Author's note: Still in need of a Shinkumi fix. Here's another one-shot for those of you in the same situation. Set in the drama-verse.

In Sake Veritas — A Gokusen Fanfiction

by Akane-Rei

She woke up like she usually did, in small increments. Consciousness came to her in tiny steps instead of a gigantic leap to wakefulness. That's been the way it's always been. Well, except for those times when the realization of her lateness gave her the rush of adrenalin she needed to get to school on time. Right now, as she rubbed her face against the smooth pillow beneath her, her mind was certain of three things: one, it was a Sunday and she could definitely take her time getting up if need be; two, it was still dark so even if she was mistaken about the day, she still had time to laze about in bed; and three, the pillow beneath her was not hers.

Startled, but not overly concerned, she stretched out a little before burying herself back in the covers. Her body felt decidedly sore, a feeling that she was familiar with after every bout of fighting with either delinquents or thugs. Thinking back to the previous day, her sleep-fogged mind attempted to recall the fight to no avail. She yawned and moved to turn over her side, only to find herself…trapped. More specifically, she couldn't seem to move her left arm due to the heavy weight pressing against it.

What the?

She yanked her arm forcefully, dislodging the then sleeping form of…Sawada? The loud sound of a thud as Sawada hit the floor made its way to her ears.

Her eyes blinked in the darkness and she began to wonder if her sleep-deprived brain might be playing tricks on her.

What was Sawada doing in her room?

More importantly, what was he doing in her…she gulped…bed?

"Yankumi!" an annoyed growl came from the form at the floor.

She looked down and around her when another thought dawned in her head.

She most definitely wasn't in her room and neither was this her bed.

"What the hell?" another growl made itself heard.

Sitting up, she glanced down at her scowling student as he gingerly rubbed his head. He was sitting on the floor wearing nothing but his…again, she gulped…boxers while giving her what could be considered a fulminating glare.

"What's the big idea?" he asked, his dark eyes seeming to watch her intently.

With the remnants of sleep slowly beginning to wash away, memories of last night came flickering at the edge of her consciousness.

"Sawada!" she winced at the echoing sound of his name from her lips. Was that breathless voice hers? Clutching the blanket against her chest, she took a quick and careful inventory of what she was wearing…or rather not wearing. Her jeans were nowhere to be found and her shirt…she glanced at the shirt she was wearing. Again, not her shirt, which could only mean it was—

"Do you always wake up this violent?" he groused from his position before standing back up.

She closed her eyes. Maybe it was a dream. It had to be, right?

"Where are my own clothes?" she asked, glad for the darkness. At least the warmth spreading upon her cheeks had a possibility of not being seen.

"Where do you think?" he responded, yawning at the same time. Without ceremony, he sat back down on the bed and looked at her through hooded lids. "Are you alright?" he asked off-handedly, as if her response meant nothing.

"Of course!" she babbled, all the while furtively attempting to put a little distance between her and her student. And that's what he was. Her student. "Why wouldn't I be?" she continued, not really expecting a response. "Are you alright?" she suddenly thought to ask. "I mean…I didn't…I didn't…you know...hurt you or anything?" her voice drifted off.

He gave a mirthless laugh. "No, Yankumi," he replied drolly. "You didn't hurt me." He paused and seemed to think more about it for a second. "Unless you count the fact that you just pushed me off the bed—" he began.

Kumiko blushed even more. At least she's pretty sure she did judging by the warmth suffusing her body. Unlike most people, she wasn't quite sure what the etiquette was in this situation. What did one say?

"Hey," Sawada suddenly said, "if you keep scooting that way, you'll fall off the bed too." He looked at her with askance. "What's wrong?" he finally asked, taking note of her surreptitious glances to the door.

She groaned inwardly. "What do you mean, 'what's wrong?'" she demanded. "I would think it was pretty self-explanatory given the situation." She tugged the blanket even further up her neck.

