This was on the backburner FOREVER.


Leopards don't change their spots. It's an ancient, old rule. But Adachi's so spotted that the only thing she can see is black, black, and black. But then again, Adachi always changes. One minute, a whole year, he's a kind, funny, likeable person. The next, a few months, he's a panther. His spots rule him, his judgment.

He's a fool.

She sees him in Okina City, approximately a year after his release from prison. (Good behavior, yeah, right. Seems like the parole officers never did learn the age-old rule.) Cigarette held between his fingers with a shaky, bone-white, bony hand. Teeth stained yellow with nicotine, a plume of smoke rising steadily from the white stick. He's leaning against an alley way, in clothes that hung off his skinny frame as if he were a child trying on his father's clothes. He grew out his hair, it being messier and scragglier than Nanako remembers.

If Nanako hadn't looked him over twice, she never would've guessed that he was Tohru Adachi. The man convicted of two murders and two attempted rapes. The man that she had chatted with, back when he supposedly had no spots, no dark marks that let people know he was a bad person.

However, today, now, as he stands across the street from a twenty-year-old Nanako, smoking a cigarette, ignoring the people passing by him as they wrinkled their nose at the disgusting smell, Nanako can see that he's an awful person, on the inside and out.

How could she have been so naïve as to think that that man wasn't a terrible person? Nanako watched him interestedly, brown eyes narrowed in scrutiny as she watched him drop the cigarette on the ground and snuff it out with his foot. She clutched her purse to her chest, and watched as Adachi, the man she'd once known, walked into a dark alley, disappearing from her line of sight.

Nanako sighed, and walked on.

She never would have guessed that she'd have several run-ins with the man later on.

The next time, it had happened when she was going back home on the train, ticket tucked safely in her purse. Nose buried into a light novel, ignoring the hum of the train and the chattering of the passengers nearby. The bus was full, as it should be, since she was heading back to Tokyo.

She'd moved from Inaba years ago, when her dad had died. They hadn't buried him beside Chisato. And Nanako hadn't returned there since. A drunk driver had run him over, as ironic as it was. Though this time, they had caught the culprit. Noriko Kashiwagi.

Nanako placed the novel down on her lap, and looked out the train window, silver streaks ripped through the glass as the storm outside raged on. Maybe it would fog tomorrow?

"Hey, can I sit here?"

Nanako almost jumped from her seat, and she turned to face the person, putting on a fake smile as she replied, happily,

"Sure, go ahead."

It was then that she noticed just who she had invited to sit down beside her.

Adachi-san, the panther, the fool, the man who's spots couldn't wash off.

He obviously didn't recognize her, because he didn't say anything as he took a seat beside her on the train, resting an elbow rudely on her armrest. He looked very much the same up close, as she'd remembered him, save a few wrinkles in his forehead and dark circles under his eyes due to lack of proper sleep. His hair had looked longer from far away, and Nanako could see the patches of hair where he'd taken scissors to it.

Funnily enough, his hair hadn't receded, and he looked younger than he should have. Perhaps karma was being incredibly lazy?

"What the hell's your problem, bitch?" He asked, noticing her stare. His eyes had a sharp quality to them, as if he'd had years of torment under his belt.

"A police officer who is a criminal, is often vulnerable in prisons," Her criminologist sensei had explained, once. "They are not taken well by fellow criminals. To put it in an analogy, it's like taking a steak to a pack of ravenous lions."

"N-Nothing." She stuttered, picking up her novel again to pretend to read through it. Adachi glared at her, arm still propped rudely on her armrest. Adachi snorted, as if in distaste, and a more than awkward silence hung between them.

Why hadn't he recognized her? Her hair had been cut short, chin-length to be specific, but he still should've recognized her. After all, she was his closest (only) friend's daughter.

They didn't speak to each other the rest of the train ride, and even after that.

But this was only the second of many run-ins with the man she'd once trusted.

The next run-in, was by far, the scariest event she had ever experienced.

Nanako, the twenty-year-old Nanako, was not a naïve person. Heavens no. Ever since the day she was kidnapped, paranoia pawed after Nanako like a lonely dog, and ever since Nanako began working in Okina City, she learned to grow eyes in the back of her head.

This place didn't take kindly to pretty girls. She knows that from experience. There are a lot of criminals here that she deals with every day, and they're all the same.

"She was asking for it." They'd say. "With her mini-skirt and glossy lips. You'd mistake her for some whore. So let me off the hook, Miss Cop. I mean, did you really take a good look at her?"

Nanako doesn't take kindly to those kinds of criminals. Criminals like the man, boy, detective, she used to sit across the dinner table from.

"Heh, so you do have a soft spot around Nana-chan, sir."

It had all started when Nanako was walking to the train station, purse dangling from her arms, train ticket tucked inside a suit jacket pocket, steaming hot coffee held tightly in one hand. At midnight, most people were either sleeping in Okina City or at the local nightclub, getting drunk and making more work for the colleagues Nanako had left behind.

Nanako was tired, and the crappy office coffee she had gotten down at the station wasn't doing much to perk her up. Her mind was foggy with calculations, deductions over the recent murder case that had happened in the middle of the red light district. They had several suspects, and Nanako wasn't surprised to see that among those suspects, was Adachi-san. (He'd made the suspect list several times in several other cases, though this was the first case Nanako had with him as a suspect.)

