Another wet crunch echoed through the cold air of the sewer, resonating across the filthy water that rippled beside them. Hide winced at the sound, clenching his teeth as hard as he could in an effort to be silent. Kaneki needed his strength. He couldn't risk his screams jarring his friend from... whatever fog he was lost in. Not when it could save his life.

That, and it was better to focus on the pressure that was almost cracking his teeth than... well. It was better.

(He could see his own bones and the blood dripping down his best friend's chin and oh kami, Kaneki was going to hate himself for this, but there were investigators everywhere and—)

It was odd, he thought past the constant pulse of pain from his almostgone leg. It wasn't what he thought a kagune would be like.

The glittering, impossibly dark red 'scales' gave it an odd fluid appearance, as though it were formed of blood instead of muscle, despite being completely dry. The rinkaku was coiled around him, restraining him. Not that it needed to. He knew he was clever, and saying Kaneki wasn't in the best condition was an understatement. If he had really wanted to get away... okay, maybe he couldn't have. 'Centipede' was an SS class ghoul for a reason. But he could've certainly given it a shot.

(As opposed to practically shoving his shoulder under his best friend's nose, and then not resisting at all when warm tentacles wrapped around his waist, his wrists, his ankles, the last securing one of his thighs as Kaneki moved down and—)

He felt a cool breeze hit his stomach an instant before pain, and realized Kaneki had apparently grown bored gnawing on his leg and gone for some of the real meat.

They'd both had the same idea, for at least some of the same reasons, even if the half-ghoul wasn't in the right mind to realize it. He would die for Kaneki. And now he was probably going to.

(Someone was screaming, he realized. After a moment, he snapped his jaw closed, almost biting off his tongue in the process. Which was good. Not biting off his tongue, that is. He was losing enough blood already, he really didn't need to lose more. He had no idea how Kaneki could stomach the stuff.)

His leg hurt like hell, his shoulder still had a ragged gash in it, and a new sensation of utter agony was curling up from his abdomen. He wasn't sure he wanted to think about just what Kaneki was digging into down there - no, actually, he was very sure - but at this point, he was probably dead already.

That said, if he was already dead... he was pretty sure his ghost commit suicide, if he couldn't at least die getting his best friend out of this alive. He wanted to at least be able to stick around to haunt Kaneki for a while, dammit! The guy really needed someone around to look after him. Just look at where they were now!

Even with that thought, he shifted his leg, rotating it through the grip of the kugane so the wound was facing upwards, gravity working against him a little less. He didn't expect to survive this, but if Kaneki didn't touch anything vital... if someone from the CCG managed to find him in this maze... if they managed to get him medical attention in time...

It was a lot of 'ifs'. But if he survived, then... maybe he could hold onto his friend (or what used to be him) for just a little longer.


A/N: Honestly, I wrote this ages ago. The only reason I haven't posted it before now was because I was having trouble naming it.