Given the day at the office, which had been shitty from the moment they started work and only gotten shittier as the day progressed, Adachi wasn't terribly surprised when, as they stood at the back of the building after work, Dojima took the cigarette out of her mouth and said, "Let's go to the bar."
"Who's driving?" Adachi asked. The answer would let him know how smashed Dojima planned on getting.
She started to bring her cigarette back to her lips (barely tinted; he bet she'd worn more makeup back when her husband was alive) only to stop and glare at the thing, dropping it and crushing it beneath her shoes (low heel, perfectly sensible). "You," she said, "definitely you. Tonight…"
She shook her head, started towards his car, and waved at him to follow.
Adachi hadn't expected any different. One of their cases today had been about a car accident (male victim, wrong age, but that didn't matter – the car had been white).
They were frequent enough patrons at the bar that most of the regulars had stopped giving Dojima odd looks. Not all of them, though, and people watched out of the corner of their eyes as she slammed back beer after beer, her shoulders hunched, eyes down, mouth twisted as though she didn't like what she was tasting.
"Maybe you should slow down, Dojima-san," Adachi said, nursing his own beer. Normally, he'd be able to enjoy it, might even get her to crack a few jokes and laugh at him as the alcohol helped him unwind, but not now, not when she was in one of her moods. No fun tonight, just watching her and making sure she didn't get into a fight with one of the guys who would undoubtedly go back to his wife and start up the rumor mill again, repeating the same lines Adachi had been hearing about Dojima since he'd come to town – she's getting too cozy with her partner; she's a disgraceful mother, getting drunk like that; I feel so sorry for her daughter.
If Dojima heard those tonight, if she caught a whiff of anyone talking about Nanako-chan, it was going to get ugly.
"Shut up, Adachi," she said without any real venom. She finished her beer and tapped it against the counter, looking at something no one else could see (the file had come with photos of the accident, all twisted white metal and burnt rubber).
"Just trying to look out for you," he said lightly. Dojima was so damn ungrateful, why did he even bother?
"Yeah," she said, "yeah, I know." She set her bottle down and threw a few bills on the counter, enough to cover both of them. "Bring that one with you; I'm sick of people staring at me."
"W-what, already?" He'd barely finished one drink, but Dojima was threading through the crowd without waiting for him, her height making her stand out as much as the fact that she was one of the few women here. He caught up to her outside, where she was pulling out another cigarette, some repressed anger making her curse as she fumbled with her lighter. "Here, let me…"
She held still while he took care of it for her. If she burnt her fingers, he knew it'd somehow be his fault.
"Where to?" Not her house, he hoped. Bad enough seeing her get hammered in front of Nanako, who'd sit silently and bear the awkwardness in silence just for a chance to be around her mother, but Adachi hated the flat, even looks her nephew gave him, like he was somehow to blame. What the hell was he supposed to do, pull the beers out of Dojima's hands? He'd get a stub in return.
He wasn't her damn caretaker.
"Your house," she said, taking a puff.
"Huh?" That was a surprise. "I, uh, don't really have a house, it's just some small apartment, more like a box, really, you wouldn't like it—"
"Your box then." She lowered her head and exhaled a long stream of smoke that rose to snake up past her face. "And Adachi?"
"Don't tell me what I'll like."
He managed to smile at that, like it was a joke, but it was a close thing.
She smoked in his car, window rolled down, wind taking the smell away and tugging at the strands of hair that had come loose from her ponytail. He'd long given up on hoping she'd realize it was rude to smoke in someone else's vehicle, but at least she put it out after just a few more drags. Waste of money, that, but it was her paycheck, not his.
He concentrated on the road and the radio and she stared out of the window. When they drove past the scene of the accident, she said, "You do have something to drink at your apartment, don't you?"
"Always do," he said, forcing levity into his voice. "Never know when we might have a hard day."
"Yeah," she muttered, "never know."
They didn't talk for the rest of the drive.
He hadn't been exaggerating about the size of his apartment. It was clean but that was only because there wasn't enough space for anything not absolutely necessary. Dojima kicked her shoes off, hung her coat up, and headed towards the refrigerator without asking permission.
At least she had the decency to get a beer for him too, though he bit back a curse when she tossed it. She caught his look and laughed shortly as she took a seat next to him, propping her feet up on his small coffee table. "Turn the TV on."
"I don’t care, as long as it's not the news. Or the weather, damn fog."
It didn't matter what drama Adachi had put on. Dojima kept her attention on the growing pile of bottles around her, and after a while Adachi starting putting his attention on her. Discreetly; wouldn't do to let her catch him staring.
Dojima was…he wouldn't say conventionally pretty. Not like that reporter had been or the enka singer Namatame had his affair with. No, Dojima was rougher, her jaw stronger, eyes harder, every inch of her prickly like she was daring the world to come at her or someone to say something about her. Her tie was a little sloppy now, more like his own, her short-nailed fingers tugging at it every few seconds as though it was uncomfortable, but normally it was perfectly straight, a match for her posture – she was damn proud of her position as a cop and she was going to let everyone know it.
