A/N: I usually don't write-long term fanfics because I don't really have the time for them, but this is probably the only pairing that I'm genuinely invested into. I love the psychological dynamic between Souji and Adachi, and I hope that I do them justice. If people like it enough, I'll definitely make it 10+ chapters, and while I have the intention of eventually writing smut, I'm not going to do it until I've fleshed out the context/plot to their potentials. The length of this indefinitely depends on reception since I'm writing it on my free time. Anyways, I hope everyone enjoys! Feedback is always appreciated!
"What do you think will happen if I shoot you?"
"You can't shoot me."
Souji Seta blinks, and wipes his eyes. The dream usually ends there. He knows because he writes summaries of how they begin and how they end, and the patterns are clearer than the television world when he equipped his glasses. The dreams' exposition and finale are always the same; it's what happens in between that is different. While the dreams had a sinister edge to them, he finds them comforting, so he doesn't mind.
Souji never questioned himself as seriously as he did now. Even nods given in menial circumstances feel strange, and he almost doesn't hear the woman on the train ask him if he's visiting his relatives. He shakes his head and answers that he isn't; he wouldn't be staying with the Dojimas this year. Two years had passed since he'd first left Inaba, and he sometimes wondered if he'd ever left at all. Yosuke and Nanako made themselves strongly extant through their impressive efforts in keeping in touch, but even then, Souji often questions if the chronic distance of two years could make any noticeable difference. He doesn't expect the woman to understand in the same way that he doesn't expect any of his friends to. He remembers giving her his usual, blank stare but he also recalls telling her, a complete stranger, the evident truth. Truth was all he cared for during his time spent in Inaba, and truth was what Tokyo could not reciprocate. Tokyo offered many things that Inaba also had and often more, yet, Souji knew that he wasn't "complete" in Tokyo, not because he missed his friends, but because he missed an opportunity that he could have taken, but chose not to. Smiling lightly, he murmurs to the woman that he's visiting a monster, well, not really, he had actually said, "a horrible person", but the terms are nonetheless synonymous. The monster is horrible, and so is Seta Souji. His only regret was that he didn't make it clear in their final encounter that the two of them were, frankly, at a mutual understanding.
The train passes through the final tunnel until reaching its destination, and the woman, for a brief second, is in more literal darkness than she'd know. Light fills the train car when it exits the tunnel, and the woman looks perplexed. Souji doesn't expect her to react much differently, but can't help but feel slightly discouraged when she turns away from him and ends the conversation with an "oh". He steps off at Inaba when the voice on the telecom announces his arrival. He never sees the woman again, but she isn't important. She's more of a stranger to him than that person could ever be, and his "ability" makes this clear enough to him. There is no sound of breaking glass when he speaks to her, and no Arcana is registered to her person either. Every relationship formed in Inaba had meant something to him, and he often found them lewd. He is a natural at dissecting others like a surgeon unraveling his patient. Discovering Yosuke's secret had been stimulating, fascinating almost. Yosuke's trembling voice, his display of weakness, and strangely enough, his strength among peril, was truly amazing. It was the first spark, the first of Souji's collection, but as he filled himself with more-Yukiko, Chie, Naoto, Kanji, Rise, Teddie even, he knew that he was no different from that monster.
Truly, Seta Souji performed his own operations under blacklight, and only that person figured him out. Everyone else was simply being developed; Izanami couldn't have picked a better metaphor. The goddess only chose tools competent enough in bearing fruit anyways, and Souji was glad that she had a decent eye. It was easy for him, since people were easy to him. He knew how to care for them without putting any serious, emotional investment into his relationships with them, and they were fine with it, mostly because they perceived him as someone else. Simply put, the world is not challenging.
He waits in the Inaba rain to be picked up. The train station is desolate, and he takes comfort in knowing that he's the only person there, waiting, unseated. The wet atmosphere doesn't bother him. He didn't pack much, not really, and his motives have never been anything far from ulterior. The rain is helpful, and the only thing that Souji bothers protecting from the perspiration at all is the bag of cabbages under his arm. They are, after all, Tokyo cabbages. Souji himself wouldn't know the difference between Inaba and Tokyo's cabbages, but the vegetable's recipient most likely would.
When a black car finally pulls up, Souji doesn't bother to knock, and lets himself in regardless of the driver's identity. The door opens with ease, and he's surprised that the driver had already unlocked it beforehand. Shrugging and poking his head in, Souji gives an odd half-smile, and cheerfully says, "Konnichiwa, Adachi-san."
A pregnant pause.
