Chapter 2

At 4:58 exactly, Akane walked down the corridor of the CID office headquarters towards the staff gym. A few older male employees just leaving from their afternoon workout nudged each other as she passed. Her yellow running shorts with white stripes down the sides and white t-shirt were a little out of place among the gruff sweat stained figures around her. She walked quickly, anxious not to be late for her first lesson lest she give Kougami a reason to regret his, already reluctantly made, decision.

She was greeting by the sound of fists on padding as she entered. "Hey!" she ran over to the bag Kougami was using "you started without me!".

He bounced a few times on the balls of his feet, facing off against an imaginary opponent. "Just warming up" and he turned to her with his customarily serious face. "Before we begin I need you to agree to follow my instructions exactly. Even if you don't enjoy it or don't understand why I'm asking you to do something. Its important you do this so you don't get hurt or learn sloppy technique which will cause problems for you later on".

Akane suppressed a giggle. Not because she didn't take what Kougami said to heart, but because he reminded her at that moment, so forcibly of her old stern school master. "Yes Kougami Sensei" she said more than a little tongue in cheek and bowing deeply.

Kougami took half a step back. Apparently the school girl- teacher scenario had just occurred to him too. He gulped. He was Japanese after all.

Shaking himself mentally he continued, pacing a little, less to stretch his legs and more to put some distance between him and his new student. "Today I just want to get an idea of your physical abilities and fitness, then we'll move forward from there". Akane nodded, listening intently and eager to please...

"Ok, you can stop".

Akane ceased her sit ups and lay on her back panting. Kougami's face came into her field vision, his figure seemingly towering above her. "Can you go warm down on your own now?". Akane nodded and stood up trying not to appear to shaky on her feet when in reality all her muscles felt like jelly.

Kougami walked to his water bottle and took a sip. So far he had been fairly impressed with his new student's abilities. But she had been right, she was not physically strong and it made him uncomfortable to know that she had been out in the field while so vulnerable. Even though the enforcers were meant to do the dirty work on jobs, sometimes handlers got bitten in dog fights too. He frowned. He was not meant to feel this way. This protective. Enforcers generally felt animosity towards their handlers and indifference at best, but Akane had been different from the start... Best not to dwell on these confusing feelings he concluded, he'd just have to bring his little inspector up to scratch so he could stop worrying about her.

He walked over to Akane making an inventory of what they had done during the lesson. "So far I'm impressed, you're pretty fast, you've got agility and co-ordination, you pick up technique quickly," and clocking Akane sitting on the ground stretching in a near perfect split he added, "and you've got great flexibility." The last comment hung in the air like a question, Akane blushed and explained, "I used to dance. Ballet."

"Why did you stop? Did you get bored with it?"

"No! I love- I mean, I loved dancing."

"Then why did you quit?" Kougami probed. Akane was somewhat of an enigma to him and the other enforcers. It would be nice to have the upper hand on them with some of her background information.

"I didn't quit..." She sighed and resigned herself to tell him the whole story. "M parents put me in classes when I was very young and I showed a lot of aptitude. They were hopeful that Sybil would choose me to become a famous ballet dancer. The Japanese National Ballet is very prestigious. Not that I cared about any of that, I just loved the feeling and the flow of dancing. The way I felt as though I was in another world, one where normal problems didn't matter but everything rested in the balance of executing the perfect move." Coming out of her reverie she blushed, blushing was becoming quite a habit of hers while she was around Kougami. She continued, though without the dreamy quality her voice had just held "But then I started to do very well in school and it was clear that Sybil would never let my academic abilities go to waste in a Performance Class career type. My parents wanted to pull me out of dance classes straight away but my grandmother made them let me keep going" she smiled sadly. "But then grandmother passed away...".

Kougami frowned and wished he hadn't asked Akane about her past. Usually the worries of others didn't affect him like this. What's wrong with me?

Akane suddenly perked up into her usual cheerful self. "Though I guess Sybil wouldn't have chosen this job for me if it wasn't the one that would bring me true happiness". But behind her overly sunny smile Kougmi still saw a tinge of sadness in Akane's eyes. He was silent for a short while, then he tapped the wrist communicator he was wearing, brought up a holo-screen and typed in a command.

"Here, watch this". On the screen Akane saw two men bow to one another then begin to spar while a crowed looked on. "This", said Kougami, "is from the national Wushu Kung Fu championship this year". The two men were graceful and agile, executing their attacks and defences with the utmost precision. "What do you see?"

Akane was fixated by the scene on the screen. "A dance. I see a dance! Is this what I'll be learning?"

"Something similar, but don't get too ahead of yourself". Kougami gave her a rare smile.

Akane was suddenly very happy and very grateful to Kougmi for cheering her up. She was also suddenly and inexplicably seized with the impulse to kiss Kougami on the cheek to thank him. She was on the point of leaning in when she stopped herself and remembered that she was not a schoolgirl any more and Kougami was not one of her school friends like Yuki or Kaori. She would have kissed either of them on the cheek if they had been sweet to her like Kougami was just now. What Kougami was, she sternly reminded herself, was a co-worker, a subordinate no less! And perhaps most disturbingly... a man.

Instead of kissing him on the cheek Akane stammered out a thank you and said "So I'll see you this time tomorrow?".

Kougami smiled, this time almost condescendingly "I'll see you this time in two days".

Akane was about to protest that she wanted to learn faster than that but she remembered the promise she had made about following all the instructions the was given. So she agreed and they parted ways, each with an odd feeling of elation mixed in with confusing new thoughts.

"GOOOOOOOOOD MORNING!" Akane's almost obscenely cheerful AI housekeeper trilled rousing her from sleep. "Miss Akane has set her alarm for 8:30am but I woke you 15 minutes early because my biometric indicators show that you are showing universal muscle soreness. Would you like to spend the last 15 minutes in bed with the massage mode engaged? It would get your body feeling as great as that sky blue psycho-pass of yours in a jiffy"

It was now that Akane realised why Kougami had insisted they take a two day break between training sessions. She nodded feebly to the housekeeper in the form of a floating jellyfish and almost moaned in pleasure as her bed began to vibrate and loosen her small tired muscles.

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