Lunch Boxes (弁当, Bentō) is the second chapter of the light novel Tokyo Ghoul: Days.
- Touka Kirishima
- Yoriko Kosaka
- Kureo Mado (Mentioned)
- Ken Kaneki
- Ayato Kirishima (Mentioned)
- Hinami Fueguchi
- Yoriko's mother
The story takes place while Kaneki is working at Anteiku, and centers around the friendship between Touka and Yoriko.
Not long after her battle with Kureo Mado, Yoshimura told Touka Kirishima about the suspicious people around Anteiku. However, Touka already knew but did not say anything in order to get more information out of Yoshimura, making him unable to discern if she understands his words or not. Kaneki had overheard their small conversation, wondering if he should tell Hideyoshi Nagachika to not come around for awhile. Initially she retorts that she does not care, disappointing him, but once she thinks about it, she advises him what to do, but gets angry again since Kaneki failed to hear her. After repeating herself further, she has him get back to work. Internally, she is reminded that while Kaneki and Hide are still good, her and her friend are not, recalling her friend's tears.
The week before, Yoriko Kosaka was worried about Touka and suggests they do something during the holiday. Repeatedly Touka had attempted to rationalize that Mado deserved to die but the prospect that he had a family deeply bothered her. Since Touka did not outright agree with any of the suggestions, Yoriko incorrectly assumes she has dates with Kaneki on her days off. After denying it on deaf ears, Touka suggests they go to the zoo. Immediately, Yoriko is excited and plans everything. The next day their planning attracts the attention of a group of boys to their table who know how good Yoriko's cooking is. Since Yoriko became shy and flustered around them, Touka speaks for her. After they left, Yoriko compliments Touka's ability to consistently be herself around all the people she met, a quality Touka does not think of as special and changes the subject.
At lunchtime, the boys from earlier sat at their desk again and after allowing him to eat a bit of her food, more came, but Touka made them leave. A classmate sarcastically compliments Yoriko's food, since the boys from earlier are good looking and popular with the girls, and Touka retorts. She goes to the restroom to vomit after lunch and returns to witness the girls from earlier bullying Yoriko. Apparently, the lead girl, Mayuhara was interested in Yamamoto, the boy from earlier. Mayuhara coaxes Touka into anger with her words, some making Yoriko go pale. As Touka's frustration increases, she accidentally yelled at Yoriko, and eventually grabbed Mayuhara by the collar. Seconds from threatening to kill her, their teacher named Tsuruda enters the room and takes Touka to the staff room after Mayuhara feigns being hit and tossed to the floor.
After his lecture, Touka goes to see Yoriko and while she plans to stop Mayuhara, Yoriko does not. Her impatience causes her to raise her voice and her vulgar speech scares Yoriko. As she starts crying, she says getting back at Mayuhara will not make her happy. Her words astonish Touka and remind her of Hinami Fueguchi, leaving her frozen. From that point, Touka notices Yoriko began to distance herself from her and Mayuhara was acting as if nothing happened, giving her the urge to kill her.
Kaneki tries to tell Touka she is absently spilling the coffee she is pouring, so she has him do it instead. Touka has been stressing about the growing awkwardness between her and Yoriko. A customer, Cain, notices Kaneki is a new worker and a ghoul. Touka tells Kaneki who the ghoul was, a weakling who forages in the 20th ward. Kaneki thanks her for her advice from before, which she denies giving at all and notices he has became more resilient against her anger. Kaneki senses he is getting her angry and ends their conversation. However, she adds more about the ways ghouls hunt, from dragging them off to using the Internet, telling him Hide should avoid Anteiku altogether, but he thinks she means all ghouls in general. His mistake makes her think about Yoriko, and Kaneki immediately asks if she okay since he has noticed she has not been herself recently and his concerned face makes her uncomfortable. Even though she said it was nothing, he directly asks if it is Yoriko and if they had a fight, his accuracy makes her shake and she tells him to get back to work. He gets annoyed with her and stays, telling her to not let the misunderstanding get worse, knowing he was correct despite her claiming it was not the problem.
After work she believes when they go to the zoo as planned, everything will return to normal.
On their break, Touka thought her and Yoriko would talk to each like always but instead, Yoriko cancels everything. Touka, suddenly scared there will not be a next time like Yoriko says, tries to protest and put the plans back on but stops. Mayuhara hears the exchange and mocks them. Unfortunately, class begins the moment Touka finally resolves to speak to Yoriko. When Yoriko decides to leave early, Touka approaches Mayuhara and her group, sensing the danger in Touka's tone, they falter. Despite this, Mayuhara continues her verbal onslaught until Touka's fist connects to the window frame behind her. Intimidated, Mayuhara falls to the floor and Touka leaves to Anteiku.
Kaneki greets her happily, not noticing her irritated state. After asking her about Yoriko again, she shouts at him, silencing the cafe. After Touka apologizes to Yoshimura, both him and Kaneki suggests she take a break. Kaneki takes her a coffee after Yoshimura makes him take a break as well. Treading carefully, Kaneki tells her he can perhaps help since, while Touka understands ghoul world better than him, he knows the human world better than her. Despite her repeated attempts to push him away, he stayed resolute, so she finally decides to tell him what happened between her and Yoriko. Asking how she feels about it, he figures out how important Yoriko is to her since her current indecisiveness is uncharacteristic of her. He shares this with her and tell her the two obviously had to makeup soon or she would regret it in the future. Internally, Touka interprets Kaneki's genuine worry for her as a part of his gullibility but recognized that although he once criticized her for being a ghoul, when he was faced with his own tragedies, he would take them to her. He asks what would make Yoriko happy and explains to her how Yoriko must feel, saying Touka's personal thoughts to Yoriko would erase any built up doubt. She thanks him to herself but does not voice it out loud, but instead asks him what she should do. He lays out suggestions but Touka objects to them and continues to ponder what would make Yoriko happy.