Soooo it's winter break and my college applications are finally out of the way... that obviously could mean only one thing- fan fiction time. It might be pointless, even out of character at times, but hey- if it amuses me that's all that really matters. So, without further ado I present "All's Fair"
Actually I lied… first comes the disclaimer ;D sooooo I do not own the characters, or any obscure references that I might make. I tend to make a lot of them so I'm not even going to bother going back and re-reading every chapter to try to find them all, sorry –o-ll
My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I'm sure.
She smiled me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won't lose no sleep on that,
'Cause I've got a plan.
Inaba; a small town where it rained more days then its inhabitants cared to count. When the far from urban area was not being beat to death by the crystal like heavenly tears it was shrouded by a veil of fog that's foreboding nature was only dismissed by the laughter of students as they traveled to and from Yasogami High School. Though the town was a far cry from perfection it was home for the young Tatsumi boy who, currently, was returning home from yet another errand. Upon his mother's request he had ventured via train to Okina City to purchase the newest butterfly print fabric for their textile shop. It was a deep maroon color with gold trim to accent the crimson butterflies which were strategically placed on the fabric. Even the rebellious boy had to admit that it was something else, though he would beat someone to death with his bare hands if they ever attempted to quote him on it.
Fingers drumming against the cool metal that outlined the window, the delinquent's ice blue eyes scanned the ever shifting horizon. At the pace the train was moving it appeared to be impossible for him to focus on a single object for an extended period of time. As the young man's eyes began to flutter closed, and his arms crossed themselves tightly over his chest, a soft yet affirmative voice caught his attention. "Yakushiji I can travel perfectly fine on my own. I will have you know that I am no longer a child in need of assistance with even the simplest tasks." There was poison dripping from the last statement, so much so that it was hard to contain the small laugh that was quickly intensifying in his throat.
"Excuse me, it appears that someone finds it amusing to eavesdrop on our conversation. We will finish this upon my arrival to the estate." As the young boy across from the black clad rebel hung up his cerulean cell phone Kanji managed to crack open a single eye to observe just what was making such a childish fuss. What he found was a petite boy with cobalt locks concealed by an oversized cadet cap whose face was contorted into a mix of both frustration and annoyance. "Can I help you?" It was really quite hilarious to hear such a condescending tone coming from the mouth of one not even half his height. Figuring that he had no better way to spend the rest of the journey the bleach haired boy decided to see just how far he could push the boy.
"Actually yeah- mind keepin' it down over there? I'm tryin' to sleep, a'ight?" The look he got in return for the statement was eerily similar to the ones police officers often gave him. God, people could be such a pain, and something told him that this little boy would be no exception. What was he, thirteen or something? No matter what tone his fellow rider had adopted it was not fooling the most feared delinquent in all of Inaba. He was scared, that was all there was to it. Probably had never been on a train before without that guy on the other end of his phone call; what did they call men like that, mannies?
Blood quickly rising to the small boy's face he clenched and released his dainty looking fists as if trying to release some pent up stress. "This is a public form of transportation. If you wish to doze off I suggest you return home first." The cadet cap wearing boy muttered darkly through clenched teeth. He recognized the boy wearing a bullet around his neck from the files he had been sent earlier that morning. Third manila envelope from the top; Kanji Tatsumi, age 15, date of birth January 19th, 1996, height 183 cm, weight 65kg, blood type A. Though his photographic memory allowed the young detective to recall such information on the drop of a hat it had, by no means, prepared him for a chance meeting with the delinquent. Although the boy with a scar over his eye looked relaxed now the case files spoke heavily about his short temper and violent outbursts. Perhaps it actually would have been better to bring an adult with him on the train, or at least his badge. The golden shield would be enough to stop the troublemaker from advancing further, right?
A small smirk danced across the bleach haired boy's lips as he appeared to be pondering what his traveling companion had just said. "Nah; I like the motion of the train, 'ya know? It's very…calming." Yet something in his voice alerted the young detective to the boy in black's charade. He was merely toying with the cadet cap wearing passenger and that alone was infuriating. So, without another word the petite boy swiveled his body to face out the window. He would not be badgered into some childish argument; he needed to prepare for the case at hand. Mysterious murders, the local police without a single lead, not a suspect in sight- it was exactly what the young detective prince needed to get himself on the map, to prove that he was far more than some small child just playing cops and robbers. He would unravel the case singlehandedly at such an alarmingly fast rate that even the head detective of Inaba's head would spin and soon the entire world would know his name.
