"Ok, but was it like, a kiss? Or a kiss?"
"Aw man, what if it was more than a kiss?
Law's eyebrow twitched as Penguin and Shachi continued to speculate what exactly happened between him and Skylar. Apparently, she'd let it slip through a text and then left him to deal with the mess. That on top of the fact that it happened had him ready to tear his brain out and throw it through a window. It was only a kiss, for God's sake, how did this become such a mess?
"If you're just gonna keep badgering me, I'm leaving." He said, standing up and calling Bepo over. The samoyed hurried to him, claws clacking against the hardwood floor as Law got his leash ready. Sometimes Law had to wonder how he, a man who'd shunned all thoughts of pets in his childhood, had ended up with such a close relationship with one. Bepo had shown up a few years ago, eating scraps out of their garbage cans as a puppy. Law had thought about shooing him away, but then he turned those puppy eyes on him, and he hadn't been able to. Not that he wanted that information to get out. He usually blamed it on Cora-san.
"Aw come on, Law! You guys have gotta give us something!"
"It sounds like she did give you something. I'm under no obligation to give you more. In fact, I've practically forgotten about it already. It was a kiss, now let. It. Go." He ground out, letting Bepo lead him out the door. He left it open, sure the two would follow after a moment, and as he heard their footsteps thundering down the street after him, he knew he was right.
"Fine, fine, we'll let it go. For now," Penguin grinned at him.
"Give it a couple hours, get you to let your guard down a bit. We'll get our answers," Shachi continued, also grinning from Law's other side. Law just stared ahead with a raised eyebrow.
"Well, now I'll be expecting it, so thanks for the warning."
They walked a few blocks, enjoying the sun and the fresh air. A few clouds filled the sky, but Law wasn't worried about rain, and the warm breeze did wonders to help lift his mood as Penguin and Shachi bickered behind him about something or another.
"Oh hey, she's working today, right? We should go visit!" Penguin said, innocently. Law's fist clenched around Bepo's leash as he realized they were right outside the restaurant Skylar worked at. He stared at the building, jaw clenching as he tried to come to a decision.
On the one hand, if the kiss was really no big deal, he should be able to act like a professional about it, ignore it ever happened. He'd be able to just go through his life like he always did, including visiting her for an early dinner like they'd always been able to do in the past. Even as her teacher, as long as no lines were crossed, he'd been able to still maintain a friendly relationship with Skylar without issue. If it was truly no big deal, he'd be able to move past it without issue.
On the other hand, he probably shouldn't stoke the flames of what had been an awkward encounter. He had no idea what her feelings were regarding the incident, and he didn't need her getting the wrong idea. Professionally, he should keep his distance. Personally, he wasn't sure he'd be able to have a conversation with her right now anyway.
He'd never admit it to his friends, even with their constant badgering, but Law hadn't been able to stop thinking about what happened. He'd gone over it multiple times in his head; the way he'd been leaning close to her, close enough to catch the peppermint scent of her shampoo, how her soft hand had felt against his cheek when she'd touched him, how dainty her wrist felt when he'd grabbed it out of surprise. But most of all it was her lips, so soft and delicate and warm and why couldn't he stop thinking about it? Why couldn't he get her face out of his head; when she'd realized what she'd done and their eyes met, shocked and surprised and yet not upset, almost as if they'd both liked it-
He cut his thoughts off with a shake of his head. Bepo rubbed against his legs affectionately, sensing his tension, and Shachi and Penguin stared at him, waiting for an answer.
"You guys go, I've got papers to grade. Have fun," he turned, ready to leave, then stopped and turned back towards them. "Shachi, can you help her with geometry? I was supposed to…" Law trailed off, not needing to say it, and Shachi nodded. And so Law walked off, leaving them pouting before they finally turned to enter the building. As he turned the corner, he felt like slapping himself, but he let Bepo lead them the three blocks back home, hoping that maybe he'd be able to drown himself in book reports and term papers so he wouldn't have to deal with this anymore.
"Skylar-chwaaaan!~ Do you have table 3 ready, darling?"
"Right here, Sanji! Still waiting for sides, though," Skylar called back to the blond cook.
"OI! WHO'S GOT MY FRIES?!" He then yelled to the other cook on duty. It really wasn't fair, she thought, as the guy was new, but then again how hard was it to keep fries warm? She'd also caught him eating cheese curds off the line the other night, she supposed, so she shouldn't be surprised at Sanji's anger.
