labyrinthmess: (all alone with you)
[personal profile] labyrinthmess
Title: And Here We Are Again / After Stories
Rating/Genre: PG-13. Drama/Romance
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Tsunemori Akane / Kougami Shinya
Summary: And here we are again, once more, standing over the edge – breathing, faltering.

A/N: Set post-series, several years into the future, where Akane and Shinya meet again. Inspired in part by these two lovely fanart and fancomic, and also by this beautiful song.


~.*.~


"if you're not too long, i will wait here for you all my life."
Oscar Wilde

.



It always takes her by surprise in the mornings; the way the light filters through the glass, casting diamond-shaped fractals on the ground; the chill that bites through layers of clothing, getting under her skin and into her bones; the muffled sounds of the city awakening from slumber, slow and sluggish.

Akane walks briskly through the streets, hands tucked away in her coat pockets to keep them from morning breeze, her breath coming out in little puffs of vapour. It’s not the first time she’s been sent for work in New York, but it’s her first experience of autumn outside of Japan.

Due to Project 2501 and the Substance-D drug trafficking incident a year ago, the MWPSB have been working closely with the FBI and as well as sending over their Inspectors and Enforcers for exchange training programs with the NYPD. Five years since the incident with Makishima Shogo and Japan is slowly learning to open up its borders to the world once more – like a flower kept too long in the dark, unfurling each petal slowly, one by one, to drink and soak up all the light it’d hidden from before. SIBYL still held governance over public welfare and a person’s entire livelihood and future is still very much pre-determined for the average Japanese citizen. Citizens and foreigners alike are not free to travel in and out of Japan just yet, but even the administrators have begun to see the importance of maintaining trade with other countries, and at the very least, they are willing to learn and adapt, to grow and exchange knowledge, to change.

Akane is unusually early this morning; most days she would meet the rest of Unit 1 for breakfast in the dining area, before heading over to the training centre.

She’d woken from a dream at dawn – her heart drumming so fast within her chest it hurt, her breaths escaping in gasps as she tried to chase away the images of blurred faces – Yuki, Kagari, Masaoka-san… Kougami?

Unable to fall back asleep, she’d felt the need to leave her room – choosing now to wander the streets aimlessly; to watch the sun crawl languidly from its metallic nest of skyscrapers lining the horizon and climb upwards seeking the sky; to feel the cold kiss of autumn brush against her cheek.

To just breathe and remember how it is to feel alive.

(Masaoka-san would have loved to see the sunrise here, she thinks – he'd shown her his paintings of the sky at dawn and dusk, sharing his fascination with how the colours turn with each passing minute, a flurry of emotions manifest in every shade. Now Kagari-chan... he'd probably whined for having being forced up this early just to watch the sunrise – especially if he wasn’t on duty. Akane smiles a little at the thought.)

As she makes her way through the sparse crowd, thinking to get herself some hot coffee, she hears a commotion several metres ahead of her. She looks up to see a man (a thief) threatening a woman and her son with a knife, one hand reaching out to snatch away the woman’s purse.

The boy – too young, too naïve, but so recklessly brave – moves to grab the man’s wrist, to wrestle him away from his mother. The thief clicks his tongue in annoyance and slashes at the boy with the knife–

–and Akane rushes forward, grabbing the nearest object she can (a rolled-up newspaper from a nearby roadside stand) and she flings it his way, catching him on the side of the head. Grunting in shock, the thief stumbles, his knife cutting through thin air just as the boy dodges the blow and wrenches his mother free from the thief’s hold.

"Police! Drop your weapon!" Akane commands, reaching for her Dominator. Here, without SIBYL’s governance, she can’t measure the man’s Crime Coefficient. But the gun is locked in Paralyser mode and she can still shoot if she has too. The thief curses and bolts from the street, purse clutched tightly to his chest.

Akane gives the woman and her son a quick glance-over, ensuring that the two are unhurt, before she chases after the man, following him as he runs towards the city park.

She nearly loses sight of him when he forces his way through rows of neatly-trimmed bushes. Akane bites back a silent curse as she presses forward – only to hear a sharp gasp of surprise, followed by a cry of pain. When she finally turns into the corner, she sees the thief overpowered by another man – one who she recognises.

She freezes in her tracks, eyes wide as if she's seen a ghost; flashes of memories from a time long past.

The thief struggles, but he's held in a tight grip by the other, taller man. One arm is twisted painfully behind him and the fight would have ended easily had she not let her voice ring out as she calls, "Kougami-san...?"

Kougami starts when he hears the approaching footsteps, hears his name in that all-too-familiar voice.

