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at least hold my hand while you drag me through hell

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The atmosphere in the restaurant set Yasmin Khan at ease straight away. She can’t remember the names of the people she’s sitting with even though she’s sure she’ll learn them quickly soon considering they’re her new co-workers. Thanks to her old school mate Ryan Sinclair, who also works at the school, she knew about the job opening before anyone else and got in first. Now she’s here, watching everyone getting a little bit too drunk considering it’s the first day of term tomorrow, listening to them laugh and joke and try to include her as much as possible. They’re sweet people and Yaz can see herself getting along with them, it’s just that a nice meal out isn’t going to make bonds happen straight away.

Danny Pink, the head of the department and the only name Yaz can remember, stands and taps his beer bottle with the spoon he’ll soon use to eat the ice cream he’s ordered.

“Alright, okay everyone. A toast to another year of ‘sir, I’ve forgotten my kit’ and ‘can all three of my friends come to the toilet with me and disappear for half an hour’.” There’s a rumble of laughter at the relatability of his examples; Yaz joining in too as all students, no matter the school, all have the same excuses. “And an extra wish of good luck to Yaz Khan who is starting with us, especially as she’s holding form time in Doctor Smith’s lab.” 

A louder more exclusive round of laughing breaks out that yaz can’t relate to. She pushes down her flush of embarrassment. 

“Should I know something about this?” Yaz says, managing to keep her voice steadier than she feels.

“Now that you’re officially part of the PE department you hate the science department with a vengeance.” Danny informs her.

“Why?” Yaz smiles, still trying to tame her confusion.

“Just an age old tradition. They don’t like us, we don’t like them.”

“They’re annoying and arrogant.” The plump brunette with age lines all around her mouth chimes in. 

“And you have your tutor group in the most frustrating scientists lab.” The six foot black haired man adds, chuckling into his gin and tonic, making Yaz’s heart rate increase. What the hell is she in for?

“Stop, you’re gonna scare her off.” The man sitting next to Yaz with long blonde hair that smells of strong deodorant and seasalt attempts to make his co-workers calm down. “She’s not that bad, love. You just have to get used to her.”

“Science department apologist!” Danny points at him accusingly.

“Ooooooo!” 

 

Driving home, Yaz is thinking through everything she’s been told tonight. Specifically about Doctor Smith. By the time she pulls up to her house she’s almost convinced herself that they’re just setting her up to think working with her is going to be horrible. Kind of like a reverse psychology in that it’s not going to be as bad as she thinks and therefore she’ll be more relaxed. However there’s still a five percent chance in her mind that this character her whole department has something to say about is going to make her life difficult. 

Entering her semi-detached house Yaz doesn’t bother flicking any lights on since she knows the path to the kitchen so well. She’s been living here since term ended for summer at her last school, having moved straight away out of the city and into the countryside. It’s the furthest she’s ever moved away from home but she’s old enough now not to need the comforts of home close at hand; be it friends, family, or her favourite Chinese take out place. Thanks to her swift move she’s settled comfortably by now and can navigate her way to the cold bottle of water in the fridge waiting for her. She pours a glass, then heads up to bed. 

Tucking herself into her covers, Yaz reaches for her phone to set her alarm for tomorrow since all staff are due early to receive a quick meeting before the students arrive. On her lit up screen she notices a good luck text from her dad and strangely from Ryan. Ignoring her dad’s words of encouragement for the moment she presses on Ryan’s text of well wishes, saying he’s looking forward to seeing her tomorrow and Yaz gets an idea. 

‘Thanks mate. Is there anything you can tell me about Doctor Smith?’ Yaz types and sends. Within moments the three little dots telling her he’s typing back appear in the corner. 

‘Bit weird tbh. Don’t call her Jessica or Miss Smith; she'll only take Doctor or Doctor Smith. I don’t really talk to her to be honest.’

Yaz frowns, unsatisfied with the information she’s been given. ‘Is that it??’

‘It’s hard to describe her. You’ll see. Her brother’s better to get along with if I’m honest.” Ryan tells her. Before Yaz can ask what his significance is, Ryan adds another part to his text. “It’s easier if I just show you tomorrow. Meet me outside the school hall at 7:15.’

Yaz acknowledges the plan with a thumbs up and throws her phone onto her bedside table, urging herself to get some sleep in preparation for whatever tomorrow throws at her.


The next morning Yaz rises a little earlier than she normally would to read over all the first day documents that have been emailed to her personal account. She’s more or less completely prepared for today in theory, but put a prepared adult in a classroom full of teens, or in her case a gym hall, and any plan will soon have to be altered or thrown out the window altogether. However, the structure of the day should remain and that’s enough of a guideline for Yaz. 

She gets herself some breakfast- a healthy bowl of fruit with porridge- brushes her teeth, washes her face and then gets dressed into her new uniform of a branded grey polo shirt and black leggings. Looking at herself in her mirror Yaz thinks for a moment she might just look like one of the students. Especially with her hair in plaited pigtails. It’s significant moments like this when she wishes she lived with someone. Whether it be her sister, her parents, a lover, a partner or just a cat or a dog. Hell, maybe even just a goldfish. Any of them would be nice. Just someone to talk to. Someone to tell her she suits her new work clothes or to wish her luck in person, not over text.

Catching herself yearing into the mirror, Yaz moves on to running over again and again how this new school works. Each school runs differently but something tells Yaz before she’s even started that this is going to be special. It seems too relaxed, which can easily be a gateway to chaos, although the headteacher has been then for ten years so there must be some kind of control. She knows the timings of the days, she knows how they’re going to differ today and she’s just about to refresh on how her department works when her alarm goes off telling her it’s time to leave the house. 

There’s another wave of Yaz wanting someone behind her just to say ‘see you later love’ or ‘I’ll have dinner ready for when you come home’. She pushes past it, telling herself she’s fine on her own, locks the front door behind her and heads off on the fifteen minute drive to work.

She’s been to the school before, many times for different interviews, introductions and a department bonding day, so it’s easy for her to find the school hall, especially with Ryan waiting outside the doors for her. 

“Good to see you Miss Khan.” He grins that grin that Yaz remembers from way back when. He hasn’t changed at all.

“How long has it been?” Yaz smiles back at him, genuinely pleased to see a familiar face. 

“Since we physically last saw each other at primary? About twenty years.” Ryan does the quick maths and suddenly Yaz feels very old. “Ready for your Mean Girls style introduction to notable staff members?”

“You watch mean girls enough to make a reference?” Yaz smirks.

“It’s an iconic film Yaz, don’t lower yourself.” Ryan shakes his head at her, tricking her smirk into a proper smile.

He pushes the glass door open for her but they don’t move into the room much. There are rows of chairs but despite almost every person on the payroll being here not many people are sitting down. Instead there’s hundreds of conversations going on about how everyone’s summers were, how their own kids are and so on and so on. There’s a bubbling sensation to the feeling in the air, like Yaz has stepped into a family reunion. Now it’s just a matter of Ryan pointing out who the strange uncles, cool cousins and the rich lesbian aunts are.

“Doctor Smith is that one there.” Ryan whispers and points to a woman about an inch taller than she is on the other side of the room. 

