Shin stood outside Keiji's door, mouth dry as he prepared to knock, debating whether he even should.
It was mostly impulse that brought him here; Keiji always seemed to make the best decisions, able to stay objective (at least, from what Shin could tell), and was overall nice. At the very least, he could probably calm him down, and then Shin could make a decision himself.
'You don't even need to tell him,' Shin thought, the idea repeated over and over again as he held his breath, closed his eyes, and knocked on the door.
It opened barely a second after, and Shin looked up at Keiji's concerned face, which relaxed quickly - forcedly? - as he gave a short laugh.
"Y'know, it's usually one of the littl'uns who come to me all scared. Though," a grin as he teasingly pressed a hand down on Shin's head, "I suppose that technically does apply to you, huh?"
Shin rolled his eyes, swatting at Keiji's hand with the one that wasn't tightly clutching his tablet to his chest. "That's just because I'm slouched over all the time." He managed to get out, voice slightly cracking on the first words. "If I stood at my full height, you'd all be scared shitless."
Keiji gave a low whistle, pressing down harder. "Really now. How tall is that?"
"6'66". Can I come in?" Not that the banter wasn't fun, but it wasn't quite what he needed right now.
"Of course." Keiji replied, releasing his head and opening the door wider, expression more serious as the two walked in, Keiji sitting on the bed as Shin lay on the floor. "It's probably more comfortable up here. I don't mind."
"Nah, it's good down here." Well, it was mostly just that he didn't really feel like moving at all. The stress of the sub-game combined with... this had left him completely mentally exhausted, and now that he was down, the only way he could possibly get on the bed was if- "Ah- hey!"
Keiji leaned over him, grabbing under his arms before lifting him up and tossing him onto the bed, causing Shin to yelp as he bounced slightly upon impact and tried to keep hold of his tablet.
Pouting, Shin sat up slightly to look at Keiji. "That wasn't very romantic of you. Not even a proper carry?"
Keiji snorted, sitting on the edge of the bed. "Okay, okay, I'll bridal carry and lay you down carefully like the delicate little flower you are next time."
'Next time.' In any other situation, the idea of being on Keiji's bed again may have excited him, but now it only reminded him of the situation.
Naturally, Keiji noticed his once again dropped mood. "Something's bothering you."
"Wow. Sorry for ever doubting that you're a detective." Instead of a reply, Keiji just stared at him. Shin stared back, expression blank, but it wasn't long before he gave in and sighed, thinking about a roundabout way to talk about it.
'You don't even need to tell him!' his voice mocked back at him, and he grit his teeth.
"Well, I was... just thinking, on the topic of you being a detective..." he clenched his hands, trying not to twist them together, though Keiji's gaze suggested he noted it as a sign of nervousness anyway, the perceptive dick, "...with the Main Game coming up and no sign of escape, I figured we could bounce ideas about the situation off each other." Yeah, that was good. The hands were a mistake (though mostly because it's Keiji), but he was still as good a liar as ever.
...Well, that's probably actually a bad thing, but whatever.
"Sounds good. You wanna go first?" Oh, fuck. It wasn't like he didn't have ideas, but the only one coming to mind right now-
What the hell.
"How many people do you think are intended to win?"
"On whether the Main Game stays constant." His words came without pause, as though he had thought about it multiple times before. "After a point, there won't be enough people for a proper main game. With Keymaster, Sage, and Sacrifice cards necessary, a game with three people will likely end with the Sacrifice's win, as their victory results in two survivors, whereas voting the Keymaster leaves none and voting the Sage would only leave one survivor. With such a predictable outcome, the kidnappers may change the rules, or create a different game entirely - one that leaves only one survivor."
Silence. "...So, essentially," Shin started after a few seconds of mental debate, "you think there's only supposed to be one survivor." 'Assuming the Sacrifice's failure in the next few games' goes unsaid.
Rubbing the back of his neck, Keiji spent the next few seconds quiet. "...Yeah. That's why I'm not giving up on escape yet. Sorry to disappoint."
Shin tilted his head, as though it weren't a complete mess right now. "Disappoint? I think it's admirable!" To an extent, at least. A smaller, more bitter part of him sneered at Keiji. 'Of course you can say that,' it hissed, 'you're not the one on death row here. You're useful, and trustworthy, and don't have to worry about being picked off. I oughta give this to you, see you become horrible and scared, just like me.'
