Delayed Player 19

The electricity continued to roll and scatter around, grazing the detective. The kid was deliberately trying to avoid hitting him… or maybe his aim was just piss-poor. Screams of agony from his 'fellow' policemen continued to claw into the air and Adachi grimaced. The kid was quiet again, and his friends were also silent. They were so close to the TV, there was no way he could miss them and… Shit, he was deliberately avoiding him. What did that little shit have rolling in that demented head of his?

Despite the raging zio spell that dominated the area, Adachi warily lifted his head, wincing as a bolt of electricity narrowly dodged slamming into his head, brushing his ear. Souji was staring at him, smile gone, eyes dead. He was on his knees, sitting up tall—but still accompanied by a slouch—his arms lying listlessly at his sides. The force of his attack was cutting up his already bloodied hospital gown, but the teen gained no further injuries.

"What's wrong, Souji-kun?" he put on a smile, ignoring the throbbing pain in his leg and head, "Can't hit me? Don't you want to ki—"

A harsh bolt of electricity landed inches from his face, erupting in a ceremonial bang. Adachi was seeing spots and hearing nothing but a constant ring, but he had enough grip on his bearings to see Yoshida fall unconscious out of the corner of his eye and assumed no doubt that the others followed. Blinking and squinting intensely, Adachi struggled to find the image of the boy in his vision. The damned kid was like a ghost.

The detective sighed and reluctantly closed his eyes, taking the chance that if Souji hadn't done anything yet, he wasn't going to. Fuck! This was bullshit! Shit shit shit, he could feel the blood trickling down his neck from that earlier gunshot wound. Son of a bitch… tch… at least his leg's wound wasn't bleeding that bad. The bullet must have gotten lodged and was acting like a plug… god, if it didn't hurt like a fucking bitch though. The man's eyebrows furrowed as it felt like he was swaying on the spot—even spinning in circles. This was not good. Shit. Fuck. Son of a bitch.

Despite himself, Adachi kept his eyes closed, taking deep, quaking breaths. He had to pull himself together. Arrest the brat, and get himself fixed up. It would all be good. He wouldn't get caught. There wasn't any evidence ha... haha... he was fine. He could shove all the bodies in the tv. The fog on the other side seemed to wipe clean the fingerprints off that Yamano bitch and Saki slut's clothes. It would be okay. Everything would be okay and fun. Yes. Fun. He'd keep the fun and drama going until he got sent back to the city and out of this boring shitfest.

The lightning stopped.

Taking another deep breath, Adachi wearily opened his eyes, vision blurry and ears still ringing. Squinting, he saw the silhouette of the teen, slumped over and nearly collapsed on the ground-it looked like he was vomiting. Waiting for the dizziness and ringing to wash over and out of his system, Adachi shakily got to his feet, fumbling as he took a few steps forward. Spots still hung true in his eyesight, the detective swallowing the urge to vomit himself. Was he even moving? He couldn't tell. Everything was off and wrong.

God, this brat was going to die.

He felt his breaths coming out heavy and hard, his leg burning in protest, his head reeling in disdain. The world could be falling out from under his feet, and he wouldn't be able to tell. All that mattered was getting his hands around the teenagers pencil-thin neck and...

"Don't you move one more muscle, Adachi!" he froze, eyeing the Tatsumi kid with Shirogane clutching to his chest as they limped over.

"Your... acts of unwarranted murder and... chaos end here, Adachi-san." Naoto winced, voice cracking and breaking with every word. Adachi blinked, slapping on his facade. Nobody would have heard his taunts to Souji but Souji himself. Everybody else was unaware. Aargh! What did that brat say in the TV world?!

"I-I don't know what you're talking about!" he hollered, "I was sent here as back-up! I only want to help him! Help you!"

"Bullshit!" Kanji screamed, edging closer to the heaving Souji, "He told us himself you're the one who started this entire goddamn mess and started throwin' people in!"

"Look at him! He's clearly mentally unstable!" He paused, grimacing as he clutched his head, "...Wait... throw people in? What are you talking about? Look this... this isn't the time. We need... Yoshida-san, we need..." he turned to the cop, eyes widening in 'surprise', "Y-Yoshida-san...? ...Everyone?"

None of them looked like they were breathing. Shit, that was the entire force.

"You can drop the act, you sick son of a bitch."

"What 'act'?!" He grit his teeth, vision blacking out for a moment and he found himself on his knees, looking at the ground, "Look just... you're in the best condition... Go... call for more backup... or an amublance... just... anything. We have to get out of here."

"He's right... Kanji-kun... I'll keep an eye on them..."

"But..." the teen sighed in indignation, "Dammit..."

Adachi shifted to sit on his knees, eyeing the lanky teen as he headed to the nearest cop car. He turned his gaze back to Souji and Naoto, the girl confused and distraught, Souji having finally collapsed on the ground, staring blankly at nothing. He was blinking, but the teen's eyes were soulless. No sense of humanity or life remained in them.

He was so far gone, Adachi felt a little bad.

...Just a little.

