Entitled: Imaginary Enemy
Fandom: Persona 4
Length: 2,000 words
Disclaimer: Persona 4 is owned by ATLUS, the poem by Emilie Autumn.
Setting: A couple months after the bad-ending, and Souji's back in the city.
Warnings: spoilers, language, dubious consent, misogynistic undertones, light sexual content, murder—and he's psychotic.
Notes: The author's thoughts on writing Adachi? NEVER AGAIN. Seriously, I feel sort of dirty. As a word of advice to the innocents out there—well, first, you probably shouldn't read this. But secondly, never try to write something for a serial killer. It's a very bad idea, probably because it means thinking like a serial killer and that's not really an occupation a person signs up for at the job fair, savvy?
It's a broken bone and. And her mouth is leaking red. This mystery is like a jigsaw in reverse, with all the pieces falling apart and how could she have missed this.
Naoto can feel the floor with her cheek through a thick wet blanket, and when she blinks, it is too slow. Persona. Persona. Save me.
There's no shadow here to catch her from behind, and for once, her greatest enemy is not herself/himself, but that's all inconsequential. Naoto looks around the room at the chalk outlines on the floor and tries—no, this is only a problem, this is the simple equation of variables and it's a gambling tactician versus overwhelming stamina.
"You," Naoto says, thinks she says, "You haven't thought anything through at all, have you. This isn't you, Adachi, you know that. There's something wrong with—"
"Yeah, Naoto," Adachi says real casual, like he isn't telling this to the half-corpse on the floor, "There's a deadline to everything, you know."
Maybe it's because she's dying, she feels so cold. Maybe it's fury. Maybe it's just fear, the fear that trembles and hides because Naoto goes down cool, she will go down defiant. There's something to prove here and she isn't about to start breaking now. "You fool," she says, with the words running together but type-writer clean behind her eyes, "You—you're nothing."
So when Risette reports to him, and does it with a bit of a flounce, that Naoto's gone and, has Adachi maybe seen her? he tells her no and sees her mask immaculate. Her eyes don't flicker and her lips don't slip and she is, she is as good a liar as any he has ever met.
So then he has to move fast.
He catches her in the fog, with just a touch on her wrist, pulse angel-light and fast and when she turns he thinks it'll be easy, because she's an idol and she's not a fighter, always stuck safe on the backlines—but it's not. It's not because Rise reaches around and weaves her fingers through his hair, so smooth he thinks maybe she's going to kiss him, but she doesn't—her hand fists and then she jerks him forwards so his nose cracks against her chin—fuck. Fuck, but he hates her, he hates this conniving little whore, hates her more than any of them, hates her stupid fucking commercials and hates her for daring to be real, when everyone knows she should just stay in the god damn television where she fucking belongs.
It's three in the afternoon and the sun is shining and no one can see ten feet in front of them, the fog is so thick, so he keeps his hand over her mouth even when she bites, again and again, but it's only when he presses against her from behind that she really thrashes, without calculation or control but just panic, and somehow when he runs it all over in his head he isn't thinking murder, he's thinking it looks more like rape.
He doesn't want her. He doesn't fucking want her. Nothing could be too good for him if he had never wanted it in the first place, but it still scares her to feel him like that, and he thinks good, and drags her home and adds another outline to the floor and it still isn't enough.
He's got the Satonaka girl following him around. Not because she's suspicious. It's because she's playing summer intern and it's her job. So now he's not the one getting coffee, it's her, and Dojima can't even consider giving him an actual job, nothing exciting, so it's just Adachi, make some copies or Adachi, why are you still acting like such a kid or Adachi, shut up.
And when he says, Adachi, shut up, he looks out the window and his eyes are a sort of unending grey and Adachi thinks he's the most miserable fuck he's ever met in his life, can't ever do anything but drag his wounds back open. Like they make him special. Like he's the only person who's ever been hurt.
He feels sick.
He hasn't thrown anyone in for a while. Naoto and the Risette were too close together, too much press. It takes a couple months for things to quiet, and some people have left the town by then.
