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Part 1: Set a week before Kaneki’s ‘date’ with Rize
Hide and Kaneki were once again at Anteiku, silently sipping coffee; well, at least Kaneki was doing so. Hide chattered about his growing attraction for the local waitress, one who’s purple bangs and seemingly innocent nature had, like many others, attracted him.
However, Kaneki’s attention was neither on the waitress nor the coffee that sat in front of his dazed and clueless expression. Instead he was fixated on a novel, the author being Takatsuki Sen, ‘The Black Goat’s Egg’. It was quite a peculiar novel, one about a serial killer mother, and the corruption it wrought onto the innocuous protagonist son. Despite the tragic and disturbing nature of the tale, Kaneki never paid heed to it. As though the grief that had already entered his life wasn’t enough for him.
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“Kaneki”, “Kaneki!”, “Kaneki!” Hide continuously poked at his childhood friend. Rubbing the offended body part, Kaneki simply sheepishly responded, “Sorry, spaced out for a second”. What Kaneki did not notice immediately, however, was the grin that his friend was currently showcasing. It was a matter of the greatest importance, a grin that permeated mischief and chaos. “Look to your left,” Hide had whispered.
With a subtle turn of his head what Kaneki saw was quite unexpected. A young woman of a subtle complexion, her face and soft curved nose adorned by a pair of rimmed glasses. She looked like what you would expect a summer beauty to. Fresh, happy and quite innocent, the air suddenly took a lighter feel for Kaneki. Rize Kameshiro, a frequenter of the café, and in the same seat as well. “If I didn’t know any better, I would expect her to be a model,” Hide said pointedly.
“Why are we looking?” Kaneki uttered while hurriedly turning away from the beauty. Almost expecting said question, his friend interrupted him by pulling a hand to his face whilst simply shaking his head.
Not taking that as a useful hint for any information, Kaneki questioned once more, only stuttering ever so slightly “Why were we looking?”
“Haven’t you noticed?” Hide remarked silently.
This made Kaneki pause, as it was within his pedantic nature to attempt to notice some forms of irregularities. Yet he drew a blank in this instance, and at the same time he knew that his friend was a sharp one. More so than any of the other people he had associated himself with (that number not being significant).
“What was I supposed to notice?” was the response of the black haired teen, almost in semi formed exasperation, while the cheerful Hide simply chuckled. “Gotcha” was almost shouted with a smug grin. Despite the lack of response from Kaneki, Hide maintained the amused expression, somehow not noticing the lack of attention he was getting while the other teen simply indulged in the novel at hand due to his lack of success at the previous matter.
The vivid description of the taste of human flesh was almost surrealistic. As instead of describing some form of taste, a flavour perhaps, maybe even seasoning of some sort, it described the emotions associated with said hunger, that of anguish, sorrow and sadness. Then it even elaborated on the beauty of said colours of hunger and how they each represent a different loss – the colour purple for its radiance and ambiguity, the colour red for its anger and passion; finally, the colour blue for its sadness and compassion.
The morbid curiosity that attracted readers was amplified tenfold due to Kaneki’s intense fascination with Takatsuki Sen. The author who’s books had carried him and liberated him from loneliness, those and the goofball beside him. This train of thought was however interrupted by a jolt from the reinvigorated Hide.
His expression was one that was exaggeratedly excited, almost mimicking a child who was mischievously planning how to eat his candy.
“Nerd! Nerd! Hello? Earth to Kaneki!” he kept repeating toward the distracted young man, all the while trying to keep the waitress from leaving due to his friend’s non-responsive state.
“What would you like to order?” the patientwaitress tried once more while the sheepish looking Hide shrugged.
“Two lattes please, and if you don’t mind could you make them?” He tried sounding diplomatic and calm. Despite his attempt, however, it came out as curt and demanding, yet cute to some degree, the waitress had thought.
Just at that moment Kaneki raised his head to see the waitress departing and realised his blunder. Not a moment too soon as his friend merely laughed at his expense.
Hoping to combat the awkwardness of his failure, the black haired teen merely stated, “You did lose me, when you, you know, tried to make me guess the issue behind Rize-san’s mystery.” He grumbled good-naturedly.
Reflexively, Kaneki turned to watch the young woman leave as he thought of her, just barely catching her holding the exact same novel as him. “Oh,” he muttered, as the bells rang and her soft purple hair flowed out following her natural and almost practiced movements out.
Hurriedly, almost too much so, the boy peered out of the window, as if trying to catch a glimpse of the beauty or the novels she was holding. Instead what he got was a dazzling smile.
A caring smile, one that denoted the feelings warmth and affection; it was enough to make his innocent heart sing with ecstasy. When he was about to turn away hoping that the smile was not directed toward him, she waved.
Clearly and certainly she had waved towards him. It seemed that she had noticed his earlier blunders and attempts to observe her. Was she rewarding him? For his blunder? Silently he gulped and tried to look as relaxed as possible as he waved back, silently hoping that she would remember him next time they met, as it seems that they do have some things in common, don’t they?
“Thanks for the coffee, Touka chan!” Hide said, snapping Kaneki out of his daze for the last time that day. What stood in front of them were two cups of well-brewed latte. The latte art, however, was quite different; Hide’s was simply a tree.
Kaneki’s, however, was a stop sign.