Even from this far away Yaz can sense she has a certain auror about her. The blonde bob with roots on show, the boots with socks sticking up out the top, the blue trousers, the top with the colourful stripes across it, and her smile spread across her face as she talks to a taller spikey haired man wearing converse and a brown pinstripe suit with a shorter brunette woman. Overall, she looks like a very nice person and Yaz has to wonder why she’s heard such bad things about her.

“Who’s she with?” Yaz asks.

“That’s her older brother John, he’s head of English, and the woman is English teacher Clara Oswald and she is dating…” His finger rolls in circles as he moves his arm to point at Danny Pink. “...your boss.”

“So coworker relationships are on the table.” Yaz whispers. She’s not intending to look for a relationship but it’s good to know what’s going on.

“I mean, they’re common here but she doesn’t really care. She scares me.” Ryan says in reference to head teacher Donna Noble standing at the front chatting to her head leadership team. “Not as much as he scares me though.”

“Who?” 

“The short guy standing next to her with black hair and a beard? Deputy head Omar Retsam. He tries it on with every new teacher that comes here so you’ll meet him soon enough.”

“Gross.” Yaz feels every part of her body recoil.

“We’ve tried to get rid of him but Donna won’t allow it for some reason. Oh and while we’re talking about people to look out for...” Ryan points at the group of women and men at the back to the left of them. “See the blonde one?”

“Yeah.” Yaz identifies her within the crowd. The way they’re all dressed, it looks like they’re part of the canteen team.

“That’s Rose, one of the dinner ladies, she’s the one you want to go for because she gives you extra food if you’re polite to her. She’s also dating Mr Smith. However, Bill, the woman next to her, if she doesn’t like you she’ll give you the shit food.”

“There’s really a whole system to this isn’t there.” Yaz says, amused at how this staff body works. She’s never seen anything like it. 

“Yaz!” Danny spots her from where he’s standing a few rows ahead of where they’re standing and signals her to come over. 

“Your department calls you.” Ryan says, setting her free. “I’ll meet you for lunch, yeah? Unless you have plans.”

Yaz agrees to lunch and walks over to when the rest of the staff from her department are settled together in a cluster. The whole time she’s walking down the middle split between the sections of seats there’s an astonishing feeling following her every step. She could easily blame it on the fact she’s a new and an unfamiliar face bound to attract attention but the feeling burns her skin refusing to leave her alone. Succumbing to the feeling Yaz looks around, her eyes immediately locking on to Doctor Smith who is unashamedly staring at her. A little creeped out, Yaz turns back to her own department and tries to ignore the fact she’s being watched.

“First lesson, we always sit this side during staff meetings because it’s the furthest away from science who sit over there to get away from us.” 

“It’s a proper serious feud you’ve got huh?” Yaz smiles at how ridiculous it is.

“We, Yaz, we have a proper serious feud with them.” Danny corrects her, reminding her that she belongs with them now. “What were you talking to Mr I.T support for?”

“I know him from school.” Yaz says. Danny makes a face of acceptance but doesn’t get a chance to say anything else with Miss Noble taking the stage.

“Okay let’s get started please!” The ginger woman speaks with a smile and waits to make sure everyone is either sat or have found a place around the perimeter of the wall to stand. Yaz opens her notepad along with everyone else to take notes. The act in itself- seeing the indentation of her pen from old notes she made at her last place- reminds her that this isn’t her first rodeo and gives her a burst of confidence. “Welcome back for another year. I hope you all had a good summer.”

“You too Donna!” A man’s voice shouts out from the crowd.

“Thank you Mr Smith, cheerful as always- anyway! You’ll notice a few new faces among you and I’d introduce you all but we already did that bollocks before we broke up for summer.” Donna cracks a joke and everyone laughs. Yaz can’t help but feel that she’s being included in a very specific kind of group. “This year we’ve got lots of events to look forward to. World Book Day, Halloween, new menus in the canteen and of course the event of the year, the Science versus Physical Education football match just after Christmas.” 

The science department on the other side of the room immediately burst into cheering, whooping and throwing their firsts in the air, drawing Yaz’s head around to look at them gloating like there’s no tomorrow. Staff around them laugh and some of the people around Yaz stick up some rude finger gestures in support of the PE department. Yaz feels a little stupid not realising that it’s only a friendly, joky kind of feud. Of course they don’t really hate each other and it must make working here fun, even for the spectating departments.

“They won last year.” Danny tells her over the noise.

“Yes, yes, alright we get it, you hate each other.” Donna says to calm down the rest of the staff. “Back to the present, form time activities will be emailed out the first day of every half term so they should be in your inboxes now along with the rota for break and lunch duties and the passcodes for the gates around the school. New staff, please at the end of this come up and collect your lanyards and sign for the keys to your teaching rooms. There’s going to be a fire drill in three weeks time, if anyone needs refreshing on the procedures there will be…”

Yaz listens carefully to the more serious parts of the head teachers speech, jotting down notes and important things to remember. Starting a new job always has it’s balance of excitement and nerves but as the assembly goes on, Yaz is losing confidence in herself. She can still feel her. Looking. Her eyes boring into the back of her head rather than listening to their boss. Or maybe Yaz is imagining it, she doesn’t know, she doesn’t want to turn around and make eye contact again when they haven’t even met yet. Yaz holds her ground waiting for the meeting to finally finish and collect her keys from the old Scottish janitor.

“Here’s your school ID, please wear it around your neck as much as possible and you have keys to… girls changing rooms, boys changing rooms, sports hall, PE department safe, PE department office, gym, front gates, back gates, sports equipments sheds one, two, three, four and five and- ooh! L13. That should be fun. Anyway, last of all here’s your computer login and password. If you can just sign there Miss Khan.” He says.

Yaz does as she’s told and signs to say she has a key for each of the rooms listed with the Scottish man attaching the keys to her school branded lanyard. She’s not sure which one belongs to which door yet but she reckons she’ll soon figure it out. It’s a considerable weight once it’s resting on her shoulders and she’ll probably decide to clip it to her pocket or her coat or any other of the many clothing items the school has provided for her. 

She strolls over to the science block expecting all of the teachers to be ready to shoot her down the second they see she’s from PE but all she’s greeted with is friendly smiles and a couple of ‘hello’s. It adds a certain confident spring to her step, making her believe whatever happens today or in the next few first weeks she’ll have people behind her to help.

The door to L13 looks older and battered compared to every other door down the corridor. All the others look new and made out of heavy materials and have a plain wood finish whereas the one Yaz is standing in front of now is dark blue, the old school uniform colour, and battered beyond belief. Yaz begins to analyse her crowded keyring, searching for the one that looks like it might fit this lock. 

“It’s this one.” Another northern accent is heavy in her ear along with the close presence at her side. Looking up at the body holding the key Yaz realises Doctor Smith smells of chemicals, copper and fire all at once- each hint of scent hitting Yaz’s nostrils in waves before merging into one. Yaz finds it strangely intoxicating along with how her eyes are both green and brown at the same time. “You’ve got to lift the handle at the same time you turn it.” 

