By the time Vera woke up she was alone. The room smelt like dry paint and leather, but she was too weak to activate her kakugan to see clearly. What she could see was something dangling from the ceiling, a small window that glowed green from the lights outside and light coming from the hallway though the open door.

Vera didn't know where she was.

She tried to sit up but pain shot through her abdomen, jogging her memory of why she was here. "I tried to fight a CCG agent?" She thought to herself. She squeezed her eyes shut, her blurry vision giving her already weakened state a headache. She needed to feed, she was well aware what happened when ghouls were this hurt. She pushed herself through the pain and stood up, the sent of ghoul crawled in as a shadow appeared at the door. Not thinking Vera ran, the best she could, at it and bit down, not at all caring who this ghoul was. Once it's blood touched her tongue she snapped back into reality, she was at Uta's house, in his room, eating his flesh. By this time she had already chewed her bite off him and jumped off him. The lasting pain of her wounds faded as her body started digesting the RC filled meat. She looked up at him, he was holding his arm where she had fed from but otherwise looked unfazed by her attack. "Uta…" she started, but he took his hand off the wound and showed it was completely healed.

His mouth turned upwards in a small smile, "I didn't think I'd like to be eaten that much." His eyes were a little hooded and his voice a little deeper, but Vera stared at his healed arm, not even paying attention to his remark. Uta played with his lip ring for a second, he was uncomfortable with her staring at him, most people avoided eye contact with him yet here she was not taking her eyes off him. "Vera?"

Her eyes snapped back up to his, the look of wonder prevalent in her eyes. "You're not mad?"

He shrugged, "I should've left something in here for you to eat. You've been out for almost a day, I'm surprised you didn't die honestly." She looked down and muttered something in English and looked back at him. When their eyes met again he saw her kakugan start to fade, the small bite from him healed her wounds but didn't give her any more energy than she had when she woke up. Slowly her red eye turned blue and she blinked.

She blinked and suddenly he was very blurry; she saw his red and black eyes as the Now red light from the window caught them just right. She looked around but without much light she couldn't see much of anything in his room. "Is your friend still here?" She asked suddenly worried he'd seen her eyes.

"No," he answered, "Renji left after I sobered up enough to watch after you." His eyes looked away from her, "I shouldn't have gotten drunk like that. I'm too much of a lightweight to control myself and got into some stupid fight with a Dove and I shouldn't have done that." It was almost an apology, probably the only one he'd ever give her, but he did feel bad about her getting hurt because of him. He had talked to Renji about it in his drunken state, that much her remembered, and he said they fought after Uta had been knocked down. For some reason Uta stayed down until after the fight and helped Ren bring Vera to his apartment.

Uta knew why he attacked that Dove. Just two years prior he had killed many of the clowns that had fought in the 4th ward; he and one of his buddies had almost killed Renji, so when he saw him there in the ally, finishing off another kill, Uta saw red. His jealousy, his anger, his fear, his pain filled him and he attacked. He wanted to prolong the fight, he wanted to feel the flesh of the guy peel away at his fingertips, he wanted revenge for the pain he caused Renji. He didn't care about the other clowns, yeah he was mad they were killed but he was mad because they had to go underground after that, he lost his position as peacekeeper because of it and he was angry.

Ren told him the guy was alive when they left, but unless someone saved him quick he was as good as dead. For the first couple of hours after Ren left Uta was mad at Vera, he wondered how much damage was from him and how much was from her, but when she wouldn't wake up after 12 hours he started to worry. 20 hours after their fight he went and checked on her when she attacked him.

"I'm still sorry I attacked you," she said breaking him from his thoughts. The light outside was now yellow, and reflected off her blonde hair, making her face glow. She was still tired and worn, but the light made her shine like the first time they met the yellow light from his shop wasn't much different from this light now.

"It's okay, let me get you something to eat."

She waited for him to come back and at some point fell asleep. When she woke up again the room was red and a plate of food sat next to a now cold cup of coffee. She picked up the plate and ate with her fingers, ignoring the utensils he set aside for her. About halfway through her meal Uta came back into the room. He smiled at her blood covered fingers. "Don't like chopsticks?"

She looked back over at the two wood colored sticks, untouched and clean. "I don't know how to use them," she admitted.

"Let me teach you." He grabbed them off the side table and kneeled down beside her. He positioned the sticks in his hand perfectly and handed them to her. She fiddled around with them until she thought it was correct. "No no, hold this one like you would a pencil," he repositioned her hand, "and hold the other one like this so you can move it with your other finger." By the time he was done her hand was cramping from the uncomfortable position. Noticing her discomfort he asked "have you never held a pencil before?" She looked away and that's all he needed. "Can you read?"


