Law's head snapped up to see Skylar glaring at the floor, clad once again in her black shirt and pants from the night before, the clothes she'd borrowed wrapped in a bundle under her arm. He watched her make her way over to the closet that housed the washing machine, and throw them in. "I figured I can go ahead and at least clean up after myself to make up for your help last night. Do you want breakfast at all? Lord knows you can't cook worth a damn," she joked as she started the wash, walking towards the kitchen and not noticing the reserved look on his face as she began opening and closing cupboards.
"Skylar-ya," Law started, unsure how to broach the subject. "We need to talk about last night." He heard her pause, just slightly, before resuming her search.
"You know, you guys really need to do a better job grocery shopping. At the risk of sounding sexist, you boys are such, well...boys. Anyway, what's up?" She was playing dumb, they both knew it, and as he leaned against the counter across from her, she wouldn't meet his eyes.
"Skylar-ya, what happened last night can't happen again," He scolded, and he didn't notice the shift in her stance, the hardening of her features. "You may be an adult, but while you're in school it would be wrong."
"So, what, you're saying it's my fault?" She didn't snap. In fact, she spoke so quietly Law had to strain to hear her. She was glaring at the floor, arms crossed in front of herself as she chewed her bottom lip.
"No, we both made mistakes. It never should've happened in the first place. Until you graduate, it's best if we both keep our distance, but...if you wanted to, we could try after that." It was a big admission for him. This whole weekend, Law had been fighting every inkling of thought regarding the kiss in his classroom, every hint of a feeling he had towards it and her. It was complicated and messy, and he didn't do complicated and messy; but after last night, how could he continue to ignore it? Unfortunately, regardless of any feelings he may be admitting to himself, his job wouldn't allow him to act on them for at least another month. His hope by putting his feelings out there, was that she'd agree, see reason, and in a month they'd see where it leads.
"You're such a fucking asshole!"
That wasn't what he'd expected.
"You expect me to just wait for you? Like I'm just supposed to forget about everything that's happened, and then a month from now you'll pick me back up?! How dare you?! Don't talk down to me as if I've been throwing myself at you, like you just can't resist when you're near me, so I'm the one that needs to back off! If you were really that concerned about your goddamn 'professional anonymity', then you should've cut off all friendly contact when you started teaching at my school! God, this whole time I've been so goddamn worried about what could happen to you, your job, our friendship, but you haven't given me even a single fucking thought have you? Well, you know what? It's fine, I get it, you're just a fucking tease! Well, I'm sick of falling for it!" Skylar stomped to the door, wrenching it open and pausing on the step. "Thanks for the help last night. Goodbye, Trafalgar-sensei."
And she was gone.
And Law still stood in the kitchen, staring at the front door as if he'd been slapped. Bepo whined, settling down next to him and giving him a dejected look. He furrowed his brows.
"Don't look at me like that," he muttered, clenching his jaw and glaring at the floor. He kept replaying her words, replaying the image of her as she laid into him. She'd been trying to hide it, but he'd seen the tears in her eyes. They hit him like a punch to the gut, that he caused them. He wasn't an idiot, he knew she'd be upset no matter what he said, but he didn't know just how hard it would hit her.
"Aww, Skylar-chan couldn't stay for breakfast? Lover's quarrel?" Donquixote Rocinante, though Law had always called him Cora-san, walked in through the back door, tossing his used cigarette on the ground before stamping it out.
"Tch, you're on fire again," Law sneered at him, trying and failing to keep it from turning into a pout. Cora-san had the uncanny ability to make him feel like he was 13 years old again. "And what the hell are you talking about?" He snapped as the older man put himself out in the sink.
"Oh Law, everyone knows about it, stop with the denial," he said it with a smile on his face, but Law still felt the scolding in his voice. "Look, you may not need me to play 'dad' for you anymore, but let me give you some advice anyway. Don't let her go. You screw this up, you'll end up regretting it forever." Law just stared at the floor, clenching and unclenching his jaw, feeling so very small.
"So, what, you're an expert on my lovelife now? You can't possibly condone this. You of all people know the trouble I can get in for pursuing a relationship with a student." One of them had to sound reasonable.
"I can't report anything if I don't see it happening. Besides, Doffy's a dick. You know nobody at the school really gives a shit if any rules are broken, nobody wants to deal with him. You're both adults, it's legal enough. If you're worried, just don't make it obvious until after graduation."
"You say that like it's so easy...I don't want to screw up this job. I can't…" Law took a breath. "I don't want to let you down." And there it was, the root of it. The reason he'd gone into teaching, despite a high interest in the medical field. Why he wanted to stay close to home, teach at the same school he'd grown up in. Why he was so scared of starting something with a girl he'd grown to care for more than he'd ever planned on, at the risk of everything he was working for blowing up in his face.