She was also a complete mess, and Adachi wondered how many people besides himself knew that.
"Dammit, Adachi, how long are you going to keep looking at me?" Dojima's eyes were hazy and her voice not as steady as it should have been, but the alcohol didn't take away from her glare. "What are you, some lovesick teenager?"
Lovesick…? Adachi directed a bitter smile down at his beer (third or fourth, he couldn't remember, but he was in better condition than she was). "Sorry, Dojima-san."
"I don't like men who just look, it's like they've got no spine, no courage. He would have…" Dojima shook her head, waved her hand in a vague gesture. "Doesn't matter. Do you want to just look or do you want to actually do something?"
Adachi wasn't sure he'd heard right. "What?"
Dojima put her bottle down and leaned in close. She smelled like beer and weak perfume, and her smile was crooked but the hand that wrapped around the knot of his tie was strong. "I'm coming on to you, Adachi. You coming back?"
Adachi didn't care if that didn't make sense. He wet his lips and put his beer down carefully, playing at unsure because being too eager might register in her mind, even drunk as she was. "I—I don't know, Dojima-san, do you think it's appropriate?"
"The last thing I want to be right now is appropriate," she said, and kissed him.
Dojima tasted like beer too, and her lipstick had that weird artificial taste that he'd never liked, but her kissing made up for it. She was forceful, hands pulling, nails digging into him, and when he fumbled at her, real nerves battling with pretense, she bit out, "Am I going to have to teach you, Adachi?"
"I think I've got it now," he said, and starting tugging at her clothes.
Tie first, don't tug but slide it so it doesn’t pull, buttons on the shirt undone halfway but don't take the damn thing off – Dojima led and part of Adachi wanted to push her back, hold her down, and take charge, but this was exciting too, having a woman hold her own against him, having Dojima-san straddle him and grin down at him while her breath came hard.
"The last time I had a man under me," she said, and trailed off.
"Been a while, huh?" he asked, not caring. How were they going to do this? He had a couple of condoms back in his room, maybe, but who knew how old they were and it'd ruin the mood to go find them. What if he brought it up and she ordered him to get them? Yeah, that'd keep the ball rolling.
"Years," she said, and she wasn't smiling anymore. "You know… You know, Adachi, I really… It's amazing how much you can miss a person."
He bit the inside of his mouth and put his hands on her waist, moving his hips. Distraction, he needed to distract her. "I don’t follow, but it now really the time?"
She put her hands over his and grabbed them hard enough to hurt. "Can't talk about it with anyone else, but you—you're… The only person I've thought about doing this with since him."
Despite himself, Adachi went still.
"Can't even go to a bar and try to forget without people judging me but you don't care a damn bit, you're always right there, keeping me company even when I'm being a bitch." She bent over him and brought a hand to his face, closed her eyes tight. "He used to put up with me too, used to… Fuck, I miss that man."
Her voice broke and she started crying, pained little noises escaping her despite her obvious attempt to hold them in.
Adachi's erection started to fade.
"You're not him, but that's fine, I don't want you to be him, I just want someone I can trust to touch me again. I'm glad you're here, Adachi, I'm glad they assigned you to me. I couldn't pick a better partner—"
"We shouldn't do this."
Adachi gripped her shoulders and pushed her back as he sat up. "We're not doing this, Dojima-san."
"Why not?" She frowned at him, face damp, shirt askew, skirt pushed up, and what Adachi wouldn't have given to have had her like this just a few hours before.
Why'd she have to open her mouth?
"Because you're drunk."
"You think I can't make a decision—"
"Because I don't have any condoms."
"If that's the only kind of sex you know—"
"Because," he said firmly, "I like you too much."
That shut her up. Shut up him too. Surprised at himself, surprised and uncomfortable, he pushed her off of him and onto the other side of the couch.
"Look, I'll get you a blanket and you can sleep here. You go home like this and your nephew will kill me."
"Oh god, Souji's probably wondering where the hell I am." She stumbled up and it was easy to push her back down. Sort of funny to see the look it put on her face.
"You'll explain it in the morning, if you remember this. You're pretty tore up, Dojima-san." He stood and made an attempt at straightening his shirt, gave up halfway, and left it as he went to find a spare blanket. He thought he had one, not for company but for when the heat gave out as it was prone to do.
"I think I'm starting to feel sick."
"Yeah, me too," he muttered and came back to find her laid out on the couch. It was too small for her so she curled up, one arm hiding her face. He covered her and picked her tie off the floor, put it on the table instead. "Need anything? Water?"
"Fuckin' exhausted, don't need anything but sleep."
"Okay." He flicked the light off. "See you in the morning."
He didn't know what she was thanking him for but he tripped over a bottle all the same on his way out the room.
Sleep wouldn't come easily, though, and he found himself cleaning up her mess in the dark so he wouldn't have to think, her heavy, even breathing mixing with the clink of the beer bottles. When he finally returned to his futon, he didn't bother staying up for the Midnight Channel.
Somehow, he wasn't in the mood.