He looked into her eyes and then back to her stiff hand. "Let me see if I can find you a fork." And left the room. Vera continued to eat with her fingers and failing to pick up a bite with the chopsticks. When Uta came back empty handed she was already done and was drinking the cold coffee. He felt stupid for not thinking about her status as a foreigner, he had no idea what schooling was like outside of Japan. The lucky few would learn to read and write as a child but most ghouls learned at least basic reading by the time they were 25. Uta's mother had taught him what she could, but she wasn't educated or powerful like he would become. Her foreign features hid her age from him, but she couldn't be much older or younger than he was. Without thinking he asked "how old are you?"

She looked down again, "24 I think."

"You think?"

"I…" she started. Vera wondered if she should tell him anything. But now that she could see she noticed that he was genuinely concerned and sad about this. "I was kidnapped when I was young, and I'm not 100% sure how long I was there, but I think it was 10 years. So 10 years before, 10 years during and 4 years after I should be 24." She shrugged, "not that it really matters, I mean what has age got to do with anything in my life?" He sat down on the bed next to her.

"I could teach you-"

"No," she laughed, "I've lived this long without the skills I'm sure I can live much longer without it."

"Can I ask more questions?"

"Sure. I might not answer all of them."

"How were you made?" He asked for the 2nd time.

"My mom was a human and my dad was a ghoul. I'm sure I don't need to go into the rest."

"How did she carry the pregnancy to term?"

"I don't know, my dad never told me. My mom broke up with him when she found out she was pregnant, a couple months after I was born my dad found us and he killed her. I'm not even sure he knows how she did it."

"What happened to your dad?"

Vera shrugged,"Not sure. Haven't seen him in 14 years."

"What happened while you were kidnapped?"

Vera thought about what to tell him. She didn't want to tell him anything if she didn't have to, she was tired of having to relive everything when she thought about it. She paused for a while, thinking of everything and nothing. She remembered her mostly starved self breaking free and devouring a ghoul for the first time. The power it gave her both physically and mentally; nothing could stop her. But then the power wore off and she was alone with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. "I don't want to talk about it."

Uta knew she wouldn't, but he had to try. "Okay, how did you learn Japanese?"

"When I was in Sydney I met a ghoul from Japan, he taught me the language, somewhat, then told me a lot of Tokyo and the way ghouls around here were different. So I left there and came here. My Japanese wasn't as good as I thought it was when I got here."

"It's a lot better now."

She smiled, "thank you. Now it's my turn to ask questions?"

Uta rolled his eyes, "if you want."

"Why did you leave the bar like that?"

Uta sighed, he should've guessed she'd ask something like that. "Me and Ren kinda went out a couple of years ago. After that anyone I'd bring over he'd scare them off, I guess I liked the possessiveness he had over me and when he didn't show any of that with you… I lost it."

"Are you gay?"

Uta laughed; he laughed harder than he had in years. He wasn't sure why, it was a valid question after what he said, but the bluntness of her voice had him crying. "No, I like whoever I like."

"So bi?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

Vera smiled at him, the little bit of eyeliner he on had smeared down his face, Vera used what was left of her jacket sleeve to wipe off his cheeks. Her jacket was ruined; the left sleeve was ripped off, the midsection completely covered in blood and the hood was split in two. She either didn't realize or she just didn't care that everything that she owned was covered in blood. Her bag, which was placed in the sink when they had came up the stairs into his apartment, turned from a pale yellow color to a dark maroon color. Uta's sheets would need a washing, luckily they were black. And after over a day away from her tent on top of a building in the 1st ward the CCG had discovered a baggie full of meat that she had accidentally left there. Vera was homeless again and she didn't even know it yet.

Uta noticed how beat up her jacket was. He walked over to his closet and picked up a couple articles of clothing that he thought would fit her. A white t shirt he forgot he had, some old boxer briefs and a pair of Itori's pants she had left there months ago. "Here," he said handing her the clothes, "I have other pants if those don't fit, you can use the shower too if you need to," and quickly left the room.

Vera stood up and finally saw the state of her clothing, but she was glad no one tried to undress her while she was passed out. She walked into the bathroom and peeled off her shirt. Her side was healed, she was never a fast healer, blaming her human mother on that, but this took a lot longer than most wounds took to heal. She turned on the hot water and stepped in. She ripped her jeans down the side to get them off and started washing her body. The water helped but she would still be stained pink when she got out. Vera noticed black dots of dye from yesterday around the shampoo bottle when she grabbed for it. Slowly she got out and dressed, Itori's pants fitting a little more snug than what she's used to. She wrapped her hair in a towel and went back into his room.

