The very instant the livestream ended, the public immediately went into an uproar that made all the previous ones look like little temper tantrums. Multiple forums and chat sites crashed underneath the sheer traffic, every single news channel went practically berserk as they rushed to cover the story, and a few riots even broke out on the streets. Which was completely understandable: after all, it had just been revealed that the only reason why so many people had been killed by ghouls was because the CCG had been manipulating events behind the scenes.
Public approval ratings of the CCG plummeted faster than the steel beams that struck Kaneki, and it quickly became the most hated government agency, easily surpassing the IRS by a solid thirty-six miles.
For the first time in history, a negative scale had to be implemented to the approval ratings just to appease the enraged public. The percentage reached triple digits in record time. Other government agencies watched on in horror as everyone in the CCG Public Relations department promptly resigned. Or had a mental breakdown. Or both.
Needless to say, the public was pissed.
The saying about how a single spark was all that was needed to start a revolution?
In this analogy, the livestream was less of a single spark and more of a Katon: Gouka Mekkakyu.
If people hadn't been convinced by Takatsuki's book Glassy Sky, then they were definitely convinced by this. Public sympathy for ghouls rose to an all-time high, and multiple cell towers were overloaded as hundreds of thousands of people called their elected representatives and government officials.
The ghoul community, even after witnessing the livestream, had doubted that anything significant would happen. They were far too jaded, too cynical. They thought that things would die down, that it would be swept underneath the rug, that there was no way humans could ever accept or have sympathy for ghouls.
So when, approximately four hours after the livestream had ended, they saw that the Japanese government had held an emergency meeting and passed multiple pieces of legislation which granted protection for ghouls and acknowledged them as actual people?
The entire ghoul community imploded as thousands of ghouls, for the very first time, felt hope.
During all of this, Kakashi remained blissfully oblivious of the utter chaos he had caused.
He had more important things to attend to.
" - so with that, I'd like to thank everyone for their contributions. The victory that we accomplished today would not have been possible without the efforts of each and every one of you. We are now one step closer to grasping the peace we all desire. But for now, let us celebrate a job well done, and as always, praise be the Holy Log!"
"Praise be!" Nearly a hundred voices echoed back to Kakashi.
With that, the Investigators, researchers, and scientists dispersed in their celebrations. Kakashi blanched as a second statue of himself was brought out, before deciding he didn't want to open up that can of worms and tried his best to ignore it. It was a bit difficult, considering that a line had formed in front of the statue where the agents were apparently... praying to him?
Kakashi shivered slightly. He didn't want to know.
They had returned back to the 20th Ward CCG Center after incarcerating all the Washuu clan members in the headquarters. Arima had remained behind to assist in the cleanup. Recognizing the importance of good morale, Kakashi had decided to oblige his follower's requests in holding a celebration, thus the impromptu speech he had just given.
He paused for a second when he realized that some scientists were sipping their champagne from graduated cylinders and Erlenmeyer flasks. Huh. Well, a little eccentricity was to be expected, he supposed.
At any rate, Kakashi made his way over to where his friends were standing in the corner.
"I can't believe this," Amon said the moment he approached, his eyes fixed on the sacrificial flame a researcher had lit at the foot of his statue. "I refuse to accept it."
Kakashi smiled. "You don't have to accept it. You just need to have faith."
"I don't know what religious type bullshit you just sprouted, but I don't like it."
Kakashi chuckled. "Shinohara, how's the plan going so far?"
"It's working," Shinohara muttered from where he was scrolling on his phone. "It's actually working. Public perception practically did a whole one-eighty, and there are already talks of legislation being passed to grant protection to ghouls."
"We're also universally hated now," Akira remarked dryly. "Suddenly, a career in the CCG doesn't look that appealing."
"Yeah," Amon said gloomily. "At least you have it easy - you're technically only an independent freelancer. The social media of countless agents are already being attacked for no reason other than the fact that they work for the CCG. Their names are being smeared online." He narrowed his eyes. "I know some of these agents. They're good men. They don't deserve this."
"It sucks, doesn't it?" Eto said, looked exceedingly smug. "To be hated for what you are, rather than who you are. Doesn't feel good, huh?"
The Investigators all remained silent, shuffling around awkwardly.
Kakashi chuckled. "Nice one," he told Eto. He could always appreciate some good irony.
"Thank you, I try."
"I hate you both," Amon muttered darkly.
"Cheer up, Amon," Kakashi clapped him on the shoulder cheerfully. Amon recoiled, eyeing his shoulder with a repulsed look as if he was internally debating whether or not to amputate it to rid himself of the taint.
He looked tempted for a moment there, he really did. "You two are a sick combo," he growled instead. "It's as if you two were made for each other."
The Investigators blinked in confusion when Kakashi's face suddenly turned blank while what appeared to be a blush spread across Eto's cheeks.
"Do you... do you really think so?" she asked, a strange note in her voice.
"Yes!" Amon snapped, having not noticed anything in his overall denseness.
"No," Kakashi hissed as Eto turned onto him with an almost hungry look.
"Ka-ka-shi~" Eto smiled at him. It was a terrifying smile.
Kakashi was already halfway through molding his chakra for an Earth jutsu when a CCG technician walked up to them. To say he was grateful for the distraction would be an understatement.
"Hisaki! Just the man I wanted to see!" Kakashi called.
Hisaki paused, looking bewildered. "You know my name?"
Kakashi eye-smiled. "Of course I know your name. You are one of my faithful followers, after all."
Hisaki fell to his knees. "My Lord," he whispered reverently.
"Rise," Kakashi said. "There is no need for you to bow down to me, for in our heroic pursuit of peace, we are all equals."
Even as Hisaki rose to his feet, his eyes watered with unshed tears as he was briefly overcome by pure emotions. Numinous. He felt numinous.
"Now, is there something that you need?" Kakashi asked.
"Yes, My Lord," Hisaki nodded. "First of all, I'm here to report that the cleanup of the headquarters went off without a hitch. We - or rather, Arima - have apprehended all the ghouls, and they're all in custody at Cochlea."
