Disclaimer: Tokyo Ghoul is the property of Ishida Sui. I just own the plot for this story. Please don't sue.


The Centipede's Journey.

Mukade.

The Tokyo night sky was covered with clouds blocking the view of the stars. The sounds of sirens added to the noise of the bustling city but the neighborhood was quiet. Ambulances collected the bodies of the dead and injured; or whatever was left of those bodies.

The streets around the site were covered in corpses and blood and the scent of death lingered in the air. The carnage was brutal and heartbreaking. Those who lost their dear ones either prayed for their souls or hoped for revenge.

The carnage was the result of a recent battle between the CCG and a dangerous ghoul who had taken shelter in the ward.

The CCG had received reports of one of their more vicious targets, a rate: SS ghoul, frequenting this area as hunting grounds. A large team of investigators, ranging from Special class to Rank 1 investigators, was deployed to deal with the situation.

The mission was simple: Confirm the reports, prepare an ambush and exterminate the target.

Easier said than done.

The ghoul was a cunning one. He had somehow gotten wind of the investigation and prepared his own response.

The battle which followed was merciless. Kakuja and Kagune met quinque and left devastation in their wake.

The ghoul spared nobody, attacking investigators and innocent civilians alike. He slashed, stabbed and shredded anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the path of his rampage.

Some investigators received injuries, some lost limbs, others lost their lives to the monster that hunted them. Fortunately for them, the ghoul was a loner. Had he possessed allies of his own, it was possible that no investigator would have survived.

No one made it out of the fight unscathed. Not even the ghoul.

The battle cost him an arm, an eye and almost all of his lower body. The investigators left some scars that will never heal. But despite all their trouble, all the sweat and blood and effort they spent, he escaped.

The monster who killed over forty investigators in a matter of four years survived.

The infamous Kakuja who managed to land a cut on CCG's Shiro Shinigami or White Reaper, Arima Kishou, was still alive.

The Centipede still crawls.

This was going to be a long night…


Kaneki Ken was pissed. Although he had survived his most recent skirmish with the CCG and even managed to take out a fine number of investigators, he wasn't very happy about it..

The CCG had found out about his current stay in the 13rth ward and even managed to locate his hunting grounds. He managed to get advance information of their latest attack by sheer luck. Had he not visited his friend Itori in the Helter Skelter bar a few days ago the investigators may have succeeded in killing him.

Besides, after being found out he was forced to change wards as was his regular practice. It wasn't that much of a bother but he rather liked staying in the 13th ward. Ever since his incident with Yamori four years ago every ghoul in the 13th ward knew him and feared him. He liked that feeling.

Add to that the fact that CCG will now be actively looking out for him, meaning he will have to lay low for a while. Laying low means less hunting. Less hunting means less food.

No, not happy at all.

The only silver lining in all this mess -except his survival, of course- was that the CCG never traced him back to his apartment, so his identity was still safe.

I should still change my appearance a little bit. Changing looks would reduce the chances of being identified in a new ward. While the idea of being treated as a new fish by local ghouls wasn't very appealing, it was better than ending up as some investigator's quinque.

I could easily earn the proper name for my new identity anyway. The act of creating a new identity won't be very hard either. Thanks to his Kakuja mask, not many ghouls knew him by face or even his name. They just knew him as Mukade (Centipede) and his face was his Kakukja.

But what could he change about his appearance? Hair color is the first thing that comes to mind.

His hair color was among the only things the CCG knew about him. And white hair wasn't a very common feature for people his age. Besides, it reminds me of…

Yep, definitely a change in hair color.

I could perhaps take up Uta on his offer to make me a mask too. He'll be thrilled. The eccentric mask-maker of the fourth ward has always been insistent that he use a mask. "It reflects on your personality," he would say, or something along those lines at least.

His fashion change aside, there was another important matter to be considered. His new home. The half ghoul still hasn't decided on which ward he will be visiting for his vacation period.

He had already decided that his new home will be a more docile ward for a change. The doves would never bother to look for him in a peaceful ward. Every time they have encountered him it has never been in a quiet place, whether it be the 11th, 10th, 9th, 14th, 12th or like this time the 13th ward. Taking refuge in a quiet place is definitely going to throw them for a loop.