"It's useless to do that, you know," he told her matter-of-factly. "I've seen—"

"Stop!" she interrupted, leaning abruptly forward and covering his mouth with her hand. "Let's not discuss what you've seen." She grimaced. What would people think if they ever found out about this? The least she would get was some sort of disciplinary action. She groaned. What was she thinking? She would damn well get fired!

"Eh, Yankumi," Sawada's lips moved against her hand.

"Huh?" she looked up at him. Strange she never really noticed how intense his eyes could be. Looking away from him in embarrassment, she forced her eyes down and encountered the smooth muscle of his chest. Strange that she never did notice how…hrm…firm that was. It brought up all sorts of images—

Which were totally inappropriate for a teacher!

Really, what could she be thinking? She blamed it all on the sake. That had to be it. She slapped her hand against her forehead, losing enough of her balance and elbow Sawada against his—

"Son of a –" a string of expletives sprang from his lips as he jerked away from her almost violently in an effort to get out of her reach. She could hear the deep breaths he was attempting as he crouched away from her and curled up in a tight ball.

"Oh, oh!" she cried, torn between what had to be remorse (she did cause him pain, after all!) and amusement at the sight of Sawada groaning in agony. Now how many teachers wished they could see this? Who knew she had a sadistic streak in her? "Are you alright?" she finally asked once she was sure she could keep her laughter at bay.

He glared at her from his position and replied, "I repeat, do you always wake up this violent?"

"Look," she protested, "this isn't exactly the norm for me." What an understatement! "I don't normally over-indulge in the sake."

He snorted.

"Okay, so I do drink a lot of it from time to time," she qualified, "but usually not enough to impair my judgment—"

"Is that what you call this?" he asked, suddenly serious, despite his obvious discomfort.

She looked at him in surprise. "Well what else would you call it?" she asked flabbergasted. Didn't he realize how highly inappropriate this was? "I could lose my job! I'll never hear the end of it from Fujiyama-sensei! And, oh, oh…a lot of other horrible things!"

"Stupid," came his reply, as he slowly stood up from where he was. Carefully sitting himself back in the bed, he scooted himself up until he leaned against the wall. "Stupid, what do you think happened here?" he asked casually.

She flushed. He wanted her to actually say it?

He looked at her curiously.

"I would think it was obvious!" she told him, aghast that he was torturing her this way. Wasn't it enough that she would never live this down? Must they rehash it and have her relive her embarrassment?

"Well," he began, "I just asked because you're acting like we had sex or something."

"What?" she screeched. "I am NOT!" That thought had never occurred to her. Well, never until that very moment. It didn't help that she was just admiring his chest a few minutes ago.

"Which," he continued, "given that you had more than your share of sake, you may have mistakenly come to that conclusion." He paused. "I mean, I don't know how you act when you had a little too much to drink, but for all I know…" his voice trailed off suggestively.

"I do not," she said slowly and with as much dignity as she could muster given that she was in his bed wearing his shirt, "have casual relationships as a result of too much sake!" She opted for the euphemism. She couldn't quite bring herself to say the S-word around him at this time. "Furthermore, I am quite certain that I did not have that with you!" She huffed. "But while we're in that topic, can you tell me why exactly I'm wearing your shirt?" She paused. "And why is it you're wearing nothing but your boxers? I mean, now that I think about it, to a casual observer, this situation looks pretty damning!"

"As if I'd go for an un-sexy tomboy like you," he muttered within earshot. "No one would believe it!" He pointed to his boxers. "I sleep in these." He pointed to the shirt she was wearing. "I had to put that on you or you would have slept in less and I wanted to spare myself the visual. Your clothes are hanging in the line out to dry." He made a face. "When you get sick, you really get sick," he added.

She gasped, offended. She had a nice body! Okay, maybe a little on the athletic side rather than the sexy side, but still nothing to be ashamed of! She mentally slapped herself. What was she thinking at a time like this? She glanced at the general direction where her clothes were hanging. Slowly, memories of being sick were starting to come loud and clear. She was beginning to think that she may have to thank him at the end of this fiasco.

