Lessons

Chapter 5

Next time they met for training the atmosphere was tense.

Kougami began by somewhat formally apologising, and when Akane did not seem inclined to talk, he began their warm-up in sheepish near-silence. To say Akane didn't get some vindictive pleasure from making him uncomfortable would be untrue. She knew he wasn't the type to talk things out when nervous, so she let him sweat through the warm up and punching bag sets. But by the time they moved onto grip breaks she missed the easy companionship she had come to expect from their sessions. When he took her wrist in his hand, instead of breaking the grip, she used it as leverage to pull him right up close her and muttered in his ear "come here little girlie".

There was a pause, and then he burst into laughter which Akane joined.

Soon though, Kougami became aware that Akane was observing him more than she was laughing herself. He broke off abruptly, off-put.

"What is it?"

"Oh nothing" She cocked her head, "I've just never seen you laugh properly, up close before". She regretted the words as they left her mouth, seeing the effect they were having. It was as though a mist was descending over his eyes and shutting her out- turning and into him the sullen, unreachable Kougami she had first met.

"I haven't had anything to laugh about in a while is all...Thank you, I guess".

"Oh? I always try to find something positive, in any situation" Akane mused, looking down as though she was talking half to herself.

"That my little inspector", he reached out and lifted her chin, "is why your psychopass is probably somewhere in the range of lemon-yellow right now, and mine has been inkwell-blue for the last year". He smiled in a melancholy way that gave Akane an ache someone in the region of her chest.

Eager to move to a less dark topic she said: "Anyway I haven't forgiven you for what you did in the car park yet! How will you make it up to me?"

She was relieved to see some life return to his eyes at these words.

"Well I still haven't given up on getting you to use your full strength against me!" She opened her mouth to protest but he continued before she could speak. "But as for making it up to you...how about a new challenge?

"Okay, what new challenge?"

He regarded her with a mix of excitement and anticipation. "Throws."

"Throws?"

"Throws.

Half an hour later Akane was not happy. She was used to having a natural aptitude for almost anything she tried her hand at. But this was just not coming to her.

It was all well and good when he demonstrated throws on her. One moment she was clasping him around the shoulders from behind with all her might. And the next she was sailing through the air and landing mercilessly on the foam mat in front of him. But when it came her turn, she just couldn't get the hang of it. She would end up rolling him uselessly off to the side, where any attacker could easily land on their feet, not their back as they were meant to. It didn't help the the proper technique included pushing oneself firmly back into the attacker to get proper body contact before the throw. She tried her best to just listen to his instructions and cut off the information being relayed to her by the other senses. But to no avail. Eventually she began to find herself unjustifiably angry at Kougami. Does he have to breath against me like that!...Is he always this warm?!

By the end of their session Akane was thoroughly depressed. This was the first time she had failed a task her friend and teacher had set for her. She began to think at one point that this was another ploy to get her frustrated enough to punch him, but he assured her it was not.

Kougami didn't seem too disappointed in her though. However he was even less talkative than usual as they walked down the hall to the changing rooms.

"Oh, I left my sweater in the gym" mumbled the dejected inspector. "Don't wait, I'll see you tomorrow for the evening shift". The Enforcer didn't even turn but raised a hand in acknowledgement as he continued on his way.

Frowning, he worried that Akane would be too upset at her lack of progress and almost went back to comfort her. But in the end he decided against it, someone with a psychopass like hers was the resilient type. Most likely she would just be even more determined next time they trained. Perhaps more importantly, after training throws with the inspector he needed a shower. He scowled down at his sweaty palms. A cold shower.

Akane walked slowly, shoulders slumped and head down until she reached the gym. Then she checked to make sure Kougami had gone and walked purposefully to the bank of practice drones running down the farthermost wall. She would perfect her throws.

Choosing the first one in the row she found it was easily programmable for her needs. She turned her back and felt satisfyingly robot – and not attractive male - arms encircle her. She braced her legs, anchored the arms to her chest, and bent forward at the hips.

