(A/N: I have been rolling over this idea for a while, now, and I had to get it out. I hope you enjoy. Thank you to kanshikan-sama for going over it and pointing out my mistakes!!)
Akane looked at herself in the full body mirror that was in front of her.
Her eyes were swollen and puffy from crying so much. They were tears of joy, but they still ruined the make up that Yuki had worked so hard on.
The bottom of her white dress had a little brown spot from a cousin accidentally getting chocolate on it while hugging her. Her aunt was so embarassed and couldn’t stop apologizing.
Akane insisted that it was completely okay, and that it was only a dress that she would wear once. The more stories that she had wearing it, the better.
It was a miracle that she had gotten married. A true miracle.
No one ever thought she would, even herself. Not after Hirako Katsumi.
She swallowed hard, remembering the horrible things that he did to her.
It took her forever after she became friends with the man that would become her husband to fully admit why she couldn’t look any man in the eye.
Normally, the guys that tried to date Akane would have given up after hearing that she was sexually defiled and beaten on a regular basis. They would try for a little while to get her to at least hold their hand or try a simple kiss, but once they realized just how damaged that the monster had left her, they stopped trying. They would always leave her, saying that it wasn’t their job to try and fix her.
She started to become resentful after that.
She only needed her two friends and family, and that’s all that mattered.
Until the day that one of her very few male friends had called her.
Nobuchika Ginoza’s father was the inspector who had taken him in.
The older man had stopped by her home a few days after the incident to inform her that he would be staying away for a very long time to get treatment. He had brought his son along, who was a rookie with the PSB. Masaoka said that he just wanted to show him that even the victim in a case, such as the one Akane had been a part of, was still the responsibility of the arresting Inspector.
The young man started to come by with his father on regular visits to see how she was. Sometimes he would show up alone, so it was lucky that she lived with her best friends.
Soon, Ginoza had become one of her treasured friends. Mostly because he always reassured her that he wasn’t interested in dating her. He said that his job was more important than finding a girlfriend at the moment.
When he had called her, he had told her that he wanted to meet up and have some drinks with some friends. Akane agreed, saying that she would invite Minase and Funahara, but Ginoza insisted that she needed to come alone.
Akane gave in to his wishes and showed up at their favorite lounge that night, only to discover that he was only with a single man.
She swallowed hard and approached the table they were seated at, trying to force a smile.
“Akane, this is one of my childhood friends. He just transferred to the department here.”
The man cooly held out his hand. “The name’s Kogami Shinya.”
Akane nervously too his hand and he shook it.
She still remembered how rough the skin on his palms were the first time they met.
The three of them had a great time together that night. Akane found out that Gino didn’t want Kaori or Yuki to come because he knew how boy crazy they were and when he put it together with Kogami’s reputation of women flocking to him, he just didn’t see it as a good night.
Come to find out, Kogami was extremely uncomfortable around women. Akane didn’t find that out until Ginoza had invited him to join them for Akane’s birthday party a few weeks later.
That made Akane breathe easier. If he couldn’t handle being around women, he wouldn’t try anything with her.
Her and Shinya began to talk almost all the time. He was a very intellectual and cool person, and Akane really liked that about him.
They had known each other for almost a year when he made his move.
They were at a bar with Ginoza and their small group of friends. Akane had just gotten news that she was going to be entering the Instruction Center of the PSB, and it was a time to celebrate. She would be working with two of her closest friends to stop situations like hers from happening.
She came out of the bathroom, and Shinya had seemed to have been waiting outside.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were waiting to go. Sorry I took so long in there.” She said, stepping aside to let him in.
“I-” Kogami cleared his throat. “Um. I actually came here because I wanted to talk to you.”
“In the bathroom?” Akane chuckled. “I was coming right back to the table, you know.”
“I know that, but I didn’t want anyone else to hear what I had to say.” The Inspector shifted his gaze.
“Is everything okay?”
“Well, you see, Tsunemori… Since you will be working with me and Gino in a few years, I just wanted to get something off of my chest.”
“Okay…?” She raised her eyebrow. She had never seen Kogami this nervous before.
“I…” He took a deep breath. “I really like you, Tsunemori.” He looked up at her with a serious look on his face.
Akane felt like she had just been punched in the gut.
All Shinya could think was the age difference was the thing that was bothering her. He never guessed that she would be the kind of person to feel that way.
But he didn’t know about her past relationship with the monster.
Akane clinched her teeth together and glared up at him with tears in her eyes. Was that the whole reason he had gotten close to her?
“Screw you, Kogami Shinya.” She choked out and ran out of the bar.
Kogami was left behind, staring after her in shock. He had never seen Tsunemori act like that.