"Good, good. Any casualties?"
"Yes. One of the Washuu ghouls, who was identified as Kichimura Washuu, also known as Furata Nimura, attempted to fight back against Arima. Witnesses describe the subsequent fight as a 'one man ping-pong match', with Arima being the player and Furata being the ping-pong. "
Eto snickered. "I would pay to watch a video of that."
"Second," Hisaki continued, "Do we have your blessings to spread the gospel to the public and attempt to convert them into worshipping Thy Holy Being?"
Kakashi shrugged, ignoring the Investigators' horrified looks. "Yeah, sure."
A fervent gleam appeared in Hisaki's eyes. "Thank you, My Lord," he bowed deeply. "That is everything I had to say. Fare thee well." With one last bow, he left.
Kakashi looked bemused. "Well then. I should leave as well. There's something I still have to do."
With a wave goodbye, he vanished in a swirl of leaves.
"So." Kakashi's smirk was unbearably smug.
Touka glared back at him. "Fuck you."
Kakashi didn't say anything, instead continuing to look at her expectantly with that same insufferable expression.
"Fine!" Touka finally snapped. "So maybe you were right that peace was possible. I was wrong for doubting you. My bad," she said, sarcasm and insincerity dripping from her words.
Kakashi smiled contentedly. "Ah, thank you. It's always a nice feeling to see someone own up to their mistakes. I accept your apology."
"Anyway, I need to speak with the manager. Is he in?"
Touka shook her head. "No, he went out somewhere. He did give me an address to give you if you dropped by, though." She handed him a small slip of paper upon which an address had been written.
"Hmm. Alright, I'll head over there, then. See you - "
"Hmm?" Kakashi paused.
And suddenly Touka looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable, unable to meet his eyes. "Thank you," she said softly. "Seriously. Thank you."
Kakashi smiled a genuine smile. "It was my pleasure."
"A cemetery? Certainly quite the ominous meeting place, wouldn't you say?"
Yoshimura chuckled from where he was standing in front of a gravestone, not turning around to face him. "Is it? I wasn't aware that dead bodies bothered you."
Kakashi hummed, neither confirming or denying that statement. He took a moment to observe their surroundings. They were the only ones in the otherwise deserted graveyard. The gravestone Yoshimura was currently gazing at was clearly old, having already been partially eroded by natural elements and the passage of time.
There was only a single name inscribed on the gravestone.
It didn't take a genius to figure out who she was.
"She had desired a world where humans and ghouls could coexist together peacefully," Yoshimura said quietly. Kakashi remained respectfully silent. "I tried my best to carry out her wish, even if it wasn't an entire world but rather a single small coffee shop. Changing the world had always seemed impossible. But today..."
He turned back to look at Kakashi. "Today, you went ahead and did the impossible." A small smile spread across the aged ghoul's face. "I had always hoped we could achieve peace one day. Not once did I ever think that it would be within my lifetime."
He didn't thank Kakashi. He didn't have to. Kakashi already knew, far better than mere words could express.
"I just wish she was here to see it," Yoshimura said, turning back to gaze at the gravestone, his voice wistful. "Perhaps she's looking down on us right now in the afterlife - "
"She is," Kakashi said, not a single trace of doubt in his voice.
Yoshimura paused. "You believe in the afterlife?" he asked.
Kakashi eye-smiled enigmatically, as he was enjoying a little inside joke. "I do."
Yoshimura nodded slowly. "Just one more question. If you believe in the afterlife... then do you believe in the concept of heaven and hell?"
"Nah," Kakashi responded. He tilted his head as he realized what must've prompted the question. "You'll reunite with her one day, don't worry."
Yoshimura's brows furrowed in consternation. "Even if I'm evil?"
"And how are you evil?" Kakashi returned.
"I've performed many atrocious acts in my youth," Yoshimura's eyes morphed into the red-and-black kakugans even as they filled with remorse. "I am evil, Kakashi, and I fully accept that."
Kakashi hummed. "Perhaps," he acknowledged.
Yoshimura sagged, as if being crushed underneath the immense weight of his regrets.
"But," Kakashi continued, eye-smiling at Yoshimura. "To tell you the truth? I'd say you more than redeemed yourself afterward."
Yoshimura drew in a sharp breath. Then he smiled. "I see. Thank you, Kakashi."
Kakashi let out a satisfied sigh as he finally collapsed on his bed in the hotel room he had commandeered all those weeks ago.
It had been a long day, and he wanted to rest. He had definitely earned it.
Before that, however...
Kakashi opened up his laptop and navigated over to the vod of the livestream. He admitted he was rather curious to see what people had thought of it. The technicians must have added a stream chat feature for a reason, right?
Time to watch the replay.
The website was fairly intuitive to use. Kakashi clicked "play" and the vod started playing, the chat on a column on the side automatically scrolling down.
On the screen, Kakashi saw himself give the introductions before launching into a discussion with Shinohara. For a few seconds, he admired the excellent image quality. The technology of this world was truly amazing. Then, he began reading the chat.
TheDogDemon: There's no way this is real. Someone tell me this is just a hoax and Kakashi isn't actually standing in front of the CCG Headquarters right now.
ArcherxBaeber: Nah, dude, it's legit. Turn on the news - it's on every single channel right now.
Stoned account: Are those real Special Investigators or just actors?
ArcherxBaeber: Yeah, you can check the CCG website.
Stoned account: Holy shit. What the hell is happening?
Itsajunglediff: Whatever it is, this is gonna be entertaining as fuck. I already have my popcorn and soda ready.
Kakashisuxlol: Idk why you guys are excited. Kakashi is such a lame cringelord. He deserves to get executed.
[MOD] KakashiSimp4Life: I will fucking smite you, you heathen. Banned.
[Kakashisuxlol has been banned.]
On the screen, Kakashi watched himself stroll into the CCG headquarters and immediately create a mud wall to block the bullets.
Stoned account: What the actual fuck.
[MOD] KakashiSimp4Life: BEHOLD THE POWER OF OUR MAJESTIC GOD!