He vaguely registered Cora-san kneeling in front of him. This man that had taken him, a surly, angsty, vile fucking teenager, into his home and his family. This man that had cared for him, helped him turn his life around after his family's sickness. This man that he couldn't bear the thought of disappointing. Law couldn't look at him, he already felt ashamed.
"Law," Cora-san said softly, then repeated once when Law didn't look up right away. "All I want is for you to be happy. I think we both know what would help with that." Law grimaced at the smile he was giving him, annoyed with the conversation. Both because he was being lectured at 21 years old, and because he knew Cora-san was right.
"Still parenting me, hm?" The older man laughed. "Well as nice as that speech was, I've probably already fucked it all up."
"She'll come around. Though, you may need to actually put some effort into it."
"Thanks again for helping me finish this damn homework assignment, Nami. I'll make you a free lunch next time I'm at work."
"Don't bother, Sanji-kun already gives me my meals free." Of course he does. "Instead, you can buy me those really cute Criminal shirts we saw in the mall last week!"
"Th-th-those are worth 3 of my payche-! Argh, fine. It's not like I pay rent, after all." Nami sent her a wink as they walked into their first class, and Skylar felt her nerves increase as she saw him sitting at the desk. Nojiko hadn't let her stay home, not that she could really afford to miss class anyway. He looked up as she entered, gold eyes locking with green ones, and she quickly turned her head away, taking her seat.
Law let out a low sigh, having expected her to not be in the mood to talk so soon. However, expecting it didn't stop his gut from clenching. Emotions were so messy. He watched her chit chat with the other students, friends she didn't hang out with much but was now fervently invested in their weekend activities. She was sure laying it on thick.
"Alright, sit down and take out your journals." Groans ensued followed by the rustle of papers. He smirked at the class's dismay, walking up to the chalkboard to write down their assignment. He'd been giving them a journaling prompt every Monday since he took over the class, figuring it would wake them up from the weekend, and give himself an opportunity to slack off while they wrote. "Today's prompt is 'name'. It's simple, write something using your name in some way. Don't hurt yourselves thinking about it." A few chuckles, though most rolled their eyes at him. "We'll take 20 minutes. Get to work." The scritch scratch of pencil on paper filled the room, and Law started back to his desk, then paused. "Zoro-ya, for the 36th time this year. This. Is. Not. Your. Classroom."
"Eh?" The green haired boy's head shot up, confusion plastered across his face. "What do you mean? You all must've gone to the wrong room again." The rest of the class burst into a fit of giggles, and Law rolled his eyes before waving the kid off. So much for slacking off. As they finished their writing, he made a quick phone call to the weight room where he knew Smoker was holding P.E. that day, informing him that his missing student was there, and then added his name to the class's roster for that day. The school had practically needed to reevaluate its attendance policy because of this kid.
The rest of class dragged on. Law spent the whole period trying to catch Skylar's attention, engage her, but she just kept her head down, focused on her work. The only time she showed interest was when he assigned the homework: start reading Pride and Prejudice and answer the first page of questions on the study guide. The bell rang; she ran out the door before he could blink.
Law gathered up the journal assignments, searching hers out first - like a damn lovesick puppy, you're disgusting - and furrowed his brows when he reached it. She'd written an acrostic, using her name for the letters.
Now, Law wasn't a vocabulary master, he'd gone to school for science after all, so he wasn't ashamed at having to pull out a dictionary. "Classy, Skylar," he sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
RECREANT: NOUN, COWARD.
School passed quickly, which Skylar was especially thankful for when she turned her geometry assignment in. Crocodile-sensei sneered down at her when she handed it to him, looking at her like she was a bug. She wasn't his best student, which was painfully obvious to most, but at least she'd finished it this time.
After Geometry was History, another subject that Skylar enjoyed, though the teacher, Nico Robin, tended to deliver her lectures in a very deadpan manner. It was more up to the students to make it fun. Then it was choir, Skylar's best class, taught by a rather abnormally tall, skinny man named Brook, who led every class with his guitar.
She was thankful when lunch finally rolled around, sitting with Nami and her group of friends. While Skylar had made friends with Law, Shachi, and Penguin freshman year, Nami had bonded with a rather rambunctious boy named Luffy. Skylar liked him well enough - the boy was incredibly kind, and his hyperactivity certainly made for some fun - but she had to admit that sometimes he was a bit much for her. Currently, he was at their lunch table, shoving whatever questionable substance that served as "meat" at this school into his mouth, yelling at another boy with a long nose to hurry up. Others at the table included her coworker, Sanji, the perpetual lost boy, Roronoa Zoro, and a younger kid named Chopper. Chopper was only about 15, but he'd been moved up to their class.
