Forgotten Dumps and Stashes
a Persona 4 fanfiction by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Taro Namatame was a weak man, and while he himself knew it, he refused to accept it. That was why he left his wife, why Mayumi left him, why Adachi could manipulate him…so how was he able to gain strength to overcome his weakness?
Previous Part: “Another Man’s Treasure”
First Part: “One Man’s Trash”
WARNING: ALL-OUT SPOILERS AND CRAZY CANON DEVIATION UP AHEAD!
“Thank you, Mr. Namatame.”
“Huh? Oh, please don’t mention it.”
Again, Taro Namatame didn’t look back at his latest receiver after the delivery was done and confirmed. But this time, he had less the usual doubt which he held for customers who seemed to spare kindness for the former government worker who betrayed the people’s trust by cheating on the woman he made vows with. The more usual, meanwhile, was the wordless humiliation from customers who knew who he was. It hurt, especially since he had quite a recognizable face thanks to his old work and the blazing news, but he knew that he deserved it.
“So you married me only to expect rewards from me, Taro?” Misuzu had questioned him before she decided to expose his infidelity and demand a divorce.
“You’re kind, Taro, but you need to stop being a doormat,” Mayumi told him when he tried to comfort her while she hid from the public eye.
It seemed confusing to be considered both arrogant and cowardly, but then again, the worst sort of people made no sense at all. So if there were any sense to be found in that combination of sins, then it would be in how they made a person more deceptive and destructive to everyone, the self included. And of course, Taro didn’t want to be like that any further.
But desire and knowledge were two different things Listening to other people and serving them was something Taro was a little too into ever since he was a child, and he knew he would snap if someone told him to think about himself more.
Come to think of it, there was one person who caused just that to happen.
“Oh yeah, my life’s kinda like yours, huh? Though kinda flipped. You married a singer while lusting for a reporter, while I married a reporter while lusting for a singer! Damn, thanks, Namatame! Keep up the good work!”
Taro was sure that the infamous detective named Tohru Adachi was joking, but the deliveryman was also sure that the detective had a very bad sense of humor. So bad that Taro punched the guy’s face.
Taro profusely apologized afterwards to Adachi’s tough wife (or girlfriend – Taro wasn’t sure, not with how much the couple quarreled), the upstart weather reporter Mariko Kusumi, but she asked Taro to stop, even going “Sorry” and “Thank you” while saying that her husband deserved such a response every once in a while. Adachi was very irritated about that, but somehow, he held his tongue.
Taro left soon after, finding them trying to have a private talk as he remembered that his delivery was already made and confirmed. That, and he was envious of them. How could a woman like her put up with a man like him?
Then again, perhaps Kusumi was just stronger than most women. But as much as he had confidence in the woman’s toughness, Taro also hoped that Adachi would treat her better.
And then Taro had to visit the Adachi Residence again for another delivery, though fortunately, its receiver was just the foreign young man living with them.
“I’m Doug Teddie, though I’m sure you already know that! Thanks very much for the awesome delivery, Mr. Delivery Man!”
Taro could see why Teddie had a considerable amount of admirers in Inaba despite his association with Detective Adachi. Teddie was quite earnest and jolly about everything, whether upright or perverted. And speaking of perverted…
“A treasure from the big city: an erotic game with which I can practice my scoring abilities!”
Taro made a habit out of not thinking much about his deliveries since they were all ensured to be legal…though he also knew that legal didn’t necessarily mean moral. Still, he had work to do, and he didn’t like thinking about himself too much, so he just let it be and hoped for the best.
“Hey, do you have more deliveries to do, Mr. Delivery Man? If not, then come and play this with me here!”
Again, Taro didn’t like thinking about himself too much, and it just happened that this was his last delivery for the day, so…
“Alright. Pardon the intrusion.”
“Yay! Guide me, Sensei!”
Taro would’ve said that he didn’t deserve such a title, but he couldn’t really do that in the face of Teddie’s bright-eyed eagerness…even as it was towards playing a pornographic video game.
“Daddy’s back, boys! Or boy. Wait, did you get yourself a boyfriend, Ted? And an old man, of all people? Did you pull the crossdresser trick on him?”
Taro considered the drunk Detective Adachi a blessing in disguise. Teddie had been indulging in some cheating of the sexual kind in his gameplay, though the man who actually did that in real life felt like he would be rude if he suddenly freaked out the slightest bit over it, especially with the boy holding a strange innocence that thought that love could actually bloom from something like what he was doing in the game. As a result, Taro just sat by and endured the painful flashbacks with a somber look on his face, pitying the naive boy who did not yet understand the repercussions of giving into such tempting insanity.