“T-thanks.” Yaz stutters out a smile. Even if her reputation is correct and she is a bit of a bitch Yaz knows she won’t tire from looking at her.

The room is bigger than Yaz thought it would be and somehow smells cleaner than the scientist herself. There’s seats for thirty or so students. Each four tables have a sink and a gas tap in the middle of them for experiments and such that Yaz was never the best at when she was at school. By the side of the door stands a cabinet full of trays labeled ‘safety goggles’, ‘bunsens’, ‘rulers’, ‘paper’ and more. The back wall is made up of two giant pin boards above a counter similar to the desks, covered in informative posters made by students and question answering advice, plus a small section cordoned off and blank with the old tutor group initials on. Yaz will replace them with YKH as soon as possible, claiming her part of the room that very much at the moment looks like it belongs to Doctor Smith and only Doctor Smith.

“You were looking at me. During the meeting.” Yaz brings up the first thing on her mind to get Doctor Smith to talk to her again rather than investigate the way the cleaners have left her room.

“Yeah, I thought it was you. Miss Khan, right?” Doctor Smith doesn’t exactly address the fact she was being a bit creepy but it’s nice to know she already knows who Yaz is. 

“Please, you can call me Yaz.” Yaz smiles politely, rounding the desk at the front to check her login work.

Doctor Smith comes over and holds out her hand for Yaz to shake. Yaz takes it, not wanting to be impolite. “I’m the Doctor- Doctor Smith.”

“I’ve been told. No first names allowed.” Yaz smiles a smile which fades slightly when she realises she’s just openly admitted that people have been talking about her behind her back. Nevertheless, Doctor Smith just shrugs. 

“No point in studying for a doctorate for people to call me Miss. I worked hard for it.” She lets go of Yaz’s hand and it’s only then Yaz realises how strong her grip is.

“Which science?” Yaz asks, tapping in her login and password with only two fingers to make sure she doesn’t hit any extra keys.

“Physics. I like to dabble in chemistry too though.” Doctor Smith shrugs again like it’s nothing. 

“Smart.”

“A lot smarter than what it takes to ‘teach’ PE.” Doctor Smith scoffs to herself as she goes back to unpacking new textbooks and exercise books she’ll probably hand out to students later on in the day. Yaz is offended to say the least. She thought they were getting along. Her silence is noted with Doctor Smith looking over her shoulder back at her. “Just banter.” 

“I can’t tell if this feud is serious or not.” Yaz sighs, starting to stress out over what she can and can’t say in regards to the subject.

“Oh, serious Miss Khan, very serious… In that it entertains the kids and staff and the football match raises money for charity.” Doctor Smith holds her hands on her hips in a wonder woman esc pose. Yaz doesn’t know if she’s trying to convey that she knows more than her about this school or if it’s just a regular pose she does. “I looked at the break duty rota by the way. Looks like we're together for that too. Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Cool. More to share.” Yaz says.

“Not really sharing. I think it’s just because you’re new and I’ve been here a long time so I can help you.” Doctor Smith takes the liberty of correcting her. Yaz can sense it grating on his nerves already.

“Okay so...if this isn’t your form-”

“Your tutor group, just in my room. Those kids have nothing to do with me. Unless they’re in one of my classes.” The blonde says rather bluntly.

“Fair enough.” 

Yaz turns back to the computer and at the same time pulls out the time tables for the kids in her tutor group that were printed off and dropped off in her pigeon hole before today. There are about twenty five kids under her care for the first twenty minutes of the day all from varying year groups. Some kind of policy of integration, apparently, to have a bunch of eleven to sixteen year olds in a room together although Yaz strongly suspects that if she doesn’t set up a seating plan all the year groups will sit together with the people they know.

“I do have a couple of rules for here though.” Doctor Smith speaks up again. 

“Here?” Yaz turns around. 

“In the lab.” Doctor Smith comes close over to her again. Yaz stays quiet under her intimidating eyes. “No one can eat in here, touch the equipment, find the pictures of naked people in the biology textbooks in the cupboard and laugh. The door must be locked every time you leave. Don’t let them throw anything, make sure they don’t draw on the tables, and make sure they don’t spray deodorant in here. For one I don’t like the suffocating smell, it’s like walking past the boys changing room, you’ll know about that, but also I don’t want to light a match next period and set the place on fire.”

“Okay.” Yaz says timidly at all the information- or are they demands- that have just been piled on her. Doctor Smith’s body language changes immediately. 

“Cool! Should be fine.” The bell rings. “They’ll be here in about two minutes.” Doctor Smith tells her, proceeding to take down the stools from the tables. 

“I’ll go and wait for them.” Yaz says.

She gets up and walks past Doctor Smith out of the door to wait for the kids to turn up. Seeing them emerge slowly and then all at once makes Yaz realise that she’s joined a school with a student body that is astoundingly caucasion. Some carefully approach her door- yes, her door, not Doctor Smith’s- and she greets them with a kind smile and a ‘hi’ as they line up. She waits until it looks like there’s twenty odd people in line and leads them all inside. 

Doctor Smith seems to still be hanging around fiddling with things that could probably be fiddled with later and Yaz feels like she’s going to be under full scrutiny. Despite the extra pair of eyes on her, Yaz keeps her chin up and tells her group that they can sit wherever they like for today. There’s a nervous quiet coming from them which Yaz knows will disappear once they get to know her. Right now she’s a new face to be wary of. They don’t know her stance on discipline nor do they know whether she’s going to be laid back or not in general. Yaz takes her seat at the teachers computer, getting up the register system ready to log everyone in. 

“We’ll do intros after we’ve registered, yeah?” Yaz says what she's going to do phrased as a question. A nice tactic to make the students feel like they’re on the same level.

“Make sure to lock the door behind you Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith says walking out to probably hang out in another science teachers room without so much as looking behind her.

“I will, Doctor Smith.” Yaz formally replies. 

It’s almost like everyone in the room is holding their breath until they know Doctor Smith has truly disappeared. An older boy with messy hair and a crisp new uniform sticks his head up from the back of the room.

“It’s okay to find her intense, Miss.” He says, his voice cracking almost every other syllable. His words relax Yaz straight away.

“I am so glad you said that.” Yaz sigh-laughs with relief. At least she’s not the only one feeling it. 

Yaz roll calls the register and thankfully it’s a full class. The numbers will definitely dwindle when the mornings get darker and colder and it’s harder to get out of bed on time, but now is the time for Yaz to gain their trust.

“Alright who wants their time table?”

 

Yaz heads off to the PE office once tutor time is over with. She did one set activity she was meant to do- throwing a ball around to get students to remember each other's names- and then just let them all chat, joining in with them. Yaz doesn’t neglect to lock the door behind her in fear of Doctor Smith coming and finding her as she teaches. She should be teaching this morning, but because it’s the first day basically no one will have their sports kit on them. It should be year eight, and sure enough a load of pubescent twelve to thirteen year olds gather in front of the office in no time. Danny announces that they’re going to move to the sports hall without saying anything else and the pack of kids follow him like he’s a mother duck and they are his chicks.

