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"Yashiro ... sensei?"

It doesn't sink in right away. It washes over him like a cold breath of air, slowly chilling him to the bone. It's been years since he's seen that face. Years that piled on the wrinkles and laugh lines to a once familiar face, but he can still see the man he used to know beneath it all. In the way his hair falls, disheveled, from where it was once slicked back. The motion of lunging forward, of pushing him down, makes the other's orderly appearance into something whirlwind.

"Satoru." On the other hand, there is nothing but recognition in the eyes that stare him down. A glaring red haunting him even as he turns his head and blinks. "Why are you here?"

He wants to laugh. Of all the things to be asked, he is sure that one is obvious. "I live here. I think the better question is: what are you doing here, Yashiro-sensei?"

There is a moment of tense silence as Yashiro struggles to keep him pinned down, shifting his weight to make escape something futile. Something that has no meaning here in the secluded apartment space, doors shut and locked tight. The man takes his time with a reply, even longer than should be necessary, twisting a strand of his captive's hair around his finger and grinning. "I thought your mother would be home," he says sweetly, in a recognizable way. In a tone that should have been reserved for nothing short of a trusted teacher.

Yashiro lets his words sink, bends down closer, and speaks right into a willing ear, "My, what a naughty boy you are, coming home early like this."

It's then that he recognizes the threat in the man's other hand as it creeps closer, a gleaming silver that flirts with each bob of his throat and teases a line of red against his too pale skin. It's been weeks since he's been outside, out in the sunshine, and now he's starting regret not taking that opportunity. It's beginning to look more and more like he won't be seeing tomorrow.

"How did you - ?" He stumbles over the words and cuts himself short, not wanting to know the answer in the end. It doesn't matter how Yashiro knows what he knows; what matters is that pieces of a long forgotten puzzle are beginning to fall into place. His mother noticing someone attempting to abduct a little girl. That someone being familiar - as familiar and recognizable as a beacon when you stopped to think about it. That same someone who was there, all those years ago, who could have committed all those abductions from a childhood he would rather not remember.

Memories that should have been locked away begin to rush to the forefront of his mind and he feels sick. He should have realized, long ago, recalling the words that had stuck in his thoughts for years: "Today you graduate from elementary school, but there is still so much that is missing. That goes for me, too. And yet, I think filling up that missing something is what life is."

"Sensei," the hollowness in his own voice surprises him, but he turns and lock eyes with the man, because he wants to know, "what are you using to fill up that missing something?"

The grin turns into something sharp and pointed, something more spine chilling than even the press of a knife. "You're a smart boy, Satoru. I am sure you've figured it out." He playfully pats at the younger man's face, obliging him with an answer regardless. "But if you most know ... right now, that something is you."

He swallows down the panic that rises from the pit if his stomach. Heavy like a rock, the panic sits there, stewing, and he is left with an energy that previously eluded him. His nerves thrum with a need to get out, as far and as fast as he can. There aren't many options coming to mind, but he tries to think of them anyway. Pressing his luck as he puts his hand against Yashiro's chest and shoves.

It doesn't do much, his actions, but there is a flicker of amusement across his once teacher's face before it settles into indifference. "I was expecting more of a struggle."

"And I was expecting to be dead by now," Satoru bites out before he can filter himself. Ah, I said that out-loud, he thinks. With muted horror, he pales further. He expects retaliation.

Instead, he startles a laugh out of his would-be killer. "Oh, Satoru, it was never you I was planning to kill. This simply changes my plans a bit." There is a crinkle of gloves as Yashiro pulls his knife back, lets it clatter to the floor. He grabs him by the jaw in exchange, uses his other hand to take off the glasses that have cracked in the struggle, and scrutinizes him for any further harm, tsking at what he sees. "You should clean yourself up before your mother arrives. Wouldn't want to worry her, would we?"

"What are you - " There is unbridled fury in his veins. He isn't going to let anything happen to his mother, and it fuels him on as he grabs Yashiro by the lapels of his nice suit, dragging him down. "Don't you dare touch my mother!"

Something in that sparks Yashiro's interest. With his palms flat against the ground, he looms over the person he has trapped and it makes Satoru feel as if he's back in school. Tiny and small. Helpless again to the same person that scarred his childhood. He remembers a missing friend, a missing classmate, and a friend accused of a crime he didn't commit. And here was the real culprit. The real offender who continued to commit crimes as easily as breathing.

"I will touch," Yashiro tells him, running a hand down Satoru's chest, "what I want." It is intimidation, pure and simple. A means to scare him. It works, and he instinctively raises his knee and slams it into Yashiro's gut. Not quite the reaction any of them were aiming for, but it does the trick in unbalancing Yashiro and that is the chance Satoru was looking for all along.

His heart pounding in his ears, he scrambles to get up and away. To get to the door.

He doesn't get far before a hand clamps down on his ankle and pulls, sending him to the floor with a crash. Face first and suddenly grateful for Yashiro's mindfulness in taking off his glasses. "Ah, ah, ah. Where do you think you're going?" That sense of gratefulness vanishes in an instance, along with any sense of personal space as his wrists are pinned to the floor, straddled once more by the intruder in his home. "I was being nice, and you want to ruin the fun? You've grown dull since I last saw you."

Pulled back by his hair, Satoru closes his eyes against the imminent pain that plans to follow. But when nothing happens, he tentatively cuts his gaze to the side. From where he is, he can barely make out Yashiro's expression, but there is a thought there. A consideration. Right before a wide grin spreads like needles across a delighted mouth. "We're the same, aren't we."

Eyes darkening like a wave in a storm, Satoru hisses, "I am nothing like you."

"Oh, but you are, aren't you? You, too, are lacking. We're all lacking. What do you use to fill that emptiness, Satoru? Tell me."

"No." It slips out before he can stop it. He refuses to tell Yashiro anything, but the quick and resolute way he speaks his answer earns the reprimand that didn't come before it. His face slams against the floor and there are spots in front of him, dancing, a gasp ripped from his throat as he blinks back tears.

"I asked you a question. It's only proper," stresses Yashiro, "that you answer." He tries to think of something to say, something untrue, but Yashiro gives him a warning shake. "And make sure it's the truth."

He takes too long to answer and he can feel the impatience in the gloved hand that taps at his hair. Repetitive tap, tap, tapping. On a whisper, he says, "Manga," because it's what he does for a living, outside the realm of pizza delivery, but there is something that lacks in his answer. A depth that he can't find. Neither in his art nor in his life. He is lacking, but he doesn't know what. He's barely scratched the surface of his heart to find it. He doesn't want to travel that path, not into those muddy depths, afraid of the answers he'll find buried there.

"Wrong again," Yashiro practically sing-songs, but there is an amiable purr to his voice as he massages the back of Satoru's head. "But I can see that you're tried, so I'll let that one slide. Besides," the front door gives a wiggle, far away - but not far enough, "we have company. You're a smart boy. I'm sure you can guess what happens next."