. Her fingers looked like pork sausages because they were so dirtied with blood. The whites of her eyes stared down at me.

"Don't touch me!" Ume shouted, as her feet remained firmly planted. She was breathing rather heavily. It was only then that I noticed she hadn't changed out of her blue gown. I gave her a puzzled look, until I saw several other students' who lay sprawled out on the crimson floor with skewered poles through their hearts. One, in particular had their chest beaten down so badly it looked as though the tissue was oozing out the opening. Gin's glassed over eyes showed the torture she had endured.

It wasn't necessary.

I felt someone grabbing at my shoulder. I was frozen stiff, even the crowd had slightly quieted down. "Perox, lets go!" Chile was hounding me to follow. My body was a quarter of the way turned towards the exit. My heart was pounding as I heard the groans of the Scrapper muscling out of his hold.

I kept glancing both ways. Kaito also was hollering for us to hurry. The door's hinges were cracking into the harpoons wooden handles. The screeching of the metal sliding down the brick walls was deafening; just like nails on the chalkboard.

I snapped my eyes back to Ume who was outraged.

"No-no you're not leaving, you're not leaving me! I can't leave this place unless all of you are dead! You-you all have to die!" I licked my dry lips; my chest tightened. I swore to myself I wouldn't abandon her. I could get us out of here; I could put all my eggs in one basket and balance the load.

I swallowed, "Ume your-your not well." I faced her while defensively holding up both my hands. "This isn't the sister I know. You're sick Ume. Please, sis-just come with us-" My sister screamed before whacking the pole on the floor. Her anger was rising. I didn't even recognize her in the tethered blue gown.

"No! No your 're not fooling me! I'm leaving this place! I'm-I'm going to go home." Ume started to tear up. Her voice cracked as she spoke. "I'm, I'm going to see mom and dad. I'm going home. I need mom!" She quivered.

"Then let's-" I couldn't get the remaining words out. Ume kept throwing a tantrum. She kept ranting 'no's' and frantically smacking the sharpen pole in multiple directions.

"Perox, please!"

I finally allowed myself to be leashed and pulled along. The crowd of Ghouls instantly rose with commotion as my feet began to follow Chile. I let my aching lungs inhale as much as I could to pump the adrenaline through me. My arms swung from front to back as I quickened my pace to catch up with the others. I could see the door, the opening, and the dim light on the other side.

My heart leapt with each pounding stride. And for a moment everything was slowed. My vision caught sight of Chile's bouncing hair, the blood that had been splattered around her shirt and face. My pace began to match hers. I noticed Kaito motioning for us to follow; he too was busted up with a hideous completion. However, we were all together.

The three of us were going to live.

"Watch out!" I heard Kaito's warning too late.

All at once, I felt a massive weight hook onto my ankles. I stumbled as I tried to regain my balance, at the sudden knocking force against my momentum. The treads of my shoes skated over the syrupy floor. My arms shot out at my sides as I juggled the extra gravity pulling me down. My efforts were hopeless as my chin collided with the ground. I let out a scream as I heard a crack explode from the hit. My jaw flared with agony. However, I had to ignore it since, I felt something more terrifying crawling up my limbs.

"You're not leaving! No you're not!" I heard Ume's emotional self-spitting at me. I instantly twisted over and took my sister head on. My legs shot out as I kept nailing her in the stomach. She in return, would wildly beat at me with her spear. And before long we found ourselves wrestling shoulder to shoulder on the uneven surface. Our arms were locked on one another.

My knees were slipping as I kept pushing her back. Ume receded before slapping me in the ribs with her weapon. I gagged at the instant jolt and covered my side. I couldn't shield my injury for long since Ume was already staggering to her feet. Her rage was giving her unbelievable stamina.

"Sop fighting me!" Ume wrung her stick in her hands. I panted as I watched her take several steps forward. Her stiff movements were of a zombie, who was brainlessly slaughtering for no apparent reason. "You're dying for a good cause, F/N. I'ma see mom again-"

The infuriation cooked inside me.

