Disclaimer: I don't own Tokyo Ghoul.
Please enjoy Part One. :)
The CRC gas swirls around them like a fog, dense and opaque. Amon pays it no mind as he points his quinque at the white-haired ghoul before him, stopping the ghoul from getting back onto his feet. Eyepatch lifts his head at the sudden movement, an unfamiliar, hooked mask partially covering his face.
There was blood on Eyepatch's lips. Was that Shinohara's blood?
A burning anger rages inside him, churning with the confusion and betrayal. He thought Eyepatch was different! Eyepatch had cried that night. Was it all a lie? Amon growls at the ghoul, "That's all, right? An ordinary ghoul is all you are, right?"
"That's all, right?!" Amon roared, finally eliciting a response in the ghoul whose lips parted.
Amon watched, stunned once again, as a single tear rolled down Eyepatch's cheek. The sound of nails scraping metal fills the hushed silence as Eyepatch clenched his hands, his whole body quivering.
Amon could see the ghoul's kagune disintegrating, crackling and crumbling into crimson particles too small for the eye to see.
Bowing his head even lower into the floor, Eyepatch whispered brokenly, "I…don't want to eat anymore…"
Amon closes his eyes and sighs, lowering his quinque.
"CRC gas has been activated! It's all clear, move in!" A voice ordered, shattering the quiet that had fallen in the aftermath of their battle.
"I've found Investigator Mado!" Another voice called from somewhere near where Amon remembered lowering Akira down onto the floor. "She's injured."
"Transport her back to the medical van," the first voice replied, "you three. Go and help them."
"Investigator Amon," the voice had come from close behind him, so he turned to find himself facing one of the CCG's bureau members, a high ranked one, if he remembered correctly. "If I were you, I would finish off that ghoul before it recovers." The man's tone was cold and indifferent as he spoke about Eyepatch's fate, Amon struggled to supress a shiver.
Eyepatch… With all these men watching, he was expected to kill this ghoul. To kill Eyepatch…
Even if the ghoul had been eating Shinohara only moments before, did he not deserve to live? Those tears just now…were they tears of remorse?
Amon looked down at the ghoul still bowing at his feet, making no move to escape. It was as if he was accepting the bureau investigator's judgement. "Hey, Eyepatch," he hissed quietly, trying to keep his voice at a volume only the ghoul could hear. "Go!"
Eyepatch froze and Amon heard the sound of a hitched breath. Amon tried again, "Eyepatch!" The ghoul shook his head once. Why isn't he taking this chance to get away? Does he have a death wish? Amon hoped not. He had come to respect the ghoul despite their differences. He couldn't quite put his finger on it but there was something…human about the ghoul. Something that made Eyepatch unlike any of the malicious ghouls Amon had encountered over his career.
"He's got a pulse! Investigator Shinohara is alive, Sir," one of the bureau lackeys reported. "Sir, he's unconscious." An overwhelming sense of relief washed over Amon, nearly knocking him down onto his knees. Alive. Shinohara is still alive. Eyepatch didn't eat him.
Amon heard a sob escape the white-haired ghoul. Is Eyepatch relieved too?
"Take Investigator Shinohara to the van," ordered the leader.
"Investigator Amon," stated the bureau leader, his tone emotionless. "Why haven't you finished off that ghoul yet? It should be an easy kill for you. We don't have all day, make it quick."
"Sir. May I request that I take this ghoul in as my prisoner?" Amon asked. That should buy him some time…
The bureau investigator's eyes narrowed as he considered Amon's request. "If that is what you wish, Investigator Amon, yes, you may do so. Just be warned that transporting this ghoul is your responsibility and if anything should happen you will be held responsible for any consequences. Am I clear?"
He could let Eyepatch escape while he transporting him…as long as the ghoul doesn't hurt or kill anyone, it'll work.
"Yes, Sir. I will keep a close eye on him," replied Amon, bowing at the bureau investigator.
"Make sure it doesn't escape. If it does, you'll be wishing the ghoul had eaten you first," threatened the bureau investigator as he handed Amon a pair of handcuffs before walking away without a single glance back.
Even though he was now alone with the eye-patched ghoul again, Amon still had to be cautious as he felt the eyes of his subordinates staring at them from the sidelines as they tended to the others.