“Right listen up everyone!” Danny raises his voice as the last few students settle down cross legged on the floor. Only then does Yaz notice that somehow all the staff, including herself, have ended up in a straight line like a group of superheros forming. “Most of you know us from last year but the eagle eyed among you will notice Miss Khan standing beside me. She’s new to the school but she’s certainly not new to PE and she’ll put you through your paces.”

“Fit!” An obvious joker of the pack shouts out as Yaz smiles and waves to introduce herself. 

“Any comments like that and you’ll be in detention for a week!” Danny shouts and the hall goes quiet again- any echoes of laughter dying out. “Boys I will cancel the contact rugby game if you dare talk about any female member of staff like that again or any member of staff for that matter.”

“Sorry sir.” A few voices that laughed apologize. 

“You can apologise to Miss Khan, not me, at break time.”

“You run a tight ship.” Yaz whispers as Mrs Duncan (the plump older woman from last night, Yaz finds out) explains that each teacher will read out their class and the students will have to come over to them. 

“Have to.” Danny winks. “Hormones flying everywhere.” 

Mrs Duncan hands Yaz her list of students. Year seven and eight stay separated by gender during their double periods, and they have their single ‘games’ period once a fortnight with their learning group, which is mixed. The games period stops when the learning groups are mixed up in year nine and some students take it as GCSE.

“You go first Yaz.” Danny says. Yaz has her suspicions that it’s a test to see how she handles pressure but she steps forward with pride, not shaken at all.

“When I call your name, stay seated until I’m finished and then we’re going to go to the school hall.” Yaz says following the instructions written in pencil on top of her sheet. 

Yaz tries to ignore the groups of friends sitting together crossing their fingers and scrunching up their faces hoping to be called together. Of course the department is smart and splits girl groups up so that cliques don’t form and Yaz reads out the names loud and clear. 

The young girls follow her in silence to the school hall. Some of them look quiet in the way they’re holding themselves but others are mellowing in their silence trying to sniff Yaz out. She knows the kind, since they’re the kind of people that used to bully her. The only difference now is that she’s the adult and one of the people that can put them straight before they cause damage. By the time they reach the school hall there’s a low level of chatter amongst the girls that Yaz finds sweet and friendly. Yaz sits herself on the side of the stage since she’s always wanted to do it and asks the girls to sit down again. 

“Like Mr Pink said, I’m Miss Khan. Today’s my first day, obviously, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing. The plan for this term is some hockey, some football, some netball and then I don’t mind doing an activity you choose.” 

Yaz hears herself getting boring and tries to shuffle through the rest of the stuff she has to say about kit and behaviour expectations. She then tells everyone to ask their tutors to see the after school clubs list in case anyone wants to sign up and since Yaz isn’t allowed to get them to exercise in their normal uniforms she gets them to sit in a circle for a ‘bonding’ exercise. 

“Okay so we’re going to say our names, and our favourite sport then roll this ball to the next person- but no one can have the ball twice, okay, so you have to pay attention.” Yaz explains the rules of the game to what she assumes are listening ears. “Then we can just chill, yeah?”

“Can all lessons be like this?” A girl with worse roots than Doctor Smith asks in jest.

“I’d be out of the job if they were.” Yaz chuckles. “Okay. I’m Miss Khan and my favourite sport is football.”

Yaz rolls the small orange ball to the student straight across from her. If she was horrible she’d make each student recite and name the sport of each person before them like she did with her tutor group but they’ve all been nice to her and quite frankly Yaz’s mind is still on how shirty Doctor Smith was with her this morning. It’s not like the Doctor was making an effort to be strict because being strict is what Danny did when that kid shouted out at her. Doctor Smith was just… odd with her.

As if she sensed Yaz thinking about her, Doctor Smith enters the hall with a determined look on her face. Yaz doesn’t know if she always walks that fast and whether she always walks close to the perimeter of the room or if she’s just trying to avoid the- admittedly pathetic looking- class Yaz is holding. Or perhaps she’s just avoiding Yaz. It’s hard to tell.

“Doctor Smith what's your favourite sport?” Yaz asks, just to see if Doctor Smith has even registered that there are other people in the room.

“Reaching for the biscuit tin.” Doctor Smith answers without so much as looking at her, soon disappearing through the stage door. 

Some of the girls laugh and giggle at the scientists aloof behaviour, which gets Yaz thinking. 

“May I ask you a question, girls?” Yaz asks.

“Sure.”

“Yep.”

“Okay.”

“Why not.”

“Who’s your favourite teacher at the school?” Yaz asks; a ploy to make it look like she’s simply trying to get a gauge of student opinion. 

“Mr Smith.” Everyone says at once. Yaz could have guessed, giving the information Ryan told her. 

“And who’s the teacher where you see their name on your timetable and you think ‘oh no’?” 

A few names that are not the one Yaz was expecting to hear trickle out, and others agree once Yaz tells them she isn’t going to snitch or anything like that. Someone from food technology, the old one from music and the over dramatic drama teacher.

“What about Doctor Smith?” Yaz asks the golden question. Is she usually that blunt with everyone or is it just a staff thing? Or a new staff thing? She needs to know to settle her mind.

“She’s funny.”

“Yeah and she loves teaching.”

“Her classes are the best.”

“I heard the teachers take bets every year on how soon she’ll blow up her lab.” 

“Why do you ask?”

Yaz shrugs to avoid suspicion. “Just out of intrigue.”

 

Yaz gets through the rest of the double period without much struggle and a better bond with her students. She resides in the little PE office to eat her snack during break time and catch up with how the rest of the staff's lessons went- not forgetting the group of boys that were standing ashamed at the door waiting to apologise for their inappropriate call out at the start. Yaz finds it funny but doesn’t let anyone else know that. It’s not the first time it’s happened during her career as a teacher. Of course throughout her break when she’s trying to fill in the digital register everyone else is asking about how meeting Doctor Smith went. Yaz tells them she’s not sure of her yet, not wanting to slag her off since she still doesn’t know the boundaries and limits of this fake but not so fake feud between departments. 

Periods three and four are easier for Yaz since she’s in a computer room with some year tens, talking them through what they’re going to do for their GCSE coursework. There’s no extra kit to have to wear to do that. Before she knows it Yaz gets to meet Ryan for lunch at the canteen, and the inevitable questions about the allusive Doctor Smith start flowing once again.

“Mate I can’t tell if she actually hates me or not.” Yaz says, picking up a pasta pot from under a heated light.

“Told you she was weird.” Ryan says with an ‘I-told-you-so’ voice.

Yaz pauses their conversation while an elderly dinner lady scans her thumb and her forefinger into the system. Cashless payments at this school, so Yaz will put money into her account that can be accessed by her fingers instead. Except for today, where new staff and year sevens get free food to welcome them.

“Can you tolerate her?” Ryan asks as they walk through the seating area of the canteen. 

Yaz thinks. Doctor Smith was probably over defencive this morning because Yaz is new and it’s the first day of the entire academic year. It’s a stress fest for every teacher and yes, it may be affecting her mood and how she is with others. 

“To be confirmed.” Yaz decides.