The Kakashi in the video then began thoroughly dismantling the agents that attempted to stop him, defeating them all easily.
TheFaceofZed Holy shit, he's actually smurfing on these agents.
Iamtheboneofmysword: I WANT THAT.
Itsajunglediff: HE IS A PROBLEM.
IrishCriminalMastermind: This is indeed quite the curious display. Initially, I believed this was the work of paid actors and special effects, but I just hacked into the CCG Headquarters surveillance feed, and all of this is genuinely occurring.
IlIlIlIlIlIIlIl: IrishCriminalMastermind Oh god, it's a roleplayer. Lmao right, you "hacked" into the surveillance feed. Get real, kid.
IrishCriminalMastermind: I'm not surprised you doubt me. However, Jared Vu, perhaps you should reconsider your words.
IlIlIlIlIlIIlIl: Holy shit how the fuck do you know my name?
[MOD] KakashiSimp4Life: Whoaaa doxxing isn't cool, chill out IrishCriminalMastermind or else I'll have to ban you.
IrishCriminalMastermind: You can try.
The Kakashi in the video blew open the doors to the chairman's office and entered the room.
TheBurnedSpy: Things are getting real. I wonder how he'll approach this.
Stoned account: Isn't it obvious? He's going to beat the shit out of them.
True enough, three V agents dropped from the ceiling and attempted to fight Kakashi. Big mistake. Kakashi took them down in four seconds.
Iamtheboneofmysword: HE'S CRACKED OUT OF HIS MIND
Stoned account: ABSOLUTE FUCKING POGGERS
Itsajunglediff: Kakashi is actually constructed in an alternative manner.
ArcherxBaeber: Itsajunglediff what does that even mean?
Itsajunglediff: It means that HE IS ARE BE BUILT DIFFERENT.
TheFaceofZed: LOOK AT THE MOVES, LOOK AT THE PLAYS - KAKASHI, WHAT WAS THAT?!
[MOD] KakashiSimp4Life: HE IS OUR BENEVOLENT GOD, THE SOLO KING KAKASHI.
Tsuneyoshi threatened the Kakashi in the video with multiple bombs planted around the city, and then Kakashi flipped it around by revealing he already knew and had countermeasures in place.
"Bitch, please," Kakashi waved his hand dismissively in the video. "I can count the number of people better at espionage than me on one hand. Or did you genuinely think that I wasn't keeping tabs on your every move?"
Stoned account: I'm hard.
Itsajunglediff: He's actually a gigachad. No, he's THE gigachad.
ArcherxBaeber: Holy hell, he's deadass 5head as fuck. This is a genuine 200iq outplay.
TheBurnedSpy: Impressive. Truly impressive. I would have enjoyed working with him.
IrishCriminalMastermind: Agreed. We could pull off so many grand heists if we joined forces. Hmm...
Iamtheboneofmysword: Hey, but at least now we know that the Washuu clan are actually sketchy as hell.
Kakashifangirl: Kakashi is so cool, I actually love him!
On the screen, Eto and Suzuya began beating the shit out of Tsuneyoshi.
Stoned account: Isn't that the famous author who wrote Glassy Sky?
ArcherxBaeber: I think so, yeah. Also Jesus Christ, that man needs new kidneys after this beating.
And then. And then. Kakashi revealed that Tsuneyoshi was a ghoul.
For a good ten seconds, nobody typed a word. The stream chat was completely silent.
Then, the chat exploded.
Stoned account: wtf
[MOD] KakashiSimp4Life: What the actual heavenly fuck.
Itsajunglediff: Oh god.
ArcherxBaeber: This is unironically a Top Ten Anime Betrayal.
And on it went, with thousands of users expressing their immense shock, disbelief, and betrayal.
Finally, the livestream came to an end, with the last image being Kakashi eye-smiling into the camera with a pissed off Amon next to him.
Kakashifangirl: Oh god, Kakashi's so hot.
[MOD] KakashiSimp4Life: Kakashifangirl DM me after this, I'll send you some photos from my private collection.
Stoned account: ... not sure why I expected anything else from a mod with that username.
[MOD] KakashiSimp4Life: Aaannddd that concludes this livestream. Now excuse me as I go freak out in a corner.
Kakashi was silent for a few moments after the replay ended.
His lips drew up into a small, slightly bemused smile.
Well then. That... certainly happened.
He shut the laptop lid and went to sleep.
And so, like a roaring tsunami or a swarm of Naruto's clones that caught the scent of ramen, change swept rapidly throughout the entire world at an unprecedented rate.
New laws were drafted and passed, increasing the rights of ghouls. One such law declared that the records of every ghoul were to be wiped clean, effectively letting them all start from a blank slate, regardless of past crimes. It left many people angry, and was by no means a perfect solution; however, the thing was that there was no perfect solution to be found. After all, would the ghouls have even committed those crimes if they weren't victims of their circumstances? Circumstances artificially engineered by the Washuu clan?
It was an ethical and moral dilemma that continued even to this day. However, the governments of the world wished to hurriedly get the whole thing over with, so they just hand-waved everything away.
Of course, even with a hard reset for every ghoul, some ghouls were unable to change their ways. They still attempted to hunt down and kill humans. These ghouls were shown no mercy, and were prosecuted to the full extent of law. Unlike before, however, they actually received a trial and a lawyer to defend them.
Interestingly enough, it was said that in the very first ghoul trial involving an S-rank ghoul who had murdered multiple people in cold blood, when the accused ghoul had first met with his defense lawyer, a look of mutual respect had passed between the two. The ghoul didn't attempt to eat his defense lawyer and even treated him politely; when later asked why, he had replied, "professional courtesy."
The CCG was renamed into the Tokyo Security Committee and continued to keep the peace. The researchers and scientists who had previously resigned were all rehired. Instead of creating new anti-ghoul measures, they were instead tasked with creating alternatives for ghouls to eat. Thus, their budget increased nearly ten times in size. Consequently, upon hearing the news of their budget raise, every single researcher and scientist fell to their knees and praised His Lord and Grace Kakashi, for he had generously rewarded them for their faith.