"Now to find a new ward…"


Kaneki looked at his new apartment. It was nothing special, neither very luxurious nor very rusty. Just the way he liked it.

Furniture? Check. Lights? Check. A refrigerator full of human food? Check.

The snow haired young man preferred his home as inconspicuous as possible. No need for others to know that there's a ghoul living here.

After choosing the 20th ward as his new home, finding a suitable apartment wasn't a very difficult task. With the ward's docile nature the humans weren't very paranoid about renting flats to strangers. Good for Kaneki, he wasn't exactly carrying anything to prove his identity if questioned.

Money was never an issue as Kaneki could always take money from the ones he'd killed. It's not like the dead would have any use for it anyway.

There was another reason for Kaneki choosing the 20th ward though. Apparently, the famous Binge Eater had taken to hunting in the formerly peaceful ward and even the Gourmet was also pushing his luck there. With these two gluttons regularly hunting there, he was rather sure that the doves would be none the wiser to his presence there, even if he were to go wild once a while. Not that he necessarily planned on doing it.

With his necessary preparations done, the hybrid decided to have some rest. He hasn't gotten a good night's sleep in a long while. Given his luck, tonight isn't going to be much different.


"Five….five hundred….five hundred seventy three"

"Keep counting Kaneki-kun."

"Five...five hundred...five hund- GYAAHHHHH!"

All he felt was the pain, the blinding agony as his fingers and toes were ripped from his body.

Again…

"Five hundred…sixty…six"

And again…

"Five hundred…fifty…nine"

And again…

"Five...hundred…fifty…tw- AHHHHHH!"

Over...and over…and over…and over….until he felt his sanity leaving him bit by bit, with each finger and each toe, with each whimper and each scream….

"The Chinese red-headed centipede…have you heard of it? They make up the class of the largest centipedes in Japan. The big ones can be over 20cm….I'm gonna try putting this guy in your ear, all right?"

"Please...stop...I don't…want that...Please, I can't. I can't, I can't, I can't, I…AHHHH!...AUGHHHH!...NO!...AHHH!...AHHH….

*GASP*

Kaneki woke up in a cold sweat. Looking around he found that he was no longer in Jason's care but in his new apartment in the 20th ward. He breathed a sigh of relief upon noticing that.

"Another fucking nightmare. It's been four years and I still dream about it. Fuck." he muttered to himself.

CRACK!

Looking down into his lap, the half ghoul realized he had unconsciously cracked his finger. Again.

Breathing yet another sigh, this time from frustration the young man looked for the alarm.

9:33 AM

No point sleeping anymore. Resigned, he made his way to open the blinds and winced as the light entered his sensitive eyes.

After taking a quick shower, Kaneki dressed up in fresh clothes and pondered what to do next.

Since it was his first time visiting the ward, he decided he was going to visit Anteiku, the ghoul run shop that controlled the 20th ward. He wanted to gauge his new hosts and see if there was anyone dangerous among them. Besides, Uta had once said that the ghouls at Anteiku made the best coffee in all of Tokyo and he was definitely feeling like having a nice cup to start his day. Maybe he'll even meet someone interesting there.

Kaneki wasn't a social person. He rarely ever made friends and didn't even trust them completely. He spent most of his time either fighting doves, reading books or trying to find out more about the strange men who killed his family. Still, once a while when loneliness started becoming a bitch, he liked to spend time with someone who could distract him from his usual depressing thoughts.

With his mind set, the hybrid left his apartment and made his way towards the aforementioned coffee shop.


Touka was in a nice mood. Today was Saturday meaning two things. Firstly, she didn't have to go to school. While she truly wanted to study and even had a friend there, the thought of eating the disgusting food from the canteen made her sick.

Secondly, due to the weekend, Anteiku had a fairly good number of customers. Being the poster girl of the cafe, this meant that she would have to work extra hard today, but the cheerful and carefree atmosphere of the cafe made it all worth it. For a few wonderful moments it made her feel human.

That feeling vanished the moment a new customer walked into the cafe. Something about the new guest made her feel on edge. The new customer seemed to have a very specific taste in colours. He wore black pants, a simple black shirt and a pair of black shoes. He wore a black leather eyepatch over his left eye, black gloves and even had messy black hair. He was taller than her but not overly so. Based on his appearance she guessed he was a year or two older than her.