"Just stay still, ok-?" I didn't give Ume time to finish. I used up the last of my energy to slam into her. My arms latched around her waist. The force of impact knocked her to the ground. I pinned her down as she struggled helplessly under my hold. The spear had drifted away from her reach and I could hear her sobs of defeat.

"That's right, kill her!"

"Do it now!"

"End it! Kill her!" The audience cheered as my chest heaved with exhaustion. I looked at them with pity. Even my hands trembled as I heard their chanting. The realization hit me. All they wanted was murder and I was granting them the entertainment. My grip slowly released. I wouldn't kill her; I loved her. Ume I would never hurt you.

Instantly, I jumped off of her. My fingers squished the bloody puddles as I scooted back. I wasn't a murder-

Wham!

Ume straddled over me, the hunger of killing was written over her face. I hacked and fought under her. Ume's weight was bearing down on my throbbing midsection. My head swelled and I could feel myself starting to drift off, as the spear's handle was crammed under my throat. Ume kept ramming the stick deeper as I kept thrashing. I could feel the pressure crushing on my pipe; the cartilage was cracking as my head was thrown back. I kept gasping and as I did, my already parched mouth was drying out quicker. My vascular system constricted. Ume's tension pressed further, my hands rigidly braced against it.

"U-Ume-" I pleaded, while my lips were turning blue. My sister gritted her teeth as strains of her hair stuck around her face.

"I just-I just have to finish you off!" She choked me harder. "Then the others-and-and I will be free! Free! Watch me-"

I drowned out my sister's words. All I could think, with what little conscience I had, was how terribly sorry I was that I never believed in anyone. I never let a single individual assist, help, or comfort me in anyway. And now, here, while I slowly perished my final wish would be to have that support. My heart pounded, the organ exploded like a tightly strung drum. I could feel the compression blinding my sight.

I guess I was ready. I was all right with letting go. My throat kept closing, as I remained awake during the pain. Even my tongue began to bulge to the roof of my mouth. The passage to my airway was shutting, just like a jamming a cork in a bottle. My weak arms shook.

Kaneki, please Kaneki, you wouldn't be mad would you?

Suddenly, I felt the knock of the pole against my face and then miraculously a burst of air flood into my chest. My cheek stung, however I was beyond relieved to have the weight lifted off my ribs. All my senses poured into me as I settled for a moment in shock. The muscles around my lungs went spastic as they engulfed their nourishment.

"Get off of me!"

I spat out a busted lip of blood as I watched with heavy eyes my savior and Ume scuffle like two alley cats. Hair was being pulled; there were claws instead of punches, and the deafening screeching clashed with the roar of the Ghouls. I rolled onto my elbows then my legs. Dizziness swirled around me. All of my wounds trickled fluid like water out of a gutter. Any movement from my joints resembled pins through a hinge. I wasn't sure how I was standing let alone able to watch the fight.

Surprisingly, even among all the commotion, I could hear Kaito shouting behind me. My ears were still picking up the grinding noise of the gears in the door and the tiny sounds of the threads splitting from tie up on the Scrapper. Everything in me was brutally sensitive.

"Chile-Chile!" I desperately called to her. I watched as she stomped my sister repeatedly. My hand tenderly held my jaw; the tears were luckily dried as I could actually feel the bone's noticeable gap on the side of my chin. I staggered a step towards them. "Chile-please-stop. Please st-stop. Don't hurt her-"

The girl pulled her foot back. A slight look of remorse darkened over her face, but she held herself together. She turned her back to Ume's still body. I let a breath escape me as Chile came closer. We were going to leave. My body filled with shadow of warmth, at the future. The door scrapped the bricks as time passed.

"Chile-common-" I mumbled out of wind. However, I couldn't help but show a glint of happiness in my eyes. Chile nodded as she jogged up to me; her beat up frame still had a bounce in its gait.