“Wait…” the detective squinted and squatted at Taro. “You’re Taro Namatame.”
Then Detective Adachi fell on his rear and guffawed onto the floor. “You’re Taro Namatame! In my house! The House of Inaba’s Worst Perverts! Again! Holy shit, this is the most hilarious thing in my life!”
Taro was discomforted by that, so he decided to change the topic. “Where’s…your wife?”
“That noisy bitch?” Adachi scoffed. “Probably shopping with some slutty co-worker. No offense to your…Wait, actually, all the offense to your ex. If only they didn’t block me from guard duty over her…”
Of course, Taro stood up against that, unable to stand this vile man’s shameless perversion once again. Soon enough, he also grabbed Adachi by the collar.
“What did you call Mayumi?” Taro growled.
“Whoa, why’s everyone fighting?” Teddie tried to push himself underneath the two men, but Adachi kicked him away. “Ow! Toh-Toh!”
“I didn’t say anything, Namatame-san,” the smug monster smirked. “You think she’s a slut, then?”
“TAKE THAT BACK RIGHT NOW!” Taro shouted, only to meet Adachi’s laughter.
“Aw, can’t even take responsibility for being a slut maker?” the infamous Inaba detective grinned. “I mean, I wouldn’t judge if you actually made her one. Makes me wanna ask you for some numbers, even. I’d finally be able to get myself an actually nice and loyal girl I can always bend over that way.”
Taro would’ve punched him again then and there, but the boy Adachi had kicked away shoved the both of them down onto the floor.
“Why is Toh-Toh being so mean?” Teddie asked with tears in his eyes. “I know you love loving more than one girl, but I thought you love Emmy-chan!”
“She’s just another bitch I love sometimes, you dumb bear,” Adachi snarled. “And right now, I don’t. Can’t you fucking understand that? A man can be as fucking fickle as a woman, too.”
“Well, you’re Emmy-chan’s husband!” Teddie stomped. “And even if want a harem, you have to show her true love like you would any other girl! I thought we talked about this already!”
“And I thought I told you that harems and marriage are overrated bullshit!” Adachi shouted back. “Harems are just whorehouses like that strip club we pranked! Marriage is just a slow and painful suicide! And both are just literally fucking around to figuratively fuck around! Grow up already, Teddie!”
At that, Taro didn’t waste any more time.
The delivery man collared the detective again and punched him in the face again.
“You have a good friend, Adachi-san,” Taro told the man he now, in all honesty, both loathed and envied. “If I cannot get you to repsect Mayumi, let alone any woman, then I shall just ensure that you respect your lone friend here. Can you not see that you are more fortunate than you think?”
With that, the delivery man threw the detective to the floor, and then he left the apartment.
And before Taro drove back home, he spent some time quietly crying. For whom exactly, he wasn’t sure, and he didn’t bother thinking more about it at the moment.
He suddenly saw Mayumi wandering through Inaba with a notepad again.
Word of mouth spread faster throughout smaller and more rural towns like this, and Taro already knew that she was trying to keep her life afloat one way or another with her passion. Unfortunately, her line of work demanded the sensational, and someone with a low standing like hers could only be associated with callow and tasteless stories.
Right now, Mayumi was trying to piece together a story about some “Midnight Channel” urban legend to some “News of the Weird” feature program. He made sure not to get in her way, of course, but he bothered to learn about it just in case he had the guts to give her some support here and there.
Though now…he didn’t have any guts left for that. Not after finding out that he could dip his hand into the television screen during the one rainy midnight when he tried to confirm the rumors and expected nothing of note from it. He couldn’t bear to touch any television while by his lonesome after that, even.
But what made him focus his attention on Mayumi again wasn’t Mayumi herself.
“Hey, Mr. Delivery Man! How’s work?”
It was Detective Adachi.
“Why the silence?” the smiling monster asked with a slap of an arm over Taro’s shoulders as the delivery man closed the back of his truck after another unloading. “Don’t want to talk about the girl we’re checking out today?”
Taro tried to forcefully shrug off the arm, but it hardened its grip on his shoulders.
“Oh well, I guess I’ll just let you watch over her,” Adachi then said. “Would be a shame if some worse pervert decided to pick her up, you know?”
With that, the dangerous clown released his arm with a smile and walked away, while Taro was left with great distress as he remembered that Tohru Adachi wasn’t transferred to another precinct yet, let alone fired from his job.
Mayumi had to be protected, then. Maybe Taro would never talk to her, but he had to protect her. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself ever again.