Ryan giggles to himself, removing the tin foil from his homemade sandwich that his gran made him. “This is going to be fun.”

Chapter Text

Yasmin Khan has decided she absolutely, completely, unequivocally hates Doctor Jessica Smith. Two weeks of sharing break duties and a room has done it’s best to drive Yaz up the walls. Doctor Smith is messy and demanding and insistent all the time that she’s right and that’s not to mention how she’s protective over her room. ‘Don’t touch this’, ‘don’t let the students do that’, it’s a struggle every day not to tell her where to shove it. In theory Yaz shouldn’t have to see her at all unless they’re on their break duty and yet every morning Doctor Smith finds some kind of excuse to come in and hang about. With or without a valid reason, she puts Yaz on edge. Every. Single. Time. 

Yaz forgot her lunch today and on Wednesday’s she’s at her busiest- teaching five out of six periods in the day and then helping out with the boxing club after school- so she’s skipped the forming queue and headed straight to Bill. If Yaz has made any friends within the past two weeks it’s Bill, Rose and Ryan. 

“You look stressed.” Bill says.

“Long day.” Yaz sighs, ignoring how the kids at the front of the queue are arguing with the staff on duty as to why Yaz is allowed to jump in and they aren’t. “What should I get?” 

“Depends what you want. Chicken burger as dry as sand or an overpriced mystery meat burger?” She says with a bittersweet smile.

“Wow you are extra miserable today.” Rose laughs, plating up a jacket potato with beans for a young boy Yaz recognises from the form next door to her. 

“Think I’ll just go and get a salad.” Yaz points over her shoulder with her thumb to the fridges on the other side of the room and starts to walk backwards.

“My god, please just eat some cake.” Bill begs her. She’s not keen on Yaz’s ultra healthy diet.

“Nah, too much suga-”

“Watch it!” 

Yaz feels her body almost touch the one behind her. If she had taken one more step backwards they probably would have been a mess on the floor. Yaz is embarrassed anyway but turning around to see the person she doesn’t want to see at all holding a Tupperware of custard creams above her head Yaz feels her face burn more than it should.

“Sorry Doctor Smith.” She apologizes. 

“You’re lucky Miss Khan. I’m grouchy if I don’t have exactly five at lunch and I pack just the right amount.” Doctor Smith takes a custard cream from her pot, shoves it in her mouth in one piece all while looking at Yaz and walks away.

“You’re grouchy with me anyway.” Yaz mutters to herself (when Doctor Smith is far enough away, that is). “Not like you wouldn’t eat them off the floor.”

Yaz chooses her salad and a fruit pot, pays with her finger and heads back to the PE office for a bit of peace and quiet. Her route back takes her past the medical room and a face she hasn’t seen yet appears in the corridor and smiles at her. 

“I wish all the students ate healthy like you.” She says. “I’m Martha Jones, I’m the school nurse.” She introduces herself.

“Oh! Right, yes, I know who you are.” Yaz remembers.

“You do?” Martha smiles and squints inquisitively at her. She seems nice. Kind natured. Has a lot less creepy stare than Doctor Smith.

“Yeah.” Yaz points at the medical room door. “I have your office number trained into my brain in case a kid gets hurt.”

“Ah, you’re the new PE teacher.” The light-bulb switches on in Miss Jones' brain. 

“Yaz Khan.” Yaz raises her free hand that isn’t holding her pots of food in a wave. “Good to meet you.”

“Well, I hope never to receive a call from you, Miss Khan.” Martha walks off to wherever she was going before Yaz stopped her. Yaz likes her. She gets good vibes from the nurse, for sure. 

Yaz makes it back to the PE office to find herself alone with everyone else either on duty or out preparing for their next lesson. It’s nice and quiet in the little office, which Yaz is pretty certain used to be a storage cupboard and has just been extended and converted. All day she’s quite literally had teens running around her and she’s looking forward to a quiet fifty minutes alone to fill in paperwork and plan lessons for next week without disruption. Sitting in the nice chair Yaz is about to tuck into her salad after hunting for a fork when there’s a knock at the office door. Yaz rolls her eyes and gets up, hoping that whoever it is will go away as soon as possible. 

“What can I help you with ladies?” Yaz asks, standing in the doorway being confronted with two year nines with their arms folded across their chests and handbags hanging off their elbows.

“Can we have our phones back now?” The taller blonde one with straightened hair asks, smacking on gum she’s not supposed to be chewing in school anyway.

“Who took them off you?” Yaz crosses her arms across her chest to match the teenage passive aggression. 

“Mrs Duncan.” They answer in unison, the name bitter on their tongues. 

“And when did she say you could have them back?”

“At the end of the day.”

Yaz dramatically turns to look at the clock on the wall behind her. “Is five past one the end of the school day?”

“Come on Miss, if we don’t have it for maths next we’ll get told off for not having a calculator. You’re just getting us into more trouble.”

“You’re not meant to use phones as calculators anyway. Come back at five past three and Mrs Duncan can give them back to you. Don’t try and blame your own disorganization on me- you shouldn’t have had your phones out during lessons.”

The girls turn around, devastated, like a family member has just died. “Bitch.”

“I should give you detention for that but I won’t because I’m tired of this conversation.” Yaz turns away and shuts the door behind her.

“Fucking dyke.” She hears them laugh through the wood. 

If she wasn’t already going to inform Mrs Duncan about it she certainly is now. She picks up  a pen and paper and details the conversation with a cool and level head. She’s not even a lesbian, she’s bi, so they got that wrong anyway but she can’t let language like that towards staff fly under the radar. Especially as she’s still new here, she’s got to make an effort to show she’s not a massive pushover. 

By the time Yaz has finished detailing the account, leaving it on top of the safe for Mrs Duncan to find later, her stomach is begging for the food sitting in front of her. The bell went for the end of lunch time five minutes ago so now she’s got to eat and work at the same time which always leaves her less full since her attention is spread between activities. She gets one forkful into her mouth before there’s another knock on the door.

“You ready mate?” Ryan asks.

“For what?”

Whether it be from Ryan’s inability to explain or her empty stomach Yaz is totally confused as to what he’s on about. Until the bell rings. Consistently. 

“Fire drill time.” Ryan says, wiggling his eyebrows. 

Yaz forces herself outside of the office, locking it behind her and reluctantly locking her food inside too. Ryan and Yaz make their way to the field and tennis courts only having to remind a few students that they’re meant to evacuate in silence. Ryan goes and stands with the rest of the staff who don’t have tutor groups to register himself and Yaz retrieves the paper register from the head of house her form is assigned to. 

Her kids do her proud, already in a line waiting for her. She has to switch some around so that they’re in alphabetical order by last name and not with their friends but other than that, they’re quiet, well behaved, and Yaz ignores the funny faces some of her year elevens are throwing at the form next in line to them. 

“Well done everyone. Back to class when your tutors release you.” Donna’s voice floats through a megaphone for everyone to hear. 

Luckily, Yaz’s form is near the edge of the field closest to the buildings so she can dismiss her group as one of the first and get back to her lunch sitting in the office. However, she’s not alone when she gets there.

“This yours Yaz?” Mr Thompson (the blonde one that smells of sea salt) asks.

