Title: The Absence of Nothing

Summary: The rise and fall of Sawada Shin's school attendance score. ShinKumi.

Author's Notes: The attendance score system I have used here is based partially on what I remember about how they used to keep a record of attendance for us when I was at high school. Back then, I remember that the morning and afternoon sessions were regarded as 'half' sessions (i.e. 0.5), and a full day in total was one whole session (i.e. 1). Therefore, you could miss a whole day and be recorded as missing 1 session, or miss one morning and be recorded as missing 0.5 of a session, and your total score for the week would be out of 5, but didn't necessarily have to be in whole numbers, if you see what I mean.

This fic is set primarily in the drama-verse, in that the class is known as 3-D and Yankumi begins teaching them at the beginning of their 3rd year (as opposed to their 2nd year in the manga). However this fic does refer to events that occur only in the manga (which I will mention at the end).

Disclaimer: I do not own Gokusen.

End-of-Year Report

Student name: Sawada Shin

As usual, Sawada's attendance at school this year has been extremely poor. All of his teachers have commented that he typically fails to turn up to their classes, and on the rare occasions that he is present, his participation is negligible. He is frequently noted to be asleep. He must make more of an effort if he intends to apply for university next year.

Nonetheless, he does seem to have formed strong friendships with many other students and has demonstrated some degree of class leadership. His grades remain the highest in the year and his assignments are always returned on time. If he can motivate himself to attend class more often and to get more involved with school activities, he will almost certainly pass the national university examination. However, as his current homeroom teacher is leaving at the end of this academic year, this may have a negative effect on his education as a whole.

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: April

Week: 1

Weekly attendance score: 1.5/5

"Sawada Shin!" Yankumi called out. "Sawada?"

There was no reply. She frowned, craning her neck to see his empty seat at the back of the class. He hadn't been in yesterday, either. It pissed her off - she wanted to see this guy in action, damn it. After his little show of power on her first day, she was keen to see just how much control he had over the class, and whether the other students were wholly under his thumb or not.

He didn't seem to be too bad, on paper. Good grades. 'Lazy but bright' was a frequently-used phrase.

She marked a big fat 'O' next to that morning's session. So he was absent today, hmm? Fine. She'd let it slide for now. But if he thought he could keep this up, he'd get a rude awakening, she would make sure of that. 'Mess with me, Sawada?' she thought. 'Only in your dreams.'

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: May

Week: 1

Weekly attendance score: 3.5/5

Shin couldn't put his finger on what interested him about Yankumi.

If it came up in conversation, he would just say 'she's different' - this was the truth, but it was only the barest of explanations as to why he was so intrigued by their plain, geeky, gung-ho homeroom teacher.

At first it had been the fighting - the fighting she'd claimed she wasn't responsible for, the fighting that left several men unconscious on the floor of a disused warehouse. "I don't know what you're talking about," she'd told him.

'Liar,' he thought.

Then there was the matter of her strange, unflinching loyalty to them. Their education was important to her. Their lives were important to her. It bothered him. He could see the way the others were slowly warming up to her, still putting up a front of disinterest, although their hostility was long gone.

And Shin knew he was headed the same way.

If he was wrong about her - if they were all wrong about her, and she was just like all the rest... it would be different this time. It would hurt. So for his own sake and for everyone else's as well, he wanted to figure her out.

Too bad the only way to do that was to go to school.

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: June

Week: 2

Weekly attendance score: 4/5

He'd done it. He'd figured her out. And he'd been lucky, because not only had she turned out to be just as loyal and devoted to them as she claimed to be, but she was also much more interesting than he would have guessed.

A Yakuza heiress?

It was too good to be true.

He'd thought that once he'd solved the mystery - for better or worse - he'd slip back into his old habits. One-and-a-half-day weeks, sleeping in class, lazily taking tests and completing assignments while comfortable in the knowledge that he could ace them in his sleep.

Much to his surprise, he found that school was actually interesting now. He didn't mind so much when the alarm clock went off and he had to drag himself out of bed. Being in class wasn't as boring as he remembered; Yankumi shook things up a bit, liked throwing her students for a loop (for instance, forcing everyone outside to play soccer instead of having their scheduled maths lesson), and never failed to lecture them if she thought they weren't pulling their weight.

"Shin," Kuma said to him one day, "you're grinning."

And it was true.

Briefly, Shin wondered what the hell was wrong with him, and then decided that he didn't really care.

