"Another one?" Kaneki asked in disbelief.
Hirako nodded solemnly, handing over yet another narrow, but long package. It had been the third one that day and probably the hundredth that month. Kaneki reluctantly took the package, already knowing what he would find upon opening it. He half-wished it was a bomb to at least spice things up a bit.
But, no. It was yet another Barbie doll.
"Malibu Barbie, the Pop Culture Collector 2001 Edition," he read blandly to a pokerfaced Hirako, "I already have three of this exact one."
The One-Eyed King sighed wearily as if it was some great tragedy. At the very least, it wasn't another one of the "Totally Stylin' Tattoos" Barbie. That one had come with a heart-shaped tramp stamp with his name on it.
Or it could have been even worse. He could have gotten another "Pregnant Midge" Barbie. He shivered in horror when he recalled the folded up fetus crammed awkwardly into an ever-smiling Barbie. He still had nightmares about that one. He was lucky that they were quite rare and hard to get a hold of since their discontinuation.
He made a mental note to burn all the remaining "Pregnant Midge" Barbies when he finally took over the world. While he couldn't unsee that shit, he could at least save others.
He gave the little accompanying note a brief glance, reading it aloud, "Another Barbie doll for my favorite Ken doll. Barbie and Ken forever. Heart heart. XOXO."
While the sender never signed it, he was pretty damn sure it was Furuta. Though to be fair, it could be any one of the Clowns. He really needed to put a stop to them, before these "gifts" escalated. In the meantime…
"What am I even going to do with all of these?" Kaneki looked helplessly between the growing collection in the corner of his room to his newest addition. He'd tried offering them to Hinami, but she was "too old now for dolls, Big Brother". Ayato had just growled at him when he similarly offered them to him. Touka was also not too keen on his idea of maybe using them as some sort of decoration for :Re. He couldn't say he blamed her.
While the Garden kiddos certainly seemed to enjoy them, it had made even Hirako visibly uncomfortable to watch them use the anatomically incorrect dolls for target practice. He had to admit that he at least enjoyed watching them set the gruesomely pregnant doll on fire. However, Hirako had since banned the Garden kids from "playing" with their Big Brother's dolls.
And though the sweet-faced elderly woman who ran the local orphanage had initially welcomed his generous donations, she had gradually grown creeped out by the sheer number of dolls he had to donate. He'd been practically chased out of there last time after he had tried to donate the tramp stamp Barbie. Suffice to say, he wouldn't be doing that again.
He'd even tried selling the damn things back on Ebay, but they had ended up returning to his address with taunting notes like "And so we meet again, my precious Ken doll" and "Can't get rid of me that easy, Sweetie."
While Nishiki had pointed out that it was practically free money at the expense of his enemy, Kaneki's sanity just couldn't go through the process of writing up cute descriptions, then excitedly watching the bidding war for his item and finally sending it off in a pretty package only for it to come right back to him. He just couldn't put up with such bullshit again.
Since Hirako had no solutions to offer, Kaneki decided to take drastic action and abuse the hell out of the authority he now had as the One Eyed King.
"Fuka-san," he called. As expected, the gaunt man materialized from the shadows ready to do the bidding of his King. "Summon my followers. I have a very important matter to discuss."
"You may be wondering why I summoned everyone here today," Kaneki began, marching to the center of the room to unveil his doll collection with a flourish, "This is why."
There was a moment of silence as everyone stared at the sheer amount of dolls Kaneki had procured.
"You summoned us here to show off all of your Barbie dolls?" Kurona shot him an exasperated look.
"It's impressive, my King," one of Fuka's goons piped up, eager to kiss Kaneki's royal ass. Several of the others were quick to add that he had good taste in dolls.
Their ass kissing was for naught though, as Kaneki was quick to wave them off and explain his odd situation. "So that's the situation. Does anyone have any solutions?"
Surprisingly, Takizawa raised his hand. Kaneki motioned for him to go on, doubtful that the man would be able to solve his problems.
"This one kind of looks like Akira," he pointed to one Barbie that looked rather professional, "I call dibs."
"Anyone else want to take some of these off my hands?" he asked as Takizawa snatched his doll from the pile and scampered away.
Everyone else remained still, as Tsukiyama picked up a doll that wore a tight cat suit. It was actually the only one Kaneki had hoped to keep, because the cat suit had reminded him of his stripperific battle suit from back in the day. He felt a bit of a kinship with the doll, as he knew first hand just how hard it was to pull off that skin-tight look.
Unaware of Kaneki's internal conflict, the ex-Gourmet gave it a cursory glance, before his face pinched in irritation. "You did not mention that they came with notes. This one claims that it wears a cat suit better than you."
Kaneki cried out as Tsukiyama promptly ripped open the package and ripped its head off. "No one wears a bondage suit better than my sweet Kaneki-kun."
Ignoring that Kaneki had fallen to his knees to mourn his cat suit clad Barbie brethren, Tsukiyama picked up another box to read its note out loud, his face further twisting in anger. "I'm the only one for you, Ken. Barbie and Ken forever and always. Kisses and Hugs."
Another Barbie was savagely torn apart, standing no chance against a ghoul's strength. As Tsukiyama reached to mutilate another Barbie, the others joined in on the massacre.
He could distinctly hear Touka shrieking, "Just who does this Barbie bitch think she is? Like hell Kaneki belongs to her. I'm the one who built him a whole fucking coffee shop."