"Perox, buddy are ya alri-"

My face fell.

"No! Ume-no!" I screamed. The harpoon gutted through Chile's torso, its silver blade stuck out of her speared flesh. My savior choked up the blood that gushed from her inner tubes. Her lightly tanned face poured like a crimson fountain as she looked down at her injury. Ume twisted the pole and spun Chile's insides. The girl barely had time to react; her body was already descending to the ground. "Chile! Chile oh god, no, no!"

I knelt next to her as the vital fluid spurted out of all her broken ends. I shook my head and held her shoulders. The pole stuck out of her both front and back. She held my arms as I gently laid her injured body on her side. Chile's body twitched and contorted. My stomach dropped and was stabbed with her. I couldn't do anything but listen to the excitement of the audience. Their sick taste, was devouring this moment.

"Oh please, someone! Someone help her!" I wanted to throw up.

"Perox, Perox its-its not that bad. Its-" Her face let out an agonizing pain. I could hear her raspy breathing and strangling fingers until her life was over. I sniffed as I watched her eyes sparkling emerald eyes glass over. Nothing moved, other than the blood from her wounds.

"Oh god-" I bent my head down and hugged her, "Chile-oh god my friend, my loyal friend." I sobbed. Then I heard Ume.

"Ayato watch me! Aren't I doing good? Watch me!" Her attention was turned toward me. Her hatred was targeted at me. I looked at her with inconsolable eyes.

"Don't do this Ume. Ume please." I still held Chile. My sister ignored me as she retrieved another spear. Again, she wrung it in her grasp.

"You're nothing but my ticket to freedom."

I gripped onto Chile's still warm body; her face was pressed into my stomach. Though she was my age, she had the mind of a younger soul. She was so innocent. Because of me, because I called to her she's dead. The terror and pain was the last segment of her life because of me. I caused her death.

Me-

I-

The guilt wrapped around me.

"Kill her!"

"Keep slaughtering them!"

Unlike before, time whirled pass me, every blink was a snap shot, a fast forward, of Ume running towards me. I cradled Chile; I gripped her back and held her for as long as I could. My heart thudded loudly. My sister's aggression continued to steam at me, the spear targeted in my direction. Mentally, I had accepted defeat. However, instinctively my soul thought otherwise.

Ume's snorted hysteria never ceased as she came at me. Each step, each splash in a puddle, slowly it represented another victim. How many had she killed? Closer now, her feet stomped the remains of Chile, my friend. My friend-

"Ha-!" Ume's thrust was hindered.

I let out a several weighty breathes, not sure of why she had stopped. That was until I realized, the trembling of my hand around the end of a pole. My sister's gurgling murmurs were faint over the gushing spills from her mouth. Her eyes rolled back into her head under her cracked frames.

"U-Ume-?" I asked in a whimper. I couldn't believe what I had done. The tears eventually pricked my eyes. My sister's chest soon was covered in a slop of draining blood. Her weapon clanked to the floor as mine was punctured through the side of her neck. I cringed as I saw the sight. My guts contorted and my knees went weak. What had I done?

I immediately, let go of the wooden handle. My limbs quivered horribly, not sure how to comprehend the situation. When did I? How? I was myself to pieces, while my sister spat a wad of mucus and blood from her lips. I couldn't move nor breathe; my world had crumbled. I felt impaled myself. My heart skewered just like my sister's throat.

What had I done?

"Yeah! Bleed her out!"

"Best entertainment of the night!"

The tears spilled over my eyes. "No-no-no I didn't mean to. No it was an accident! I would never-" I looked at Chile's hollow stomach. The hole in her gut was evidence to the stabbing of my sister. I had acted on impulse; I yanked the pole from Chile. And in a rage defended she and I, only I thought I had simply blocked but instead, I had done the opposite. I sniffed the pouring snot from my nostrils.