Within a few days, they had created a form of synthetic human meat that could be consumed by ghouls.
Within a few weeks, they were able to grow body parts from stem cells with the aid of growth hormones.
Within a month, they were able to create a drug that temporarily suppressed the RC enzyme, the enzyme responsible for ghouls being unable to consume human foods, allowing ghouls to consume food other than coffee.
Now that the source of the human-ghoul conflict was resolved, ghouls and humans were able to walk side-by-side out in the open without any fear from both sides.
Peace, at long last, was finally able to be achieved. It wasn't a perfect peace, naturally. Just like how there were human criminals, ghoul criminals still killed and caused havoc.
However, compared to how it was before?
It was pretty damn good.
"Kaneki Kaneki Kaneki!" Hide burst into Kaneki's apartment, only to blink when he saw that Touka was there. "Touka? What are you doing here? Since when did you know Kaneki?"
Kaneki and Touka froze from where they were sitting. To pass the time, Kaneki had been helping Touka with her homework.
"Oh," Kaneki rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "Umm... So you remember how I got an organ transplant from Rize a few weeks ago after a bunch of steel beams fell onto me?"
Hide nodded slowly. "Yeah?"
"Well, it turns out that Rize was a ghoul. And the doctor, in transplanting her organs, made me into a ghoul as well," Kaneki looked at Hide nervously. "And, uhh, Touka's a ghoul as well. She's been showing me the ropes of how to ghoul properly."
Hide blinked. "First of all, you can't 'ghoul properly'. 'Ghoul' is a noun, not a verb. Stop verbing nouns against their will." Touka's eyebrows scrunched together as she attempted to make sense of that sentence. "Second of all... what the hell?"
Kaneki nodded. "Point taken, and yeah."
"Please tell me the doctor was sued," Hide practically begged him. "Oh god, how do you even manage to malpractice that badly?"
Touka snapped her fingers. "Oh, that reminds me. What did happen to that shitty doctor, Kanou?"
"I don't know," Kaneki said. "Kakashi said he was going to take care of it though."
Touka winced. "Suddenly, I feel really bad for Kanou."
"I don't," Kaneki said softly.
"Me neither," Hide agreed.
A silence descended over them for a few seconds.
Hide clapped his hands together, another bright grin appearing on his face. "But enough of the gloomy stuff. Kaneki, Touka, you guys wanna grab a bite at Big Girl's? My treat."
Touka shook his head. "We can't. Ghouls can't eat human food - " she began but then froze.
"The new RC enzyme suppressant drug," Kaneki whispered.
He and Touka looked at each other. Then at Hide. Then back at each other.
"Sure," Kaneki said, standing up. "I'm starving for a hamburger."
He and Hide made their way over to the door, but then paused when Touka didn't move.
"Touka?" Kaneki asked tentatively. "You wanna come?"
Touka hesitated. "What do hamburgers taste like?" she asked in a small voice.
Kaneki frowned for a moment before his eyes widened in understanding. Then he smiled. "The hamburgers at Big Girl are delicious, Touka. The meat is juicy and savory, the lettuce gives off a satisfying crunch, the tomatoes add a layer of sweetness, the bread is soft and fluffy, and the sauce is simply delectable. You wouldn't want to miss it. Come on, let's go."
Touka nodded slowly. "Alright." She paused. "Can we get some cake after?"
Kaneki smiled. "Of course."
Off to the side, Hide's eyebrows were raised as he looked between the two. Okay. That's definitely new.
The entire table of Investigators grew solemn as Arima mentioned the doctor's name.
"He experimented on Kaneki Ken and turned him into a ghoul without consent," Shinohara said grimly. "On top of that, further investigations reveal that he had experimented on countless more people with an exceedingly high mortality rate. Fortunately, we were able to capture him before he could escape. The question now is, what should we do with him?"
There was a moment of silence.
"Ah," Kakashi spoke up, eye-smiling. "Leave him to me. I have some experience dealing with mad scientists lacking ethics and morals."
Shinohara nodded slowly. "Alright, then. We'll transfer him to your custody. Please don't kill him - it would involve way too much paperwork. Some slight maiming is alright, but please limit yourself if possible."
"You got it."
"What do you do when you find yourself in a room full of orphans?" Kakashi asked.
Kanou blinked genially from where he was tied to a chair. "Dissect them to continue my studies on kakuhou implants - "
Kakashi sprayed Kanou in the face with a spray bottle. Kanou spluttered in shock. "Wrong answer. Try again."
"Test the effects of different experimental drugs on them - "
Another spray. Kanou spluttered again.
Kakashi smiled, a dangerous glint appearing in his eyes. "I can continue this all day. And the next day, and the next, and the next until you change your mind. I'm just a clone; I don't need sleep. The question is, do you?"
"He's reformed," Kakashi declared cheerfully.
The Investigators stared at him skeptically. "Are you sure?" Shinohara asked.
Kakashi nodded. "Yup. After I switched out the water with concentrated pepper spray... well, let's just say he got motivated real fast to change his ways."
"... I don't want to know. Seriously, please don't tell me. If we ever get sued, plausible deniability is the only thing that's going to save us."
"We need to talk about your cult," Amon immediately accosted Kakashi as he stepped into the newly named 20th Ward Tokyo Security Committee Center.
Kakashi blinked. "Cult? What cult?"
Amon growled and pointed to the side. "That one."
Kakashi glanced at the side to where an intricate altar had been laid out with a small gold statue of himself on top. Hisaki was preaching near the altar, a small crowd gathered around him and listening attentively. Kakashi spotted a few civilians in the crowd. His lips drew up in amusement.
"And so He has shown us that benevolence and forgiveness is the way, for even after we had shot upon Him, our Lord still granted us mercy and fought for us, and from this we shall take away..."
Kakashi looked back at Amon. "You mean my faithful followers? They're not a cult."
Amon's eye twitched. "Yeah, whatever. Whatever the case - tell them to stop bothering me."