He groaned and went back to the table that Ginoza was at. Kaori and Yuki had ran after Akane when they saw her storm out.
“What was that about?” Gino asked his best friend.
“I told her.” Kogami sighed and ordered the strongest drink he could get from the waiter.
“You told her what?”
“I told her that I have feelings for her.”
Ginoza’s eyes widened. “You did what?” He hissed. “Do you realize what you have done?”
“No, quite frankly, I don’t.” Shinya glared at the man next to him. “I could have sworn that she felt the same way, but I guess I’m just as bad with women as you are Gino.”
“But she does have feelings for you, Ko.” Gino flatly stated, ignoring the comment about his own love life.
“I don’t think ‘Screw you, Kogami Shinya’ means the same thing to you as it does to me.” He rolled his eyes and took his drink that the waiter had just brought to him.
“She never told you how we met, has she?”
“I just know that you met through work. So?” He brought the glass to his lips and started to take a drink
“She’s an abuse victim, Ko.”
The Inspector started to choke on his drink. “Wh-what?”
“Come on. You have known her for a year and you couldn’t tell that she has all of the signs?”
Kogami stared at Gino in shock.
He knew that Akane was always on edge about something, her smiles were always forced, especially when in crowded places and she hardly slept.
There were also those times that she was unable to make eye contact with him when they first met.
All were signs of PTSD, and he didn’t even think to mentally note that.
“If you knew the things that this guy did to her, Ko…” Gino couldn’t even finish his sentence. He was there when his father interogated the evil monster that had harmed her for almost a full two years.
He looked up and noticed that his friend had left. There was money on the table, which also meant that Gino was most likely going to need a ride home.
Kogami raced to Akane’s apartment and frantically began to knock on the door.
When she opened it and saw that it was him, she started to close it again.
“Wait!” He said, putting his body in the doorway. “I’m sorry, Tsunemori. I’m so sorry.”
Tears had been flowing nonstop since she left the bar. How could a man that she allowed herself to be close with suddenly spring something like he had on her?
She knew that she felt the same way, but she didn’t want to take chances on being hurt again. The only option she had, now that she knew that he felt the same, was to push him away.
“I don’t care.” She spat out. “You are just like all men that I have even gotten close to!”
“I’m not him, Tsunemori!” Kogami shouted.
Akane backed up. How did he know?
“Ginoza told me.” He said, answering the question that was evident on her face. “You can get angry about that later, but please listen to me.”
He stepped forward in to her apartment, and she subconsciously took an equally step back, trying to keep the distance between them.
“Tsunemori, I’m sorry that I didn’t know before. If I had, I would have gone about this completely different.”
“You can’t fix me, Kogami.” Her voice came out shaky.
“I don’t want to fix you, Tsunemori.” He said in a gentle tone. “I want to prove to you that not all men are monsters.”
“Every one of my exes have told me the same thing.” Akane glared. “I’m not going to buy in to it again.”
“Then don’t buy in to my words. Let me show you with my actions.”
Akane looked up, finally managing to make eye contact with his beautiful blue eyes that were filled with sincerity.
“I don’t care how long it will take, I will stay by your side until you truly want me to go.” He gave her a pleading look. “Please give me the chance to teach you what love really is, Akane.”
Her heart skipped a beat when she heard her name come from his lips. He had never called her by her first name before.
Her back was now against the wall, and she had nowhere to go.
Kogami was careful to keep his distance from her, but he made it clear that he wasn’t going to leave her alone until he got his answer.
If she truly wanted him to leave and never speak to her again, he would honor her wishes and go back to the department that he was at before.
But if there was any chance that he had with her, he would prove to her that he was indeed not like the rest of the men she had known.
“… I get to choose our pace?” She finally asked after what felt like endless moments of silence.
“Yes.” He nodded. “I will never do anything– not even hold your hand, with out your okay.”
Akane bit her lip, and looked away. “No sex?”
“Not unless you are ready.” He said.
The small woman took a shaky breath.
“Akane, this isn’t just about my physical attraction to you.” Shinya stepped closer and got her too look at him in the eyes again.
“I like you because you’re you. You’re passionate about the law and other people’s well-being. You are smart and kind, and I can’t ever get you out of my head. You are an amazing woman, and I know that I am not worthy of you… But please… At least give me the benefit of the doubt.”
He searched her brown eyes for some hints of an answer.
It wasn’t like him to pursue a woman like this, but there was something about her. He wanted to leave knowing that he did all he could to keep their friendship safe at least.
“Okay.” She finally nodded. “But if you try anything, even once, I will never forgive you.”
Kogami gave her a smile and held out his hand.
Akane looked down at it, uncertain.
“It’s just a handshake.”