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: July

Week: 1

Weekly attendance score: 5/5

"Sawada!" Yankumi beamed at him, shovelling noodles into her mouth. "Oo fah huh urrheh aheheh ees eek!"

He stared at her. With one lone noodle sticking out between her lips and sauce on the end of her nose, she looked (pretty) awful. "Don't talk with your mouth full," he muttered, turning away from her and fiddling uselessly with the empty takeout containers, rearranging them on the floor.

She'd invited herself over again. He would have turned her away, except that she'd already brought the food, and he was starving. In truth, he didn't really mind sharing his space with Yankumi, even if she did hog the food, and eat like a pig.

He liked seeing her sitting casually on his floor, barefoot, hair loose, glasses off (they got steamed up by the hot food). It gave him a weird, twisty feeling in his stomach, but he put it down to indigestion and ignored it.

"I said," she repeated, "you had perfect attendance this week." She grinned at him. "I'm proud. This must mean I'm a great teacher, huh?"

He rolled his eyes. "Actually, it's Fujiyama-sensei," he deadpanned. "I've fallen for her charms."

She blinked wildly at him. "What?! You – I – How could –?!" She narrowed her eyes. "You're joking, aren't you?"


She scowled and finished off her noodles, scraping around the box for the last few pieces at the bottom. Shin watched her face, and the way a small frown creased her forehead as she poked miserably at the empty box.

"Here." He held out the rest of his udon. "I'm full, anyway."

She looked instantly guilty. "No, I can't. You... You're a growing boy, you need all the nutrition you can get –"

"I'm fully grown!" he snapped irritably. "For God's sake, I'm taller than you! Just because I'm your student doesn't mean I'm still a boy." With the last breath of his stupid, angry outburst, he felt all of his annoyance fade, only to be replaced with regret.

He pushed the noodles into her hands, hardly paying attention to the way his heart flipped in his chest as their fingers brushed.

Rather than accepting them, however, Yankumi pushed them away and got to her feet abruptly. "I'm sorry," she said sincerely. "I didn't consider... It wasn't right to come here uninvited."

She began to gather the empty boxes, stacking them up and putting them in the bin. Shin watched her, frustrated at his complete inability to say anything. It was the first time he'd ever seen a look of hurt cross her face; in a weird kind of way, he had convinced himself that nothing anyone said could ever hurt Yankumi – she always seemed so robust and... elastic.

She rinsed her hands briefly, dried them on one of the napkins she'd brought, and grabbed her jacket.

"Wait," he said quickly, scrambling to his feet and crossing the distance between them in a few quick strides. "Wait. I – I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that –"

"It's fine, Sawada." She grinned up at him, and he was surprised to see that it wasn't forced. "You're a decent guy. You're allowed to get worked up once in a while." She looped the bag strap over her shoulder and headed for the door. "And... I do know, you know. That you're not a boy anymore. I know that. I see it in all of you every day – it scares the hell out of me." She met his gaze, her face softening. "I just... prefer to think of you as my cute little students, that's all."

"I'm sorry," he said again, feeling about ten times worse than he had done before.

She ruffled his hair. "See you on Monday." It wasn't a request.

Shin heaved a sigh as the door shut behind her. He was never going to be able to understand how it was that she could pull him so suddenly from one emotional extreme to another, or how he'd managed to get far enough past his initial indifference to her that he no longer minded.

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: July

Week: 4

Weekly attendance score: 3.5/5

Three weeks of perfect attendance, one bout of unreasonable jealousy and a botched date later, Shin finally figured it out. And it made him miserable .

In love with a goddamn teacher.

It made him feel like an idiot, like one of those saps he saw trailing hopefully after Fujiyama day after day. Like his whole damn class when Fujiyama came to teach them English – desks pushed as close to the front as possible, students fighting to be the one to give an answer or write something on the board. He'd always watched them with a kind of exasperation, wondering why they couldn't see how idiotic they were being.

And now, apparently, he'd joined their ranks.

Disgusted with himself, he took the rest of the week off.

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: September

Week: 4

Weekly attendance score: 2/5

The summer break had been and gone.

Shin had begun to hate school again.

He hated the way he felt when he was sitting at the back of her class, watching her, trying not to watch her, wondering if everyone else could see him watching her, and wondering if she knew he was watching her.

He had to try hard just to be normal, and sometimes he tried so hard that he realised he wasn't acting normal at all.

Being around her gave him weird, annoying-but-kind-of-nice feelings; not being around her gave him different feelings, like relief mixed with regret. There was no happy medium.