But just as Taro thought that he would have to suffer even more, he saw Mayumi looking at him.
And then he saw Tohru Adachi curled up on the ground in front of her.
“Fucking bitch…” the hurt monster squealed.
At that, Taro drove away immediately. He almost ran a red light and narrowly missed a passing car as he held himself back from breaking down.
“Why…?” the self-loathing delivery man asked. “Why, Mayumi…?”
He thought that she wouldn’t want to protect him. He had to think for himself more, to rely on himself more, right? And then she had to protect him. All while Tohru Adachi had already taken his spot as Inaba’s Public Enemy Number One.
But then Taro remembered that he still had deliveries to do. Maybe he wasn’t a government worker anymore, let alone an honorable man, but one way or another, there still were people who continued to rely on him.
Though if he had to be more honest, Taro wished that he had a friend at the very least. Maybe not Teddie, nice though he was, thanks to that monster, but Taro would try hoping again.
“You’re Namatame-san, right? Thank you very much again!”
Another customer recognized him, but this time, it was a child named Nanako, Detective Ryotaro Dojima’s daughter. This was not the first time he had delivered to them, though, as he often delivered her cousin’s orders from that Tanaka’s shopping program, but it was just now that one of the Dojima residents acknowledged his identity to his face.
Taro managed to nod despite his speechlessness towards Nanako-chan.
“A delivery, Nanako?”
Then came her gray-haired teenage cousin Yu Narukami. The boy seemed like he recognized Taro, judging from that smile, but for how long he already had, the delivery man wasn’t sure.
“Do you still have more deliveries to do?” Taro then heard from Narukami. “We’d like you to have dinner with us, see. Uncle wants to thank you for helping deal with Adachi a lot, too.”
“Oh, no, I may be imposing on you,” Taro raised his hands and shook his head with nervousness. Then he saw the people sitting beyond Narukami. “And you seem to be having a good enough time now with your family and friends. And I didn’t help as much as you think. I’m just a delivery man. Not…well…”
“Consider this a once-in-a-lifetime chance, then, Namatame-san,” Detective Dojima stepped forward. “I insist. Besides, everyone should know each other in a town like this, right? And Yu’s staying her for just a year.”
Again, Taro couldn’t find it in himself to refuse. And of course, he hoped that his hosts here would be nicer, little the chance seemed to him.
But just in case, first off…
“I apologize for the trouble I’ve brought to your family’s inn, Amagi-san!”
He may not have availed of its services, but he knew that the scandal he helped cause led to nosy people bothering the Amagi Inn, where Mayumi had been staying as she tried to maintain a low profile.
“I-It’s alright, Namatame-san,” the Amagi heiress answered. “At the very least, it led me to facing myself and my family better. And I gained all these friends I have now thanks to all that.”
Taro honestly found that unbelievable, but he did want them to be nicer, so he let it be. “Thank you very much, Amagi-san,” he then said before standing back up with a smile.
And then he noticed a tall boy with dyed blonde hair giving him a strange look.
“Is there something wrong?” Taro couldn’t help asking.
The boy blinked and straightened up, clearing his throat with a quick look to the side. “Sorry, just realized how I was, uh, wrong about you,” the boy then said with a blush. “Y-You should dig in now, then, Namatame-san!” the boy quickly followed up with a sheepish grin. “These guys bought a lot of good sushi, you know?”
“And you don’t get a good break from gossipers everyday, right?” the young idol Rise Kujikawa added with a brighter smile. “Trust me, I know from experience.”
“Thank you very much for having me, then,” Taro bowed again before sitting down and eating with the other people in the good detective’s home.
“If people like Detective Adachi are engaging in untoward behavior against you, then you can report them to us,” an aloof young girl who seemed like a boy told him out of the blue.
“Yeah, I think you’re way better than I thought!” a brunette in green followed. “I mean, sure, you did something wrong, but at least you’re trying to own up to it without too much of an ego, right? Unlike Yosuke here!”
“Hey, what the hell, Chie?” a brown-haired boy yelled back with a voice crack, causing everyone else to laugh.
It was quite an interesting dinner, indeed.
Perhaps he should try to accept genuinely kind offers more in the future, then?
Author’s Note: So goes the third and final piece in this alternate scenario series. Maybe it’s not as fantastic as Tohru’s and Yu’s, but I felt like I should write this to round off the Izanagi Trio and fill in more of the blanks in here. And hey, perhaps it’s fitting that the one who never really managed to summon his Persona has a story without him knowing of the TV World at all! 😀