It’s foggy today too.
Lately, Dojima’s been noticing changes in Inaba. Once a lively town, no one dares to venture outside anymore. It’s the fog, they say it’s bad for the health if you stay out too long . There are whispers too, of monsters lurking in dark corners, shadowy figures that no one can see in the fog. Dojima doubts this—in his line of work, the supernatural is never a good explanation. Still, even he has to admit there’s something odd going on in Inaba.
He tries to pinpoint the cause. It all started... when? Was the fog always there, or is his mind playing tricks on him? It must’ve been, but no, that can’t be right. Thinking about it makes his head hurt, brief flashes of memory blurring in his mind—in the rain, a hospital, Nanako was sick. But no, that isn’t right either. Nanako has always been healthy, hasn’t she?
It’s hard to remember anything with yellow fog choking his lungs and infiltrating the corners of his brain. Dojima needs to step outside, get some fresh air, and clear his head, but of course, outside isn’t where it’s good to be, not anymore. The fog from outside seeps through the cracks of doors and the corners of windows, so everything is tinted a jaundiced yellow.
Something—it must be his detective’s intuition—tells him this isn’t right, but the fog keeps shifting, and he can’t put his finger on it.
In the middle of the ever-changing fog, Adachi remains a constant. Some things never change, and Adachi must be one of them, with his wide smile and rumpled suit.
Today he’s waiting for Dojima outside the police station, hands in pockets and leaning against the wall. With the fog being particularly thick, it’s hard for Dojima to make out his figure but squinting allows him to see the outline of Adachi’s suit.
Adachi brightens when he approaches, running forwards to grab his hand.
“Let’s go home, Ryotaro,” he says, breath misting in the fog. Home, because Adachi’s living with them now.
It seemed to be the inevitable next step to their relationship; first they were partners, and now they’re partners. Dojima doesn’t remember how it started, not exactly. They were fond of each other, Dojima thinks, trying to remember. And there was a case, wasn’t there—in the fog, the sound of vomiting, Adachi was a rookie back then. How did it end, in fog perhaps? In any case, they got along well afterwards.
When Adachi moved in, the fog had just begun to spread. There’s a photo of that in his room somewhere, of Adachi standing on the doorstep with his boxes, grinning broadly at the camera. The photo didn’t take well—the background is blurred and Adachi is the only one in focus.
Sometimes Dojima sees things in the corner of his eye. Dark things, fleeting things, things that don’t belong. They’re always too sharp or too blurry, out of focus no matter how much he squints.
He points them out to Adachi, but he’s always met with a patronizing smile. Adachi is theatrical about it, putting on a show of looking over his shoulder, shaking his head when there’s nothing there.
“Don’t worry, Ryotaro,” Adachi once said, patting his back. “Monsters only exist in your imagination.” Adachi had chuckled after saying that, like he’d just told a particularly amusing joke.
But what Dojima sees aren’t monsters. They’re more like shadows, and they’re not his imagination.
Tonight Adachi says he made sushi, but it’s too obvious that it’s from Junes. Adachi doesn’t have the time, and he doesn’t have the skill, and who is he fooling, he didn’t even bother to tear off the price tag. Dojima keeps quiet about it though. White lies make a relationship go down easier.
They eat in silence punctuated by brief snippets of conversation here and there. Someone—Adachi?—brings up Yu, and all of a sudden, Nanako is asking when her Big Bro’s coming back. Dojima doesn’t know how to answer. In their 5-minute calls, Yu is distant and tense and hasn’t mentioned coming back even once.
“Well, how about we give him a call later tonight?” Dojima knows he’s avoiding her question, but hey, white lies and avoiding the truth go hand in hand.
So he calls Yu after dinner. The phone rings once, twice, three times, and no one picks up. He tries again, but he’s still met with Yu’s ringtone, some pop song so poorly recorded that it might as well be static.
He’s about to complain to Adachi, but Adachi, he notices, is occupied with his own call.
Some nights, the TV in their room flickers on and off, bad wiring most likely, or perhaps electrical interference. Dojima can sleep through it, but Adachi must not be able to - every time the TV comes on, Adachi stirs, sitting up with a tight grip on the blankets.
On this particularly rainy night, the TV is flickering more than usual, filling the room with yellow light. Maybe the windows weren’t closed properly because their room is blurrier than usual, tinted pale with fog.
Adachi’s definitely having trouble sleeping. He’s shifting in the bed, sitting up, fidgeting with the blanket, then getting up to pace the room. Internally, Dojima groans—if Adachi continues like this, he won’t be getting much sleep either. So he shifts and rolls over, making it a point to be as obvious as possible. Maybe Adachi will notice and get the hint, and then they can both get back to sleep.
Instead of climbing into bed like Dojima expected, Adachi pads over, placing a hand on his and linking their fingers together. His hand is cold and a little unsteady, and coming from him, it’s such a strange, soft gesture.
Squeezing their hands, Dojima mumbles, “Go to sleep, Tohru.”
The room when he wakes up is covered in fog. Still holding his hand, features softened and blurred by the fog, Adachi seems almost intangible.
Time passes, and the fog thickens.
Inaba blurs, sharpens, then blurs again, and Dojima has to rub his eyes to see clearly.
He doesn’t see the shadows anymore, and he doesn’t try to contact Yu again. While cleaning behind the dresser, Dojima finds the picture of Adachi moving in, and it’s much sharper than he remembers.
The TV continues to flicker, they continue to have Junes sushi for dinner, Nanako continues to ask about Yu, and Adachi continues to hold his hand. Dojima stops keeping track of the days—it all feels the same, so what’s the point?
One night, Adachi goes to sleep early, and Dojima goes to sleep late, and when he wakes, it’s to yellow eyes and a warm hand gripping his.