“Put that salad anywhere near your mouth and I’ll replace it with my fist- you’ll be tasting my knuckles for days.”

 

Yaz does get to punch something by the end of the day but in a controlled environment. They’ve done their skipping warm up and she’s demonstrating with Mr Thompson the stance and basic punches they’re going to do this afternoon. The after school club is more for the students with trouble controlling their anger in class and Yaz is merely there to help demonstrate with Mr Thompson while Mr Pink leads the class but today Yaz feels no guilt in using it to let out some of her own frustrations.

She later gets paired up with a young boy with bad skin who looks like he’s here more for self defense than behaviour management. She sort of feels sorry for him, until he opens his mouth and apologises again for calling her fit in front of everyone on the first day and she realises who he is. No matter, Yaz treats him with respect anyway, helping him get out his energy in a way that isn’t objectifying staff members for laughs.

Yaz helps him out with his stance, teaching him about how if his legs are too close or too far apart he’s more likely to lose his balance and therefore lose in a fight. She finds out his name is Lewis and the way he punches tells her he’s got a lot of pent up aggression behind those fists. Suddenly she wants to know him more- know what’s running through his head, why he’s in this club. 

“Feel good?” Yaz asks him before she starts moving on to the next part of the activity.

“Really good Miss.” He smiles. 

“Take your gloves off and have a quick drink of water before Mr Pink makes us skip again.” 

Yaz watches him rip off the gloves and run over to the other edge of the hall to the small collection of water bottles. As her eyes float up she notices two other people enter the hall. Two people who really shouldn’t be allowed to are standing just inside of the doorway.

“Care to join us Doctor Smith? Miss Oswald?” Danny calls over to them, his voice softening as he calls for the second woman. 

“Not today Mr Pink, just observing.” Miss Oswald replies on behalf of both of them. 

“Then I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“I’ll have a go.” Doctor Smith speaks up. She starts to walk towards Yaz and Yaz is pleading silently with her: don't come to me don’t come to me don’t come to me.

“Miss Khan, care to teach her a thing or two?”

“Sure.” Yaz replies on autopilot. Shit. “If you just, uh, put on the gloves-”

“I’d prefer the pads, actually.”

“O...kay.” Yaz says as she starts to push the pads off her hands. She doesn’t know why she’s bending to her demands so easily, it’s annoying. She hands over the pads, her eyes flick up to look at the door to see Danny talking to Miss Oswald. They’re dating. Of course they are, Ryan told her so. “So what is this? An excuse to let them talk at work.” Yaz whispers to Doctor Smith.

“Kind of.” Doctor Smith shrugs, velcroing up a glove. 

“I thought Donna didn’t like it if the kids knew about staff relationships?” 

“You’re right, she doesn’t.” Doctor Smith stops smiling at her; her tone changing significantly, putting Yaz’s guard up. “I’m the distraction for the kids.”

Doctor Smith swings at Yaz for her to dodge and luckily with her past in the sport Yaz ducks and dodges it by a whisker.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Yaz hisses at her. 

“Nothing. Aim for the pads.” 

Doctor Smith goes to swipe her again like she’s trying to aggravate her into a proper fight. Determined to put her in her place, Yaz doesn’t give her the time of day to try it again and connects her gloved fist with the mitt. And again and again and again, connecting with every variation Doctor Smith gives her. Uppercuts, hooks, jabs, left handed, right handed, Yaz doesn’t miss one and ends up getting cheered on by the five boys in the club plus Mr Thompson. With all that support and confidence behind her, Yaz steps Doctor Smith backwards until the back of her legs hit one of the benches and the scientist loses her footing. She slips down the wall, unable to grip against the brick of the wall with her hands covered, so Yaz places her arms to catch her just before she falls flat on her arse. She’s heavier than Yaz expected her to be, but it’s still nothing for her.

“I don’t like you.” Yaz whispers. She’s not breathless and she hasn't even broken a sweat. But mentally those words needed to come out of her mouth and they needed to come out now.

“I know you don’t. And for what it’s worth, I don’t like you either.” 

Doctor Smith holds Yaz’s gaze as she gets back up onto her feet. There’s a level of rage and adrenaline pumping through Yaz’s body that’s sending a wild look to her eyes and she’s hoping Doctor Smith is receiving the message loud and clear. The room around her still has the students shouting their support for her but between the two of them it’s a deafening silence. And Yaz can’t stop looking at her.

“Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith nods, removing the boxing pads from her hands without having to look down at her wrists and dropping them at Yaz’s feet, defeated. 

“Doctor Smith.” Yaz nods back and watches her leave the hall.

 

It’s been one hell of a day and Yaz is happy to be home. The first thing she does is change into some sweatpants. The second thing she does is order pizza. She wouldn’t normally. Pizza is a treat on pay day or when cramps are giving her hell but she’s still so infuriated at Doctor Smith this afternoon and the two girls at lunch time and then Doctor Smith at lunch time as well. She should have ‘accidentally’ punched her in the face earlier. Maybe she wouldn’t be so prominently on her mind tonight if she had. Or perhaps Yaz would be relishing in the sight instead, she’ll never know.

Except after a few seconds of entertaining the idea Yaz reminds herself that she’s a sane, rational person that has never resorted to violence in her life. If she had punched Doctor Smith she’d be sacked, probably, and have to find a new job outside of teaching and she likes teaching. She doesn’t love it some days but most of the time it’s not that much of a chore. 

With her pizza delivered and consumed within fourty minutes, Yaz gets bored downstairs and decides to move up to her bedroom to watch some shitty TV. She catches herself talking out loud to no one, listing her routine of what she needs to do after she’s watched a couple of episodes of whatever can hold her attention for more than half an hour at a time. With nothing taking her fancy on the streaming site she flips through channels and resorts to putting on a television soap so boring she’s flicking through her phone in an instant. It’s been a tough day and she keeps having to remind herself tomorrow will be different. She’s on break and lunch duty with the insufferable Doctor but it’s not going to be hard to ignore her now that they’re on the same page, having admitted they have a dislike for each other. 

Unaware that she’s doing so, Yaz’s thumb hovers over the hook up app installed into the depths of her phone where no one else can find it.

Her house is quiet. Lonely. Just her senses and these four walls to keep her rational and sane. It’s been a long day, hasn’t it? Wouldn’t it be great to have some company? Maybe someone to talk about it with? Or at least make her forget about it for a bit? Guys are easy. She could send the first man she matches with and with an inch of skin and an address and he’d be over in a heartbeat. Although the last time she did that it didn’t last long enough for her to be satisfied and ended with an unfortunate trip to the pharmacy in the morning. 

It’s a school night. She shouldn’t. Thinking about it she’s too tired for that kind of nonsense anyway- too tired to even do it to herself. Nah, she’ll just shower and go to bed. It’s not like anyone she would have chosen would have stayed around after anyway. Especially not to talk and she wouldn’t be able to talk during or before after. ‘Hey this is great but can I tell you about this absolute bitch I work with who’s making my life really hard?’. 