"Yo, shortie" An impatient voice called for the third time, though it was the first time the words actually reached the cobalt haired boy's ears. Cerulean orbs opening wide in alarm the realization that the space between the two had decreased dramatically nearly gave the minute detective a heart attack. Apparently, in Inaba, not acknowledging a person gave them the right to sit across from you and wave their hand in front of your face; joy. Backing up a bit in his seat the boy made a desperate attempt to regain his composure. Pulling his treasured cadet cap down over his eyes to conceal his surprise, and lack of focus, he muttered a few inaudible words that Kanji figured were directed at him and was positive that they were not to kind. Of course that was only more fuel for his arrogant smile which, in turn, only succeeded in escalating the detective's anger.
"Might I inquire as to why you have taken it upon yourself to give me a migraine?" The vertically challenged boy asked weakly, quickly becoming sick of the current company. He could have had Yakushiji, a man his grandfather employed to look after the cobalt haired boy, drive him to their estate on the outskirts of the rural town but no. No; he had to do everything himself. He had to be a big boy right now and take the train, for the first time, alone. Currently he was not sure which he was more annoyed at- the Tatsumi boy, or his own ego. As if the bleach haired boy's smile was not infuriating enough he actually possessed the nerve to laugh at his complaint. With a light shrug the rebellious teen slouch forward a bit in his seat, resting his forearms across his knees,
"No reason in particular." He motioned, with a quick wave of the hand, to the rest of the train car which was practically empty aside from an older couple at the front. "Just ain't many options to choose from." Now the entire town of Inaba may have considered the heir of the textile shop to be a menace but, in reality, he had a great deal of respect for his elders. There was no way in hell that he would ever harass the people at the front of the car; he wouldn't even dream of it. But the hour or so journey back to his home could get quite lonely if there was no conversation to take part in. And, to be fully honest, if he slept there was a good chance that the bleach haired boy would miss his stop and that would only succeed in giving his mother a miniature heart attack when he did not arrive home for an extra hour. He allowed his glassy eyes to fixate themselves on the small figure before him once more. There was something odd about this boy... but he just could not place his finger on what it was. "But I'm sorry, a'ight? I didn't mean to upset ya." Okay so it was a lie, but a little white lie every now and then never hurt anybody. "First time goin' to Inaba? I only ask cuz ya look a bit frazzled."
Did the cobalt haired detective really look that bad? And to think, grandfather had been complimenting his stoic facial expressions mere hours before. Maybe taking the train was more than a mistake, perhaps it was a drastic error. From now on the boy would be traveling everywhere he needed to go in a car… or a boat… or a plane… just not in a train. Clearing his throat a bit the petite boy began to fiddle nervously with the frilled collar of his white undershirt. "It is, but I assure you that I am more than capable of dealing with any situation that may arise. I think you are the confusion mental fatigue, which I am experiencing due to conversing with you, with restless panic which I feel free to say that I suffer from nothing of the sort." As happy as the boy would have been to let the conversation end with that the absent minded gaze from the taller boy across from him signaled that he would not be so fortunate. At a loss for what else to say he merely extended a hand to the delinquent. "My name is Naoto Shirogane, a pleasure to make your acquaintance-" He quickly cut himself off before filling in the boy's name. Adding that detail would only bring up questions into his personal life as to how he came about that information; and that was a lengthy talk that the detective prince did NOT want to ever be a part of.
"Kanji, Kanji Tatsumi. Naoto eh? Like Naoto Hiroyama?" The bleach haired boy joked, or at least attempted to. From the slight tilt of the head and clueless blink it became apparent that the cadet cap wearing boy had no idea what he was talking about. "Never mind. So what brings ya to Inaba? Obviously not the weather." Oh yes, the cerulean eyed boy slightly recalled reading in the case file that, when it was not raining, the land was shrouded in a thick fog. More importantly, murdered victims were appearing along with the fog; a key factor if could say so. It might be proof that said murderer was nothing but a coward who could only go about his or her business when they were a hundred percent positive that no one could possibly see them. It was shameful, really. But he had to come up with a believable answer, and fast, for the Tatsumi boy was staring eagerly at him; patiently awaiting an answer.