CLANG! The robot's metal frame hit the gym floor. She smiled. Not perfect yet, but it will be...


Akane walked down the hall towards the gym with a spring in her step. She had nearly perfected the hip throw Kougami had showed her and was keen to show it off. Though, she thought impishly, I don't need to give him any warning, the memory of the car park incident was still clear in her mind, ...fair's fair.

Her final thought before she walked through the door was to keep an eye out for more trickery. She couldn't fathom any other possible way her teacher could cajole her into punching him with all her power, but she was sure he would try again.

She played coy all through their warm up and regular training. And when Kougami asked, a little apprehensive, "so are you ready to try throws again?" She put on her best, uncertain face and nodded.

He positioned himself behind her and put one arm around her neck and the other around her shoulders, holding her in what felt like an iron vice. Smiling slightly, she let the muscle memory she had built up from her hard hours of practice take over...

Kougami found himself suddenly, and unexpectedly moving through the air am alarming velocity...Time seemed to slow down... and the switch had been flicked. They were no longer Shiyna and Akane training together. He was an Enforcer, and an unexpected threat had been detected. It had to be neutralised. Now. He hit the mat and time sped back up. Twisting on the ground he swept his attackers legs from under her and rolled on top of the target. Straddling across the torso to control the lower body he then pinned the assailant's arms to the ground beside their head.

Threat neutralised, his fugue state lifted abruptly. He was Shinya again and he was...on top of Akane?! She looked up at him, too shocked to even register a facial expression other than wide open eyes. He looked back, panting and equally expressionless. What he did next he would never be able to fully explain to himself. Something, he assumed, to do with the adrenaline coursing through his veins. He closed the space between them and... all of a sudden, his lips were on hers, crashing, moulding to fit the contours of her mouth. He could feel the warmth and shape of her small body under his own and skin tingled where is touched hers. He removed a hand from one of her wrists and began to slide it behind her neck when- BAM! This was the third unexpected sensation Kougami has experienced in under a minute and it took a moment for it to register as exploded behind his eyes and he reeled back.

"You-you punched me!"

Akane, still beneath him seemed just as surprised and still said nothing. Both hands free now she simply massaged a sore right fist with her left hand.

Senses rapidly returning to him he rolled off her and onto his back a few feet away. They lay there for a moment, both breathing heavily until, Kougami heard a strange choking sound coming from the figure next to him. Panic rose inside him, had he seriously hurt her?! Slowly he realised the noise was...laughter?! Akane was laughing so hard she could hardly breath. When she did manage to draw a breath she rolled onto her hands and knees and said: "You. Complete. Arse-hole". The Inspector was not at all prone to bad language but she felt justified on this occasion. "You said you hadn't given up, but I didn't think..." she devolved again into a fit of mirth. Slowly he began to realise: She thinks I planned this! To make her punch me!.

Kougami's first reaction was to feel a slight sting to his pride. Never before had he kissed a woman only to have her laugh in his face like it was a joke. But upon collecting his thoughts, he realised this was the best possible outcome. He didn't know what happened to enforcers who made legitimate sexual advances on inspectors, but he was sure it wasn't good. This way was best, he was off the hook, though he couldn't help but still feel a bit deflated. With all these thoughts swirling in his head, all he manage to give Akane in reply was a grin, which she took as confirmation and lay down again to laugh.

Later that night in her apartment Akane lay on her bed thinking very hard. She wasn't entirely sure why she reacted the way she did. Hitting him was a reaction of pure reflex. Even just thinking about it, the feeling of being so helpless, so...possessed by another made adrenaline course through her.

She guessed the laughter was just a release of tension. If she'd had better control of her senses she probably would have been more mad. I mean honestly, who goes to those lengths just to teach a lesson about punching?...That was why he kissed me wasn't it? At the time it seemed to be the only conceivable had assumed the growing attraction she felt was one sided. Then again her experience with men was almost non existent, meaning if there were clues, I would have missed them. Sure he was friendly, but could he be attracted to her? She surveyed her modest curves and sighed, I don't think I'm his type.


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