She throws her phone away, discarding the stupid idea with it. She, again, considers touching herself to pass the time and, again, concludes she’s too lazy and would rather someone else do it. She doesn’t want a guy tonight and it’s hard to get a girl to come round at a drop of a hat without discussing marriage, kids and the future with them first so the idea has fully been rejected.

Yaz watches some more TV that Doctor Smith would probably say is rotting her brain and turning her into even more of a mindless fool. Jesus, she wants her out of her head. Why does she aggravate her so much? It’s not healthy and it’s only been two and a half weeks. Will she just be living in her mind rent free by the end of the year?

Frustrated at herself for not being able to let the events of the day go, Yaz showers and gets into bed. It’s only about half eight in the evening but she’s drained and tired and needs to sleep. As she drifts off, she’s still thinking about one thing:

She still wishes she had punched Doctor Smith in the face.


The next day Yaz has a refreshed mindset and is considerably calmer in herself. She avoids seeing Doctor Smith at the start of the day, keeps her mind busy by organizing equipment shed number three which also earns her brownie points with Miss Noble who stopped to have a chat with her as she was passing. Break duty is a god send since she is at a different end of the canteen to Doctor Smith controlling the flow of the queue of students. The middle two periods of the day she’s teaching double PE with her year eleven non exam group. It’s her favourite class if she’s honest. There’s nothing that needs to be completed and handed it, it’s purely to get these kids moving in between studying for exams and it shows in how the department allows them to choose what sport they want to do.

Lunch break however, Yaz would like to just sit on a bench and eat her greek salad in peace, but the tennis courts aren’t that big and her and Doctor Smith are circling each other every few minutes. It looks like Doctor Smith is daring her to start a conversation with her every time she passes. Luckily when Yaz thinks Doctor Smith is about to close in on her a couple of boys from her year ten class come up to speak to her. Yaz clocks Doctor Smith passing as the boys request changing from her class to Mr Pink’s. She tells them she’ll have a word with Mr Pink but can’t promise them anything and at the same time reminds them she’s just as qualified to teach as he is, if that’s what has prompted this approach. They leave her alone after their questions have been answered and like a lion closing in on it's prey in the wild, Doctor Smith comes and silently stands next to her.

“How did you know?” Yaz asks to get her voice up in the air first. There’s a pause and Yaz thinks she’s not going to get any kind of answer so she keeps eating her lunch like she never said anything.

“Know what?” Doctor Smith sighs.

“That I’m not your biggest fan.” Yaz puts it nicely all the while trying not to roll her eyes at Doctor Smith pretending not to know what she’s on about.

“You should really be careful with who you ask for information from.” Doctor Smith pauses to watch Yaz try and figure out who she possibly could have complained to about Doctor Smith. “Your year eight girls are notorious gossipers.” She lets Yaz in on the secret.

Of course. The suspicious looking year eight girls from her first ever lesson.

“I didn’t say anything bad about you.” Yaz says. Which isn’t a lie, she technically didn’t say anything.

“You insinuated that you thought I would be their least favourite teacher. Plus, it’s not hard to see that you treat me differently.” Doctor Smith smirks at her. Yaz’s jaw drops open at her cheek, implying that Yaz is the one laying down stupid rules all the time when really it’s her- it’s all her- it’s not like Yaz is the one breaking her own rules all the time, leaving biscuit crumbs on the computer keyboard for Doctor Smith to find every morning.

“You treat me-”

“Let’s not start bickering now.” Doctor Smith raises her voice a little, instantly regretting it by the look on her face. “Look, we work together, we have to stay civil, that’s it. For the sake of our jobs and the kids.”

“Fine.” Yaz says. 

“Fine.” Doctor Smith agrees.

They walk separate ways to patrol different ends of the tennis courts without looking back; Yaz feeling as riled up as ever thanks to Doctor know it all.

Chapter Text

“I think I’m going to get a fish.” Yaz announces, pouring the drinks Bill and Rose have asked for; Rose a glass of wine and Bill a cold beer. Some blackcurrant squash for Yaz (no added sugar).

“A fish?” Bill asks. 

“Yeah a fish.” Yaz passes them each their drinks as they stand in her kitchen. It’s not the biggest place to hang out but they’ll move along soon enough. 

“Why?” Bill asks again, looking for some further explanation. 

“I want a pet.” Yaz shrugs.

“So why not get a cat or a dog?” Rose asks.

Yaz shrugs again, determined to keep her attitude around the idea light and not like it's a desperate attempt to make her house less lonely. “Dogs are too much of a tie when I’m at work all day. I can’t afford a dog sitter and cats… I dunno I just want a fish.” 

“Anything specific that’s brought this on?” Rose asks, her confusion rising at the same rate as her suspicion.

“I want something here to relax me. Keep me company.” Yaz says.

“And a fish is better company than a cat or dog?” Bill says, evidently judging Yaz’s choices.

“You could get a boyfriend.” Rose suggests. 

“Or girlfriend.” Bill adds.

Yaz shakes her head and frowns. “Too much hassle and effort.”

“Only because you’re not willing to put in the effort- see how fast you rejected that idea.” Bill says.

“Why don’t we set you up?” Rose asks. 

“No-”

“Oh, come on Yaz!” Bill throws her arms up in defeat. “When was the last time you got any?”

“July.” Yaz tells her, feeling the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

Bill adds up the months in her head. “Okay, that’s not bad, only last month- two months ago ish.”

“Three years ago.” Yaz corrects her. 

“Uh oh.” Rose mumbles into her drink. Bill pinches the bridge of her nose and sighs. 

“Please tell me that’s because your sex drive is really low.”

Yaz blushes and hides her face in her drink. “It’s a bit high… actually… so…” 

“Don’t you get frustrated?” Rose asks out of intrigue. 

“Not really.” Yaz shrugs again. The only time it bothered her was a few days ago. “I just focus on my work and then the only time I ever get frustrated is over Doctor Smith.”

“Jess?”

“Sexually?”

“Ew! No, gross!” Yaz feels her stomach do a flip at the very thought like she’s going to be sick. “I’d never think of her like- who’s Jess?”

“Doctor Smith.” Rose says. 

“To be fair, you’re only allowed to call her Jess because you’re in a relationship with John.” Bill reminds their blonde friend of her privilege.

“Jess and John.” Yaz muses to herself over the choices their parents would have had to make so that both their kids had names starting with J.

“There’s no chance of setting you up, is there?” Bill sighs.

“Nope.” Yaz shakes her head again and smiles at her friends, leaving the kitchen with the conversation about her love life dying out behind them.

Yaz wanted to cook for them tonight, since they’re around food all the time at work, but Rose protested since it would likely be all her ‘healthy nonsense’ that no one ‘normal’ wants to eat. So instead they’re hanging out trying to decide which pizza they want to order and where to order from. Bill suggests a local restaurant that does take out, while Rose suggests a chain because you can half and half pizzas. Yaz doesn’t want to be the one to decide so lets the two other women fight it out with a game of rock paper scissors. Bill wins, then they look up the restaurant and realise you have to collect the food and with Yaz the host being the only sober one they don’t want her to have to leave. So they order a half vegetable half meat pizza for them to share along with the brownies and ice cream Yaz prepared earlier. 