"Actually my grandfather has fallen ill and my mother sent me to care for him." That was a pretty good makeshift story, no? Sure his grandfather was in spectacular health and his mother, along with his father, had perished in a car accident years ago but that was far from the point. He would, most likely, never see this boy again so making up a cover story was easy enough. Now if he actually had to follow through with it that would be a completely different story. The fact that the Shirogane estate had a multitude of servants, who catered to his old relative's every whim and could easily restore him back to health far better than a fifteen year old ever could, would be hard to explain if his cover was ever blown. But there was no compromising situation at the moment; just two total strangers sitting on a train waiting eagerly for the moment where they would part ways. However, much to his confusion, the boy pressed the matter further.
"Oh man, that sucks. I'm sorry." It was a bit strange, and almost alarming, to see the delinquent with ten pages over the normal amount in his case file managing such a look of pity. Indeed, his face had fallen into a sickeningly serious look of understanding that he had only received once before- and that was from his grandfather. "Is he in the hospital?" There was something in the way he said that last word that lead Naoto to believe that maybe, just possibly, that pity look was not only intended for him. There had to be something in his case file that explained it but, much to the prince's embarrassment, he had only taken the time to examine the boy in the leather jacket's previous offences. "If ya ever need any help or somethin' ma goes there pretty frequently." The short-tempered boy waved his hands in front of his face after he realized that could imply that his mother was not well. "But she's fine! She just…likes to visit 's all."
Oh great, now the cobalt haired boy was beginning to feel guilty for having lied to his travel partner. But he was a bully right? The delinquent most likely lied on a daily basis, so this was almost like karma; it was justified, more or less. "That's very kind of you to offer, but I am more than certain that my assistance is all that is required." Not that it would be torturous to meet with a mother figure on an almost daily basis; to the contrary, it would be most delightful. But that would involve dragging his grandfather into the lie and forcing him to fake an illness which was out of the question. It mattered little though; all he could do was hope that the Tatsumi boy realized what a privilege it was to have such a person that he could freely offer up. If it were the other way around the cadet cap wearing boy would, no doubt, still be clinging to the woman that bore that title- refusing to let go no matter what the circumstance might be.
"If ya insist shortie, but when ya die from being overworked don't say I didn't warn ya." The bleach haired boy concluded with a light, almost carefree, laugh and smile that Naoto could not help but return. "So kid, how old are ya anyway? I'm thinkin' twelve. thirteen tops?" This, however, cause the petite boy to frown a great deal. Perhaps he did not like being so young? But time would fix that, yes indeed, in the blink of an eye he would be the age the black clad boy was now. Though he seemed a bit stuck up, over the top serious, and horribly dull now the textile store heir was sure that he would grow into a fine young man. But, if the pipsqueak kept leering at the delinquent he just might not make it to such an age.
"For your information I happen to be fifteen years of age. In fact I am almost sixteen considering my birthday is the twenty-seventh of April." The vertically challenged boy nearly spat as he glared daggers at the boy across from him. Sure his height was a bit on the short side but that was no reason to assume that he was simply a mere child! People were constantly judging him as a child, even after they had an intellectual conversation with him. Back home the local police took the utmost joy in speaking down to him or using insulting titles such as 'squirt', 'kiddo', or his least favorite 'short stuff'. Even the title the world had bestowed on him was an insult. The Detective Prince? He could not just be an ace-detective; oh no, they had to incorporate something about his lack of age. But he was not going to take such abuse from a boy that was nearly nine months his junior. Just thinking about such a lack of respect was enough for him to grit his teeth, a nasty habit that he had long since abandoned after his grandfather informed him that it 'was childish'. He was the closest thing there was to an adult…he had to be.
"You serious?" Was all the boy, well on his way to becoming a criminal, could say as he sat, mouth agape, staring at the cougar colored petticoat wearing boy. Well that was unexpected, but there was no way in hell that he was ever going to call this kid sempai so it didn't really matter. However, the gaze he was receiving at the moment was not a friendly one and it was certainly making him uncomfortable. Deciding that a change to a lighter subject was in order he tried his hardest to attempt small talk. Normally he could not stand people, let alone talking to them, yet something about this boy was different. It sounded ridiculous, completely idiotic, but for some reason he just wanted to hear the boy's voice. And, perhaps, he might be able to get the cobalt haired boy to laugh. "So… ya do any sports?" The detective raised a questioning eyebrow and he instantly regretted asking. "Haha, kidding" The boy added quickly, trying to make the laughter bubbling from his throat sound more relaxed. "But ya must do somethin' in your free time, right?"