There was a perpetual silence. The ringing in his ears had died down, and the man and teens sat and waited, bloody, bruised, broken. He could hear Kanji fumbling in the car behind him, yelling and hollering desperately into the car's radio. It felt like eternity before he quieted down to talk to whoever responded.

Souji coughed, and the man jumped, staring down at the ghostly kid. His lips were quivering, dead eyes focused on the detective and detective alone. He shifted, squirming his left arm out from under his body, dragging himself wearily closer to the older man, before desperately clawing at the air, trying to latch onto the detective. Trying to latch onto the man he once thought his accusing thoughts were nothing but paranoia. Trying to latch onto the man he grew to trust and call his friend. Naoto advised him to refrain from moving, but she did nothing to stop him.

Adachi only stared. Souji opened his mouth, unintelligible noises gurgling and crackling from his throat, squeaks and groans straining as he kept trying to grab the detective, scratching and scratching and scratching continuously at nothing as his body denied movement.

He brought his hand out.

He didn't know what came over him, but he shifted himself and raised his arm, hand limply sitting underneath where Souji was clawing. Unclear cracks and squeaks filtered out of the silver-head's mouth as he grabbed onto the detective's wrist. Adachi was expecting nails to dig into his skin. The teen only held on numbly-so softly it felt like nothing was holding him. The look on his face was unreadable.


"They're sending... sending help." Kanji coughed into his sleeve, staring wearily at the scene, "I'm... I'm gonna go get Yosuke-senpai... and Teddie..." without another word, the lanky teen stalked off, limping to his friends.

Adachi passed a brief glance at the boy, before staring back at Souji, who's breath grew more ragged and skin more pale as seconds passed. He kept trying to speak.

"Senpai, you mustn't strain yourself..." Naoto reinforced, yet still didn't move.

Souji ignored her.

Adachi continued to stare.

Minutes passed, Kanji carrying the other two boys to the group, before sitting down as he picked at the grass in nervous anxiety. The blonde overlooked the scene and continued to stand. Yosuke's breaths were soft and slow, the brunette leaning on Kanji for support. He looked at nothing. He registered nothing. He may as well have suffered the three girls' fates.

"d...on't..." Adachi's eyes widened, cracking and slow, but audible, words crawling out of Souji's throat, "...d...on't... hu..rt... mo-mommy... please... daddy... pl...ease..."

Adachi scowled.


His head reeled, the boy in his vision blurring to gray before the world was gone completely.

"Stop hurting her!"

"You want the belt instead, boy?"

Adachi's eyes snapped open, and he was greeted to the familiar ceiling of the hospital. Sitting up, he found the room empty. Grimacing, the man slid out of his bed, body heavy and weighted and felt unlike his own. He didn't feel pain in his leg or his head. Jacked up on morphine. Great but terrible feeling all the same.

Practically sliding on his feet, he shuffled to the door and opened it. He thought he felt a ping of... something in his hand, but he ignored it and looked into the hallway. Empty. Empty empty empty everything was empty. It was so quiet, he felt he could hear a pin drop from the next world over. The fog shining in through the windows only made the place feel quieter, shunned in a tired light.

Leaning an arm against the hallway's wall, the detective started to slowly inch his way down. Where was he? Which room was...? ...Where was he even going? Where did he want to go?

"Adachi! What the hell do you think you're doing?!" He lifted his head, looking blankly at Dojima who headed his way, clutching his side, "You should be in bed, you dumbass!"

Adachi tilted his head, "Where..." he frowned, finding it hard to form words, "...where..."

"You're in a hospital. You need rest, come on." Dojima placed a hand on the younger man's shoulder, lightly turning him around and leading him back to the man's room. Adachi glanced at the man as he was placed to sit on the edge of the bed.

"Where..." he repeated again, "...where... are... is..."

Dojima took a deep breath, his eyes seeming to brim with tears. He carefully pushed the man to lie down in the center of the bed, dragging the blankets over him, "I'll go get a nurse to fix your IV drip..." he sighed, "...just... get some rest."

Adachi snarled lightly in protest as he blinked slowly, eyes trying to shift him back to unconsciousness. He saw the older man clasp a hand over his mouth before falling to his knees, the sobs echoing in the detective's ears before they faded away.

"I'm guessing you couldn't sleep?"

"What do you know?"

"You have giant bags under your eyes. You look dead."

"Shut up. It's none of your business."

"I'm your friend! You can talk to me about whatev-"

"Whoever said I liked you?"

His eyes opened again. Instead of heavy numbness and a head full of clouds and nothing, his body was throbbing and his mind was clear. There still was a lack of pain, but his joints and muscles pulsed and pulled fervently. Grimacing, the man lifted himself up, dizziness encumbering him as he took shaky breaths and closed his eyes to calm himself.

"You'll kill her!"

"Well I don't see you doin' anythin' about it!"

"Don't worry about me, To-"

"Shut up! Who said you co-ow! Fuck! You little shit, get the fuck back here!"

His eyes opened again. The throbbing was still there, but still dulled by the medication. He lifted himself up, staring at the older man on a chair next to the bed. He blinked multiple times, unable to mutter nothing but a blank, "What" at Dojima's glance.

