Before he and I ended up here-
Here meaning this death trap-
There was a moment, a time, which he and I shared. And during that passing hour, my mind was elsewhere. I took for granted what he gave me. I was blind by fear and the unknowing to allow myself the precious connection Kaneki tried so hard to give me. As I stare death in the face, my mind couldn't help but remember what was.
"You still cold?" Kaneki stood stiff with his usual quiet demeanor. I had slumped to the floor. My head was barely lifted high enough to see his figure. Normally, I would have ignored his question, maybe even had dared to spit in his face. Except, after being together on the rooftop and watching another soul be devoured, I wasn't in the right state of mind. With a dry throat I chocked a swallow down.
The shrieking sounds from afar were drilling into my brain. They sent trembles through my nerves. The reality was, I couldn't shut it out. At least not alone, that is. I looked at Kaneki with dripping hair and goose bump infested skin. There was no hiding the answer.
"Y-Yes." I messily agreed. The florescent lights from my bathroom condors glistened over Kaneki's wet mask. His second face shadowed him since we left the top. The ride down was a deadly silence.
Kaneki strolled over to me. Steadily he lowered himself to my eye level. His grey iris danced around my face, as if he was searching for something. Externally, I refused to ask what he was even hoping to find. However on the inside, my thoughts ran wild, wondering exactly his intentions and his reasons for this. I told myself, there was no justifying madness.
It was as daunting of a question as to why the sky cries?
I felt a ticklish touch grace my cheek.
"F/N, let's not have you catch a chill." The back of Kaneki's hand landed on my forehead. I closed my eyes and inhaled a weak breath. I let my imagination believe it was Ume or my mother. "Come on-"
My eyes opened rapidly at his last remark.
"What?" I questioned in a whisper. My head rose higher from my knees. I knew Kaneki had sensed the worry in my tone. There was no denying the fact that my fears were plaguing me once again. "We just got back. Kaneki I would-I would rather stay here-"
The Cheshire smile faced me. Its bright teeth mocked me. As if it was saying, dare to dream little girl? As if I had a say in what my fate would be. The power belonged to Kaneki and he alone.
"There's no warmth here. A tile floor can be as icy as snow. And having an illness wouldn't benefit anyone now would it?" Kaneki replied. I shyly glanced away from him. I was too overrun with emotions to comprehend anything. It was as if everything was bottled then corked with a top and shaken unmercifully. Kaneki quietly turned my face towards him.
"You'll be safe with me."
My ears picked up the helpless human wails from outside.
Kaneki had wrapped an arm loosely around my waist. For once, I remained neutral about the situation. For the halls we were passing were eerie and unsettling. It felt rather comforting knowing support was nearby. It didn't take long before we reached a closed off white door. There were no labels next to it other than a roman number five chiseled into a silver plate.
Kaneki unlocked the door before gesturing inside. It was rather dark. I felt hesitant about stepping further, what if this was the dinning room? Or an experimental lab were humans were dismembered and divided into sections? What if-
"It's alright-" Kaneki reached to the inside wall and flipped a switch on. A dim orange light flooded the area. I instantly let my muscles relax. "See? Just a room." And that's all it was, just a bedroom with bed, dresser, lamp, and windows.
I allowed myself to follow him inside. It was sort of refreshing seeing a familiar place. However, it was a reminder of the past that I couldn't touch. My room was vacant and so were the memories that were stashed in my mind.
"Here-" Kaneki unexpectedly handed me a towel. I gently took it.
"Thanks." I was reserved with my words. I wasn't feeling well.
"Reliving the moment will only make it worse-" Kaneki's words snapped me out of my daze. I looked at him with a questionable expression.
"Avoiding it doesn't seem to be fixing it, either." I retorted rather harshly. I toyed with the towel in my hands. "Some things are unforgettable." Kaneki had made his way to a dresser that was perpendicular to the center bed. His eyes were focused on the drawers he was rummaging through.
"Then talk about it-" He was blunt.
"What exactly are you implying?" I heard a wooden door knock against the dresser.
"You said, keeping your thoughts to yourself wasn't working. So, logically the next best thing would be to voice it. " I watched him pull out a few clothes. "Talk."
I let out a snort of disbelief.
"Hostage therapy doesn't appeal to me at the moment." I didn't feel out of line for being sarcastic. Honestly, it felt good to kick someone else. I was tired of being the human punching bag. Maybe it was my turn to be evil.