Sympathetic to Touka's plight, Ayato, Nishiki and Hinami also joined in on the doll slaughter. "Shitty doll. Shitty Touka built him a whole fucking coffee shop," Nishiki echoed Touka's earlier roar as he entered the fray. For her part, Hinami muttered something about not letting anything come between her Big Bother and Big Sister as she tore through her share of dolls. Kaneki could only watch blankly as a doll was absolutely obliterated by Ayato's ukaku as he snarled, "Trying to move in on my sister's man? Die, you home wrecking bitch."
He was so very confused. He was not dating Touka. Or Tsukiyama. Or anyone for that matter. Yet, more and more of his followers joined in with shrieks of, "Die, you piece of plastic! He's mine!"
Pretty soon, it was raining plastic doll parts.
Traumatized once more, Kaneki scrambled back, his eyes searching for someone who had not fallen into the same frenzy. He needed an adult so bad.
He perked up as he met a seemingly calm Yomo's gaze, only to deflate as he spotted the man calmly crushing a Barbie. At Kaneki's disappointed glance, he grumbled, "Only I can call you, Ken," as a justification.
Naki, bless his heart, didn't seem to know what was going on as he attempted to eat a doll for the sake of his new Big Bro. Despite his personal chaos, Kaneki hurried over to save him from choking to death.
However, he was deterred when he spotted the Garden kids gearing up for another target practice session. At his wits' end, he called out to their designated babysitter. "Hirako-san!"
The called for man, turned to him with his pokerface intact. Kaneki had never been so relieved to be greeted so blankly before. He hurried to the bland man, practically latching onto him. "Hirako-san!" he motioned toward the Garden children, "Do something about them!"
The man nodded obediently, before turning to his wards with an air of authority. Kaneki marveled as the children quickly dropped the dolls to await orders. Hirako did not disappoint them. "Kill them. Kill them all."
Kaneki nearly screeched in frustration as the kids gleefully began to rip apart the dolls. That was most certainly not what he meant. "Hirako-san," he scolded, only to be stunned into silence as the man stabbed a doll with his quinque while staring him dead in the eye.
"Arima-san ordered me to protect you," he declared as if that explained everything.
His trust broken anew, Kaneki stumbled to the outskirts of the one-sided battle. If this had been Furuta's plan to break him, he sure as hell succeeded.
Remembering that it was most likely all Furuta's fault and that he still had all of his contact info from his CCG days, Kaneki stormed away to write him a very angry email.
"What is it, Furuta-kun?" Kaiko intoned.
The Rank 1 flippantly waved to his computer monitor. "It's Associate Special Class Sasaki. He sent me an email."
While Furuta had gotten emails from his old boss before, he hadn't expected to be receiving anymore. Let alone ones that were so unprofessional.
Lacking Kaneki's usual formality, it read:
Stop sending me Barbie dolls.
(former) Associate Special Class Sasaki
"Huh," the moled man plopped back in his fancy spinning chair, "That's weird."
"You sent him Barbie dolls?" Kaiko questioned.
"No and that's what's weird," Furuta explained, a bit annoyed that he wasn't the one to get under his former boss's skin. "Like it totally sounds like something I would do, too. Maybe I did it in my sleep?"
"Maybe one of the other clowns did it?" Kaiko offered instead.
Furuta could only shrug as he checked his bank account to make sure it really wasn't him. "Wow. It really wasn't me. Pretty sure Donato's so old he doesn't even know how mail works. He probably still sends messenger pigeons. And the others would have been boasting about it if they were pranking the little King," he trailed off in thought, "Then who the hell was it?"
Restlessly, he scrolled through the email again. "Oh. There's more. It says 'P.S. – If you still want to needlessly spend money on me, at least use this,'" Furuta read, "Heh. He included his Amazon Wish List."
Curiously, he skimmed the list, not surprised in the slightest to find that most of the items were books. He'd been hoping to find something raunchy that he could tease him about later, but his boss was too much of a wholesome book nerd. Though, he was confused to see that despite his earlier demand to never send him a Barbie doll, a Barbie doll wearing a cat suit was on his wish list. Furuta shrugged, because really, who was he to judge.
"Furuta-kun," the V member called out only to be met with a hum by the called for man as he clicked away on the computer, "What are you doing?"
"What does it look like?" he sarcastically asked, "My baby's had a rough day, so I'm going to spoil him rotten."
Kaiko paused to reflect, but still could not understand.
"But whyyyy?" the very old looking man hissed.
"Because I'm stupid rich right now from my inheritance and he's stupid good-looking," he snapped. Feeling Kaiko's judging look, he tried to rationalize, "Look, I have a problem. I can't say no to pretty people. Rize-chan wanted freedom? Done. Kaneki-kun wants books and a Barbie? Done and done."
"Your sworn enemy accuses you of something you didn't do and then has the audacity to demand that you buy him things," Kaiko tried to reason, "And your reaction is to obey?"
"In his defense, that was something I would have totally done. Besides, what can I say?" Furuta gave a helpless shrug, like there was literally nothing he could do, "The guy's a natural sugar baby with that baby-face of his."
"Well, this doesn't bode well for your future," Kaiko muttered.
Ignoring him, Furuta turned back to his online shopping. "Of course I want over-night shipping," he grouched at his computer. His order in place, he sent Kaneki a quick confirmation email so he'd know he had packages coming.
As if the One Eyed King had nothing better to do than wait around all day for his ex-employee to buy him things, he sent an almost immediate reply. It was just a simple "Thx ;) Ur the best <3" followed by a selfie that was the perfect mix of risqué and modest. Even Kaiko had to finally agree that the boy was a natural.
The One Eyed King was truly a formidable foe, he concluded.