Adachi runs a hand down Matsuda’s forearm, squeezing softly at the wrist.
"Look at you, Mr. Tokyo Precinct," Adachi says, fingers tapping against veins peeking from Matsuda’s sleeves. Heat settles across Matsuda’s cheeks. He knows his blood, and how it rushes; his face colour-codes his emotions for him. (A biological deficiency he’s keen to grow out of one day.) This feels too hot to be the booze, too slow to be embarrassment. “City crime big enough for you?”
Matsuda laughs, rubs his neck, and groans. He ought to say something really, retort words clever and easing like Light or drawl dry and cool like L, but he’s a few moments too slow to show off. “It keeps me busy. Kira especially. The way the case is going, half the force might quit.”
"Mmmhm?" Adachi’s eyes narrow for a second. Matsuda wishes he could read tells better — is that ambition or concern? Reading people, or "body language decoding" as the course outline put it, was never his strong suit in the academy. Adachi made honours in that class though, and framed his certificate beside their bunk beds. "You must be short-staffed. How many all-nighters so far?"
"Four," Matsuda says. He feels very tired all of a sudden. He reaches for the pitcher between them and pours another glass (also four, that goddamn number’s leading his life into a ditch).
Adachi makes a humming sound (concern? concern? the question repeats in Matsuda’s head, as if thinking it enough makes it real), and then reaches out, his hand patting Matsuda’s shoulder, then swerving to pick up the pitcher too. He downs the rest of it into his glass, swigs carelessly enough to spill most of it on his tie. A few beery droplets splash Matsuda’s face. They slide down cold. “Why don’t you just come to Inaba? We’re doing shit all in the sticks. You don’t want this. Don’t be an idiot.”
The way he tells Matsuda what to feel should be demeaning, but he’s used to Adachi, and Light, and L, and Soichiro, and everyone, so it’s not worth arguing about anyway.
(Later, when his friend’s in custody, Matsuda thinks he should have said something. Reached out back. Straddle his ex-roommate in front of the whole bar. Suck the beer off Adachi’s tie. Call in sick, Chief be damned, and hole up in a love hotel for a few days. Maybe pay more attention in class too.)
(Much later, when another friend is in custody, Matsuda briefly enrolls as a part-time student at the academy and takes an online people-reading course. He doesn’t pass, which is hardly surprising. When he finds out his final exam was off by four points, he calls in late for half a day and practices bloodless faces in the mirror.)
Dude, holy heck this is a great fic! Adachi, though? Hmm…