I felt deflated. There was no getting to this guy. Nothing fazed him, well at least nothing I said recently ever caused him to spiral out of control. Come to think of it, I couldn't re call a time that did. And with that realization I grew more annoyed.
"Keep standing there like that and there was no point in bringing you here." Again, my mind was sparked back to Kaneki. His arms were full of mismatched clothes. I stared at him.
"I told you before, I wasn't interested in coming here." I slightly huffed. Kaneki remained unbothered by my attitude. He continued with his plan and clearly unaffected by anything that passed out of my mouth.
"I know they won't exactly fit you-but they are warmer than anything you have. Figured for a night, size wouldn't matter." Kaneki held out a baggy hoodie and sweat pants. Where these-?
"Are-Are these yours?" I asked hesitantly as I lightly touched the fabric.
"They were-barely fit into them now. Here-" I was startled when he placed the pile into my hands. I did my best to juggle the items.
"Uh-well-I don't-really-" I fumbled wordlessly.
"The bathroom is down the hall to the right." I watched quietly as Kaneki walked toward his bed his back was towards me when he removed his mask followed by his top. I wasn't stunned by the fact that he exposed himself. I was more surprised to see he was confortable with me in the room. I scanned his tone figure. Had Kaenki, the honor roll student, always been that muscular? My eyes drifted toward his lower back, the end of his spine where those monstrous tentacles would emerge. A spill of fear leaked from my gut.
"Do you need an escort?"
"Oh-!" Though Kaneki was sincere an embarrassment still crept over me. "no-no-sorry-" I quickly spun out of the room.
To my amazement Kaneki allowed me to tour the hall alone. Maybe I was crazy for not trying to escape. Maybe I was insane for following a Ghoul's instructions, for obeying orders like a dog. I reached the bathroom, clicked the door close. I stood there with my eyes avoiding the mirror. I told myself to not even bother to look, for I knew it would only disturb me. I did my best to worm my way into my new clothes. The aches and cuts were an obstacle but somehow I managed. The towel aided in soaking out the moisture from my hair.
It didn't take any time for me to be on my way heading back. My damp clothes I had left in the bathroom. The warm fibers nuzzled my cold skin, but still I shivered. I reached the bedroom only to find a still shirtless Kaneki and a moonlit filled window. I wrapped my arms within themselves and stepped through the doorway opening.
"I always believe the moon shines brighter than the sun." Kaneki stated as he gazed out the window. The sirens and gunfire seeped through the glass. I waited behind him.
"Only if it has been a cloudy day." I replied with my unusual soft tone. The anger from before had drained out of me. At the moment, there wasn't a reason to be mad.
"Seems lately all my days have been overcast." Kaneki's words were barely audible. I chewed the inside of my cheek, unsure of how to comment to that. "No matter-" My captor faced me with an exhausted appearance. His eyelids hung heavy over his eyes and the bags under them made him look sickly hollow. What could he possibly be loosing sleep over?
"Still chilled?" I hadn't noticed I was rubbing my hands over my arms. I allowed myself a smooth swallow.
"Just-Just a bit. I'm fine though. I guess I will see myself to my room then-" I was about to turn around when a heavy weight draped over my shoulders. I let out a startled gasp.
"No need-sometimes a tile floor isn't the most comfortable bed-" My eyes widened at the understanding of his words.
"Ka-Kaneki-" An arm found its way around my back. I could feel my heart speed up and my stomach began to knot. What was I to say?
"It's alright-its just to make sure you won't catch a cold. " I allowed myself to be guided in the direction of the mattress. The comforter and sheets were neatly tucked. There smooth creases looked so inviting. I wouldn't move, Kaenki was quick enough to pull back the corner. Still I stood there. "F/N, you alright?"
The cries from outside continued to pound into my ears. The screams clawed at my skin. The fear inside me swelled the more those fantasy thoughts filled my worried head.
"She's out there-" I choked.
"Ume-Ume she's out there-" I gripped the blanket around my shoulders. "There-in that hellish world. " Suddenly it felt as if my chest cracked open like a shell.
"There's nothing that could have been-" I interrupted Kaneki instantaneously as I spun on my heels. The mix of disgust and frustration stirred inside of me.
