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Midnight 12 AM

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It is 12 AM and Adachi is at the Dojima’s. He’s not sure why he’s there.

Nanako had gone to bed hours ago and Dojima’s nephew is probably asleep as well. It’s just him and Dojima, who sits across from him poring over files long made useless with time.

Adachi holds a can of beer in his hand as he watches Dojima work. It’s half drunk, and when he finishes, he’ll have made his way through the entire pack.

Sometimes Dojima will look up from his work and attempt to make idle chatter. So Adachi doesn’t have to say anything, he brings the can to his mouth and revels in the bitter taste of cheap beer. It’s flat, with a distinctly metallic undertone that brings bile to his throat.

Watching Dojima work like this, Adachi has to remind himself that he hates him, like he hates everything in this stupidly small town. He tells himself this every single day of his life in Inaba, because the alternative -- that he’s grown used to, and even fond of this town -- isn’t anything he could handle.

He takes another sip of his beer.

Maybe it’s the alcohol that’s giving him courage, but Adachi feels the inexplicable urge to reach out to Dojima.

So he does.

After all, it’s 12 AM and no one is watching, much less Dojima himself.

The can makes a hollow thunk as it upends its contents onto the table. The liquid is a pervasive presence on the crisp white of Dojima’s papers, staining sheets an irreparable yellow and blurring the words to illegibility.

Adachi freezes and raises his head to meet Dojima, whose silent gaze bores a hole through him.

Miraculously, Dojima doesn’t say a word. He merely shakes his head in consternation, and after a moment’s pause, affixes Adachi with a soft expression, one that Adachi can’t quite grasp the meaning behind.

Dojima tells Adachi that “it’s late and you’re drunk, so go get some sleep.”

Adachi doesn’t.

It is 30 minutes after 12 and Adachi is still at the Dojima’s. He stares at the impression his drink leaves on the table. He’s not sure why he’s there and he doesn’t want to know.