She looked at him, surprised. He was serious about this after all.
They went from small things like handshakes at the end of dates, to him holding her hand when they went out.
Akane didn’t know how to feel at first. It was like she had to learn how to accept romantic affection again.
There was one night, after he took her to a festival and they had watched the fireworks, she finally became brave enough to hug him.
All of the other couples looked at them weird, because it was normal custom to kiss when the fireworks went off, but to Kogami it was even better than a kiss.
She began to hug him more often, and that made them feel like they were making progress.
Every Friday night, they would stay in and watch movies together. Akane usually sat on the opposite end from him on his couch as they watched their selections.
Kogami paused the movie and looked at her.
“Is something wrong?” She asked, confused.
“Can… I hold you tonight?” He hesitantly asked.
Akane’s heart started beating fast. Hugging was one thing, but for him to hold her through a whole movie?
“I-I don’t know.” She answered, quickly looking away.
He nodded his head, knowing that she wasn’t comfortable with the idea.
“Don’t worry about it.” He reached for the remote to turn the movie back on, but he stopped when he felt warmth on his left shoulder.
He looked over, surprised to see her next to him. He could tell by her face that she was really pushing herself to try this out with him.
“Here.” Shinya said, shifting his position to where she was now laying on him. He wrapped his arms around her, as if he were giving her a hug.
Akane stiffened for a moment, but then relaxed in to his embrace. She actually felt safe for the first time in a long while being held like this.
She began to feel that deep down, he was the one she had been craving to find.
As their relationship progressed, Akane became used to physical interaction with her lover.
They had still not gone past embracing each other, so Akane was surprised the night that he proposed.
He texted her, telling her to meet him at the lounge where they first met. When she got there, she expected for it to be crowded, but it was completely empty.
She thought that it was closed, so she started to walk out.
“Wait. We have your table ready.” A waitress said, coming out from the back room. “Right this way.”
Akane looked at her suspiciously. Just what was her boyfriend doing?
Once the waitress had her sit down, she quietly left the room to go and retrieve a bottle of wine.
Akane looked around the dim room, looking for any evidence of her lover’s presence.
She was surprised when a set of strong arms reached around her to fill her glass with wine.
“What is all of this?” She asked, trying to contain the silly grin she had on her face.
“Well, I would like to call it our fourth anniversary.” Shinya smirked.
“You bought out the whole place?”
“Four years is a big deal.” He said, sitting across from her.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” She smiled.
“So is forever.”
Shinya rubbed the back of his neck, something that he always did when he was nervous about saying something.
“I was going to wait until the end of the night, but I really can’t do that.” He said, taking something out of his pocket and standing back up.
“Shinya, you aren’t…?”
He looked at her with a serious expression as he knelt down next to her chair and held out what was in his hand.
“Tsunemori Akane, I mean it when I say that forever is a serious thing.” He began.
Akane’s heart started beating fast. Was this really happening?
“Will you spend your forever with me?”
The young woman gasped when he opened the box he held, revealing one of the most beautiful engagement rings she had ever laid her eyes on.
She quickly nodded her head, tears spilling over her eyes.
He placed the ring on her, and she started to make one of the boldest moves she had ever made since they had been together.
Shinya quickly put his hand between their lips just before she could kiss him.
“Wh-what?” She looked up at him, confused.
“I want to wait for a day even more special than right now for that, Akane.” He said, standing up straight and patting her back as he circled around her seat to go back to his chair.
Akane understood what he meant by that.
They had gone for so long at her pace, that it was time to let him take the lead.
She would be happy to wait for his definition of the perfect moment.
The perfect moment that he had chosen was when their marriage had been sealed with a kiss.
It had been years since Akane had kissed someone, so it felt like her very first.
Her lover had kept his promise.
He taught her how to love again.
She smiled to herself, as she looked down at her left hand that now had her wedding band next to the ring he had proposed with.
“You know, you should get out of that gown. It’s getting pretty late.” A voice said as strong arms held her from behind. Instead of tensing up, she relaxed completely in to the familiar embrace.
“I can’t help it. I don’t want the day to end.” Akane looked up to her groom.
“Then let’s stay up.” He smiled down at her. “We can watch something.”
He was really something else. Even though it was their wedding night, Shinya didn’t push for sex. Just like he had promised that night.
“No.” She shook her head and gave him a shy smile. “I think I have a better idea.”
“Oh?” He looked at her, not knowing what she was trying to suggest.
Akane turned and reached up to him on her tip toes and kissed him long and passionate.
He picked her up and carried her in to the bedroom, now getting the idea.
Akane knew that tonight would be the night that Shinya would completely heal the scars that the monster of the past left behind.