Oh how the Detective Prince longed to say something witty such as 'unlike you, I do not dilly dally around aimlessly while giving the police hell'. But once again it involved using information that the boy across from his had not offered. It required the use of prior background knowledge and, though he doubted the boy would be intelligent enough to put two and two together, it was best that he kept up the innocent visitor charade. Instead he replied with an answer that was surprisingly truthful. "I enjoy immersing myself in detective novels." The errand boy did not seem all that surprised this time; in fact he merely nodded and uttered a light 'ah' as if it was completely and totally predictable. An uncomfortable silence surrounded the two once more but this time, seeing as how he had killed it yet again, the cobalt haired boy felt as if it was his duty to ask the next question. Although he did not plan on actually listening to the answer out of concern for what the delinquent had to say perhaps he could use this as an opportunity to gain some knowledge about the boy that he would, most likely, be seeing around the precinct on a regular basis. According to his manila case file Kanji Tatsumi was a familiar face at the Inaba police station. "What is it you have there?"
The boy in a jet black, presumably leather, jacket followed the other boy's deep sapphire hues to where he had been sitting ten or so minutes ago. There, on the seat next to where he had chewed over the idea of taking a nap, was the sea green bag with his purchase from the fabric store. Now it was not like the crimson colored fabric was not astounding and worth showing off, oh no- nothing like that, it was just that he had a reputation to protect. If people found out that he was running errands for his mother it would make him seem like some sort of momma's boy. Not to mention that he was carrying around girly fabric; it had butterflies on it for chrissake. Clearing his throat quite loudly to draw the smaller boy's attention away from the object across the way the bleach haired boy raised a single eyebrow. "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."
Now even the tightly wound petite detective had to admit that the Top Gun reference was a bit funny. Bringing a single, fragile looking, hand to his lips the cobalt haired boy allowed a small chuckle to break his stoic appearance. Perhaps this boy was not a complete fool. But, as the silence enveloped them once again, the bleach haired delinquent took the opportunity to scratch the back of his scalp and grin idiotically. So scratch that, he was definitely a fool. However fools rarely turned out to be anything more than that; a fact that caused the young detective to ponder just how this boy was such a nuisance to the local police force. Sure he was rough of the outside but something told the cobalt haired boy that, deep down, he was not the type to get into trouble. Raising his cerulean orbs to examine the bleach haired boy once more the petite boy uttered a single inquiry. "So tell me Mr. Tatsumi, what is Inaba like?"
"Mr. Tatsumi? There's really no need to be so formal kiddo." Apparently he had not taken the hint that the boy before him was not the type to laugh at petty insults. Rather, he was just fortunate that the young man's trusty weapon was not in its concealed holster on his hip. Had it been then one could be sure that the barrel of said weapon would now be aimed at the rebellious boy's cranium and the bullet he wore around his neck would not be the only metal brushing against his skin. "But back to ya question, close your eyes." There was a brief hesitation before the petite boy slowly allowed the lids of his eyes to glide closed. "Get ready because this is going to take some serious effort." Kanji stated in an authoritative voice which caused the boy to straighten up in his seat and press his eyes even tighter together. "Now for Inaba… imagine nothin', lots and lots 'a nothin'." A single eye shot open and the cobalt haired boy leered at his bleach haired travel companion. "Hey now! You have no right to get mad. You asked and I answered. There ain't nothin' in Inaba." He reiterated, stressing the word nothing for added emphasis.
Ain't; what terrible grammar skills this boy possessed. Was Inaba schooling that underfunded that it sent its students off into the world with such little knowledge. Honestly, that was fifth grade language for god's sake. But perhaps it was just his delinquent behavior which, according to his case file, kept him from going to class more often than not. Either way he was now going to need to have a long chat with not only the lead police investigator but also the principal of the local high school. Grammar had always been the cadet cap wearing boy's pet peeve and there was no way that such a statement could go unnoticed and unreported. "Certainly you must have something. Otherwise the town's citizens would not be able to support themselves, no?" The cobalt haired boy inquired, though he was not really expecting an answer. Many of his 'questions' were meant to remain answerless; that is, unless he wanted to elaborate on them later. But they were never up for discussion and there was definitely no room for the other party to contribute their own ideas or opinions.