Carefully, Amon knelt down beside the ghoul, making sure that his back blocked the others' view of his interaction with the ghoul before him. He gently placed a hand on top of the ghoul's bowed head and noted how the tufts of white hair felt soft beneath his palm. "You can sit up now, Eyepatch," said Amon, softly. "I won't hurt you…I…don't want to hurt you."
Eyepatch curled inwards, his hands moving from the floor to cover his now mask-less face as he slowly sat up on his knees. "I…I don't want to-" The ghoul broke off with a sob, "…hurt you too…I'm sorry…I'm sorry I bit you…that night…I didn't have a choice…I couldn't let you…I needed…"
A ghoul apologising? For biting him? When would Eyepatch ever stop surprising him? Amon smiled briefly at his train of thought before patting the ghoul on the shoulder. "Listen…Eyepatch. This is the only way I could think of that could give you enough time to get away. I would be honoured if you would co-operate with me, Eyepatch."
"…Why?" The word was muffled by the ghoul's hands and was muttered almost too quietly for Amon to hear. "Why do you want me to escape? I'm a ghoul…"
"I've always wanted to talk with you, Eyepatch, ever since that night when you let me go," answered Amon. "Live so that we can have a long chat someday."
"That sounds nice…I'd like that," murmured Eyepatch.
"Investigator Amon, Sir, the vans will be leaving in ten minutes," reported one of the bureau lackeys from somewhere behind them.
"Where's your mask?" Amon asked. Not that it'll matter much anyway, once he has been contained the others would probably remove the mask regardless.
"My mask?" Echoed the white-haired ghoul, confused. "I…I'm not sure...I think I lost it somewhere on the third floor. Why?"
"You're still covering your face," observed Amon, "I thought if it would make you more comfortable then you should wear it."
"Oh…"Eyepatch's right arm dropped away to reveal a youthful face, the only covered part remaining being his left eye, hidden from Amon's eyes under the ghoul's left hand. Their gazes met and Amon was astonished to see that the eye that was always concealed beneath the mask was perfectly healthy. It wasn't missing, damaged, scarred or cloudy in appearance. If the eye isn't damaged, then why does he hide it? Why is he now hiding the other eye instead? Amon has already seen Eyepatch's left eye before, so there was no reason for the ghoul to hide it from him.
Eyepatch's single silver gaze flickered from Amon's face to the quinque steel handcuffs he was holding. Wordlessly, the ghoul offered his free arm towards Amon, preferring to keep his other hand in its place as a make-shift eyepatch. "I'm sorry but I'll need both of your hands, Eyepatch." Amon prompted, waiting patiently.
"Right…" The ghoul muttered, his gaze darting between Amon, the handcuffs and the bureau investigators scurrying about around them. Gradually, Eyepatch lowered his hand and offered it alongside the other hand.
"Thank you for your co-operation," said Amon as he clicked the handcuffs into place around the ghoul's wrists. When he glanced up, Amon's next words faded on his tongue as he saw what the ghoul had been hiding from him.
A single kakugan.
An iris the colour of a red spider lily bloomed in the inky black sclera, its ghoulish appearance contrasting with the stormy grey human eye beside it.
"You're a…" One-eyed ghoul. The rest of the sentence went unheard as Amon stared, stunned, into the pair of mismatched eyes not unlike those of his two former students. 'Yasuhisa Kurona and Nashiro…they had the same eyes. When I taught them back then, they were human. What does this mean?'
Silently, Eyepatch stood, swaying slightly on his feet as he did so. Amon raised his quinque to the ghoul's side to keep up appearances. "This way." Amon said before he led the way out of the building, ignoring the awed gaping of the lower ranked investigators they passed.
The journey to the parked CCG vans was relatively uneventful, Eyepatch being compliant through the entire process even as he was being locked inside the back of the specialised ghoul-transporting van.
Eyepatch would most likely be contained in one of the cells in the 20th Ward's headquarters. Ghouls are kept there temporarily when a permanent solution is unavailable. Then, they are either relocated into Cochlea or taken to the labs...
…Or disposed of.
Amon only hoped Eyepatch would be able to escape before it came to that.
"Did you hear? That ghoul with them is the one who took down Special Investigator Shinohara."
"What?! No way! Is he okay or did the ghoul eat him?"
