||Laverre City | Night||
||16 | 16||
Sucking in a breath, Kaneki raced across the path so that he could duck behind another shelter, watching as whatever the creature was chased the cat, who had run into the marsh. Idiot! Kaneki took a few hesitant steps forwards, his ears flicking upwards in an attempt to hear what was going on.
That was a mistake.
Although faint, Kaneki could still hear Bernie's screams as whatever that creature was attacked him. Turning tail, Kaneki ran back to the boutique, phasing through a wall and skidding to a stop as he stared at the entrance - the door had been closed, but that didn't stop Kaneki from placing himself between the door and his group, tails flared out, eye blazing and hackles raised. The Phanteon's ears flattened as he snarled a wordless warning to whatever was approaching the closed entrance. The Phanteon stiffened when he heard the thing's heavy breaths outside the door, which lingered for only a moment before disappearing into the night.
Hide watched with wide eyes as Kaneki slowly let his hackles lower back to lay flat against his shoulders and back. The Riolu stood up and approached the Phanteon, who stared back at him. Wrapping a hand around his shoulders, Hide pulled the ghost towards him, wrapping his other hand around his neck, just below the white ruff of gas as he hugged Kaneki until the Phanteon's breathing had calmed down. Finally, Hide let Kaneki go as he shifted to move towards the front door. He heard the soft footsteps as Barry left through the back door, but he didn't say anything to the ghost who was pushing the front door open just a bit.
The door creaked lowly as Kaneki pushed it open, his eyes falling to the ground where a red bow, spattered with blood, lay. Kaneki's breath hitched, and his eyes widened. "He..." Looking back, Kaneki observed the group, his shoulders slumping. "He's dead... Bernie's dead." The Phanteon said lowly, his eyes dropping as he coughed, the corners of his muzzle twitching. Coughing again, the sound came out strangled, almost like a laugh. A couple more of these noises later, and Kaneki bit his cheek, hard. Iron filled his senses, and he let out snicker. Soon he couldn't help it and he choked on another laugh. A couple of seconds later, the Phanteon was laughing. It was a bitter, almost forced sound. The noise chilled Hide's spine, and he looked at the ghost, who was now staring at the bow that lay on the ground.
"I -" Another snicker escaped Kaneki. "- I thought I was free of th-the sl -" Another giggle. "- slaughter." Kaneki tried to scoff, but with his broken laughter, it only came out as a snort. "I guess not."
Hide moved forwards, placing his paw on Kaneki's shoulder, making the Phanteon jump. "Kaneki... What happened to Bernie is not your fault. No one could have foreseen that happening." He said, his heart melting as Kaneki stared at him, his eyes half-lidded with a kind of sadness that Hide had only seen when they had to leave their previous home. While the ghost had been laughing, Hide could see that Bernie's death had hit him hard as he buried his muzzle into Hide's chest to comfort himself. Hide hugged the Phanteon with one arm, using his other one to rub his shoulders. "Shh... It's okay buddy." He said quietly, pulling Kaneki's head back so that he could look at the ghost's mismatched eyes. Covering the red and black one with a paw, Hide covered his own eye and grinned at Kaneki, who managed to muster up a small smile at Hide's antics.
"Thanks, Hide." He whispered, sighing lightly as he turned back to look at their now much smaller group. "Blanket rule, no one goes out without telling Alirah or myself first. It's too dangerous." He said with a sigh. "Let's all get some rest. We've got a long day ahead of us tomorrow." He said, finding a spot on the floor where he could curl up. Hide followed after him, sitting down beside Kaneki and leaning back so that his head was resting against the Phanteon's chest. Kaneki shifted so that his front paws were draped over Hide's legs and his tails curled around the Riolu's chest and shoulders. Although Hide fell asleep nearly instantly, Kaneki still kept his red eye open for a bit longer, keeping watch for anything that could pose anymore threats to them.