"What the hell would you know? You're a cannibal! You're kind is an infestation to this earth-because-because of you all the good people had to die! The innocence of mankind is being spilt like an unstitched wound. You-You're the cause of all of this!" My anger lashed out at Kaneki with accusing fingers. I wasn't going to let him get away with believing he wasn't in the wrong. He was the cause.
And he should carry the guilt, not me.
"You've sentenced her to death." I let my icy words pierce his once hard skin. I watch as Kaneki's eyes drifted from my gaze. Had I finally won?
"You should probably get some sleep-" He stared emotionlessly at the exit before he turned away from me. I pinched my brows and let my gritted teeth loosen. I wasn't sure if I was confident with his unfazed quiet demeanor. Kaneki rested his hand on the doorknob. He didn't look at me as he made his way out the door. Just when he was about to leave my captor left me with some grim words.
"Maybe-I made a mistake before all of this."
The door clicked shut.
And I knew the mistake was directed at me.
It was difficult sleeping in a foreign bed. I tossed and turned for what seemed like hours. I couldn't get comfortable. The laundry smell was overwhelming for my senses and it caused me an unimaginable headache. The crisp sheets did little to warm my shaken self. All I could do was stare out the foggy moon lit window.
Eventually, however my exhausted body got the better of me. Soon I found myself lost in nightmare unable to wake from it. Now, facing death I realize the horror in which I had slept in was the premonition to everything. That horrible dream was inner warning. I remember seeing a Ghoulish Ume dressed in a white gown. She was cackling while Kaneki was twirling her as they danced. The empty blackness soon was filled with the hum of rain. And that's when my eyes noticed the scarlet cries from the sky. They danced in blood and Ume didn't hesitate as her dress collected the staining droplets.
No matter how hard I screamed, nothing was heard. I had to stand and watch my sister's body begin to shed into a monstrous corpse, while Kaneki continued to glide across the floor. Towards the end of the dream, all I recall was Ume tilting her head back at me with bleeding eyes and rotted flesh and then mouthing unrecognizable words. I never was able to figure out her message since; I would begin to wake when I would be the one holding her mangled body. A massive bite wound was visible on her neck. I soon realized it who caused it when I felt the vital fluid trickle down my lips.
That's when I woke shrieking.
"Oh my god-Ume! Ume!" I cried as the sweat dripped from my body. I put a clammy palm to my face.
"F/N-it was just a dream."
I twisted my head to the right. The sickness dropped in my gut when I saw my captor staring down at me from the side of the bed. His chalky skin and everything about him was highlighted against the dark room. At the time, I had not realized how he was the angel that I so desperately needed.
I scrunched up my face, "How long have you been standing there?"
"A while. You were making such a ruckus I figured something wasn't right. I guessed correctly." I noticed a hint of a red smudge at the corner of his lip. My body scooted towards the opposite edge.
"Well you can leave now-" I said nervously. But Kaneki didn't flinch.
"Are you that afraid of me?" He questioned quietly. Had he been human I probably would have punched him for being so blind. I wanted to scream at him for constantly asking about my emotions. Instead, I avoided the answer. I was still in shock over the dream. And hearing the helpless yells from the streets only stirred the fear more.
Kaneki unexpectedly, sat on the edge of the bed. His composure still gathered and reserved. "You know-I didn't mean what I said earlier. I would never regret the decision I made." I was lost in thought. And wasn't the least concern with his apology instead, I found myself turning the tables and surprisingly asking him.
"When-when you eat people." I paused. "Do you make-do you make it quick?" I could see Kanek's eyes had slightly widened. He did his best to clean his stained mouth, expect the damaged had already been done.
"F/N, I didn't mean for you to see that-"
"Do you?" I clutched the blanket over my legs. Kaneki for once hesitated, then let out a sigh. He faced me with a slight smile.
"If it comforts you in any way-I don't eat humans. I only target other Ghouls. My beliefs and former human self doesn't find cannibalism very appetizing." I was about to say something when a roar of thunder erupted followed by running footsteps. I could hear the gunfire and the chaos below.
A loud crash banged against the building. I nearly jumped out of my skin, as the noise was so close. Kaneki ventured toward the window. He stared below and soon was greeted with a splatter of blood against his line of vision. I let out a gasp of fright as the fluid ran down the window. Kaneki kept his usual cool. The trembles only got worse the more the energy from the outside escalated.