"Ever since you announced to the entire world that I was your 'High Priest' and your 'most trusted man', I've had weirdos come up to me and try to talk to me. I cannot tell you how many times a researcher has asked me to deliver a sermon," Amon ranted. "Please, get them to stop."
Kakashi tilted his head. "Oh, I see." He raised his voice. "Hey, Hisaki!"
Hisaki and the group around him immediately turned to see Kakashi. They all promptly dropped to one knee.
"My Lord!" Hisaki exclaimed. "What is it that you need?"
"Amon here has a sermon he would like to give you all," Kakashi announced merrily, ignoring Amon's suddenly enraged look. "He has some trouble with public speaking, but he's wanted to deliver this speech for quite some time now. Can you guys help him work through it?"
"Kakashi," Amon hissed, looking betrayed. "Why?!"
"High Priest Amon!" Hisaki shouted. "Fear not! Come, share your wisdom."
"I despise you."
"Looking at you now, I can't believe you're an SSS-rank ghoul," Touka groused.
"I'm not," Kakashi said, not looking up from where he was lazily lounging in his seat, catching up on the latest volume of his literature while sipping his coffee.
Touka looked puzzled. "You're not? How? You're definitely a hell of a lot more powerful than the manager, and he's SSS-rank."
Kakashi paused, looking up from his book. "Well, okay. I was assigned SSS-rank when I first appeared. However, as my exploits increased, my rank rose as well. They had to create an SSSS rank for me, and then an SSSSS rank, and then they gave up adding S's because it was getting way too long so they just went with S-squared rank, but then I defeated Arima so they finally settled on giving me an S-factorial rank."
Touka blinked. "Oh."
Kakashi eye-smiled. "Yeah."
"Kakashi! Save me! Please!"
Kakashi furrowed his brow as Mado came to a stop in front of him, panting heavily and fear in his eyes. "Mado? What's wrong?" he asked in concern.
"She's going crazy! She's going to commit a war crime! You have to stop her!" The desperation and anguish was clear in Mado's voice.
"Now, now," Akira said in a deceptively light tone as she stepped toward them. "A promise is a promise. Hand them over."
"What's going on?" Kakashi asked, now truly confused.
"In order to get her to work with us to take you down, I had to promise to let her burn my entire collection of fine literature," Mado explained hurriedly, eyeing Akira warily. "I had hoped that she had forgotten, but apparently not."
Kakashi paused. "When you say 'fine literature', are you perhaps referring to..." He trailed off, taking out his own book from his pouch.
"Yes! The entire series," Mado grasped Kakashi's shoulders, his face etched with distress. "Limited edition too, with color images and bonus material."
Kakashi's eyes widened. "What?!" he gasped in genuine surprise. "Color images?!"
"And bonus material," Mado stressed. "You can't let her burn it. Please, Kakashi, I'm begging you!"
Kakashi placed a hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry," he said determinedly, his expression becoming serious. "I won't let any harm come to the literature. I swear to you."
Mado visibly relaxed in relief. "Thank you," he breathed.
Akira was watching the two of them incredulously. "You have got to be kidding me," she muttered. "Are you serious?"
In response, Kakashi pushed up his headband. He no longer possessed the Sharingan anymore so it didn't quite have the same effect, but the sentiment was still there.
He concentrated, and suddenly his eyes turned black-and-red. A ghoul's kakugan.
To her credit, Akira only tensed up slightly. "Alright, alright!" she threw her hands up in exasperation. "I give up. I won't burn your dirty books. God, this is unbelievable." Muttering to herself, she walked away.
"Thank you," Mado said to Kakashi, completely sincere.
Kakashi nodded solemnly. "Glad to help. Now, about those color images..."
"Meet me at the Hirashino Park tomorrow at six. I'll bring it."
Kakashi smiled. "Excellent."
"Hey, so when are you going to enact your plan with Kaneki?" Touka asked one day when Kakashi was getting his daily coffee from Anteiku. "I'm getting tired of constantly babysitting him."
Kakashi frowned. "What? Oh, that? Nah, that plan went obsolete a long time ago. I had originally been going to get Kaneki to help me show the CCG that not all ghouls were monsters, but after I discovered the Washuu clan were ghouls, I didn't really need him anymore."
Touka narrowed her eyes. "So you're telling me all the time I spent babysitting Kaneki was wasted?" she asked angrily.
Kakashi regarded her with an indecipherable expression. "Wasted," he repeated contemplatively. "You know, I've been watching you and Kaneki interact in the past few weeks. You two have become quite good friends, hmm?"
Touka shifted underneath his gaze. "What's your point?" she demanded.
Kakashi hummed thoughtfully before eye-smiling. "Ah, never mind. In any case, to answer your question, it wouldn't be a complete waste of time if you say yes."
Touka frowned. "Yes to what?"
As if on cue, Kaneki and Hide came into the restaurant. Hide was practically dragging Kaneki along, a bright smile on his face, whereas Kaneki looked as if he was seriously regretting something.
"C'mon now, Kaneki. Do it," Hide grinned, pushing Kaneki forward.
Kaneki yelped as he suddenly found himself face-to-face with Touka. Blushing furiously, he managed to stutter out, "T-Touka, I-I really like you. D-Do you want to go out on a d-date with me?"
Touka's eyes widened. Her mouth opened but no sound came out. Kaneki bit his lip anxiously as he waited for her answer. Behind him, Hide was grinning and giving her the thumbs-up.
"O-Okay," she finally managed to get out, ignoring Hide's whoop of delight in the background. "But don't get any wrong ideas, rat. I don't like you or anything. I just want the free coffee."
But despite her words, she couldn't quite hide how her cheeks reddened slightly when Kaneki beamed at her.
Even after Kaneki and Hide left, Kaneki telling her that he'll text her the details later, Touka remained in the same spot, staring blankly off into space.
"So - " Kakashi began with a shit-eating grin on his face
"Not. One. Word." Touka hissed dangerously.
Kakashi laughed, holding his hands up in the gesture of surrender. "Alright, alright. Have fun~"
"I'm curious," Akira leaned forward, regarding Kakashi with an intrigued expression. "What is your kagune?"