The nice thing about working on a Saturday evening was it went quick, quick enough that Skylar couldn't focus on anything other than orders. Her break was fast approaching, though, and for the first time she was dreading it. Maybe she could work through it without Sanji or the owner noticing. She dashed that thought as soon as she had it. Sanji was so tuned into the girls working there, he'd know immediately if she missed her break. There goes that idea.
As if to further cement her luck, just then Shachi and Penguin walked in, just barely visible to her from the kitchen. They waved to her, shouted to come join them when she went on break, and the hostess, Pudding, hurriedly showed them to a table on the other side of the dining room. She didn't see any sign of a certain teacher though, so maybe she'd gotten somewhat lucky. Not likely.
"Skylar-chwan, you can go on break now!~ I'll take care of everything, don't you worry your pretty head," Sanji told her, nearly floating off the linoleum floor as he came near her.
"Thanks, Sanji. I'll be back in a half hour. If you get a chance in between orders, can you make me a special? Don't worry about it if you're busy, I can always eat later."
"Nonsense! I'll start it now!" Sure enough, as soon as he turned around the pile of tickets he'd already had got shoved further back as he started on something that definitely wasn't on the menu, but she knew better than to scold him. Besides, when the owner's your adopted father you can pretty much do whatever you want. And if he couldn't, that was Zeff's problem.
Skylar made her way over to Penguin and Shachi's table, silently sitting down in the booth next to Shachi while sucking on her straw. She took off her bandana, running her fingers through sweat-soaked silver hair, as she braced herself for what was sure to be a dinner full of awkward questioning.
"Alright, lay it on me," she told them, crossing her arms and leaning back.
"Nah, we'll let you eat first," Shachi said around a mouthful of breadsticks. She and Penguin grimaced, watching as bits of bread flew onto the table.
"Remind me why we let you out in public?" Penguin asked him. Shachi just flipped him off, and Skylar set her head in her hand as she waited for her food. No way was she touching those breadsticks now. All around her, she could hear the grumblings of people waiting for their food, wondering why it was taking so long. Maybe hers would take a while too, and then she'd have no time for questioning after she finished eating.
Her hopes were dashed when Sanji himself delivered her food a moment later.
"Man, you always get such special treatment," Shachi complained, continuing to wait for his own meal.
"Believe me, if you want his attention instead, I won't complain. Not sure you're his type though."
"Yeah, you gotta grow a pair of tits first, Shach," Penguin snickered. Shachi threw a breadstick at him.
"Yeah, or dye your hair moss green," Skylar laughed, avoiding her own breadstick as just then the waitress delivered their own dishes. "So, just you guys today, huh?" Why did she ask that?
"Wondering where your boy toy is?" Penguin asked with a smile. There were no more breadsticks. "He was with us, but he said he had papers to grade."
"Oh, gotcha…" Skylar trailed off, continuing to eat her seafood pasta. She may curse the special treatment, but damn if that boy couldn't cook.
"There was a pretty big stack of them in his living room. He's probably not avoiding you, Skylar-chan." Penguin shot Shachi a glare.
"Nice, that'll make her feel better."
"I feel fine! For crying out loud, you guys, I said to let it go!"
"Come ooooon, we're curious! He won't say anything, and you haven't let anything else slip, so all we can do is speculate!"
"There's nothing to speculate! It's exactly as I told you. Just a kiss, totally on accident, and never going to happen again. Now let me fucking eat, you animals!" She hadn't meant to snap, but she wished they'd drop it already. She just wanted to move on, she didn't want to continue to be too embarrassed to even think about Law.
Shachi looked as though he was about to keep pestering her, but Penguin's hand on his shoulder stopped him, and the three quietly continued their meal. At the end of Skylar's 30-minute break she bid them farewell, promising to message them later that weekend when she was available.
"Oh, hey wait! I almost forgot! Wanna get together after your shift and work on your math? I was told you needed some help with it," Skylar bit her cheek, annoyed because she knew Law had put him up to this. He was good at math, though, and was going to school for engineering.
"I don't think I'll have time, actually. I close tonight, so I won't be done until probably close to 1:00. I'll let you know though, ok? Thanks, Shachi." They waved goodbye, and Skylar went back to the kitchen to scold Sanji for holding up the other tables.
The rest of her shift passed in a blur; Sanji went home, then Pudding, and before long it was just Skylar and the new guy, whose name she still couldn't remember. Oh well. They went to lock the door behind the last waitress, and Skylar was surprised when he asked to go home early. Something about homework. I can relate...she thought, and so she let him go, locking the doors behind him. Skylar then spent another hour cleaning the kitchen top to bottom, scraping the grill and oven racks, not leaving even an inch unclean. Part of it was because she knew Zeff, and Sanji, took pride in their kitchen, and so she wanted to reflect that. The other reason was it allowed her to forget things for just a little longer. She wasn't worried about the time, it was a nice night and it wouldn't take too long to walk to Nami's, so she didn't let herself worry about taking too long to clean up.