Uta tried to save some stuff from her bag, but most of it was ruined. Her wallet saved what money she had and a small bag with two eyes survived, but when Uta opened the bag, he could tell it had gone rotten. It must have been in there for a couple of days. Not unlike humans, ghouls get sick off rotten meat. Once the body starts to decompose it's almost useless to ghouls. He threw the bag and the eyes away, disappointed. Uta quickly put the stuff back into her bag when he heard the water turn off. A couple minutes later Vera walks out with her hair in his blue towel. "Feeling better?"

"Yes thank you," she looked over at her ruined bag, "anything still usable?"

"Just your wallet."

She grabbed her wallet out, looked though the bag for a couple of minutes and dumped the rest in his trash. "I'm going to need new stuff huh?"

"Unless you want to live in those clothes forever." Vera sighed, she hated shopping. "There's a thrift store right down the street, let me buy you something, it's the least I could do."

She looked up at him, the least he could do was not get drunk like that and actually help her in the fight, but she supposed that she'd allow it. "I don't have a jacket."

"I have plenty," he retorted.

She smiled, "okay."

Uta bought her a new bag and a jacket with the rest of the spending money he had. Vera bought everything else she needed, but she didn't mind shopping with Uta. Her blonde hair stood out among all the black haired citizens but Uta's piercings seemed to draw more of the attention away from her. He was use to the stairs, but it was nice to not be the only one people looked at. The couple of times he would go out in public with someone he'd be the odd one out. But this time he blended into the background like he wanted.

Vera packed her things away and said goodbye to Uta to set off back to the first ward where her little "house" was. Uta waved her off only to let her back inside 6 hours later when she came back.

"Someone turned me in" she said, sitting down on one of the stools in his shop. "The CCG were everywhere around where I was staying, I'm surprised no one saw me."

Uta continued on his sketch that he'd been working on since he sobered up, he still hadn't slept more than a couple hours. It was amazingly detailed, every line every shadow had a purpose on the page. Uta pulled out his dinner and worked in silence as Vera looked around the shop once more. Of course nothing was different, she had just looked around yesterday, but it still amazed her how beautiful they were.

She stopped in front of a blue and red mask, the contrast between the colors catching her eye. The light, almost baby blue color stood out from the crimson red background. The blue lines, somehow both sharp and smooth swirled around, cupping the cheek and wrapping around the chin, if she didn't already have a mask she would've wanted this one. She looked back over at Uta, he used one hand to eat and one hand to draw. Vera didn't know how he did it, he chewed slowly, every couple pencil stroke earning him another crunch. Uta picked up another finger with his sticks, a loud snap when he broke the finger in half, "hungry?"

Part of her blush that she got caught staring, but she pushed it aside and walked over to grab the half a finger. Uta watched her eat, adoring the veins that grew from her right eye. He reached up and grabbed her glasses and took them off her face. He loved the contrast of her eyes, the light blue and dark red.

Uta let her spend the night, on the couch this time, when she asked. He didn't know what it was about the halfling, but he felt protective of her. Last night he had almost told Ren about her being a half ghoul, but it wasn't the right time, he'd keep this information to himself until he could use it. She reminded him of Roma in a way, they were both small and older than him, but where Roma acts weak but is strong, Vera acts strong but is weak. Maybe that's where his feelings come from; he wanted to protect her because she was weak.

Vera laid down on his worn out couch, thinking about a lot of the same things and Uta. She never told anyone of her halfling status, her father of course told some people and those people took her away for most of the life she remembers. She knew her kagune is weak, a result of continued RC suppressants shots and the surgical removal of her original one. She was strong in her opinion, yet she could still feel where the Dove had taken a chunk out of her. She was strong with ghoul flesh inside her, everything else made her weak. Uta's skin had healed the rest quickly, his RC level count must be off the charts. Vera sighed and turned over again, she can't think of Uta right now, the feelings she was developing needed to stop before they went out of control. Vera closed her eyes, unknown to her another set of eyes opened at the same time.

A man sat in a hospital bed, he was recovering quickly for how much damage he had taken. A higher up in the department knocked on the door. "Hello, I am Iba," he bowed his head respectfully, "may I ask you a few questions?"

The man replied, "of course sir."

"Can you tell me what happened?"

He sighed, he didn't remember much of what happened, the brain damage he took was greater than he'd ever admit, so he gave the best answer he could. "I had just gotten done with a low C level ghoul when NoFace attacked me out of no where. He moved too fast for me to get a good look at his face but his hair is now black. But he didn't do the most damage, another ghoul- a female- pushed him back and did most of this." He gestured to his bandaged head.

"Hirako, can you describe the female ghoul who did this to you?"

"She had a mask on, but it had red stitching across it…"