"I was feeling a little down," she admitted.

"No kidding," he replied.

"It's not everyday that you discover that the love of your life can't date you anymore due to your yakuza connections!"

He gave her a blank stare.

"And it's not like you could drink the sake, anyway," she defended, indicating the sake gifts her family had given him for his birthday the night before.

Again, the blank stare.

She sighed.

"I suppose I should thank you," she said quietly. Truly, her student could be the epitome of a gentleman if he so wished.

He glanced at her before looking away with a shrug.

He looked so cute when he pretended not to care.

She moved forward and ruffled his hair, much to his dismay. "You're such a good guy!" she exclaimed. "I almost wish I had a little brother like you."

"Forget it," he said gruffly, moving away from her hands. "See if I ever help you again after this."

She smiled. He really was cute when he was embarrassed.

He ducked his head away from her questing hands and glared at her for good measure. Anything to stop her from ruffling his hair and getting any closer. He glanced at her laughing eyes and said a silent prayer of thanks to anyone up there who decided to give him a break.

Yankumi seemed oblivious and right now, that was all he could hope for. Not for the first time that night, he cursed himself for being all kinds of fool.

He knew he probably should have ignored her when he saw her by the bridge on his way back home, but at that time, he had not been immune to the lost look she had in her eyes. She had seemed tired, and what's more, defeated. It wasn't a look he would have thought to associate with 3-D's spunky homeroom teacher, and before he knew it, he had offered her some ramen for dinner. He had suggested it to give her some time to calm down before going home. Knowing her family, if they had any hint at all as to what caused the look of sadness in Yankumi's eyes, he had a feeling that Shinohara-san's health might become a thing of the past.

He knew he probably shouldn't have mentioned the fact that Wakamatsu-san had given him a bag of sake for his birthday, but at that time, he had seen no harm in telling Yankumi. After all, it wasn't as if he had planned on drinking them right in front of her. What's more, he had nothing else to offer her to drink, having forgotten to grab more soda and juice from the store that day; he wasn't exactly expecting company that night so he saw no reason to stock up.

He knew he probably should have stopped her before she opened that second bottle of sake, but at that time, he had been amused. A slightly tipsy Yankumi was quite talkative and…well…cute. As odd as it seemed, both her cluelessness and tough yakuza persona were even more apparent juxtaposed next to each other in her inebriated state. He couldn't help but laugh at her antics as she railed against the fate of star-crossed lovers and her Shinohara-san's short-sightedness through it all.

He knew he probably should have hidden that third bottle of sake from her, but her inquisitive eyes zeroed in on it before he even noticed that the second bottle was empty. It was halfway through that third bottle when he began to wonder if Yankumi had had anything at all to eat that day besides the ramen he had provided and the sake she had imbibed. He also began to wonder how strong the sake was that Wakamatsu had given him after a maudlin Yankumi demanded to know why he wasn't partaking in the drink himself.

And he knew, knew that he probably should have sent her home, or at least accompanied her home, the moment she began lecturing him on the merits of marrying a school teacher; but at that time, he had thought it best if she slept off the alcohol as soon as possible. So instead, he had humored her as much as he could and led her to his bed. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of alcohol from her breath and told himself that he was definitely, definitely going to lord this over her head when she woke up.

Except now, he wasn't quite sure whether he could lord anything over her without feeling some sort of guilt.

How was he to know that in her inebriated state that Yankumi might, just for a moment, mistake him for her precious Shinohara-san? While he was able to accept her lectures regarding his supposed defection with his usual aplomb, he had been stunned speechless when—as he carried her to the bed—he felt the soft brush of her lips against his neck. He had turned his head abruptly then to look at her eyes—eyes that seemed deceptively clear at that time. With little regard for her state, he had unceremoniously dropped her on the bed as if scalded and inwardly winced at the sound of her groan.