Though she should have, she thought, dismayed when she went to leave and saw that it was pouring rain. Great. She thought about calling Nami, or Nojiko, but one glance at the clock told her it was much too late to be making phone calls. They were used to her couch surfing on occasion after work, so there was no reason to think they stayed up for her. She took another look outside, unsure if it was her imagination or if the rain was actually lightening up, then squared her shoulders and headed outside, locking the door behind her.
"Just down a few side alleys and I'll be home free, no worse for wear," she told herself, figuring the roof cover the alleyways provided would be enough to keep her from getting sick, and set off vaguely in the direction of Nami's house.
"Don't give me that look, you're the one who wanted to take a walk in the rain," Law told the soaking wet and pouting white dog in front of him. He was currently trying to share Law's umbrella, which unfortunately meant he was getting water all over Law's pants and shoes. "Come on, the rain's letting up anyway. We're almost home, Bepo." He led the dog forward along their usual route, once again passing the restaurant Skylar worked at. He glanced at the building briefly, remembering the text he'd gotten from Shachi earlier that evening and wondering if she'd made it home ok. Hopefully she hadn't gotten caught in the rain.
They passed the bar, few patrons still milling around this close to closing, and Law considered ducking through the alley as a shortcut. The rain had lessened into merely a drizzle, but he didn't want to make Bepo stay outside soaking wet for longer than he had to. He'd been so lost in thought as they turned down the alleyway, he hadn't noticed Bepo now growling, pulling slightly at the leash. When he gave a sharp tug, Law finally looked up, and his blood ran cold. Two men blocked the alley, silver hair pressed against the wall as she pushed them away.
"I said 'Leave me alone'!" Skylar yelled, pushing against one of the guys while the other kept trying to push her back against the wall.
Law let the leash go.
"What the fuck?! Where'd this dog come from?!" Meanwhile, the other screamed as Bepo clenched his jaw around his ankle, not letting go no matter how much the guy shook his leg. Skylar stood in shock as Law barrelled down the alley, catching his fist on the side of the other guy's head, knocking him into the wall on the other side of the alley. That was all it took to knock him out, and so Law turned to the other guy.
"L'em go...l-lemme go," he slurred, drunk, and Law simply hit him over the head with the base of his umbrella, knocking him out as well. Bepo released his ankle, revealing he hadn't even broken the skin, and Law pat him on the head as he turned to the girl behind him. She was soaking wet, indicating she'd been caught in the rain before, and she was shaking.
Law briefly recognized the scenario he was in: the student he'd kissed only yesterday in his classroom was shaking and soaking wet in front of him. There was potential for disaster there. But that wasn't important right now.
"Are you hurt?" He asked, voice low. She shook her head, not looking at him as she crossed her arms protectively in front of herself. "Skylar-ya…?"
"They didn't do anything. Didn't get that far," she spoke to the ground, cheeks turning a slight shade of red as he continued looking her over, searching for any sign of injury or distress. All he could find was the shaking, and it finally dawned him she was likely cold, so he handed her his umbrella. She looked at it, surprised, then squeaked and looked quickly away as Law removed his hoodie, leaving his chest bare to the cool night breeze. He barely registered it as he thrust the hoodie in Skylar's direction, glancing away from her. She stared at him for half a second before finally grabbing it from him, pulling it over her wet clothes as Bepo tried (and failed) to share his warmth with her. "Thank you," she swallowed, burrowing her face into the hood. She may or may not have sniffed it. He may or may not have seen. "You had to bring the yellow one, huh?" She joked, making an attempt to lighten the mood as they set off towards the road. The rain had long since left, and neither wanted to spend any more time in that alley.
"Next time I take Bepo for a walk this late, I'll be sure to wear a color that doesn't offend you so much." Skylar winced slightly, unsure by his tone if he was joking or not.
"It's fine, at least it's warm. I'll make sure to wash it before I return it to you," she told him, continuing to look at the ground while they walked.
"You realize you're not going to Nami-ya's tonight, right?"
"W-what do you mean? It's not that far."
"It's practically across town. You're freezing, you need to get warm or you could get sick." Skylar huffed.
"I thought you weren't a doctor. I don't see no medical license," she stuck her tongue out at him, but followed after him anyway in the direction of his and Roci-sensei's house.