Eventually he decided that it was better for him to be away from her, because at least then he could think straight.

He wondered if he would be able to get over her before graduation. She was pretty determined about seeing them all through it, and he wanted to be there – for her sake as much as his own. If he could get through this… infatuation quickly enough, he would probably be all right.

Perhaps what he needed was some time to himself. Time away from Yankumi.

A couple of weeks, he thought. Just to get her out of my system.

He nodded, satisfied with his decision. A couple of weeks, and then I'll be fine again.

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: October

Week: 1

Weekly attendance score: 0/5

The doorbell rang repeatedly. It seemed to get louder each time.

"All right, all right!" Shin complained, fastening his jeans in a hurry as he came out of the bathroom. They felt uncomfortable against his wet skin, and he hadn't even had a chance to grab a shirt – obviously this person just wouldn't wait.

He wrenched the door open and found Yankumi on the other side, red-faced and panting. "Oh, thank God," she breathed. "You're alive. I started thinking… and then I panicked… so I ran… You didn't answer your phone!"

"I was in the shower," he replied brusquely. "What are you doing here?"

She stared at him. "You've not been into school for a whole week," she said. "I was worried."

He looked at her – her cheeks bright pink from the exercise, hair loose and messy. His jeans now felt uncomfortable for an entirely different reason. He turned away and moved back inside his apartment. She followed him in. "Sawada? What is it?"

He heard her shut the door behind her and had to laugh inwardly at the irony of it all. He'd stayed away from school because of her, but his own absence had brought her here. And now the woman he wanted so badly was in his home, alone, with him. He was half naked. His bed was against the far wall. Idly, he wondered what she would do if he picked her up and tossed her onto the bed.

Beat him soundly, most likely.

"I'm fine," he told her evenly, picking up a sweater he'd left on the bed earlier and pulling it over his head.

"Well, you can't be," she argued, "or else you would have been in school this week. So what's going on?"

He gritted his teeth. She wasn't going to leave until she got an answer, that was clear, and her presence was causing all kinds of problems, so really, it was in his best interests to get rid of her.

"What if I told you," he began, "that I wasn't coming to school because of girl trouble?"

"'Girl trouble'," she repeated. He turned to see her blinking in confusion. "How would girl trouble stop you coming to school? There aren't any girls to give you trouble at Shirokin."

"Really? I can think of a couple." He gave her a pointed look, trying to quash the nervous, shaky feeling he was getting from being so bold.

"Well, I can't. I mean, unless you're talking about me and Fujiyama-sensei." Her uneasy laughter died away quickly when she saw his unsmiling face. Her mouth formed an 'o' of surprise. "Don't tell me – "

His heart thumped harder.

" – you're in love with Fujiyama-sensei?"

That was it. He was going to kill her with his bare hands. But while he was busy fighting the urge to reach out and strangle her, he was struck with an idea. "What if I were?" he asked. "In love with Fujiyama, that is."

Her eyebrows knitted together in a thoughtful frown, and her lips twisted awkwardly. "Well… Fujiyama-sensei is your teacher. She could never allow herself to get involved with a student. I mean, it would be completely unprofessional."

"And wrong," he added, angry with himself for bringing it up. Of course she would think that – she was Yankumi, after all.

Her soft voice surprised him. "Well – no, not wrong exactly."

His head snapped up and he stared at her, shocked.

"I mean," she continued, "it would be a mistake to let anything happen while you're still one of her students. But you're 18 now, you're more than capable of making your own decisions. If you really feel that way about her… and if she feels the same, then there's no reason why you couldn't wait until after graduation – "

Too overcome with months' worth of heavy, choking, confusing feelings to think straight, he grabbed her arms, pulled her against him and kissed her firmly on the mouth.

Her lips were soft and warm. Immediately he felt her tense up, muscles flexing in her arms as she prepared to push him away, but he put all of his strength into keeping her pressed close to him, his fingers digging into her skin.

He knew his strength couldn't match hers. She wrenched her arms out of his grip and stumbled backwards, breathing hard, her face on fire. "What… wh – " She pressed an unsteady hand to her mouth, her fingers sweeping across her lips. "What did you do that for?!"

He couldn't look at her. Stupid, stupid, stupid, he thought angrily. But more stupid than kissing his goddamn teacher and thinking that he could get away with it – even more stupid than falling in love with her in the first place – was the idea that he would ever be able to get over her.