The bleach haired boy merely responded with a light laugh and a pat on the smaller teenager's head. "I guess ya right about that shortie. A'ight; we have a few shops, an inn, a lake with a play ground beside it, and a textile shop. That better?" If this pipsqueak knew what was best for him he would not press the matter any further. Every damn time he mentioned the textile shop people always asked 'oh really? Those still exist' or 'wow how lame' and the delinquent was becoming quite sick of out of towners dissing his home. So, when his train riding companion decided to hold his tongue and simply nod in acknowledgement the black clad boy was quite pleased. Perhaps, if this boy ended up going to Yasogami High School, they might actually be friends. He seemed like a strange individual, and the other students were always so cliquey, so maybe he would be left on his own as well. Then they could become friends and- never mind, it was a silly thought. Of course they were shooting the breeze now, they were more or less forced to or else ride along in awkward silence, but as soon as they stepped off this train everything would go back to normal. He would still be the local punk and this Naoto character would still be the mysterious new boy in town that all the local girls wanted to get to know. It was inevitable.
"Oi; is that the town?" The petite boy inquired suddenly as something off in the distance caught his attention. It was by no means large enough to be a city, but hopefully part of the size issue was merely due to the fact that they were still a ways off. The Tatsumi boy had been correct in his description, there was little to offer in a place that size. The sleek metal train appeared to be traveling through flood plains at the moment, how strange. Most were filled with dirt or other such materials to have housing complexes built upon. But such a rural way of living could be a nice change of pace. No busy streets where you had to risk your life every time you wanted to go to the store, a real mailbox rather than just another slot in the high class hotel's main lobby, and even a small community where everyone probably knew just what everyone else was doing. The ideal conditions for solving a murder case; so then, how could it be that this serial killer was still such a mystery to the local authorities?
"Hm?" Now it was the bleach haired delinquent's turn to gaze out the window. Behind a good sized hill lay the tops of a few buildings located within the northern end of the shopping district. "Yup, that's it. Sorry it's not more impressive but I warned ya." He added with a light shrug of his broad shoulders. The boy before him was glued to the window now so his words went unnoticed. But it mattered little; in a matter of moments they would arrive and he would be disappointed. Everyone always was and, truthfully, who could blame them? They were a tiny country town where nothing major ever happened. Well, aside from now; there had been something on the news about some murders or something. But he never paid much attention to the news, especially not to the police report section. Of course half of that was due to the fact that there was a good chance he would be on it at some point. A few days ago some wannabe professional interviewer came around asking him questions and shit, like he would really answer to anyone wearing a press badge. God, the nerve of some people.
With a booming whistle, and sharp screech of the large wheels coming to a halt, the train slowly pulled into the station. The textile shop heir grabbed the bag containing his mother's new fabric off the chair and offered the petite boy a hand up. At first the cadet cap wearing boy merely gazed at the outstretched hand, as if pondering the consequences of actually touching the delinquent. But, with a slight smile, he finally accepted and was pulled to his feet. The height difference was even more pronounced while the two were standing, with the cobalt haired boy coming to only about half way up the bleach haired boy's torso. As they exited the train an uncomfortable silence befell the two. What should they say? 'See you later' was a bit too informal. 'Nice talking with you' just sounded old fashioned and rushed. 'See you around' was a brush off and everyone knew it. So instead they just walked silently side by side down the steps and, finally, into Inaba. The paved road before them was about double the width of the ones back home but there was only a single car on it. A black traditional four passenger car was pulled off slightly to the left and an older gentleman was standing beside it. The vertically challenged boy had never been so thankful for not having a limo present than he was right now.
As the cobalt haired boy veered of path and towards the car the bleach haired boy raised an eyebrow. With a little crack of the knuckles he motioned towards the man by the car. "Who's the suit?"
With a small wink and a one eighty spin the cobalt haired boy replied "Keep that up… and you'll never find out."
A/N: I know it's a bit dull now but I promise it'll get better. I just needed an introduction more or less… please feel free to review! ...although flames will make me sad….. Oh and I know that the Megami Tensei wiki says that she wears an officer's cap but, in my opinion, it looks more like a cadet cap. Officers' caps seem to slant downward in the back and, from what I have observed, her hat appears to be quite even.
Next chapter: I like to lead when I dance! With a murder mystery engulfing the small town a certain young detective takes it upon himself to speak with who he assumes will be the next victim.