Ume stumbled into my arms. Her gasping stain cheeks cried for relief. The pole consumed the entire area of her neck. There was so much blood; I couldn't even see patches of her skin. Her muscles jerked repeatedly as her organs began to shut down. I sobbed with her silent whimpers as I attempted to clot the wound with my hands. My fingers felt the wash of fluid run over them.

I pressed harder, anything to stop her from dying. "Dammit, you made me do this! You made me do this Ume!" I hollered at her. The salty tears dripped onto her shredded throat. The pole nearly jabbed me, the more my sister struggled for air. It was the most painful sight. I held her; I would hold her forever. "Why-why didn't you just kill me? Dammit Ume you made me do this! God dammit!" My cries even echoed loader than the crowd.

The Scrapper was tearing out of the jacket's knots. His anger roared as he snapped the remaining fabric. I sobbed into my sister's neck. I couldn't leave her. Ume's hand gripped my hair; her chest heaved greatly the more the blood escaped her shell. I let her pull; her life was tragically ending so harshly, because of me. I deserved the pain.

"I'm so sorry Ume. Oh God Ume forgive me-" I held her tightly. The thundering steps of the Scrapper and the scrapping of his dragging knife cut through to Kaito, who was frantically yelling at me.

"F/N, leave her! She's fucking dead! F/N!" But I couldn't. I couldn't abandon her, no not Ume, not my sister. My hiccupping chest continued as my attention darted back and forth between Chile and Ume.

"I can't leave them." I sobbed in Ume's injury. "Don't make me leave them." The Scrapper was coming at me; I could hear his popping spine as he ready himself for another slaughter.

F/N, you have to go. Don't make my efforts in saving your life go to waste. I closed my eyes and nodded when I heard Kaneki's voice string through my ears. The tears rolled down my cheeks, but he was right. The butcher was advancing, until I heard Kaito mindlessly beckoning him in his direction. Stunned, I turned around to see the brave student fending off the swinging blade.

"F/N! Get up- I can't keep up this up! Hurry!" Kaito's exhausted words pierced through me. I wouldn't let another person die in vain. Quickly, I used my bloody fingers to close Ume's eyes and then to remove the embedded fatal pole. I did the same for Chile's eyelids, after I laid them side-by-side. The crowd of Ghouls erupted in frustration when they saw my fare well taking place. I didn't care who was watching, I planted a delicate kiss on each of their foreheads. My grieving droplets fell on their faces.

Their frozen sleeping expressions were haunting. I didn't want their souls to be trapped under the blinding lights of the gory area. Their clothes were soaked and battered from the stained stone floor. I couldn't leave them exposed to the chilly air. My hands went to the buttons on the school uniform. I ripped my top off, leaving nothing but my bra open to the public. The damp draft sent shivers through me as I laid the shirt over my friends, my family's departed crowns.

I prayed before collecting myself on my knees.

The crunching sounds of the gears twisting and the door collapsing were a reminder to leave the past behind. The basket carrying all my eggs were figuratively falling to the floor, smashing open and allowing the yellow yoke to spill. I had failed.

"I'm so sorry."

I slipped across the floor as I made my way to Kaito. The harpoons were shooting in all areas of the ring. It was a miracle I didn't fall or get impaled. I opened my lungs to sprint harder around the Scrapper. My feet danced around the butcher's slashing knife as I dodged his aim. I ducted under an incoming swing, escaped with a scratch, before grabbing Kaito's hand and making our way to the closing door. The Ghoul's clamor rose and the music quickened as unexpectedly missed any potential hits. I couldn't even hear the hoist's voice; my mind was too focused on escaping.

The scrapper was on our heels; our pulse beat into our throats, just a few more steps. I looked ahead; the shadow of the room on the other side filled my vision. The door creaked down; it was nearly to the floor. The metal's teeth were easily eating the poles and body remains that had been tossed into the gears. The brass face was almost clearing in view. Our arms pumped another few steps in our stride. The Scrapper let out a rumble of frustration as he powered behind us.