Kakashi shrugged. "No idea."
"No idea?" Shinohara frowned. "You've never used it before?"
"Nope," Kakashi answered. "Although now that you mention it, I am a little curious myself. How do you activate a kagune again?"
About two minutes later, he finally figured it out.
"Huh," Kakashi said as he experimented with moving the kagune around. "This is pretty cool, actually."
He had a rinkaku-type kagune, black and red in color. "It's more flexible than I had expected," he mused, giving it a few flicks and accidentally blowing a hole in the wall. And causing the entire room to shake. He blinked. "Oops. My bad."
Then, he turned to the Investigators. "I sorta wanna test this out. You guys up for a spar?"
They all backed away slowly.
"Maybe after you learn how to control it," Shinohara suggested, smiling thinly.
Kakashi sighed. "You're no fun. I'll go find Arima or something."
"How is it?" Yoriko asked anxiously.
Touka swallowed the spoonful of stew, then smiled. "It's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. I love it."
Eto narrowed her eyes when Kakashi immediately disappeared when she called out to him.
"Some people are actually out of their minds these days. Did you know that there's apparently a movement growing that's dedicated to converting people over to this 'Church of Kakashi'?" Touka shook her head incredulously. "I mean, who would be stupid enough to join such a thing?"
Kakashi eye-smiled at her. "You'd be surprised," he said cryptically.
As if on cue, Enji, the Devil Ape, and Irimi, the Black dog, both stepped into the room, their faces shining with open awe and reverence as they gazed upon his visage. "Lord Kakashi," Enji murmured in shock before they both immediately bowed.
"It is indeed a momentous occasion," Enji said, his voice choking, "for our benevolent Lord to grace us with his presence."
"Welcome to Anteiku," Irimi said. "Please, ask anything upon our lowly beings and we shall deliver."
Kakashi merely turned to Touka with a raised eyebrow.
Touka's face was completely blank as she stared at Kakashi, then at Enji and Irimi who were still bowing, then back at Kakashi.
"I hate my life."
"And why is that, Touka?" Yoshimura asked inquisitively, also stepping into the room.
Touka whirled to him in relief. "Manager, thank god you're here. Enji and Irimi have both gone insane and started worshiping Kakashi," she shuddered, ignoring Enji and Irimi's offended looks. "Please, they need help."
Yoshimura furrowed his brow. "What's wrong with worshipping Kakashi?"
Touka stared at him. "No," she whispered, slowly backing away. "No, no, no."
"Salutations, My Lord," Yoshimura inclined his head at Kakashi. "How are you this fine afternoon?"
"It's spread to you as well," Touka said, suddenly looking fearful. "It's gotten everyone at Anteiku. Is Yomo still alright? Oh fuck," she paled drastically. "I'm next, aren't I?"
Yoshimura frowned, stepping forward. "Touka, are you alright-?"
She bolted from the room.
For a moment, nobody spoke.
Then, Kakashi grinned. "See? I told you it would be hilarious."
Yoshimura chuckled. "Indeed... My Lord."
"That was some fine acting, by the way," Kakashi said to Enji and Irimi. "Bowing in unison was a nice touch..."
He trailed off slowly when he realized that Enji and Irimi were staring blankly at him and Yoshimura.
"Acting?" Enji asked, looking confused.
"What are you talking about, My Lord?" Irimi frowned, her expression completely genuine.
It was a monumental occasion. CCG - or rather, TSC Investigators were meeting with Aogiri Tree members. The air was filled with tension as the two sides regarded each other.
Tatara, one of the leaders of Aogiri Tree, stepped forward to represent the ghouls.
Marude, a senior Investigator and division chief of the TSC, stepped forward as well.
"So. You all now have a clean slate, thanks to the new law. I guess that makes up for all the people you've murdered in cold blood," Marude said caustically.
Tatara's expression was cold as he stared down at Marude, as if he was looking at a particularly revolting insect. "What was that? I can't hear you over the sound of the CCG executives all being ghouls," he said softly.
Marude bristled. "We didn't know the Washuu clans were ghouls."
"Really? But you're a seasoned ghoul Investigator, aren't you?" Tatara tilted his head. "How... incompetent. No wonder you've never been able to even come close to taking down Aogiri Tree."
"We didn't have enough time," Marude narrowed his eyes. "Trust me, if we had a couple more months, all of you would be rotting in Cochlea right now."
As they traded barbed insults, the tension grew and grew until it seemed like the two sides would come to blows -
When Kakashi appeared in a swirl of leaves.
"Yo!" he greeted cheerfully with a two-fingered salute.
Immediately, the Investigators all fell to one knee. "My Lord," they chorused, as per usual.
Simultaneously, in a rather unanticipated turn of events, all the ghouls of Aogiri Tree also knelt down in respect. "Lord Kakashi," Tatara said reverently. The other ghouls echoed him.
There was a moment of silence as both sides realized what the others had said.
Slowly, they stood up, an unspoken understanding passing between Tatara and Marude.
"I do not like you," Marude growled. "But for the sake of peace, and following the teachings of My Lord... I suppose we have no choice but to move on."
"Likewise, while you've slaughtered my friends and family in cold blood," Tatara said, "We will follow Kakashi's example and work together with you in the pursuit of peace."
They gave each other a grudging nod. The tension finally began to dissipate as the assorted ghouls and Investigators relaxed from their battle-ready positions.
Kakashi smiled brightly. "Ah, I'm glad to see that you two managed to work it out. Truly a heartwarming sight to behold."
A positively evil grin spread across Touka's face. "Hey, Kakashi? You should check out your Rule 34 page."
Kakashi frowned in confusion. "Rule 34?"
Kakashi stared at the screen, his single visible eye filled with abject horror. "Oh dear Log," he choked out. "W-What is that? I - What the fuck?!" He rarely swore, but he felt this occasion justified it.
Touka was laughing from behind him. "My, my," her shoulders shook with mirth, "The Internet really outdid themselves with this one."