He sees Dojima more, keeps feeding him coffee, and they don't sleep, just sit up staring at the weather channel and the screen flickers and Dojima buries his head in his hands and Adachi sits with his hands knotted in his lap and they itch.
Sometimes he just leaves Dojima like that, slumped over on the couch, but only when the other man's really drunk. Mostly he drags the guy upstairs so he can sleep in empty rooms. Dojima never says which, so Adachi mostly just leaves him in the hallway because it's not like he cares, and even if he did, he doesn't know how to fix something that wants to stay broken.
So on one of those nights when Adachi's got his boss up the stairs and almost in bed Dojima shrugs him into the wall and almost-collapses against him, strong hands pushing down on Adachi's shoulders so hard his knees crack, and then Dojima's kissing him, and it feels—solid, and heavy, and Adachi is pushing him, pushing him back and it's a good thing Dojima's so tanked because there's a word Adachi keeps saying again and again and that word, that word sounds like no.
"Please," Dojima says, not whispering but still begging and looking at Adachi with those weepy dry eyes and Adachi can feel something like cold spiders down his throat and he does not want this. Except then Dojima's kissing him again and it doesn't seem to matter if he kisses him back or not because it all comes down to fucking taking, and he doesn't even know why he's surprised.
He doesn't go after Amagi. He doesn't need to deal with Chie crying all over his shoulder, and he's spent enough time with her lately, to know she would. It's deliberate and Dojima can think whatever the hell he wants—he should.
Chie isn't as energetic as she was before the fog came and her friends started dying. She looks tired, but never touches the coffee he offers her. "It's fine," she says, "I'm gonna sleep early tonight."
She tries to smile at that, and he feels the same sort of pull he did last week at Dojima's, looking at the picture Nanako had drawn of him. He pushes it away and lets her walk just a step behind him, lagging.
It's when he slips, "You staying up late watching TV or something?"
"Uh, yeah," she says, and rubs at her eyes, "You know. Lots of rain, lately, not much else to do."
"Right," he says, not really paying her any attention, "You gotta big screen?"
"Uh," she pauses, "Recently, yeah. Why do you ask?"
Fuck. Adachi glances at her and shrugs, lets her see just how nice a guy he can be, holds the door, and says, "Just wondering."
He can't physically overpower Chie outside of the TV world, and by the time he's figured out how to jam her into her own television, he has to take the trip solo, because Seta's back, and Seta knows.
And then in the end there's Seta and his cool eyes and he's just standing there and calculating, always calculating, sword dangling at his side loosely. The other four hover behind him, but, but it's just them, really.
"You've seen her in your dreams, haven't you?" Seta says, "Izanami."
Oh. Oh, so now he's the hero.
It's fucking hilarious. And so Adachi laughs, because this whole thing's a joke, because they're such kids and they have no clue, they have no fucking clue, but sure, he'll give them black and white. He stops laughing, though, because Seta isn't, because the kids looking at him like he feels sorry for him.
And it's—it pisses him off because they're all like that, they're all so much better than him and he's just this snotty brat they can all kick around and take and take and he is better than them and he has seen their flaws and they are pathetic.
"You killed people," Seta says, "Before Naoto and Rise. Too many."
"I never touched them," Adachi snarls, because hey, that's the thing. It's fucking poetic justice, it's human nature at its best, self-destructive and devouring and he hadn't had to lift a finger.
"Fine," Seta says, "That's still a death by negligence."
It's really not funny anymore. It's not funny and they're all so annoyingly young, so stupidly naïve, and he wants to spell it out for them, he wants to make them understand, so he just says it, "So what?" he says with his shadow, feels a pair of ghost lips over his own, twin words and twin hate, "Do you really think the world gives a damn?"
But Seta just shakes his head—in the disparaging kind of way, not the arguing kind, and there are so many things Adachi could do to him. "I was right," Seta says, "You aren't emptiness."
And then the kid pulls out a card, grooved and familiar and in the flash of silver light he raises his sword and condemns.
"You are despair."
Dead is the new alive
Despair's the new survival
A pointless point of view
Give in, give in, give in, give in
You play the game
You never win
—Dead is the New Alive, Emilie Autumn