But it wasn't his monochromatic choice in clothing that set her off. His appearance was definitely strange but she has seen weirder things in her life. No, it was something else.

Touka has lived many years of her life as hell. Fighting and running, she has developed good instincts. Right now, all of those instincts were telling her to run. To be as far away from this stranger as possible.

Not to mention his smell. The black clad stranger smelled weird. He had a unique smell to him, there was the usual smell of a ghoul but it was mixed with something else. Instead of smelling repugnant to her senses, he somehow smelled delicious, literally.

Looking around she noticed that it wasn't just her. Behind the bar, Koma and Irimi and all other ghouls seemed to be just as much on edge as she was, even the humans seemed to be nervous for some reason. Briefly she hoped that the manager returned soon from whatever errands he was running, he would surely know something.

Still, reminding herself that she had a job to do and pushing the unease aside, she made her way to the customer's table to collect his order. Although her usual practised smile seemed a little strained.

As soon as she stood in front of him her blue eyes locked with his single Olive-gray eye which was uncovered. The second she looked into his eye, Touka felt a chill run down her spine. His one visible eye seemed dead, hollow and devoid of any emotion. It was as if someone had drained the life out of them. Even the expression on his face showed no emotion at all. The voices telling her to run away returned full force.

"Yes?"

Touka blinked, realizing that she had been staring at the customer for too long and saying nothing. Cursing her own clumsiness and blushing profusely, she proceeded to request his order.

"Uh, sorry. I am here for your order, sir." she managed. Immediately she chastised herself for her stuttering and felt a surge of annoyance bubble up towards the stranger. Just who was this guy to turn her into a nervous wreck!

"Oh. Just a latte, with extra cream and sugar, and cheese sandwiches please."

Touka quickly wrote down the order and decided that the customer must be a human because no sane ghoul in her opinion would make such an order, especially at a shop run by ghouls. Belated she noticed another thing and now all her unease turned into rage. The customer's eye was no longer apathetic and was now twinkling in amusement, even his lips seemed to be twitching. The shitty pudding head is making fun of me. She realized and immediately felt her cheeks redden again, this time in anger. She immediately left his seat lest she do something rash in her fury.

Touka relayed the order to Irimi who immediately picked up on her sour mood.

"What is it Touka, you seem like you're in a bad moon."

"It's nothing Irimi-san, that guy just pisses me off." Touka huffed.

Any response Irimi had was cut off in the sounds of bells ringing, announcing the arrival of another customer. This time Touka felt no unease, just sheer annoyance on seeing who it was that entered the coffee shop.

Rize walked in with her gentle lady act in full force. Anyone who didn't know her could never guess that this was the famous Binge eater.

But what happened next completely took Touka by surprise.

She watched as Rize's eyes fell upon the modern-day pirate sitting in the back of the cafe before widening like saucer plates. Rize's fake smile was replaced by an ear-to-ear grin as she sauntered off towards the back and took a seat next to the annoying stranger without even asking for permission.

Touka first thought that Rize had found a new prey, especially given the stranger's unique scent but she knew that Rize never directly approached her target. Definitely not in such a bold way. Rize always was subtle about her attempts at seducing her prey. Touka decided to keep an ear out for the conversation between Rize and her apparent friend. It wasn't that hard, being a ghoul had its perks, sensitive ears being one of them.


Kaneki was impressed. The cafe had a cozy, almost homey feel to it that he couldn't even find in his apartment. There were a few humans here and there, the scent of their bodies mixed with the fresh aroma of coffee was strangely soothing to his senses.

The staff as he predicted was made up completely of ghouls, the two behind the bar seemed like strong ones. Most other patrons were also ghouls but they weren't any special and Kaneki ignored them, though he could feel that his presence had set them all on edge. He felt rather smug because of that but didn't show it.

Then of course, there was the pretty, lavender haired waitress who seemed the most interesting to him. Like all of the others, she was also nervous around him but tried to cover it up with a smile. But her charade fell once she got closer to him. He could understand why, his cold expression sometimes unnerved even him when he looked into the mirror.