What really surprised Skylar, though, was seeing Nami dissolving into a fit of giggles with a blue-haired girl. She was new to the group, but the look on Nami's face told her she was pretty enamored.
"Well damn," Skylar muttered, cracking a smile. She plopped her tray down next to her friend, flashing a smile at the other girl. "Hi, I don't think we've met before, I'm Skylar!" Nami glared at her. The girl smiled.
"I'm Vivi, I think I've seen you in my study hall before, but you don't usually stay in the classroom."
"Ah...yeah, I uhh, work better in a quiet environment so I usually go to an empty classroom. I'll probably be there today though! We should sit together!"
"I'd like that!"
"Vivi-chan, if you'll excuse us for just one second." Nami stammered out, grabbing Skylar's shoulder and pulled her to stand by the wall, out of earshot. "What are you doing?" She asked, with a too friendly smile on her face.
"I'm just trying to get a read on this girl that's got one of my best friends absolutely flustered. It's ok, Nami, she seems really sweet. I wish you luck." Nami just blinked at her, cheeks turning pink. Skylar laughed, pulling her back to her seat.
The rest of the day passed in a blur, including study hall, thanks to Vivi. She really was a sweetheart, and was also clearly into a certain orange-haired girl. Skylar silently declared that if Nami didn't make a move soon, she was going to do everything she could to set them up.
Finally, the last bell rang, and Skylar found herself running out the door as quickly as she could. She just wanted to get home. Nami wasn't waiting for her outside, but she wasn't worried, so she began the trek home. She was only about a block or two from the school when she heard his voice, calling out to get her attention. She whirled around, surprised to see Law only a few feet away from her, nearly jogging to catch up to her.
"No," She said, sneering and turning back around, stomping down the street.
"Skylar-ya, please talk to me," Law looked like he was two seconds away from just grabbing her and forcing her to stay still, but Skylar didn't care. She was still upset; she wasn't ready to talk about this yet. Hell, she hadn't even told Nami the whole story, just that they'd fought. Penguin and Shachi had been blowing up her phone all night trying to talk to her, even about mundane things, but she hadn't even been able to open the group chat to respond.
"Skylar, I screwed up! Would you turn around?" He grabbed her wrist and Skylar turned abruptly, causing him to nearly knock her over.
"Fine. You've got 30 seconds." He glared for only a second before rolling his eyes.
"I'm sorry, ok?" She just continued to glare at him, but her lips turned up in a smug smirk at the admission. Law grew uncomfortable.
"What was that? I couldn't quite catch it," Skylar said, arms crossed and foot tapping like a parent waiting for their kid to confess to breaking the lamp instead of blaming it on the dog. Law closed his eyes, huffing out a low breath.
"Don't make me say it." Her expression didn't shift, and he sighed, defeated. "You were right. I did away with professional anonymity before I ever took this damn job. I should've kept my distance from you when I became your teacher, and if I truly had wanted to, I would have. Hell, I shouldn't even have been at this school in the first place, not until you graduate at the very least, but I did it anyway, because you were right. I am selfish. I strung you along, then got mad when you fell for it, as if you were at fault for my actions. You've been worried this whole time about my position, but you haven't put me in any position I didn't put myself into first, and I'm sorry. You deserve better than that. I...I'd like to make it right with you, if you'll still have me…"
Skylar stared at him, stunned. Law wasn't known to apologize, especially not with pretty speeches, and for his part looked incredibly uncomfortable as he shuffled on his feet; like the 21-year-old boy he was instead of the old man he pretended to be. He wouldn't look at her, instead glaring at the sky as he waited for a response. It was touching, seeing him vulnerable for once. It was also mildly terrifying; she always thought of him as strong, solid, and him actually opening up to her like this threw that image in her head for a loop. She cracked a smile.
"So, how long did it take you to memorize all that?"
Her joke worked, as his face quickly smoothed into a grimace, groaning out a low "really?" prompting her to burst into laughter. She stepped forward, reaching up to grab his face to pull him closer. His arms wrapped around their waist, and their lips met in a soft kiss as their eyes shut, and for the first time in days, everything seemed right in the world.
Thank you again everyone for reading!
Songs used for inspiration: When I Kissed The Teacher by ABBA, Angel Eyes by ABBA, Andante, Andante by ABBA, and honorable mentions to Mr. Brightside by The Killers. All I can say is ABBA really fits Skylar haha so check them out if you haven't already!