Unknowing of Shin's inner turmoil, Keiji raised an eyebrow at him. "You didn't come here intending to make a deal, then?"
Shin blinked, trying to regulate both his breathing and his thoughts, and only registered Keiji's words a few seconds later. "...What... kind of deal, would I even want to make?"
Once again, Keiji simply stared in place of a response, readjusting himself so he was sat cross-legged on the bed and could look at Shin more properly. "Let's change the subject, then." The look in his eyes was challenging. "If you were the Sacrifice, who would you bring with you?"
It should have been an easy question - 'you, I suppose' or 'obviously one of the kids' - but his mind immediately went to the victim video he had bought out of curiosity, a green haired girl who he knows he'd never met and only seemed to cause a strange sort of TV-like static in his head whenever he tried to recall her regardless, creating a weird sense of melancholy. There's not even a reason to think of her now - even if he couldn't bring himself to watch the whole thing in the end, the video only exists because she died. No way to save her now.
"That's quite a loaded question." He finally settled on. "Do you think you could answer it?"
"Sure - I just wouldn't let myself win." Rubbing the back of his neck, Keiji looked down. "...What I'd like to say, at least. In reality, I'd take a kid. Youngest. Their brain's more likely to defend itself and make the entire situation some kind of nightmare, and I'm confident in my ability to calm kids down, even if it'd mess them up their entire life."
'How noble.' Not like he could be mad - regardless of how Keiji worded it, he also wouldn't just give up and die, huh? That checks out as a normal human response.
"Fair enough." Shin started. "My turn. Let's say the Sacrifice has no chance of winning," - which, unless he gets a confident answer to this question, seems likely, given there's no way Keiji hasn't figured it out by now, - "who would you not mind having it most?"
Keiji freezes. It's not a reaction Shin necessarily expected, but it's one he recognises, mostly from himself, but not uncommon among other participants. Nobody really mentioned it, and even in this situation, Keiji had left him alone each time, so that's what Shin did.
(He idly wonders if Keiji wanted to reach out in worry to Shin as much as he wants to Keiji)
It doesn't last too long. It never does. They were both used to shaking themselves out of it quick, for better or for worse. "...Sorry." Keiji says. "There's nobody alive I wouldn't mind dying." Then, again. "Sorry."
The second one seems like it's an apology for something other than not answering the question, maybe to do with 'nobody alive', but whatever it is, Shin doesn't know. He also doesn't give an answer the question himself, wouldn't have asked if he had one, and Keiji doesn't try and turn it back on him.
Still, he's... a bit calmer now. It's weird how that works, since he hasn't got a solution to his problem. Maybe it's the knowledge that even if he does something shameful, there's at least one person who won't hate him. But that also means he can't take Keiji with him. No, if he was going to win, he should at least fulfill his wishes; the youngest was... Gin, right?
"That's why I'm not giving up on escape yet."
Shin jumped off the bed, turning his head to Keiji. "Well, we've talked enough here. You said you're still working on escape?"
Keiji blinked at him in surprise, before chuckling. "Yeah. Not many leads, but hey, won't hurt to keep going." He stood up, before reaching into his bedside drawer and pulling out his wallet. "Hold out your hand." Shin did so, and watched as Keiji dropped 50 of his tokens in. Probably due to the personal information, he'd been quite wary about giving out, but with the prize exchange closed the only thing to worry about was-
"What's this?" Shin asked.
Keiji shrugged. "Trust, I suppose. This early on, whoever gets the Sacrifice will probably just pass it along, and, well," he ruffled Shin's hair, "'nobody' includes you. I'm sure you won't make the situation worse than it is now if you need to get rid of it."
'You said nobody alive' Shin's mind tries to pettily protest, but he just smiles up at Keiji.
"Thanks." They stand there for a moment, looking at each other, before Shin grabs his hand and starts walking to the door. "C-come on, let's go look for a way out! We don't even have 3 hours now!"
Keiji smiles, letting Shin lead him out the door like he has any idea where he's going to go next. There's the temptation to drag him back, to say 'no, let's stay here longer', to try and make Shin's potential last hours as comforting as possible - but he's not giving up just yet. Not until either of them has taken their very last breath.