I still held Kaito's wrist before I let gravity pull me. My body flipped to the side of my hip, the momentum skid us towards the door. The nerves inside of me sparked, I leaned my head to the side as the edge of the gate nearly caught my nose. Our bodies skied through the bloody floor and spit us out of the other side. The exit finally slammed close, but on the severed legs of my friend.

I gagged, knowing I was the only one to have made it past the barrier. My vision blurred, my ears rang, and my muscles strained from the stress. I couldn't endure anymore. My heart could not pry for another victim. With anxiety running though me, I bolted out of the entrance and down endless corridor halls. I was fleeing around an endless maze, each tunnel only connected to another passage.

I finally slowed and leaned my weary body against a wall. The crimson sweat leaked off my skin. My fingers raked through my hair as I whimpered out my emotions. I was scared and sick.

"I'm-I'm so sorry." I cried.

I felt a pair of warm arms around me. At first, I figured it was my mind playing tricks until a cool breath tickled my ear. The soothing of the thumb on my aching wrist woke me from my distress.

"Kan-Kaneki-?" I whispered before turning around. My heart leapt when I saw that Cheshire smile and ivory hair. I shook my doubting head. "How-how did you? Kaneki?" His arms tightened around my weak frame.

"Shhh, I've got you. You're going to be alright. Shhh-" His head gently laid into mine as he hugged me preciously. "Do you trust me?" I looked at him with weary eyes. But I automatically, without question, nodded my head. If he wanted to kill me now, it would be a blessing. Kaneki leaned down and scooped me into his hold. I groaned in agony as my injuries were jarred.

"I know- hang in there, F/N." Kaneki said as he made his way into a vacant room. Surprisingly, he left the door open but continued further into a spare section of the area. He carried me into the back of what looked to be a cellar space. Empty bottles and boxes cluttered the room. Kaneki managed to juggle me and shut the door. His stable limbs still held me as he lowed us to the floor. He was about to release his grip when I reactively snuggled closer into him.

"Please, don't let go. Kaneki I'm sorry. Kaneki please hold me." I begged as the tears came. I could tell my rescuer was stunned by my plea. However, like a loyal companion, he comforted in the same. He embraced me with his kind furnace heart.

"You're safe, F/N. I'm here. I won't let you go, I promise."

I held onto his words. My head rested on his collarbone and my fingers, as usual, tangled into his jacket's sleeves. I sobbed endlessly into his clothes. I couldn't believe he came. I pressed deeper into his hold.

"Kaneki, you're not mad are you? I'm so sorry. Sorry for everything. "

I felt his hand rub my throbbing head. His cheek lay in my hair as he spoke, "No, shh, no I'm not mad. I'll never be mad. " He made circles on my back. "Please, don't cry you're going to make yourself sicker. You're ok. It's all over."

My lip quivered as I thought about my family and friends. Their bodies were probably samplers in the arena. My mind flashed through all the faces that were no longer living. My heart was tearing to pieces.

"I killed them Kaneki. They're all dead because of me. I killed them-I" Kaneki hushed me before I could spill all of my guilt. I could still see them. Ume, Chile, Kaito, Gin, and the others, they were going to haunt my mind. Kaneki's legs shifted as I sat sideways in between them. My skin crept with goose bumps from the coldness.

"We don't need to talk about that now. I'm just sorry you've had to endure all of this. Forgive me-" Kaneki whispered. I pulled away from him. My eyes were only able to pick up hints of highlights from his mask and pupils. The crack from the door was the only faint light we had. However, it seemed suiting for the moment.

"Forgive you? Kaneki you came back for me. After everything, you came for me. You're here. Nothing you do could ever make me perceive you differently. You're my hero." I swallowed, "Only it just took me now to realize it."

I felt his fingers play along my bare spine.

"Gosh, you're so thin. If only I had gotten the message sooner. You wouldn't be this neglected. I can't believe it took me so long to get to you." His hand traveled to the soreness of my ribs. I slightly winced.