How was he to know that when his concern for her overrode his sense of self-preservation and he actually bent down to ask her if she was alright, that she would in turn look at him with unseeing eyes and leap to plant a wet (if somewhat sloppy) kiss right on his mouth? And how was he to know that after all these months of denying any attraction he might feel towards the unorthodox teacher, his body would overrule his common sense and he would find himself in the middle of a torrid embrace with none other than the object of his fantasies?

He remembered the heated kisses he had given across her neck, remembered grazing his teeth against her collarbone. He remembered the urgency of his hands as they skimmed through her slim body in an effort to get closer to her. But what he remembered most of all was the distinct taste of alcohol once his lips touched her mouth and remembered the utter feeling of self-disgust that dawned on him once he realized what he was doing. And, like the gentleman he pretended not to be, he pushed her away from him with enough force for her to bounce back in his bed. He remembered the look of confusion and regret that entered her eyes and, not for the first time, he regretted ever having an honorable bone in his body.

With a calmness that belied the surging feelings within his body, he had crouched down to help her get under the covers. He had resigned himself to a cold shower when Yankumi looked up at him with worried eyes and said, "I think I'm going to be sick."

And promptly did.

All over his clothes as well as hers.

That was when he knew that the gods must be having a grand old time at his expense. And at that point, he couldn't help but laugh with them. He spent the better part of the night cleaning up, but for some reason, his mood had felt lighter. One had to appreciate the humor in every situation. At least he could safely say that he never did need that cold shower. Oh, he needed a shower at the end of that night alright; but somewhere between the smell of vomit and the effort it took to clean it all up, the reason for the cold shower ceased to exist.

And Yankumi, damn her lucky hide, didn't seem to remember any of it.

Again, he didn't know whether to thank the gods or curse them.

"Quit it," he finally said, moving away from her ruffling hands. "Your clothes may be a little drier now if you want to give them a try. They should be at least wearable until you get home."

"Oh no!" she exclaimed. "They must be so worried about me!"

"I called them already," he informed her. He smirked. "Some time after you threw up, I called to let them know you were sleeping it off."

"Ugh!" she groaned, leaning back against the wall beside him. "What am I going to tell them?" she almost wailed. "I can't tell them I got drunk because of Shinohara-san! They'll skewer him!"

He grinned. For some reason, that image sat well with him.

"I told them you were helping me celebrate my birthday by drinking the sake for me," he told her. "Kind teacher that you are."

"Sawada, you're a genius!" she said delightedly. "I'll probably tell grandfather the truth, but the rest of them don't have to know. They can be a mite over-protective at times."

He nodded. He looked outside his small window, where the first streaks of dawn were starting to appear.

"Do you need me to help you home?" he asked casually. It was the crack of dawn and females shouldn't really be out by themselves at this time.

"Nah," she replied. "It'll be light out by the time I get ready." She looked at him earnestly. "Again, thank you so much for all that you've done, Sawada. I owe you for this."

"Forget it," he muttered gruffly, looking away.

When the silences stretched out between the two of them, he looked back at her only to find her staring at him intently.

"Ne, Sawada," she said carefully, "I haven't done anything else to embarrass myself, have I?"

He snorted. "Stupid, if you did, you think I'd let you forget it?" he asked caustically. "Now I don't know what you call getting sick all over me is, but I call that embarrassing enough."

She smiled brightly. "I'm really sorry about that," she apologized. "Oh, and I'm also sorry about…you know…the elbow thing."

He winced. "Now try to say it without a smile on your face, and I might actually believe you're sincere."

She laughed, before throwing the covers over and getting out of the bed.

He watched as she walked towards the line were her clothes were hung, trying to ignore the fact that his shirt barely reached the top of her knees. "Bathroom's over there," he pointed once she had her clothes at hand. There was no way he was going to sit there and watch her change in the middle of the room.

"Thanks," she said again.

He leaned his head against the wall and banged it slightly. This night had to be over soon.