"He's in the infirmary right now, recovering. They say the ghoul nibbled him and took a few bites out of his Arata."
"Yeah, Investigator Amon is the one who took the ghoul down."
"He took down an SS-rated ghoul?! That's amazing!"
Despite entering the CCG headquarters through the back entrance, they still managed to draw a crowd of curious CCG members. Amon tuned out their gossiping as he guided Eyepatch through the noisy, congested hallways. Only once the two of them had entered the lift, did silence finally envelop them in its welcome embrace.
"We'll need to stop by one of the departments to get your photo taken. I'm afraid it's unavoidable," informed Amon as the lift began to descend. The CCG would know his face. Eyepatch nodded, understanding the repercussions. "I'll stop by to talk with you soon."
"I'll look forward to it, Investigator Amon," replied Eyepatch, a soft smile gracing his lips. Amon couldn't recall ever giving the ghoul his name but he realised Eyepatch must have heard at least one of the other investigators mention it by now.
"Call me Amon. My full name is Amon Koutarou." Amon smiled back.
"This is floor B4. Please mind the doors," a pre-recorded female voice interrupted Eyepatch as the lift arrived at their first destination, startling them.
"Ah, Investigator Amon," a CCG investigator greeted him, "We were expecting you, bring the ghoul into this room over here and we'll get started, shall we?" As the pair followed the investigator down the hall, the man explained the process. "Firstly, we'll take a full-body photo so that the height can be recorded, then we'll do two mug shots. Ideally, we would also like a photo of its kagune but usually the ghouls are too aggressive and the task is given to those in the lab before the quinque is produced. This ghoul looks amenable, shall we give it a go, Investigator Amon?"
'If they have a photo of Eyepatch's kagune, they'll be able to identify him more quickly in the future but…I can't disagree, it'll raise suspicion.' Out loud, Amon replied with, "Sure."
"Hold onto this, ghoul, and don't try anything," commanded the investigator as he handed the white-haired ghoul a board with the inscription: #798. "Good, now go and stand in front of that wall," the man gestured to the wall opposite him with horizontal lines and numbers to measure a prisoner's height. "Good ghoul, look at the camera now."
Amon watched as Eyepatch stared into the camera lens, a neutral expression on his face.
"Good ghoul. Don't blink, I'll take the first mug shot now," the investigator explained as the camera zoomed in to capture its subject's head and shoulders.
Click! "That's it, now turn so I can get the side-view." Click!
"Good ghoul," the man praised a third time and Amon bristled at the tone. Eyepatch is not a pet dog! "Let's try to get a snap of that kagune, shall we? Be ready on stand-by, Investigator Amon."
"Of course." Amon replied through gritted teeth. If the other investigator noticed, he didn't show it, instead an excited spark ignited in his eyes.
"Excellent!" The man gestured enthusiastically at the unmasked ghoul. "Go ahead and show us your kagune but don't even think of using them." Eyepatch avoided the man's gaze, choosing to stare at one of the adjacent walls instead. "Show us which Rc type you have."
Crack! The man flinched as the ghoul cracked an index finger, glaring at the investigator with molten silver eyes. "I-If you're good, y-you'll get an extra r-ration of m-m-meat," the man stuttered nervously.
"I don't want it."
Crack. Another finger.
"A whole b-b-body then?"
Crack. "I said no."
"W-What d-d-do you want? You c-can't ask for y-your freedom," the man asked in an attempt to compromise with the ghoul.
"Obviously." Eyepatch's glare softened as his next words left his lips, "I'd like to be given some books."
The investigator blinked at the unexpected request. "Books?"
'Eyepatch enjoys reading?' Amon had wondered in the past if the eye-patched ghoul had any hobbies. 'It suits him.'
"Yes," confirmed Eyepatch. "Books by the author Takatsuki Sen, if possible."
"Deal. Let's see that kagune then," the man smirked, his stutter vanishing as his excitement returned.
The two investigators watched as Eyepatch turned around so that his back was to them. With an almost sickening crackle, four crimson rinkaku burst through the pale skin on the ghoul's exposed lower back. A vein-like pattern along the rinkaku limbs glowed and pulsed to a silent rhythm as Eyepatch's single kakugan activated.