"I don't need a license to tell you you're staying at my place tonight to warm up. Besides, it's late. It'll be safer this way." She didn't have an argument against that, and instead bit her cheek as she tried not to glance at his chest. God, he's got tattoos everywhere!
"Ugh," Skylar groaned, drawing Law's attention. "I'm such a fucking cliche…" She pouted, and Law let out a low chuckle as they continued back to his house.
"Here, I'll get you some of my old clothes and you can take a shower," Law spoke quietly when they entered his house. Skylar stood in the entryway while he ran upstairs to his bedroom, and Bepo plopped right in front of the heater to dry off. "You can come in, you know. It's not like you've never been here before." Law stood in front of her, and she quickly looked at the floor as she shuffled over to the stairs. She was doing everything in her power not to stare at his tattoos, but he wasn't making it easy on her. Law followed her up, pausing outside the bathroom to hand her the pair of shorts he'd found. "I don't wear these, and you can just use the hoodie to sleep in."
"Thank you," Skylar said for what seemed like the hundredth time that night, taking the clothing from him. "I'll just leave my clothes to dry in here, if that's ok?" He nodded, and she closed the door. He waited to hear the stream of the shower before ducking into his room again to find his own pajamas. While he was there, he quickly straightened up, as best as he could anyway, and made the bed as well, trying not to dwell on the turn his night had taken. He hadn't expected to run into her so soon, let alone like that. The memory of what he'd almost walked in on made his blood boil, the thought of her being hurt making him want to dissect both of those men. He took a deep breath, deciding to focus on something else to stem his anger. Something like her wearing his hoodie. Suddenly, Law's neck grew hot, the image of her in his clothing something that had hit him like a freight train.
So far since the classroom incident, he'd been able to pass off his reaction as just surprise. But seeing her in the yellow hoodie had been different. It was attractive. And now she was going to spend the night in his room, wearing more of his clothes. He already regretted the fact he didn't have any clean underwear for her, knowing she'd either wear her wet undergarments, or…
He gulped, eyes wide and clenching his teeth in an attempt to halt where that thought was leading. He was still her teacher. He needed to keep a clear head.
It wasn't long before she'd finished, leaving the door mostly closed to shield the fact her undergarments were laying across the porcelain tub.
"You can use my room; I'll sleep on the couch." Law went to leave her to it, but her voice stopped him.
"Law!" He looked at her, paused at the top of the stairs. "Uhmm...a-are you sure? I don't wanna take your room from you."
"It's fine, Skylar-ya." She nodded, still seeming unsure.
"Oh, ok. Uhh, then, Law...I-"
"Skylar," Law said, making her look up in surprise at his tone. There was something in his eyes she couldn't identify, and she felt her neck grow hot under that intense stare. "Don't worry about it."
Skylar felt her shoulders relax as he turned around, heading downstairs, and she headed into his room. Suddenly she felt exhausted, like she could burst into tears, and relieved all at once. She climbed into his bed, forgoing covers for the time being. A moment later, Bepo came plodding inside, jumping up to snuggle beside her as he often enjoyed doing. She ran her fingers through his fur, trying to fall asleep, but found herself too keyed up to relax. Too much had happened tonight, and the shower hadn't been enough to settle her nerves. She was also distracted by the fact that she was in his room, in his bed, surrounded by him. How the hell was she supposed to sleep?
She'd technically been in here before, briefly, but she'd never had the chance to really look around. Sure, she probably shouldn't snoop, but...she couldn't sleep anyway, so what harm was there? When would she get this opportunity again? And she was all about taking chances this weekend, apparently.
Skylar sat up in bed, glancing around the room. It seemed like he'd hastily cleaned it up; she could see clothes piled in the closet stopping it from closing all the way. The desk under the window remained cluttered, papers and books everywhere, and she had to smile at that. The dark walls were bare except for a poster of the human body, male and female, and a cork board on the far side filled with sketches she recognized as Penguin's, schematics of some kind or another, and polaroids she'd given to him last Christmas of the four of them (five including Bepo, who was now watching her roam around his master's room from his position on the bed). The only other furniture was a couch, nearly invisible under the piles of yet more papers if not for the obnoxiously bright yellow color. She'd given him so much shit for that couch when he picked it out, but the color had secretly grown on her. It matched his eyes...
Law tossed and turned on the couch downstairs, removing the blanket then pulling it back over his long body, staring at the ceiling in the dark then turning to stare into his pillow instead. He was no stranger to insomnia, but he wished he'd at least had the forethought to grab some of his work from his room before sending Skylar to bed. Which, of course, only reminded him…
Skylar was in his room. In his bed.