"Konnichiwa, Souji-kun," comes the monster's reply, and Souji tries to conceal his disappointment at how Adachi Tohru doesn't look any different at all. Adachi's trademark suit fits him in the same way that it had two years prior, and his lanky form had not changed. Still, Souji sits himself down, and wonders if this is actually true and that the detective did not adapt. The latter proves Souji wrong by turning on the radio with a swift movement of his thumb and a smile, and Japanese pop music fills the car's interior. Adachi Tohru is happy, and Souji occupies himself by wondering if this, too, is a facade.
"It's amazing," Adachi begins, drumming his fingers on the wheel. He has a faraway look in his eyes, but there's nothing about Adachi's character, to Souji at least, that's distant. "Just amazing."
"Yeah. Aido's debut album's doing better than the critics expected," Souji comments, and Adachi's lips tighten.
"It's amazing," the detective corrects, "That you have my number, and after all these years, the first person you choose to see in Inaba is me." He pauses. "You're a dumbass, y'know?"
"I don't." Souji answers, blank as ever.
Adachi's charcoal eyes glaze over Souji's greys, and he's silent for awhile before he starts muttering again.
"Sure you are. If there's anything you need, you could just call me. You know better than anyone that I could never ignore your call. You're my accomplice, kid."
Souji nods, aloof. His reply, to Adachi's chagrin, is a terse one.
"Yeah," the boy agrees.
"But you don't call me."
"You know, Souji-kun, you aren't very chatty over the phone. It's the police's duty to keep tabs on those who've committed crimes. The police don't like it when you don't give them the full truth. It makes you suspicious."
"No. It's just you," Souji retorts, and Adachi's smirking again, but Souji doesn't feel uncomfortable; neither Fools ever did, and it's what makes their capabilities occupational. Souji had burned the evidence on his own accord, he, too, bored of his own game, tired of its concept. Burning the papers had been a herculean feat; Souji had never blatantly done anything so morally unacceptable in his life before, but he's certain that it was Adachi's presence that made all the difference. It had been a cerebral feeling of affinity, and it was what tied him to Inaba. He'd assumed that Inaba could do better than Tokyo, only to be confronted with how wrong he was. Inaba was as mundane as Tokyo, but Adachi Tohru was anything but. Conniving, jaded, and idealistically kind, he was all sorts of interesting, and Souji simply couldn't risk turning a rare treasure over to the police.
The teenager leans back against the passenger seat and watches Adachi drive. The latter is slightly distracted, but manages to pull through traffic, grimacing as he watches the street signs.
"How's school?" the detective asks, not because he actually cares, but because it's a clue. A hint. Something to go off on. Something he could use to fuck with the kid. He hasn't done so in awhile.
"Good." Souji replies, denying the other man any conversational triumph. And then tosses out his own, "How's work?"
Adachi laughs his "bumbling fool" laugh and gives the teenager a bemused look. Contrary to the front that he puts up with Dojima, Adachi hateshis partner's little snot of a nephew, and abhors how the latter could be so fucking casual with his own blackmailer. Adachi's suspects that the little shit probably assumes that he's got the detective all figured out, and that he knew how to please or rile the detective in the same way that he did with his friends and family. And he looked so fucking dull doing it too, with his empty stare and boy-band haircut.
"Same old, same old," Adachi finally states. "And it's all thanks to you." He grins, waiting.
It becomes increasingly clear that the teenager's return to Inaba isn't without purpose, and Adachi has the inkling that the kid honestly can't hold it in much longer.
"I came back because I wanted to see you," Souji blurts, plainly, candidly, and openly. He says it calmly, and he doesn't look away from the road ahead. It seems to Adachi that the younger male had wanted to confess this for some time, and it's intriguing.
Adachi turns and truly studies the teen for the first time since he'd gotten on the car, and adverts his eye back towards the road also.
"Amazing," Adachi marvels with a whistle. "Just amazing. Life is so easy for you, Souji-kun. So easy."
"It's not," Souji dejectedly says, and ruffles his own hair. This wasn't going over the way that he'd planned it, and Adachi's reactions were short of what he'd wanted them to be. "I don't think you understand why I came back, Adachi-san."
"Sure I do. You're finally actually not out of your mind. You're gonna try to get out of this situation. Put me in jail."
This time, it's Souji that chuckles, and surprisingly, chills run down Adachi's spine.
"Not at all, Adachi-san." murmurs the teenager, his voice strangely gentle. "You've shown me your World; and from one Fool to another, I never got the chance to show you mine."
Souji's poised towards Adachi now, his own grey eyes filled with something that even the detective can't quite decipher. It's something borderline predatory and hunger, and Adachi barks an uncharacteristic laugh.
Things just got more interesting.
"Good, good," he chuckles, and presses harder down on the pedal, and his voice gains the same edge that it did two years ago in the TV world.
"I've got all the time, kid."