Summary: She smiled again. "Nice to meet you, Hide-san. Thank you for keeping Nii-chan company."

Rating: K+

Genre: Supernatural

Characters: Hide, Kaneki, Hinami

Tags: AU, Hinami being adorable, a little short compared to the last two, but oh well

Word Count: 636


Hide stared as a slight figure rushed out of the fog, pouncing on Kaneki with a bright little smile and wrapping her arms around him. He swept her up, smiling. "Hinami! I didn't know it would rain today."

Hide looked up. Yeah, it looked clouded through the trees, but it wasn't...

She stuck out her tongue. "That's 'cause I didn't tell you!" She turned her attention to the blond. "Is this your new friend?"

He looked at her right back. Brown hair framed her face, and the spirit eyes looked... actually kinda cute on her. A pair of butterfly hairclips were pinned up in her hair, and...

Oh. Wait.

A pair of butterflies nested in her hair, clinging to the strands, and the soft colors complimented her dress beautifully.

Kaneki nodded. "His name is Hide."

She inspected him, looking him over in a way that made him think she was looking into his heart directly. After a moment, she smiled again. "Nice to meet you, Hide-san. Thank you for keeping Nii-chan company."

He ran a hand through his hair. "Thanks. Nice to meet you, too, erm..."

"You can call me Hinami."

"Right. Nice to meet you, Hinami-chan."

She grinned.

Hide had to admit, it was nice being around someone who could actually manipulate the forest like it was apparently supposed to be. Don't get him wrong, Kaneki was great, but... there're only so many things you can do in a flat forest with trees and fog as far as the eye can see and pretty much nothing else.

Hinami greatly changed up the routine, though. The ability to materialize swimming pools when he hadn't had a bath in he didn't want to think about it too much was very appreciated.

"Can you tell us a story, Hide-san?" She asked him after they were laying out in the fading sunlight and drying.

"What about?" He mumbled.

"Just... anything. I've never been outside."


Turns out, the sweet little girl liked horror stories. And based on Kaneki's wide eyes and taken expression, so did he.

Hide talked himself hoarse long after the sun had set, until the three fell asleep under the clouded sky.

Hide's first inkling of awareness was a harsh nudge at his shoulder, followed shortly by another. Soon, someone was shaking him away. "Alright, alright, I'm up..." he slurred, blinking the sleep from his eyes.

Kaneki was staring at him, wide-eyed. His single red eye glowed in the dark, and Hide could see Hinami watching them from a short distance away. "We have to move," he spoke low but quick, "Now."

And then he seized Hide's wrist, pulled him to his feet, and half-dragged, half-lead him through the woods, picking up speed until they were running.

"Kaneki," Hide started, "where are we going?"

"Away from here."

"Is this about those stories I told you earlier? You know they were just stories, right?"

He shook his head, not speaking again.

Hide thought about asking him about the whole arrangement again when he heard it – from behind them, a rustling as something ran through the undergrowth, lighter than the wind. Snarls echoed through the bushes behind them, and something knocked him from Kaneki's death grip on his wrist, rolling through the bushes before coming to stop.

He picked himself up, looked back towards his comrades... and barely choked back a scream.

Crimson eyes were burning above him, framed by dark blue hair that was almost black in the low light. Two wings, glowing murkily with various colors (A bit like Touka's¸ he thought) were folded around and behind his shoulders like a cloak. A sneer curled his lips as he looked down on Hide with utter disdain.

Kaneki emerged from the fog, Hinami clinging to his arm, not taking his eyes off the newcomer. "Hello, Ayato-san."

Notes: A little short this time, but school started again today, and I have things to do on Tuesdays. It seemed like I obviously wasn't finishing this tonight, so I stopped here. A little short, but oh well. It met my target word count.

As you can see, this obviously isn't the end of this saga. And I can tell you right now, it won't be the end of it tomorrow, either, since I decided I wanted all three of my potential antagonists to make an appearance, and it also seemed kinda silly to throw them all in at the end at once.

I'm guestimating two or three more segments this time. One to finish this bit off, and either one or two more after to wrap it up, depending on how long the next bit ends up being. We'll see.

Also, I didn't have time to edit like I usually do. I don't know whether the quality drop will be noticeable or not - the thing I usually end up doing is switching around phrasing a bit to fix up the characters' individual voices. But if it is, I should be back to the usual standard tomorrow.