"Oh gods. Oh gods," Kakashi repeated like a broken record, his mind reeling. "What the hell is wrong with people? Why - Why is there an animal in this one?!"
Touka snickered. "Just wait until you see the fanfics people have written about you."
"Fanfics?" Kakashi asked warily.
"Why," Kakashi said flatly. "Why. Why. Why are they shipping me with Amon. Why are they shipping me with Shinohara. Why are they shipping me with Arima. All at the same time, in some weird harem arrangement. And..." He continued scrolling down, and his eyes widened in shock and horror at what he read. "Why am I pregnant in this?!"
Touka lost her composure, nearly falling over from how hard she was laughing.
Revenge was sweet.
"Here," Yoshimura handed Kakashi a brown package, which he accepted. "An acquaintance of mine asked me to give this to you."
Kakashi hummed, opening the package to reveal a beautifully crafted mask and a small note written on fine stationery.
Hello there. I've been keeping tabs on your actions these past few weeks, and I'm quite delighted by what I've seen. The chaos you've caused was exquisite. As a sign of my appreciation, here's a mask I designed for you.
"How thoughtful of him," Kakashi commented as he held up the mask to examine it. It was all white with a simplistic design of a single mischievous smirk etched into the fabric. He gave a single nod before placing it into his pouch. "Please give him my thanks."
"I just want some of your blood," Tsukiyama begged, throwing himself to his knees. "Please. Just a single drop. I'm begging you. I'm a man dying of thirst, and you're the only one who can sate it."
Kakashi stared at him. "What."
Kakashi rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. "I mean, I just had a nosebleed because of... reasons," he coughed. "The tissue I used to clean up should be in a trash can back there somewhere..."
"Thank you," Tsukiyama said before sprinting to where he had pointed.
Bemused, Kakashi continued on his way. He paused momentarily when a scream of ecstasy sounded from behind him before he decided that he really didn't want to know.
Eto never quite gave up on chasing after him, unfortunately. Apparently, someone (cough Touka cough) let it leak that he wasn't actually attracted to guys, much less dressed in green spandex - hey, in his defense her hair was green so it reminded him of that - so Eto revitalized her efforts in trying to get together with him.
Being the master at emotions and communication that he was, Kakashi resolutely continued avoiding her like the plague.
Until, that was, one day when she cornered him in his hotel room when he had let down his guard while reading his literature.
Nobody quite knew what happened in that room that night.
"I'm getting homesick," Kakashi suddenly said one day.
"Oh thank god," Touka immediately said in relief. "Does this mean you'll finally get the hell out of here now?"
"Maa, I thought we were friends. But yes. This vacation's been fun and all, but I wish to return home now," Kakashi's expression grew sentimental. "I miss my cute little students."
Guess it was finally time for him to start tryharding again in recreating the modified Hiraishin.
"I give up."
Touka and Yoshimura paused at Kakashi's declaration.
"On what?" Yoshimura asked hesitantly.
"Remember when I mentioned I was trying to recreate a transportation technique?" Kakashi asked. "I give up. It can't be done. I don't know how high Minato-sensei was when he made that thing, but I'm not willing to inject myself with a cocktail to find out."
"I... see. That's unfortunate then," Yoshimura said. "Then, without this 'transportation technique', will you be unable to return home?"
"Hmm? Nah," Kakashi replied. "There are other methods I can use."
"Why can't you just use your leaf teleportation bullshit?" Touka questioned, crossing her arms.
"The body flicker isn't true teleportation, and even then, it's only used for short distance travel. I need something with a little more punch. Anyway, if you could stock me up with a few day's worth of caffeine, that would be awesome."
About a week later, Kakashi called for a meeting at Anteiku. Everyone was there - Arima, Mado, Amon, Shinohara, Akira, Suzuya, Touka, Yoshimura, and Eto.
"Yo," Kakashi greeted with a two-fingered salute as they all arrived. "I'm sure you're wondering why I called you all here today."
"When it comes to you, we've learned that the phrase 'ignorance is bliss' is especially apt," Shinohara explained. "The more we wonder, the more painful it is for us."
Kakashi blinked, then chuckled. "Fair enough. Well, the reason why I called you all here is rather simple." He eye-smiled. "I wish to say goodbye."
There was a moment of silence.
Touka's eyes widened. "You mean..."
Kakashi nodded. "Yup. I'm returning home." He swept his gaze across the room, his expression growing fond as he recalled the memories. "Y'know, I really did enjoy the time we spent together. I'm glad I was able to meet you all."
"Wait," Eto interjected. "When you say you're saying goodbye... do you mean for good?"
Kakashi shrugged. "I'm not sure. I might come back, I might not. I honestly don't know. But I figured I should say goodbye anyway, in the event that this truly is the final time I see you all."
He gave them one last genuine smile. "So. I guess this is it. It's been a fun ride. See ya!"
With that, he took out a piece of paper with intricate ink designs on it, ran through some hand signs, and in a flash of bright white light, he was gone.
"Say... Did we ever find out what Kakashi's face looked like?" Suzuya asked innocently once Kakashi had disappeared.
A silence descended over all of them.
"I really," Touka began in a heavily strained voice, "really hate how you brought that up."
"And now I'm thinking about it," Amon said, gripping his head tightly with one hand. "I want to know,
but there's no way for us to find out now. Damn it. Even when he's gone, he can still find a way to torment us."
"Are you really surprised?" Arima murmured.
Amon paused before he chuckled grudgingly. "No. I'm not."
Shinohara sighed. "Well, I suppose the mystery of Kakashi's face is lost to us forever." He narrowed his eyes. "No matter how much we're burning with curiosity, we'll never know what he looks like."
"Akira knows, doesn't she?" Suzuya suddenly said.
Everyone paused, and then turned over to regard Akira, who had been suspiciously silent the entire time.
Akira met their gazes with a blank expression, giving nothing away.
"You've seen his face?" Touka demanded. "What did he look like?!"
Akira tilted her head. "Y'know what?" she smiled. "I don't quite remember."
With that, she turned and began walking away, even as cries of outrage and anguish came up from behind her.
