Disclaimer: I don't own Tokyo Ghoul.
A/N: This is a side story for the main story Captive: Ghouls and Doves. Takes place during chapter 6 after Kaneki revealed his face to Shinohara but before their talk in the tent.
"To sleep is an act of faith,"-Barbara G. Harrison
Side Story One: Sleep
"Eyepatch, it's time," stated Shinohara as he stood before the unmasked ghoul that was lounging on the couch.
Two silver eyes glanced up at him. "Is it? Already?"
"Yes," replied the investigator, "it's getting late and we have an early class tomorrow." Shinohara cautiously took hold of the chain leash that was attached to the white-haired ghoul's collar and gave it a small tug. "Come on…up you get."
Eyepatch reluctantly pushed himself up from the cushions and silently stood. He took a moment to stretch his back and crack his fingers as he absentmindedly scanned the room, searching for something. "Where's my mask?"
"Ah…I think I saw it earlier in the kitchen…" Shinohara said as his eyes panned the room, joining the search for the missing mask. When they searched the kitchen, they quickly discovered that the mask wasn't there either.
Behind them, they heard the rustle of fabric as the tent flap opened, allowing Amon to enter. "What's wrong?" The younger investigator asked having noticed their frustrated expressions.
"I lost my mask," the ghoul replied, turning to give Amon a distressed look. "Have you seen it, Amon?"
"Yes," the dark-haired investigator nodded. "I put it on my bed so that it wouldn't get misplaced somewhere. I thought it would be easier to find there. Why do you need it, Ka-Eyepatch?"
Eyepatch walked over to Amon's bed, dragging Shinohara along with him, and found the mask sitting innocently on a pillow. The ghoul huffed, amused as he plucked the leather item up into his hands. While he was putting his mask on, his voice slightly muffled by the leather, Eyepatch explained: "Investigator Shinohara said that it's time for me to go back and I want to have my mask on when Hagrid and the students arrive tomorrow."
A zipping sound was heard as the ghoul unzipped his mask's mouth, an action that caused both Shinohara and Amon to tense, confused. Usually, Eyepatch only unzipped that part of his mask when he was eating or about to bite someone but strangely the ghoul took no further action to do so. Adjusting the black leather eyepatch around his right eye, Eyepatch smiled forlornly at the sofa, an expression that was only revealed to them due to the unzipped mask.
"Shinohara…" Amon began, turning to meet his friend's eyes with a serious expression on his face. "Why don't we let Eyepatch sleep in the tent tonight? I heard that the temperature is going to drop rather low this night."
Shinohara noted the way the ghoul's left eye lit up with a spark of hope and inwardly winced at the thought of extinguishing it. "I'm sorry, Amon, but he shouldn't sleep here." Eyepatch's shoulders visibly slumped at his words, disappointed and resigned. "If it concerns you that much, why don't you give him some more blankets or something to keep him warm tonight?"
"Alright…" Amon acquiesced, reluctantly giving in. He didn't want to argue with his friend. Earlier that day, Hagrid had dropped off some extra, thicker blankets which have also been charmed with a heating spell in preparation for the night ahead. Taking one from the pile, Amon draped it around Kaneki's shoulders once he took the chain from Shinohara before leading the one-eyed ghoul outside.
Seeing Kaneki curled-as comfortably as one could on such a cold floor-in his nest of blankets inside the cage, Amon smiled sadly. "Goodnight, Kaneki."
'If it were up to me, you would be sleeping in the tent. Not this awful cage.'
The next day…
When the moonlight tried to peek into the tent through the entrance's flap, Shinohara sighed.
"It's time for you to go back," announced the investigator as he stood from his seat at the table. Amon glanced up, startled from his reverie by the sudden movement. The older investigator strode over to the sofa to wait for the one-eyed ghoul to get up. "Eyepatch," prompted Shinohara as the ghoul failed to respond to him. "Eyepatch…"
He nudged the ghoul, earning a soft huff as Eyepatch rolled over onto his other side, ignoring him. "Hey. Eyepatch," he said more sternly, picking up the chain and gently tugging it.