Kumiko leaned down against the sink and rinsed her face. Looking up, she found herself looking at her accusing eyes in the mirror in front of her. She covered her face with her hands and leaned her head against the sink.

Despite her words earlier, she really did remember last night. Her tolerance for alcohol was quite high and while it may occasionally affect her judgment, it was always the case that she remembered whatever stupid thing she might have done under the influence. And so when she had finally possessed her full faculties—i.e. unhampered by the fogginess of sleep—she had been...self-conscious.

She remembered the feel of breath against her neck, the movement of his lips against hers, and the delicious roughness of his hands against her body. It was only when he pushed her away that the consequences of that first kiss she gave him started to make its way to her brain. She had been so intent on just feeling before that she had foregone thinking. More than anything, it was the realization of what she had done—of what she would have done had Sawada not pushed her away—it was that realization that caused her to throw up. Not the alcohol or her empty stomach. It was that sick feeling of dizziness that started in your gut and wouldn't let go.

She took a deep breath.

Luckily for her, Sawada seemed intent on ignoring that little tidbit from last night. Perhaps, like her, he was embarrassed. It would hardly do his reputation any good if it were discovered he had an incident with the unsexy sensei of 3-D. She winced at his words while at the same time attempting to feel nonchalant about it.

She really had the worst luck when it came to men. First, Shinohara-san—cop, for goodness sake! And now this.

She banged her head silently against the sink.

He's eighteen! And her student.

She looked back up in the mirror and stared at those accusing eyes. "You're a masochist," she told her reflection.

"Ne, Yankumi!" came Sawada's voice behind the door. "Are you alright in there? You haven't passed out, have you?"

She scowled. Passed out?

"I'm…I'm fine," she stammered, her voice a little shaky. She needed to go home. Keeping up with the pretense of obliviousness might get harder the longer she stayed here.

She opened the door and was surprised to find Sawada up and about. He had donned on a pair of jeans while she had been in the bathroom.

"I thought I'd walk you home," he said, without looking at her.

"Eh?" she made a sound. Walk her home? Sit next to him in a bus while her thoughts were in chaos? Walk next to him for close to an hour all the while pretending she couldn't remember last night? "You don't need to," she protested. "I'm fine on my own. Look, it's starting to get bright outside already."

He looked at her then and she squirmed under his gaze.

"I'm fine," she repeated, "really." She paused. "I'd like to be alone anyway," she said honestly, "I want to figure things out regarding Shinohara-san," she finished dishonestly.

A flicker of emotion seemed to pass through his eyes before disappearing completely. Was it her imagination?

"If you say so," he finally said, standing next to the door. "Do you have everything you need?" he asked courteously.

She nodded, a little hurt at his seeming haste to get her out of the apartment.

"Okay then," he replied, opening the door.

Jerkily, she stepped out and would have kept walking out but something about the way he wouldn't look at her stopped her on her tracks. With her hand by the doorsill, she looked back at him with solemn eyes. "Ne, Sawada," she said softly.

He raised his head to meet her eyes.

"Have I done anything inappropriate that I should know about?" she asked him, her eyes searching his for an answer.

She could see him respond almost automatically in denial to her question, like a habit.

"Anything at all?" she interrupted whatever it was he about to say.

He looked at her closely then. In his eyes, she could see when the realization first started to click.

"Sawada," she prompted him.

"No," he answered carefully this time. "You haven't done anything I didn't want."

She bit her lip, knowing he didn't really answer the question she had asked. But she had a feeling this was as far as this conversation was going to go.

She nodded to him. "Alright then," she said before turning away.

"Yankumi," he called out just as she took two steps.

She stopped, but didn't turn around.

"There's only two months left before graduation," he stated.

She could feel his eyes boring through her back.

"Let's finish this talk then," he said quietly.

She swallowed before nodding imperceptibly. "In two months," she replied as she walked away.

Two months.

As she stepped out of the building and felt the breeze brush against her face, she couldn't help but feel that perhaps the winds of change were coming early this year.

The End.