So what? GO TO SLEEP!
He pressed his palms into his eyes, trying not to groan too loud. He was glad he'd shown up when he did, obviously, and he'd snuck a few extra treats into Bepo's food dish for his part in the "rescue", but it unfortunately had done nothing for his conflicted feelings. He sat up and glanced at the clock on the kitchen stove, groaning when he saw it was already 3:00 am. Maybe he could sneak in quickly?
Law crept upstairs, minding the squeaky step at the top, and plodded down the hall to his room. He was surprised to find Skylar still up, staring at the anatomy poster above his desk. So much for sneaking in. He paused at the doorway, just taking in her appearance. Silver hair down around her ribs, curling slightly from the shower, his yellow hoodie covering her small frame. It was really a shame she hated yellow so much, he thought. She looked damn good in it.
As if she'd heard him, she whipped around, green eyes wide in surprise as she realized she'd been caught. They stood frozen, just staring at each other for a few moments before Law finally took a few steps forward, entering the room completely. They were both hyper aware of the fact they were only a few steps away from each other. Law spoke first.
"I just came to grab something to work on. Didn't expect you to still be up." Skylar nodded, attempting to step out of his way. Instead she managed to step on her own foot, and went plummeting to the floor.
Law had often lamented her clumsiness, reminded too much of Cora-san and deciding he really didn't need two of them in his life, but here he was; hopelessly attached to two sunshine-filled, clumsy ass, dorks, who caused him an endless amount of headaches and exasperation-
-She was saved from hitting the floor by a strong, tattooed arm catching her around the middle, inadvertently pulling her close during the motion. And he was close; his heartbeat thudded in her ears (or was that hers?), and she stared straight ahead at uncovered tattoos, still not fully comprehending what had happened just yet.
His head felt cloudy as he felt her hands on his chest, her breath dancing across the ink on his skin, and was that his heartbeat beating so loud? His breath hitched as her fingers moved, tracing lightly across the images, and he watched her lift her gaze to his, something in her eyes he chose not to identify. Before he could think twice about it Law was leaning towards her -or was she moving towards him- his lips brushed against hers, barely a whisper, then again, more firm. Before he knew what was happening, his hands were buried in her hair, pulling her ever closer as he kissed her hungrily.
Skylar's hands wrapped around his shoulders, standing on her tiptoes to gain better access, but Law appeared to have a better idea, as he picked her up and placed her on the bed, still standing in front of her but pressing close, so close to her body. His hands roamed down her back, to her hips, across her stomach under the hoodie, and some distant part of his brain remarked that she was naked under her borrowed clothes, having forgone her wet undergarments for the night, and his brain stopped working as he ground against her in his thin sweatpants, eliciting the sweetest moan when he kissed under her jaw-
-Snap! Law felt as though she'd thrown a cold bucket of water over him when she moaned, pulled him from the depths of his awareness. He was almost shocked to find himself panting, hands still gripped in her hair and on her hip. He stayed frozen in that position, staring wide-eyed at the black bedspread beneath them.
What was he doing?!
"Law…?" Skylar questioned, tentative, almost shy, anxiety crawling through her gut into her throat. Law swallowed, took a deep breath, and relaxed his grip on her. Despite himself, he placed a quick kiss to her cheek, whispered in her ear, and managed to pull himself away against his body's screaming to stay put and finish what he'd started. He left the room, giving Bepo one quick pat on the head as he passed him, and headed to the bathroom for a cold shower.
After he closed the door, he nearly collapsed against it, head in his hand as he breathed deep to relax himself. Then he looked up and saw her clothes drying where they lay over the tub, including a pair of simple white panties, and his breath hitched, and he rubbed his temples. "Fucking degenerate," he scolded himself, ignoring the articles of clothing and starting the shower.
A very cold shower, then.
Skylar, meanwhile, still sat in her place on his bed, absentmindedly stroking Bepo's fur as he'd resumed his spot next to her. Her mind reeled as she kept replaying the encounter over and over again, long after she heard the roar of the shower down the hall. Her hand rested on her lips, the other wrapped around herself comfortingly, and she finally laid down the rest of the way.
"Try to get some sleep, Skylar-ya." That's what he'd told her, right before walking out of the room. And here she thought he couldn't tell jokes. If she wasn't confused before, she definitely was now.
She still lay there wide awake when the shower finally shut off. She glanced to the hallway as he walked past. He didn't enter again.