Semper Mine (Chapter Eight: Katya, page 2 of 10)

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"Now that your partner's here, I'll take off," she says to Captain Mathis. "Have fun!"

She leaves, taking with her the cheerful atmosphere.

Captain Mathis and I gaze at each other.

"Five o'clock," he begins.

"If you have coffee ready at that hour, I'll consider it."

His jaw clenches. "Do you have any self-defense training?"

"No. Baba said that's why I had two brothers."

"Everyone should know something," Captain Mathis replies. "I know you can slap. Punch?"

I almost smile but shake my head.

"This will be interesting," he states and beckons me towards him. "I want to teach the kids some basics."

"Train them to kill young?" I ask, glaring at him.

Captain Mathis watches the running kids. "Train them to take care of themselves. A sense of vulnerability often comes with the death of a loved one. It might help build confidence and …" He faces me and stops.

The awkward silence is heavy. I'm trying to keep my face expressionless, but not emoting is not my forte. It's too early to hide the pain I feel at the reminder. Captain Mathis searches my face briefly with his brown eyes then takes a step towards me.

It's hard for me not to want to scream every time we stumble on even the most innocent inference to Mikael's death. I can't forget that my brother isn't coming home because of the man standing in front of me.

"It'll be good for you to learn," he says and rests his hands on my shoulders, shifting my body. He squares me to face him. "This is a good stance for you for our drills."

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