"You found the girl from the alley? Did you save her?" I asked with a hoarse voice.

"Always worrying about others, F/N." Kaneki cleared his throat, "And yes, yes I took care of her. I wouldn't have thought much about the situation, other than she replayed your message. And she held up the string of hair you cut. You're scent was all over her and the pipe you left for her to defend herself. You saved her."I let out a tense breath, "What did she say exactly?"

"She told me, she was a friend of yours and that 'all the glitters is not gold'." Kaneki brushed a strain of hair from my face. His permanent smile seemed disheartened. I reached toward his mask and traced my hand over the zipper.

"That's only half true." Kaneki held still as I let the metal connection slide open. I leaned forward and pressed my bruised lips to his. Though the pain intensified, I would manage. The Ghoul hesitated at first, his comforting hands halted. I continued to show my tolerance of my aching body. Kaneki delicately squeezed me as he deepened the kiss. I tensed as he sudden pains but relaxed when his hands ran over my flesh. His warm palms eased the pins in my bones.

My heart fluttered when his tongue passed softly between my teeth. I melted into his embrace as he pulled me closer. It hurt, but it was the most comforting sensation I had, had in days. Kaneki's hands roamed over my limbs and boney back. He let me take a breather as his lips pecked lightly on my jugular vein. The minute his mouth parted from mine, I felt the chills seeping into my muscles.

"You have to be frozen." Kaneki said as he braked from his love marks. I shook off my shiver.

"I'm alright, Kaneki." I lied. I didn't want him to stop. His warmth was so inviting. His hands rubbed my arms, doing his best to heat my icy touch.

"Give me your jeans and I will find something more suitable."

"What?" I asked tiredly.

"I know you wear shorts under all your pants. I need them to throw off our trail. You bled all down the hall." I quickly wrapped my limbs around him. My head rested heavily on his chest.

"No, no Kaneki please don't leave me. Oh god, please." It was horrible to thinking about being alone. Kaneki kissed my forehead.

"It'll only be for a moment. Trust me, I'll come back to you. I always have and always will. I won't leave this building without you. You're mine, remember?"

I listened to the steady rhythm of his heart.

I stifled a cry before removing my blood stained jeans. The shorts underneath were a sweat resistant fabric. Their fibers, like my sports bra repelled any amount of heat. I feared I would spiral into hypothermia. I shook as I handed him the pants.

"Keep your voice low. And please, for once stay here." I nodded before pulling away. Kaneki kissed me again then zipped his mask before departing. I had to have faith in him. Except, I couldn't keep the tears from dripping down my cheeks. The door to the storage room shut. The isolated darkness danced around me as I inhaled the musty dust.

Time was more painful than my wounds. My cuts bled and pooled around my sitting spot. I took the time to draw little characters on the wall. I did anything to make the clock pass. My hallow insides were starting to feel the emptiness. The only noise I could hear was the pulse within me. I managed to count every beat.

After what seemed to be forever, a creak of the door squeaked before a shadowy figure emerged. The silver hair was a dead give away. I unhooked my arms from my knees as Kaneki came towards me. And as promised, he brought along a bundles of clothing. I sensed his presence as he came beside me.

"Here, I know it's not much but at least you won't be at freezer temp." I felt the mix of fabrics get passed into my hands. It took me a while to sort through, to feel, what exactly everything was. Baggy pants, a long sleeve shirt with some time of knitted sweater covered me. At least the initial chill was chased away.

"Thank you, really thank you." I huddled into the warmth. Even though I wasn't a Ghoul, with a bloodhound nose, I could actually smell other individual's scents. There was even a detection of that metallic odor. Where were these clothes from?

"Come here-" Kaneki said before he pulled me towards him. His mask was unzipped as he blew his roasting breath into my frostbitten hands. It was like wearing gloves.

"What did you have to do?" I asked.