Still her flustered reactions to his presence were definitely amusing and in some ways cute. He briefly wondered how she would react if he hadn't been wearing the wig but soon dismissed the thought. She would probably recognize him because of his white hair and he didn't want that. He was in the 20th ward to lay low not to create a scene.

As he was thinking this, the gate to the shop opened once more and his sensitive nose caught a faintly familiar scent. That's why he wasn't surprised when soon a beautiful woman with long violet hair joined him without asking for his permission. He even smiled a little on seeing his old friend after such a long while.

"Kaneki-san~" Rize practically sang as she took a seat in front of the half ghoul. "I must say I am surprised to see you here. The twentieth ward doesn't match your personality."

"That's exactly why I am here Rize-san, you could say I am on a vacation." Kaneki responded, from the corner of his eyes he noticed the lavender haired waitress from before was coming towards his table again, possibly to take Rize's order.

The strange thing was that this time she wasn't even trying to smile and her face bore an unpleasant scowl. Did I already irritate her that much? Then he noticed that the scowl wasn't directed towards him, instead it was focused solely on his companion. Not surprising, Rize does piss off a lot of people. Her eating habits won't help either. She's probably mad that Rize disturbed the peace of her ward. Once again he wondered how she would react if she were to find out who he was.

Oblivious to his thoughts, Touka reached the table, the scowl firmly in place.

"What do you want today?" she almost snapped at Rize.

"Why so harsh, Touka-chan?" Rize responded with an amused smile which seemed to further ignite Touka's temper.

Touka, huh? Nice. Thought Kaneki as he saw the scene unfold before him.

"Jast make the damn order." Touka grumbled. As if Rize wasn't shitty enough on her own, now it seems like she is a friend of that pudding head too. Great. She thought to herself frustrated.

"My usual please." Rize's smile didn't falter one bit as she responded.

The two customers watched, amused, as Touka left their table, muttering something about "shitty gluttons" that they couldn't decipher even with their enhanced senses.

At that moment, the TV in the cafe switched to an emergency broadcast as everyone in the cafe found their eyes glued to the screen.

"Thanks to the CCG, we finally have details about the violent incident that happened in the 13th ward a few days ago." Announced a middle aged woman on the screen. "According to the CCG, a team of investigators had prepared an ambush for the rank: SS ghoul, codenamed Mukade."

The nervous atmosphere in the cafe returned with the single name. The Centipede, because of his unpredictable nature, was among the most infamous ghouls in Tokyo.

"Those who saw the battle and survived say that the entire area was splattered with blood and human flesh. We are unable to show the images of the scene after the battle as they are too graphic in nature. 16 civilians and 8 investigators are confirmed dead with many others injured. Truly this is the work of a monster."

Murmurs of agreement rang throughout the cafe, humans and ghouls alike. No one wanted to be caught in the path of this beast.

"We have also been informed that Mukade has been raised to a rank: SS+ ghoul. The ghoul has become a grave threat and we urge the people living in the 13th ward and it's adjacent wards to be extremely careful. Not much isn't known about the ghoul but it is known that he has a lean build with stark white hair. The people of aforementioned wards are suggested to avoid individuals matching the description."

At the end of the broadcast almost everybody in the shop was feeling uncomfortable. The idea of such a dangerous threat roaming free didn't sit well with them. For some inexplicable reason, Touka decided to check the reaction of the annoying duo sitting at the back of the cafe. What she saw left her even more confused.

The male had his back towards Touka, hiding his reaction but Rize looked like she was holding back a laugh. Touka wasn't sure whether the two of them had ignored the broadcast or if the broadcast had somehow driven Rize mad.

She believed the latter.


Author's Notes -

So here is another story from me ladies, gentlemen and ghouls. I hope you liked this chapter.

I wrote this one because my overactive imagination suddenly had a very strange idea that I just had to pursue. No, the idea isn't about Kaneki being a natural half-ghoul (that too is a part though) but something else entirely. You will find out as the story progresses.

To those readers who are also following my other fic, "A Strange Ride", I am terribly sorry that it hasn't been updated yet. I just had a brief lapse of inspiration writing it and didn't want to force myself to write. It would have resulted in an awful chapter. Don't worry people, it will be updated soon.

Please let me know what you thought of it, especially if you see any errors (but try to avoid the flames).

That's all folks. MK out.