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Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 3 – Take These Broken Wings

In the Ring

Saône-et-Loire, France,
July 11, 2400
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De La Fontaine Boxing Gym – 0900

“You gotta stay light on your feet, Jules.  Bend the knees, and stay on your toes.” Kondo stood in one of the five boxing rings in his father’s sprawling boxing facility.  He was coaching the Chief Counselor, Juliet Woodward, and showing her the opening pieces of the boxing puzzle.  They had gone to the funerals over the last few days.  Today was the first day coming out of the fog of loss and he’d decided to get her into the ring to see if it would help both of them process through the trauma and tragedy.  They were both in boxing shorts and light t-shirts, armed with gloves on both hands as Kondo went through the various positions in boxing.  As he continued to work with her, he revisited the feeling he experienced with her before.  Something had stirred in him.  She was a sprite and a spitfire in all that she did – as they had traveled from the Edinburgh to the funerals and back home she’d given him comfort and sass in the right moments.  He wasn’t sure how to feel about her, but something was between them.  He just wasn’t sure if it was true…or if the trauma was influencing his feelings.  They continued drills and practice until he called time.  They rolled out of the ring and sat down with their water bottles and snacks from his mother’s kitchen.  The sound of gloves on bags and sparring echoed off the walls and ceiling as they sat.

“Y’all know how to relieve that stress, Kon.  I could do this all day every day.”  She drained her water and went to work on the croissants.  “You gotta lotta pictures up around here.  You seem like some kind of badass.”

The Chief Tactical and Security officer chuckled, “I needed a place for an outlet when I was young.  Finding trouble became my trouble.  My father put me in the ring…helped me put my feelings into a place where they belonged…and was accepted.”  He drank deeply from his water before continuing, “It put me on a path of goodness.  Boxed through the Academy…won a few medals.  I still put on gloves several times a week to keep up my strength.”  He pointed to his head, “…and to help my mind find balance.”

Woodward admired him.  She also didn’t mind looking at him, literally.  “You think you could coach me when we’re back on the Eddie?  I could use some of this balance you talk ‘bout.”

De La Fontaine gave her a nod as he snagged another croissant, “I’m willing to teach…but are you willing to learn?”  He let a sly smile slip his lips.

She cackled, “You flirting with me, Kon?”

He shrugged nonchalantly but inside was worried she was about to turn him down, “It is entirely possible that is occurring.”

Juliet gave him a long look and slipped on her gloves, “Let’s take this banter into the ring.  I like to flirt with my hands.”

Kondo laughed deeply as he put his gloves on, “Let us see what I can teach you.”