The police didn't trust him, and frankly, neither did Nanako. But it was pretty obvious that he wasn't the murderer. The lack of physical evidence was overwhelming.

What was that? Nanako turned around, when a sudden snapping noise erupted from behind her. Her round brown eyes narrowed slightly, and she was about to turn back around when someone grabbed her shoulders from behind.

Her steaming hot cup of coffee slipped from her grasp, and fell onto the sidewalk, pooling at her high-heeled shoes and the dirty gym-shoes of her attacker. Her attacker hissed, and backhanded the back of Nanako's head with a fleshy hand. He bound her hands behind her with something leathery, and Nanako tried to kick him between his legs.

But to no avail.

Nanako screamed, but her scream was cut off short when her attacker slapped a hand across her mouth. It reeked of alcohol and nicotine, and Nanako took in a sharp breath through her nose.

"Scream, and you're dead, Miss Police Detective." Her attacker hissed into her ear, breath stinking of alcohol, of cheap beer and cigars.

Nanako tried to wriggle away, but her attacker held her tight. His hand was still slapped across her mouth, and he began pulling Nanako into a dark alley.

"You're the bitch that put me in prison a couple years ago, so this is just me sayin' hi. Don't you want to say hi to an old friend?"

Nanako's dark brown eyebrows stitched together, and she tried biting her attacker's palm. He still didn't let go, and Nanako soon found herself pinned against the alley wall, his other hand at her throat, suffocating her.

"I think it's time you and I got a little better acquainted, hn?" He asked, his nicotine-stained teeth glinting in the moonlight. Nanako tried kicking, but her attacker just pressed his palm further into her throat, stopping the airflow altogether. Nanako opened her mouth in a silent scream. She could go on like this for another five minutes and then…

Nanako didn't want to think about that. She needed to find a way out. There had to be some way out of this, anyway at all. She…


A bullet lodged itself right next to her attacker's foot. Her attacker jumped, leaping away from Nanako, dropping her to the ground. She gasped for air, coughing, the fog lifting from her mind.

"Hey. Takashi, if you've got time to waste with whores, then you've got time to pay me for the painkillers, you god damn bitch." A voice, a familiar voice, yelled out, cocking the gun a second time. Nanako gasped, choked. And her attacker, Takashi, spat,

"Adachi, you son of a bitch! Get the hell out of here! Beat it, loser!"

Another shot. This time, the bullet lodged itself in her attacker's foot. Nanako shrieked, scrambling to her feet and back against the wall. She looked up, straight into the dark gray eyes of the panther. He was laughing, laughing at her attacker's pain.

The man limped away, and Adachi calmly stepped out of the way for him. Mocking her attacker. Adachi tripped the man, making the man fall flat on his face. With all his might, the ex-detective punted the man in the side.

"I want my money tomorrow. Got it? I hate pieces of shit like you, never paying for dope."

Her attacker scrambled to his feet, leaving behind a trail of blood that made Nanako sick to her stomach. She sunk to the floor, and the world around her turned black.

The next run-in was surreal. Like a dream that was so incredibly vivid. She had opened her eyes, the dull gray walls around her blurring. The room smelled of nicotine, and it was incredibly stifling. Here, Nanako felt as if she were being smothered by something.

Then, she realized she didn't know where she was. She jerked up, trying to crawl out of the bed, but fell when her wrist pulled on something that was attached to the bed post. She smacked the back of her head against a dirty nightstand, she looked up, and paled when she saw what her left wrist was attached to. Her handcuffs, the ones she had always kept hidden on her.

"Oh, hey, you're awake." A voice said blankly from across the room. Nanako swiveled her head around to look at who had brought her here. Sitting in a holey recliner, newspaper strewn across his lap and cup of coffee held in a single, pale, bony hand, sat Adachi. Adachi was smirking, a smirk that reminded Nanako of a man dying from a stroke. It was a half-smile, half-frown, and he looked… evil.

"Nana-chan." He purred, tossing the newspaper onto the floor and standing up. Nanako bristled at the nickname. There were very few people she allowed to call her Nana-chan. Four, to be exact. Teddie, Souji, Dojima and the man that stood only four feet ahead of her, staring her down murderously.

"You were on the train the other day." He said, walking towards her, sitting on the ground Indian-style, so he sat across from her. "You didn't recognize me."

"Let me go." She sounded so weak, so tired. She was glaring at him, big brown eyes narrowed in hatred. This was a man she had trusted. A man she had thought wasn't a horrible person. But he was. He was. Adachi smiled, a true smile, crooked and all teeth, eyes gleaming heartily.

"I didn't recognize you, Nana-chan." He ignored her, pressing on. "You've changed, so much. How's Dojima-san doing?"

He didn't know.

"He's dead." She whispered, eyes glancing down.

"Oh, sorry." He didn't sound sorry, but there was a split-second look in his eyes that made Nanako think. He was sorry? Him?

Adachi leaned forward, going onto all-fours, face inches from Nanako's. His black eyes glinted, and Nanako thought she caught a glimmer of yellow within their abyss-like depths. He smirked again, that scary, awful smirk. Her heart skipped a beat.

"You've changed so much, Nana-chan." He whispered, breath warming her face. She resisted the urge to spit in his face. "And here's little old me, who hasn't changed a bit."

"You've changed," She murmured, like someone whispering a prayer. "You've changed for the worse."

He pressed his lips to her speckled nose, planting a too-creepy kiss.

Now, was that creepy, or was that creepy?