He never would. There had been no point trying.

"Sawada," she said faintly, "what's going on?"

"It's not Fujiyama," he muttered. His voice sounded weird, like it wasn't him talking at all. "I'm in love with you, not her. I was talking about you."

The colour drained from her face. "M-Me?" she choked. "But… I… what?"

Of course she would react like this. He'd never known a woman as dense as her.

"I'm in love with you," he repeated, feeling half-embarrassed and half-relieved to say it.

Then she did the one thing he'd never expected her to do.

She fled.

The last thing he heard as the door swung shut behind her was her small voice saying, "Start coming to school, okay?"

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: October

Week: 2

Weekly attendance score: 0/5

Of course he didn't go to school. Not after that disaster.

He expected that Yankumi would want to avoid him, as well, since she'd had such a bad reaction to the news.

He was surprised, therefore, when the doorbell rang just as he was boiling the water for his ramen one evening, and he opened the door to find Yankumi standing awkwardly on the other side.

He stared at her, hope and fear waging a silent war in his mind. "Come to shout at me for not being in school this week?" he asked eventually, trying to keep his voice steady.

She seemed oddly nervous, clenching and unclenching her fists, fiddling with the hem of her top, her gaze skittering from one thing to another but never meeting his eyes. "Not exactly," she managed. "Can I come in?"

Wordlessly he stood aside and let her through, ignoring the flip of his heart inside his chest as she passed and he caught a whiff of her shampoo.

Finally, she turned and looked at him. "Sawada," she said firmly, "what you said last week… did you really mean that?"

He reeled, stunned. Of all the things she could have said… He didn't even know how to reply. 'Yes' seemed a bit understated, somehow. "Of course I meant it," he began, feeling that familiar mixture of burning humiliation and sweet relief that came with bearing his soul. "Why would I have said it if I didn't -?" He broke off.

Yankumi had just done something new.

Her eyes, nervous and skittish, had focused for a few moments on his lips. She had blinked and then looked away sharply – but he had caught her.

"Yankumi?" he murmured, dazed.

She still refused to look at him. "What?"

He caught her wrist and pulled her towards him. She staggered, her free hand clutching at his arm to steady herself. He stared down at her, hardly able to believe that she was so close to him and not pushing him away. He waited to see if she would grow self-conscious and move, but she stayed. Her expression – initially shocked and a little outraged – had calmed. Her eyes dipped to his lips once more.

Funny, how something as simple as that could take away all of his reasoning, all of his self-control – like a too-tight wire, he snapped. Pulling her body flush against his, he threaded his fingers through her hair and covered her lips with his own.

He didn't know which was better – being able to kiss Yankumi again, or Yankumi kissing him back.

Attendance Report: Sawada Shin

Year: 3

Month: October

Week: 4

Weekly attendance score: 5/5

Shin had never thought he'd admit it, but… he never wanted to stop going to school.

There was something very satisfying about spending a whole lesson staring fixedly at Yankumi, making her blush and get flustered (much to the consternation of the other students, who didn't have a clue what was going on); later, he would wait for the classroom to be deserted save for the two of them, and then kiss her thoroughly, his hands skimming her waist to rest on her hips.

She would give in for only a few seconds, and then push him away, her eyes darting towards the open door. "Not here," she would hiss frantically. "Someone might see!"

Personally, Shin didn't give a damn if people saw, but he knew that this kind of thing would get her fired, so he did his best to restrain himself.

Behind the closed (locked and bolted) door of his apartment, however, it was a very different matter.

Because, really, when he was able to push Yankumi down onto his bed and feel her warm, soft body underneath him, and kiss her slowly, like they had all the time in the world – was it any wonder that he had perfect attendance at school?

Author's Notes: For what it's worth, I don't actually believe Yankumi would ever get involved with Shin while he was still her student, but frankly, there's only so much you can do with a 'we're going to wait until after graduation' ending, and I wanted kissing. Lots and lots of kissing. So I have suspended my disbelief for the purposes of my own diabolical schemes.

Manga stuff – 'an unreasonable bout of jealousy and a botched date' is a reference to the events in volume 7, wherein Shin first becomes aware that Yankumi has feelings for Shinohara; he is then set up on a date with a girl, and although she's keen on him at first, she is scared away when Shin is greeted by a load of Yakuza guys in the street.

This fic was posted in an attempt to procrastinate; I have a paper due in on Friday, and exams next week, and all I really want to do is eat junk food and write more fanfiction.