Pairing: Sawada Shin x Yamaguchi Kumiko
Theme: #2 – News, letter
Disclaimer: I don’t own Gokusen, but I did write this story.
The world had crumbled at Yamaguchi Kumiko’s feet.
The women’s staff washroom was thankfully cool, with soft lighting and a
bank of mirrors across from the stalls. Fujiyama and Nakashima’s shoulders
lifted and drooped delicately, as one. “I was so disappointed!” Nakashima pouted,
applying a coat of gloss to her just-pink lips.
“You’re telling me,” Fujiyama sighed, turning her head slightly to check
her blush, “I had a lot invested in Shinohara-san!”
“Shinohara-san…” The three muttered.
Apparently, Fujiyama and Nakashima had gone out for drinks with the
gorgeous police officer again the other night. Yankumi had been in a state of
shock, and they hadn’t seen her after school, so she naturally had no idea until
they had come into the staff room the next morning, both with a telltale droop to
“Maybe we should have seen it earlier,” Fujiyama’s eyes were slowly
cooling, her classic persona taking over. “After all, he dresses with style,”
“And he was friendly, but he never took one of us up on our advances!”
“And he liked Romeo & Juliet better than anything by Tai Kato,” Yankumi
frowned. “Kato’s films are how a man should really be!” One fist in the air, eyes
narrowed. The only other two female staff members looked at her curiously, and
Kumiko lowered her arm. “Well it’s true,” she muttered.
She pulled her hair out of the pigtails on the walk home, tucked her glasses
into her pocket and did her best to cheerfully greet the shop-owners in the Oedo
territory brightly, not that she was fooling anyone. By the time Kumiko had
made it to the gates of the Oedo Household, she had several fish, some sweets
and a rather large daikon radish. Tetsu and Minoru were waiting, bowed in the
“Ojou! Welcome home!”
“I’m home,” she sighed, toeing off her runners and sliding her feet into her
indoor-slippers. She handed off the produce and made her way to her room to
Slipping into jeans and a t-shirt, she realized that it probably couldn’t have
worked out anyway. Even if her Grandfather didn’t expect her to inherit the
family business, there was no way the sole heir of a successful Yakuza clan could
marry a police officer. And there was no way she could pretend to love romance
movies when a good action film was calling her name. ‘But he was so…!’ A shake
of the head, and Yankumi gathered up today’s papers for grading, settling down
at the low table off the main room, set to work.
The papers were easy to mark, when it was basic math like this. Teaching
English had sapped her energy like nothing else, but math? Math was simple,
straight forward. Numbers were a universal language. Numbers rarely surprised.
Numbers were all well and good until she reached Sawada’s paper.
So Sawada wasn’t the same as the others. And maybe she went to him for
advice on how to handle things, and occasionally assigned him a power role, like
being team captain for their boxing match. Yes, and even a few times he had
helped her solve inter-family problems, hide her background, and joined in a few
fights. So she treated him differently, so what? That didn’t give him the right to,
Yankumi’s face felt hot, and she bent her head over the papers as Tetsu
refilled her tea, hovering a moment.
He hadn’t given any signs before hand. Not when he had returned her cell
phone and gotten in that fight, not when he had stayed with the Oedo family for a
night while they worked out how to get him back into school. Not even when she
visited him on the rooftop during her prep period. Not once had Sawada done
something unusual or untoward, like gaze lingeringly at her, or compliment her.
Practically the opposite! He treated her like the few other people he
respected – she had his respect at least – with a few jibes and teasing comments,
but a genuine willingness to help out. Nothing about his actions had ever
screamed “Tomorrow I am going to corner you after class and kiss you in a
wonderfully tentative way and then walk out”.
“Kumiko-chan?” Her Grandfather settled down across from her at the
table. Her face was still hot, and she did her best to cool it, taking a long drink of
the tea Tetsu had left. “Tell me about it,” was all he said, was all he had to say.
Grandfather never asked for details, and always seemed to understand more than
“A person I admired has turned out to be different than I thought, but I
was partly mistaken in my judgement,” she replied in the more formal language
that seemed to come with these conversations. She wasn’t sure who she was
talking about, though.
“Hm, well, a relationship is often much stronger when it holds more
truth,” he replied, eyes settling on hers. Kumiko felt the urge to look down, aside,
away, but didn’t. “Is it a bad thing?”
“No… yes, I… I’m not sure, Grandfather.”
Grandfather hummed in his throat, deep at the back so it rumbled a little,
then spoke. “When I first met your father, I misjudged him,” he said, hands
resting just above his knees. “I did not believe such a man was good enough for
your mother, or strong enough to protect her. I didn’t believe they were capable
of eloping,” he admitted.
Kumiko’s interest was piqued. Grandfather had spoken about how her
mother had not agreed with the family business, and how the couple had eloped,
but he had never spoken about his relationship with her father, just that he was a
good man. “Not long after they had left, he came back, without your mother and
told me that she was pregnant. He looked me straight in the eye and said that he
was unsure of how I felt about their relationship, but that he would like my
blessing, and that it would mean a lot to your mother. His hands were shaking
the entire time, but he never looked away from my eyes.”
A smile slowly spread across Kumiko’s face, a small one, but a good one.
“Father was a good man, wasn’t he…”
Grandfather nodded. “And much braver than I thought.” He paused,
breathed deeply once. “You have met some brave people as well, Kumiko-chan.
I’m sure it will all work out.” And with that he stood up, kissed her on the
forehead, and called out as he headed into the kitchen to make sure Tetsu and
Minoru were working hard and not eavesdropping.
Yankumi looked down at Sawada’s paper again and relaxed a little. It was
true, she was surrounded by extraordinary people, all of them.
If you're curious, it appears to me that in the drama, Shinohara is not only gay, but has a thing for Drama-Tetsu. Try rewatching it and see what you think.