"Wait-don't!" I whimpered as Kaneki opened the window and looked up. I held my breath until I noticed the Ghoul before me jumping back. He instantly began to shut the window and tried to quickly shut the drapes but it was too late. I already saw the first corpse being thrown from above. The loud pop exploded in the air as their bodies hit the pavement. The tears spilled from my eyes. I wanted to die. Those were human beings falling to their deaths. The sound of their bones colliding with the ground was enough to spiral me into vomiting my organs. I was on the rooftop not too long ago.
"Oh my god-" I shook helplessly in the bed. Kaneki drifted to the other side of the bed. Soon, I found myself wrapped against a warm body. His firm arms cradled me as the jitters from inside of me kept bouncing. "Those-Those are people. Those are bodies-there're killing them-there-" More popping sounds pierced the air.
"Shhh-" Kaneki's hands grabbed my wrists and directed my hands to cover my ears. He then laid his over mine to keep me from hearing the horrible noise. The image though, he could not erase. I still cried.
After awhile Kaneki released his hands and pulled mine down as well. "It's over." I didn't move. My heart was pounding as if I had just been jumpstarted like a car.
"Its not-Its not-" I began sobbing all over again. My face became tear stained. I couldn't control myself, not anymore. "She's dead-Ume's dead. She's fucking dead because of me. I killed her. I did! I killed her. Ume-Ume I'm so sorry! So sorry!" I kept apologizing to who I thought was my dead sister. Kankei rubbed the back of my neck before pulling me into a strong embrace. I wept on his chest, forgetting he was a monster.
"You couldn't have done anything, F/N. Don't blame yourself." Kaneki trailed his hand up and down my arm. I choked on my words.
"I should have died, not her. Not Ume. Mom will never forgive me. How can I ever look her in the eye again? How?" I couldn't stop the tears. I felt a finger lift my chin.
"Sometimes to cope, one has to alter themselves. " he stated before wiping away the water from my eyes. My chest ached the more I thought about my pervious life. I just wanted to go home. "But-change for the better." I looked at him with red eyes.
I didn't say anything as Kaneki laid another kiss upon my lips. His hand rested on my jaw. He kissed me through my week moment. Against everything I through at him, he still did his best to insure my happiness. At the time, I simply was blind to the reality. Kaneki continued to kiss me as he laid me down on the soft pillow. My pulse beat erratically has his hands braced themselves on either side of my face.
His lips parted and began to explore my neck and then my collarbone. I held my breath. Then a gentle hand smoothed my worried brow before another warm kiss met me once again. Kaneki's fingers traced my veins around my throat before they rested on my beating heart. Slowly, my captor pulled away.
"You have the most unique pulse."
I looked at him with an uncertainty.
"No matter the situation-your heart always beats consistently. It simply either speeds up or slows. It is never is off. " Kaneki leaned down a laid a soft kiss on the shell above my heart. "You don't have a weak soul, F/N. You'll survive."
I wasn't sure what he meant. And I didn't dare question what his Ghoulish words were suggesting. Instead, I let Kaneki lay next to me. I didn't object when his chest touched my back. Nor did I squirm when his arms pulled me closer to him. In fact, I ended up turning towards him. I let my fears of claustrophobia vanish. I inhaled Kaneki's spicy scent and allowed myself to feel his Ghoulish vibe.
Another kiss touched my cheek. "About your sister-" I remember Kaneki whispered into my ear.
During that time, is when I had decided to change my persona. Kaneki was right; if I was going to cope I needed a new image, a new self. The old me wasn't cut out for this hellish world. On the inside, I would always be me. I could never change my heartbeat, however my outward appearance wasn't unfixable.
The rain lightly beat against the window. Its rhythm was unsteady that night. I should have made the connection. I shouldn't have avoided the hidden truth that I had buried so long ago. I promised my mom that I would never speak of it. It was our family secret.
I knew my sister was insane.
Well, I just had to throw that little twist in there! Yup, Ume from the start was psychotic. But you, the reader, didn't want to admit, in fear of being rejected by your parents. Scary huh?
As mentioned, the next full chapter will not be updated until December. But you guys are so awesome in commenting and liking that I couldn't leave you guys hanging. So that was just a quickie to give you more insight into your thinking (and why you were able to be stoic during chaos-you have an unusual pulse ;). And keep you interested in the story. Anyway, thanks a million readers!