"...What... happened, Adachi?" the detective sighed, running his hands down his face in exasperations, "The rest of them... the backup... they're all dead... all of them... And the kids... they haven't given us a good account... Hanamura and... 'Teddie' won't say a word... Shirogani and Tatsumi... try to tell us but... they always stop. They went through so much, I can't blame them for not wanting to remember... And Souji..."

Dojima bit his lip and glanced to the floor, "...Souji... all he asks is that we don't hurt my sist-his mother. He... doesn't... He... and Nanako's getting worse... a-and..." the man erupted into tears, gripping his hair as he let his head fall to the side of Adachi's bed, sobbing into the sheets.

Adachi placed a hand on the man's shaking shoulder.

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For... bugging you, I guess. I thought we were friends and-"


"I'm s-"

"Stop. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being an asshole. I just... I'm having a rough time."

"I know. Your face says it all. I'm here for you, man."

"Sure you are..."


His eyes opened and he sat up, greeted to a tired Dojima, "What?"

"You said something."

Adachi frowned, "Just... talking in my sleep, I guess."

Dojima smirked, scratching his head, "Or I could be hearing things."

An exhaustedly thick silence filled the room and Adachi glanced at his hand, still attached to the IV. there was another bandage covering where he assumed the first had been. His body wasn't pulsing as feverishly anymore, and he was groggy, but less so. His mind wandered, scowling at the fragments of dreams he kept having. Usually it was just... nothing. And he preferred it that way. This. This was starting to piss him off. He needed to keep it away. He needed all of it to go away. He needed that kid dead. That would help. It had to help.

Of course it would help. He was the cause of it, after all.

"Can I see him?"

Dojima perked up from where he was looking at his hands, face pale and eyes glinted with confusion, "See... who?"

Adachi plastered on a tiny smile, unsure which emotion he was even feeling or putting into it, "...your nephew."

The man tensed, "His condition hasn't improved, it's-"

"I want to see him."

Dojima glanced back to the floor, "I'll... see if he's available for visitors."

It took minutes for the man to come back. It felt like eternity. The teen would still be unstable, but the doctor said he stopped murmuring at the sound of Adachi's name. They said it must have been a positive sign-he did the same when Nanako was mentioned. With the assistance of a couple nurses, the men made their ways down the halls. They were filtered with a gray and fatigued lighting. It was so quiet they could hear a particle move from another world over.




He felt bile rise in his throat. Here he was. Standing outside the kid's door.

"Hey, man, I-I'm sorry about your m-"

"Shut up!"

"I-If you want to s-"

"Leave me alone!"

Outside Souji's door. He could see a shadow through the distorted window glass.

"Is... is he up?" Dojima murmured in awe.

"Goddamned bitch."

"She was an amazing woman. You're the bi-"

"Never talk back to me, kid. You're the only other person in this fucking house now."

His hand coiled on the doorknob, the door creaking open slowly.

"You MADE her d-"

"I didn't do jackshit, boy!"

There was blood on the floor. Dojima's gasp was audible in his ear.

"Are you mocking me, boy?"

"Are you mocking m-"

The boy's feet dangled, bruised and scratched and swollen. Adachi stared. The teen's eyes looked right at him. There was a smile on his face. He was dead. Made a noose from the sheets and managed to snap his windpipe just right so there wasn't choking and suffocating for thirty minutes. He was still swaying lightly. It had just happened right before they entered. Blood dripped from his left wrist. His fingers were dyed in the colour, even on his right hand.

Time halted to nothing as Adachi scanned the boy's body, slowly, trying to register the scene. It wasn't clicking. The boy was dead, but it wasn't hitting him. The wires weren't connecting and his body was frozen and planted in place and Dojima and the nurses behind him were long gone from his mind it was only him and the body of this ruined teenager.

"I want to be a cop."

"So you can arrest your dad?"

"So I can legally own a gun. And kill him."

His eyes drifted to the blood on the floor. There was writing.

you won tohru adachi

yamano konishi and seta

are you happy

Laughter rang in his ears. It was his. He was laughing. It hurt to laugh. He clutched his sides, the motion so fast and sudden the IV was ripped from his hand. He found himself stumbling backwards. Clapping. Laughing. He couldn't stop laughing. Something wet was on his face. He was crying.

Stupid stupid stupid stupid!

Stupid fucking brat!

He could feel Dojima staring at him, mortified with anger and disbelief and terror and a plethora of emotions.

"You..." it started out as barely a whisper, "You BASTARD!" Dojima screamed, shoving the younger man into the nearby wall. Adachi couldn't stop laughing. The man berated him, yelling and screaming for minutes, possibly hours on end. Maybe just seconds. Dojima screamed. Just a scream. Not a word, not an insult or a phrase or a thing or a noun. He just screamed. It was loud. Echoed. Bounced along the halls. He fell to the floor and heaved.

Adachi slid to the floor. He never stopped laughing.

It hurt.

Everything hurt so much.

He placed his palm on his temple. Laughing. Crying.

He looked at the kid.

Those eyes pierced right at him.

He swear he could hear the teen whisper in his ear, chirping with glee.

"Nothing can save us from crashing to the ground~"

The world faded from existence.