The white-haired ghoul exhaled quietly again and Shinohara came to the sudden realisation that Eyepatch was still sleeping. "He's asleep," stated Shinohara as he stared at the peaceful expression on the exposed, youthful face of the ghoul.
"Then let him sleep…let Eyepatch sleep there, Shinohara," suggested Amon, imploringly. "He's not going to harm us…he's not going to eat you."
Shinohara sighed heavily, again, dropping the chain in favour of dragging his hand over his face. "Fine…" He consented, "he can sleep here tonight. Don't make me regret it."
Sparing the slumbering ghoul one last hesitant glance, Shinohara made his way over to his own bed and began to prepare it for the night. Once finished, the lamp was extinguished, plunging the tent under a veil of darkness. Shinohara closed his eyes as he waited for his body to succumb to sleep.
Somewhere in the tent, he heard the sofa creak as the ghoul turned over. Shinohara tensed. Despite Amon's reassurances, Shinohara couldn't help but imagine the ghoul helping himself to a "midnight snack". Sure, he has gotten to know Eyepatch and yes, he has seen that human-like face of his but that doesn't mean that the ghoul doesn't get cravings for human meat.
He still remembers the way Eyepatch had devoured those slabs of meat when they had first arrived here. The way his teeth tore into the raw flesh, the blood mixing with his saliva and dribbling from his lips, the ravenous glint in his kakugan, the-
A spring in the sofa squeaked, cutting Shinohara's train of disturbing thoughts short as he flinched. His fingers twitched, longing for the comforting weight of his quinque.
For hours, Shinohara tossed and turned, listening to Amon's soft snores as he struggled to relax enough for the sweet blissful sleep to overcome him. He jolted and tensed again as he heard the ghoul mutter something that sounded suspiciously like 'Hide…no more rabbits. Too fluffy,' before the muffled sound of blankets followed as the ghoul moved subconsciously again.
It took much too long for sleep to take pity on Shinohara and embrace him that night. He could only hope that the ghoul wouldn't be sleeping in the tent again anytime soon.
Shinohara's worries were soon proven to be unfounded. The next day, his eyes snapped open in alarm as he remembered the previous night's events. Shocked, he shakily raised a hand to touch his throat and found it intact with not a single bite-mark marring his vulnerable skin.
Amon, noticing the dumbfounded expression on Shinohara's face, grinned. Shinohara could see the silently implied 'See? That wasn't so bad,' in Amon's eyes. Averting his gaze from his friend, Shinohara's eyes drifted to the unmasked ghoul occupying the couch.
Even from this distance, Shinohara could see the steady rising and falling of the ghoul's chest with each breath, his tousled white hair peeking from beneath the thick pile of spare blankets. Chains rattled as the ghoul blinked his bleary eyes before slowly sitting up and looking around the tent, baffled and disorientated. "What? Why…am I still in the tent?" Eyepatch asked, groggily.
"You fell asleep on the sofa, so we decided to let you sleep there tonight," informed Amon, a pleased smile gracing his lips. "Did you sleep well, Eyepatch?"
Eyepatch blinked again, stunned as he stared at the two investigators. "I did. Thank you, Amon," Eyepatch smiled gratefully at them, he dipped his head in a polite nod as he added, "Thank you, Investigator Shinohara."
"You're…welcome, Eyepatch," replied Shinohara, returning the nod, uncertainly. Seeing Eyepatch so thankful over being allowed to sleep inside the tent made him wonder he hadn't let the ghoul do so before.
He could learn to trust Eyepatch while he slept at night, the way Amon does.
Maybe he could survive another night in the ghoul's company after all…
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed reading this side-story! :)
Chapter 7 of the main story is going rather slowly at the moment (I have started it but I haven't gotten very far with it) and the next few weeks are going to be extremely busy for me. Hopefully, the next chapter of Captive: Ghouls and Doves will be up soon enough…though I want to make sure it's good enough first.
Feel free to tell me what you think of this. I'm thinking of adding more once I've finished writing chapter 7 of the main story (since a few of my ideas start from a certain point/action), but there is a chance you might see some more side-stories before then.
Until next time,
(Edit: I fixed a sentence which somehow got messed up in the site's doc manager. )