She had to admit, it felt pretty nice.
Her smile widened.
Perhaps Kakashi was onto something here.
"Damnit idiot, are you sure you know what you're doing?"
"Yes, you bastard! Stop doubting my skills. You're not exactly helping here."
"What's wrong?" Kakashi asked.
"Sasuke here apparently doesn't know how to shut up while I'm working on creating a seal to - "
Naruto and Sasuke both froze when they realized who had spoken before whirling around.
"Kakashi-sensei?!" Naruto whispered in shock.
"You're back," Sasuke said, looking as if he couldn't believe his eyes.
Kakashi eye-smiled. "Yo. Sorry I'm late, I had to go lead a revolution and change the entire social order of a world."
As Naruto and Sasuke both paused at that excuse, Kakashi took the time to take in the pieces of sealing paper strewn around the room, the massive jars of ink, and thousands of failed sealing attempts.
"Have you two been trying all this time to create a seal to find me?" Kakashi asked, slightly amused.
"Yeah," Naruto nodded. "Didn't work, sadly. How did you get back? I thought Kaguya sent you to another dimension. At least, that's what Super Sage Gramps told us."
Kakashi chuckled. "I created a seal of my own, of course."
Naruto and Sasuke both stared at him.
"What," Sasuke said blankly.
"Well, okay. I had attempted to recreate and modify the Hiraishin at first to challenge myself," Kakashi said, "but when that didn't work, I just sat down and created my own seal."
"You're not a sealing master though," Naruto said slowly.
"I wasn't, as of about a week ago," Kakashi corrected. "Now, I am." Both Naruto and Sasuke still looked confused, so he elaborated. "I had never really bothered learning the fine arts of sealing before because I had never needed it. They were always more of Minato-sensei's style. But since I didn't know how to get back, I had no choice but to teach myself and master the art of sealing."
"Oh," Naruto blinked. "What the fuck?"
Kakashi smiled, patting Naruto on the head. "Don't worry, you'll understand one day."
"I can't believe you managed to accomplish something in a week when Naruto couldn't even do it in months," Sasuke shook his head in disbelief. "What in the world?"
An Uzumaki? A reincarnated son of the Sage of Six Paths himself?
He was Hatake fucking Kakashi. If he wanted to get something done, then there was no force in this world or any other that could stop him.
"Now," Kakashi clapped his hands together, his expression growing deadly serious. "If you'll excuse me, I have something of the utmost importance to do."
Naruto and Sasuke both tensed up.
"What is it?" Naruto asked.
Kakashi didn't respond, instead disappearing in a burst of pure speed. He reappeared in his apartment, his eyes flickering around wildly before he located what he was looking for. In a blur, he was in front of his bookcase. Reaching out, he retrieved his precious Icha Icha.
His hands trembling, he opened the book and began to read.
And he smiled.
All was well.
Bonus alternative ending, as suggested by a certain Godot-sensei. Consider this an omake.
"HOLY FUCKING SHIT, THE WORLD IS ENDING! A FUCKING DEMON GOD JUST APPEARED OUT OF A CRACK IN THE SKY!"
"THE APOCALYPSE IS HERE! IT'S EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!"
Kakashi glanced at the television in Anteiku, blinking at what he saw. "Huh. Well that's a bit unexpected."
He disappeared, reappearing on top of a skyscraper near the apparent demon god. The sky above was cracked and fractured. News helicopters were circling him as the crowd in the streets grew silent when they realized he was here.
"Yo!" Kakashi called cheerfully, giving a small wave, his posture completely relaxed. "Naruto, what's up?"
The massive glowing nine-tailed fox waved back. "Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto grinned. "I finally found you!"
Down below, and pretty much everywhere else on earth where this was being broadcasted live, people started hyperventilating when they realized the supernatural creature had referred to Kakashi as 'sensei'.
At that very moment, any doubts about Kakashi's godhood instantly vanished. The Church of Kakashi grew a hundred times in size that day.
Kakashi and Naruto began chatting, oblivious to the chaos they were causing.
Then, a familiar head peeked out from the interdimensional rupture.
"Kakashi, my Eternal Rival!" Gai screamed, tears streaming down his face as he fell from the sky in a - wheelchair? - and landed near him. "I've finally found you."
"Oh," a voice spoke next to them.
Kakashi froze and whirled around. Eto had made her way onto the skyscraper as well, and was currently looking between Kakashi and Gai with an indecipherable expression on her face.
"Oh," she repeated in a smaller voice when she took in Gai's appearance. A bowl cut, a blinding smile, and... green spandex. "I see."
Kakashi's eyes widened in alarm. "It's not what you think-!"
"I cannot wait to resume our youthful activities once more!" Gai shouted exuberantly. "I have missed our contests, my dear Eternal Rival!"
Eto slowly began to back away, and Kakashi knew from the look on her face that all hopes of convincing her otherwise were lost.
Kakashi closed his eyes. "I... whatever. Naruto, Gai... Let's go home."
And it's finally done. Holy hell, it's actually done. I just finished my first full-length story. One year, eight months. It's been quite the journey.
Writing this was a lot of fun, and I hope that you had fun reading it as well. Kakashi has always been one of my favorite characters in all of fiction, and I hope you all enjoyed my characterization of him. I must say, the overwhelming support and love you've all shown this fic was amazing. Seriously, I didn't expect this story to be this well-received. Every time I posted a chapter, the feedback and response was insane. You're all awesome. Ily all. Thank you so much for the support! I really appreciate it.
Oh, and don't worry. This won't be the end of me writing Kakashi. I already have several ideas for a new Kakashi fanfic ;)
As I was writing the final chapter, I began reflecting a bit. And I realized something. To tell you the truth, while this fic was partly written because I had been craving a Kakashi fic at the time and decided to write one myself, the main reason why I continued and finished CCG Public Enemy No 1 was because... well, to put it simply, I had wanted to make the readers smile. Perhaps even laugh.
And so, if you smiled while reading this story, if it brought some joy and laughter into your life, if it brightened up your day - then I consider it an absolute win.
Thank you for reading!