"Akane." There is an edge to his voice, though not as brusque as she remembers from years before. It’s softer, gentler, with something akin to fondness.

A momentary silence passes between them, their gazes still trained on each other as both struggle to find the right words to speak.

It isn’t a long pause, but it’s enough for the thief to gather his wits about him. Wresting his arm from Kougami’s grip, he pulls free and slashes upwards with his knife.

Kougami's hiss of pain sends a cold tingle of fear down her spine; colder than the autumn chill, cold like ice. He winces and steps back, blood trickling from a gash in his left arm.

Shinya!” Akane rushes forward and before either man can move, she aims the Dominator and shoots. The thief crumples to the ground easily, a piece of broken toy discarded by a child.

Akane lets out a sigh of relief, lowering her gun and keys a quick report through her wrist communicator – the drones will arrive soon enough to pick up the thief. She reaches out for Kougami then, deep concern in her eyes as she asks, “Are you badly hurt?”

Kougami only shrugs, that familiar half-smirk playing around the corners of his lips. “It’s just a cut… it’s nothing serious–”

She takes his hand in hers nonetheless, checking over it before she reaches into her coat pocket for a handkerchief and begins to dress the wound.

“Akane–”

“Kougami-san–”

They pause, only to chuckle awkwardly, realising they’d both spoken at the same time.

Akane offers him a tiny smile. “It’s been a while, Kougami-san.”

“Ah, it has.”

“It seems like you’re doing well.”

“It’s… different from before, and it takes some getting used to but…” Kougami winces when Akane tightens the knot around her makeshift bandage. “It’s been good overall, though it gets hard to find odd jobs at this time of the year. Maybe I’ll have to consider that part-time barista job over at the coffeehouse downtown.”

"E-Eh? Really?" Akane’s eyebrows quirk in surprise. She tries to imagine him wearing a green barista apron, with the coffeehouse logo emblazoned on the side and a neat, black name-tag pinned on his shirt.

The look on her face must have given her thoughts away, because Kougami's lips are curved into a wider smile now, before he bursts into peals of laughter (she doesn't think she's ever heard him laugh like this before).

She chuckles along then, finally catching on that he'd only been teasing her. When she lifts her gaze to meet Kougami's, she could only smile, feeling the stir of emotions and relief within her as she softly says, "I'm glad you're all right, Kougami-san."

And she means it, she does; she's really happy to see him again. So why then, are there tears in her eyes now? She isn't sure.

A strange look crosses Kougami's face. It's a tiny flicker in his otherwise pokerfaced expression, but she knows it's there (she always has). He turns away and the tensed silence stretches between them, a glass wall of unsaid desires rising from the depths of their hearts.

When Kougami turns to face her again, his gaze softens, and tentatively, cautiously, he reaches out to her. Leaning forward so that his forehead touches hers, he brushes his fingers at her tears, and says, "I'm glad you're okay too. And I'm sorry. For everything."

And then she's smiling again, chuckling through her tears and lifting a hand to bop him lightly on the nose as she says, "Idiot. There's nothing to apologise for."

Things would never go back the way they were before, this much she knows.

But for now–

(Here alone, with her arms gathered around his neck in a tight embrace, the sounds of the city in the backdrop and feeling his touch, his hold around her, his voice; feeling all of that and knowing he's alive, he's well)

–for now, it's enough for her, for them, to start over and to begin anew.


.

and here we are again
once more
standing over the edge
breathing-
faltering-

another place to find,
another place to fall,

but we'll go together
once more
(you and i)

we'll share it together;
love
hurt
and sin.

walking alone with you
together
once more.


.



–End–

______

I love Psycho-Pass (and these two) so much it hurts, and I really enjoyed writing this one. In all honesty, I’m sure that the phone-call Ko made to Akane to bid farewell was probably the last time they’d both speak to each other again. Because I don’t think 2112 Japan would readily open its borders for at least the next 20 years? So if they were to ever meet again (which is highly unlikely), it’d probably be somewhere outside of Japan, and away from SIBYL. Ahhh, my poor, tragic OTP ;_; Still, one can always pretend and imagine a happier ending for the two right? So this is my take on it :’)

The joke about Ko working as a barista was a silly brainfart I had few nights ago ^^; In all seriousness, he probably work as a freelance fitness/martial art instructor or some odd-job or other Yorozuya Kou-san!, and maaaaaybe a side vigilante job at night (plot-twist: he's secretly BATMAN! NANANANANA)... idek, lol.

Maybe I’ll write more PP/Kogane 'after stories' one-shots in future, if I'm inspired to ♥


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