"Don't worry about it. You need to get some rest." Kaneki replied in between breaths. I reluctantly nodded. Honestly, I didn't want to sleep. My mind kept telling me to stay awake, to talk with Kaneki. I guess it was my fear of waking up to nothing, like so many of the previous nights.

Kaneki helped me get settled as comfortable as I could on the ground. My body ached as the cement pressed into me. I groaned, oh how I wished for a bed.

"You comfortable, F/N?"

I adjusted my spine, "As good as it will get, I suppose. Kaneki?"

"Hm?"

"How come we are not leaving? Can't we go back to that building?" I probably sounded like a whinnying child. But I wasn't too embarrassed. The wounds on me were all the evidence I needed to support my babyish behavior.

"We will once things quiet down. Everyone's still quite in an uproar over the arena show. I don't want you getting any more injuries. It's too risky to try to leave." I felt his hand lightly brush my shoulder. "I know its hard, but get some sleep."

My ears picked up the commotion from the audience and the angry notorious voice of the hoist. The nerves inside me set electric shocks. What if they find us? The panic was digging into me. What if I'm separated from Kaneki? What if-

"Shhh, F/N everything's going to be fine." My savior whispered. I shot up and did my best to see him through the dim light.

"Kaneki, how do you know that? They could be just outside the door. They easily could find us and-and" My worries turned to quivering sobs. The boy next to me gently laid me back down. My back pressed against him as he stroked my side. His reassuring touch calmed my tense muscles.

"I'll keep watch. Nothing is coming through that door that won't be eliminated. Have faith in me, F/N."

I hesitated for a moment.

"Show that you trust me by closing your eyes. Let me protect you." Kaneki's valiant words encased me into an invisible cloak. I wiggled my body closer to his. The heat circulated between us as his arms secured me. It was just like being back at home, under the covers. My eyes grew heavy to the gentle sounds of his breathing. I was so exhausted that the pain was numb for the time being.

I drifted off into a mild slumber as my head rested on his supporting arm. The two of us shared the grimy cobweb infested floors. Our only nightlight shined from the crack in the door.

I woke to a screeching cry. My body was covered in a damp sweat as I panted rapidly over the sudden realization that the screaming wasn't ceasing. I let out several gasps as the agony from my cuts that flooded my senses.

"Calm down, you're alright. F/N it was just a dream." Kaneki reassure me. But I pinched my brows the more I listened to familiar voice past the doors. I was awake, why was I still hearing screams?

"Kan-Kaneki that's Kaito! Kaneki they're torturing him! Oh my god-" My words were muffled when a hand softly covered my mouth. Kaneki held me as the piercing hollers radiated through the building.

"F/N, you have to remain quiet. " Kaneki wrestled with me as I squirmed in his hold. Eventually he spun me into his chest. I fought against it.

"Kaneki they're going to kill him! Let me go! I can't let him die-he's going to die like the rest! I made promise-Kaneki-" I choked horribly from my burning throat. My chest ached at each of his cries. It reminded me of Ume of everyone I let down.

"They're just trying to draw you out. It's a trap. F/N!" Kaneki was getting more irritated as I refused to listen. How could I? If it weren't for Kaito I wouldn't have made it. I wouldn't be alive. I owed him a miracle too.

"He needs help! Kaneki I have to save him!" My sobs were quieted when Kaneki nestled his face near mine. I inhaled his coffee spice aroma and allowed his passive body language to hold me. A few tears fell from my eyes.

"Trust me-" I hadn't noticed he had removed his mask until his cool check trailed from my forehead to mine. I welcomed his lips as I grieved for Kaito. It was hard to ignore the reality. Kaneki distracted me as best as he could. His tongue roamed around as he braced himself over me. I hugged his neck as he continued to toy with my lips. His fingers glided down my sides and then would wipe away the dripping tears.

He kissed me deeply as if he was feeding life back into me. My spirit, my soul was sparking with strength, like so many times before. Kaneki had always been the fuel to keep me driving me forward, rather it be through frustration to help me find my sister or to keep my heart beating another day. He, the Ghoul coated in gold was my hero in more ways than one.