"So you're a rinkaku, eh? Well…those look like they would be useful for-" The man cut himself off as his gaze shifted from the kagune to the ghoul's mismatched eyes. "A one-eyed ghoul?!"
"What a catch, Investigator Amon! You should be proud. I've never seen a one-eyed ghoul before, I thought they were just urban legends," the investigator prattled as he snapped a series of photos, making sure to zoom in on the ghoul's eyes. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!"
Amon sighed. 'This is going to take a while…'
"I'd liked to see Eyepatch in cell two, please." Amon asked the security guard, flashing his ID card.
"Eyepatch? Hmm…" The woman scanned the sheet of paper on her clipboard, her frown growing with every line she read. "I'm sorry, Investigator Amon, but there's no ghoul on the prisoner list with that alias."
"What do you mean 'it's not on the list'? I brought Eyepatch in three days ago."
"Hmm…" Hummed the woman as she gave the list another blasé glance.
"Number 798?" Prompted Amon in an attempt to jog the woman's memory.
"Oh! You mean the SS-rated ghoul Centipede! Yes, the ghoul is in cell two. Hold on, I'll open the door to the interrogation room for you."
"Thank you," said Amon, politely, bowing before he entered the now open room. Inside the dark room there was a reinforced glass wall, splitting the area in half. The only furniture occupying the shadowy space being two lonely chairs, one on either side of the glass. Glancing to the other side, Amon noted that the ghoul still hasn't been sent in so the investigator sat down on the uncomfortable chair and gazed unseeingly at his hands as he waited.
Light flooded into the room, chasing away the shadows for one brief moment when the door opened on the opposite side as a figure entered the room. Amon heard the second chair creak and the jingle of chains as someone sat down. "Amon," greeted a soft voice.
Amon looked up into a pair of gentle grey eyes, so human yet belonging to a ghoul. "Eyepatch," he returned the greeting in kind.
"You said you wanted to talk with me. I assume you have a lot of questions for me." The expression on Eyepatch's unmasked face was more amusement than exasperation as the beginnings of a smile twitched at the corners of his mouth.
"I do," confirmed Amon, "ever since that night…" He trailed off as memories of rain and tears drowned his train of thoughts. "Why…did you not kill me…back then? You…Eyepatch…you let me go."
"I didn't want to kill you, Amon," replied Eyepatch, honesty shining in his silver eyes. "I didn't want to be a killer."
"Please…don't make me a killer." The words that had haunted him for many nights echoed once again in Amon's mind. "How do you get your food then? If you don't…"
"It's not just me, there are other ghouls too who don't kill humans. Some never have to at all," informed Eyepatch, surprising Amon.
"How?" Amon asked. Never have to kill a human? At all? That's impossible…right? He needed to know. Was everything they had been taught about ghouls in the Academy wrong?
"Think about it," the ghoul raised a black-nailed finger, silencing Amon before he could protest. "You walk into a restaurant like Big Girl and order a hamburger. Who killed the cow you are eating?" Eyepatch questioned.
"The workers at the slaughter house," answered Amon, slowly, curious to see where this conversation was heading.
"Correct." Eyepatch nodded, a pleased glimmer in his eyes. "You didn't kill the cow, it was already dead. Does eating its meat make you the cow's killer?"
"No. What does this have to do with-" Amon cut himself off, his eyes widening as the comprehension dawned on him. "Oh." He's using an analogy. Eyepatch is comparing the beef to human meat and the ghouls to consumers. "You get your meat from people who are already dead."
"Yes, most ghouls find suicide victims or steal bodies from morgues to eat," explained Eyepatch. All this information…it was so insightful. So that's why all those bodies have been disappearing from morgues. It wasn't because the ghouls were too lazy or weak to hunt, it was because they didn't want to kill.
"Speaking of eating, have they fed you recently?" Amon asked, concerned. He knew the CCG had some meat to feed the ghouls they captured but the guards were known to neglect their duty at times, especially if they had grudges against the ghoul or all ghouls in general.
The white-haired ghoul tensed at Amon's words and averted his eyes to the book resting in his lap. He traced a pale finger along the title 'The Black Goat's Egg' in silence. "Are you hungry, Eyepatch?"
"I…don't want to eat anymore…" Amon recalled the ghoul's words.