I needed him more than ever.

Kaneki hovered over me, the light in his eyes shined back at me. I leaned forward and hugged him. He returned the gesture. We stayed together until more bloodcurdling screams erupted followed with nearby pounding footsteps. I tightened my grip on Kaneki and held my breath. I couldn't even shake the nerves were prickling my skin too greatly.

Kaneki scooted us further back into the cellar's space. My back was against his, while he rested by the wall. We waited anxiously as the seconds ticked by. I was about to vomit at the sound of the other room's door opening wider. My heart raced and Kankei did what he could to squeeze me enough to keep the fear from escaping my mouth. Kaito cries died off.

Now, just our pulses filled the air.

The footsteps from the door were too quiet.

I wrapped my fingers into Kanaki's. My eyes were glued to the door. If there was a merciful God, he would let us be. I could feel Kanek's unusual tension as the footsteps clicked over the floor. Was he just as concerned as me?

Unexpectedly, Kaneki used his two fingers guide my gaze to his.

"F/N-" he stroked the side of my face as he whispered, "I need you to do exactly as I say, without question." I didn't like how this was sounding.

"Kaneki? No-please-" He put a single digit to my lips.

"F/N, don't argue. I'm going to lift you up the vent above-" Our eyes went to the cut out frame near the ceiling wall. I immediately shook my head.

"No-don't do this. Kaneki I'm not being separated from you." He continued to hold me as I clung to him, reluctant to let him go.

"There's no time, F/N." I felt him lift me to my feet before hoisting me into a bridle position. "I'll come back to you, I promise." The footsteps were growing restless. He kissed me a final time before helping me into the tight spot. I backed into the space and mentally controlled my phobia. The four walls were cramping around me. The strangling sensation was working me into throbbing fear. My limbs shot pains as I held myself on the steal vent floor with my forearms. I gasped several breaths.

"Kaneki-Kaneki I can't do this. Its too tight in here." My throat was closing. He laid a final hand on my face.

"You've done it before. Don't let that hair cut go to waste." His hands tangled in my in the threads of my bleached bangs. "No matter what happens, no matter what you hear, don't come out. Stay hidden. Stay safe."

His thumb ran over my lips as a watched his eyes stare into mine. Don't go.

"I love you." He said before he pulled away. I was speechless as he disappeared. My body remained trapped in the cage in the storage room. I softly cried to beaten down self.

Hours seemed to pass as I kept drifting in and out of sleep. The mysterious footsteps went once Kaneki left. My mind kept bouncing between Ume, Chile, Kaito, and my savior. My heart ached for everyone.

Again, another round of screeching cries roared from the outside. I hung my head in my hands as I tried to drown out the noise. It was terrifying knowing someone was at the mercy of others. The sounds continued and I had to cover my ears to prevent myself from spiraling into hyperventilation.

Then a cord struck me.

That wasn't a human scream."Kaneki-" I mumbled in horror. I started shuffling my weight in the vent when a gurgling moan interrupted my actions. I paused. Raspy wheezing huffed behind me and instantly my blood ran cold. Slowly, I turned my head to see an unwelcomed guest lurking in the tunnel with me.

"F-Food."

My eyes went wide as the mutant drooling Ghoul was staring at me with his blood shot eyes. I swallowed as the fears splashed into my gut.

"Oh shit."

/

YES! Finally finished! Oh god, that was by far the longest, most difficult chapter to date! Wow, I can not believe I finished it. I really hope you all have enjoyed it. It was beyond fun writing the story and seeing the readers follow as well.

Depending on the response from this chapter will be the deciding factor if I will continue. I won't be able to update until December (at the earliest)-sorry classes are keeping me busy. But maybe I might sneak some one shots in between ;)

Anyway, keep reading, writing, and keeping it real peeps!

Review, follow, like-it keeps author's inspired!

Thanks!

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