"No. I don't…" Eyepatch closed his eyes, grimacing at the reminder. "I don't…eat human meat anymore. I never wanted to," his voice sounded small and broken, full of unspoken hurt; so unlike the confidence and determination Amon had heard in the ghoul's shout that rainy night.
"What have you been eating then?" The ghoul hadn't starved himself yet considering how he was still sitting across from Amon. If he wasn't eating humans there's only one other option left…
"Ghouls…" Eyepatch whispered, confirming the conclusion Amon had come to. "I have to become stronger. I need to protect everyone," the ghoul muttered quietly, seemingly to himself, almost too quietly for Amon to hear.
"Who are they?" The one-eyed ghoul froze upon hearing Amon's question, his eyes flicking up to meet the investigator's gaze.
Silver and red, white and black.
Those eyes stared back at him as the seconds ticked by. Their gazes locked in a silent exchange. Amon broke the eye contact first, thinking the ghoul wouldn't answer yet no sooner had he done so, Eyepatch spoke up. "My best friend and…my co-workers, they're my friends too now. They helped me after the accident, I'm grateful they were there for me."
A comfortable silence lingered for a moment before Amon asked, "May I ask you another question, Eyepatch?"
"Mm-hmm," the ghoul hummed, "What would you like to ask, Amon?"
"Do you enjoy reading?" Eyepatch stared at Amon for one long moment, astonished, before a warm smile graced his lips as a delighted sparkle entered his mismatched eyes.
"I do. Very much."
"Have you finished reading that book yet?" Amon gestured at The Black Goat's Egg novel perched upon Eyepatch's lap.
"Actually…" Eyepatch began, suddenly sheepish, "I've read this book a few times already."
"The author is Takatsuki Sen, correct?" Amon recalled hearing the ghoul request the books written by that particular author.
"Yes, I enjoy her style of writing and I've found myself relating to the characters more than I've ever had before," the more Eyepatch spoke, the more passionate and lighter his words became.
Amon wanted to hear more about Eyepatch and his passion for reading. "Have you read the other books they've given you then?"
"They only gave me this one," replied the ghoul. However, upon seeing the ire on Amon's face, with a hand curled around his chin, Eyepatch added: "I don't mind, Amon, this…is more than enough for me." Instantly, Amon calmed as the tension drained from his shoulders.
"What books would you recommend, Eyepatch?" Amon enquired, smiling. Eyepatch returned it, a content expression on his face as he launched into a long list of authors, genres and titles with Amon listening intently to his every word.
A knock on the door interrupted them and Amon stood up, stretching briefly, before striding over to answer it. "Yes?"
"Sorry for the interruption but the guards have informed me that they need to escort the ghoul back to its cell soon. They'll be fetching the ghoul in a few minutes, Investigator Amon," the lady from the desk informed.
"Thank you for notifying me, Miss." The woman bowed and the door closed behind her with a modest click.
Amon turned to see Eyepatch stretching his back, the popping of his spine audible in the melancholy room. "Would you like me to bring you something next time, Eyepatch?" The white-haired ghoul paused as he considered Amon's offer.
As he stretched an arm, Eyepatch glanced over his shoulder, a warm smile on his lips.
"A cup of black coffee would be nice…" He answered softly.
"I'll bring you some next time then." Amon promised, smiling back.
"I'll look forward to it," replied Eyepatch, lifting a hand in farewell, "I'll be seeing you soon then, Amon?"
"Yes. I'll see you soon, Eyepatch," said Amon as he returned the gesture. Light poured into the dark room as the doors opened, causing Amon to shield his eyes briefly while they adjusted to the painfully bright illumination.
With a heavy heart, Amon watched as the four guards led Eyepatch out of sight, his white hair gilded in a halo of golden light as he stepped into the hallway.
'When will we be able to talk again, Eyepatch?'
'Why…do I feel like it wouldn't be any time soon?'
-End of Part One-
A/N: I hope you are enjoying the story so far. :)
Feel free to tell me what you think of it.
Currently, there is about another 3000 words more that I've written for this story. Since it was getting rather long, I decided to split it into parts. The next part is steadily on its way.
Also, there's a reason why Kaneki's number is 798 in this. In the anime (Season 2, Episode 6), when Amon and Hide bump into each other, the number on Eyepatch's file is 798. Just so you know.
Until next time,