“What’s so wrong with healthy food anyway?”

“BOOOOOORING!” Bill shouts, taking a bite of her first slice of pizza. 

“Just can’t do it.” Rose says. “Don’t you ever just want chips?”

“Yeah.” Yaz says. “I still eat chips.”

“Fried chips from the chippy, not oven chips.” Bill clarifies.

“Why would I want that, they’re basically just sticks of grease?” Yaz fails to comprehend the idea.

Bill turns to Rose. “See. Boring.” 

“Alright, maybe I am boring, but at least I’m fit.” Yaz admits.

“I bet you’ve got a bloody six pack under there or something.” Rose hypothesizes. Already smug, Yaz puts down her half eaten slice and stands up. “Oop- here we go.” Rose mutters as Yaz lifts her shirt.

“And suddenly I have a crush on you.” Bill says. “Can I poke them?”

“I’d prefer it if you just touched instead of poked but yeah.” Yaz laughs. It’s always fun, showing off the state of her body like this. Makes it worth the maintenance. 

“Tell you what, you could crush Doctor Smith any day with these.”

“Kind of already have.” Yaz says. Rose and Bill look up at her in intrigue as to what she means. “She turned up at boxing club last week and challenged me.” 

“You box?” Rose asks.

“Marry me.” Bill swoons.

“Yes, and no.” Yaz sits back down again, body fully covered and ready to be bloated by bread and cheese. 

“Worth a try.” Bill picks up her food and continues to eat.

“Hope you didn’t go too hard on her Yaz.” Rose says. 

“I gave her what she asked for.” Yaz tries her hardest not to roll her eyes. She won’t mention how Doctor Smith gave her basically no warning before she swung at her first.

“It’s just- they’re both a bit odd if you don’t give them a chance. Both of them, Jess and John.” 

Yaz nods and keeps herself quiet. It’s too late to give Doctor Smith a chance even if she wanted to. Things have been said now. There’s no going back. Bill changes subject and Yaz forgets about Doctor Smith to enjoy the rest of the evening with her friends. 


Monday afternoon after the school day is over Yaz has a meeting with Mr Pink about her progress. She’s waiting for him to arrive, spinning around in full circles in her desk chair to pass the time. She’s a little nervous but it could be worse. It’s not like the big assessment she’s getting in a couple of weeks from the senior staff team, now that is something to really worry about. When her spinning chair gives her a flash of the door Yaz likes to guess what she’s going to see next. So far she’s had the last few kids leaving the premises until tomorrow, some staff going to fetch items from their cars or going to collect their kids from the local primary school, Danny standing in the doorway, a few more kids, Danny stepping towards her. 

“You okay Yaz?”

“Wh- yep!” Yaz stops the chair mid spin, finally realising she’s not alone. It takes a couple of seconds for the room to stop spinning and Yaz sees the amused smile on her boss’s face. “Sorry.”

“By the end of term I’ll find you dancing on the desks.” He chuckles, taking the seat across from Yaz who smiles politely, feeling like a bit of an idiot. “How do you think you’ve settled in?” 

“Good I think. I know some of them are still wary of me- the students I mean.” 

“That’s natural and to be expected. Is the workload okay with having a tutor group as well?” He asks, scribbling a quick note about her on a piece of paper. 

“Yeah, it’s fine. Makes no difference really.” Yaz says. She’s had form groups before- although never integrated years so this experience is something new to navigate. 

“What about having to share with Doctor Smith? Is that going okay? Not causing you too much distress?”

Yaz pauses for a moment. She’s going to have to be careful with her words.

“Will you snitch to your girlfriend if I say no?” She raises her eyebrows in suspicion. 

“I did notice a bit of tension at boxing club last week.” Danny relaxes as he stops pretending to be naive and admits he’s picked something up between them.

“Honestly, it’s okay. She stays out of my way, I stay out of hers.” Yaz says. Not entirely true but it’s what she chooses to put forward. 

“Doesn’t sound like you’re the best of friends.”

“Do we have to be?” Yaz adjusts how she’s sitting to assert some kind of presence; the kind of position your mother tells you not to do because it’s ‘unladylike’. 

“You know this whole feud thing… you don’t actually have to hate the science department.” Danny says. Yaz gets the impression he might think she’s a little bit stupid.

“I don’t hate the science department.” Yaz insists.

“Just her?” Danny raises an eyebrow.

“Is this an assessment of my work or my relationship with Doctor Smith?” Yaz feels herself close to snapping with her tone becoming increasingly tense.

Danny physically backs off trying to keep this little check in as casual as it started. His next few questions don’t deviate from the obvious list he has to ask from and Yaz isn’t as defensive. Just because they have to see each other every morning doesn’t mean Yaz and Doctor Smith are attached at the hip or even talk every day and it gets Yaz’s back up. If she could, she’d go back in time and tell herself not to pay the Doctor any mind. 


The next day Doctor Smith is off for reasons Yaz isn’t told, so she’s left to do her break duties alone. The only issue she might not have missed if Doctor Smith was there being a group of lads thinking they’re funny by using a netball post as a spinning obstacle to jump. Donna is called to the scene and Yaz is glad it’s her because she forgives Yaz for not seeing the situation until it was fully developed since she’s out here on her own and is still only in her fourth week of work. 

The day promises some entertainment though, with her period five year eight games class. Now that they’ve all had a few lessons it’s time to put them through their paces. The bleep test. Pacer test. Whatever you call it, it’s hell, and everyone has to go through it. A series of beeps indicating the time you have to run from one side of the course to the other. Beep run to the line, beep run back to the start. The time between beeps shortens with each level and if you’re not on the line by the time a beep is played you’re out. Yaz remembers doing it at school and dreading it so she’s made a point not to tell these kids today. Until now. 

“Who wants to guess what we’re doing today?” Yaz asks once she’s got her group gathered in the sports hall. 

“Dodgeball!” Some kids gasp in hope. Everyone wants to play dodgeball, it’s their answer every time. 

“Nope. Maybe next week.” Yaz shakes her head.

“What does it involve?” One of the more athletic boys asks. 

“Running.” Yaz says. All hell breaks loose then as the penny drops. 

“Oh no.”

“Please miss, don’t say it.”

“You can’t.”

“Bring it on.”

“Are you mad, mate?”

“Oi, listen, the sooner we get it over with the sooner I’ll let you have a quick game of dodgeball at the end as a treat.” Yaz speaks over the consistent muttering. “Warm up by jogging around the hall. Go.” 

With a chorus of grumbles and groans they get to their feet and start jogging. Yaz could lie to herself and say they’re going slow to preserve their energy for the big thing but it’s more likely to be their way of protesting what’s to come. Mrs Duncan appears with a CD player and helps Yaz set it up, plugging it into the wall. A fast paced, strong bass song comes on that Yaz reckons she’s just a bit too old to recognize starts playing. 

“Go the other way round the hall, keep going until the end of the song!” Yaz shouts and they all painfully groan again. She knows they’re just playing. 

As the song goes on some of the students start slacking. To provoke them into keeping it up Yaz runs alongside them. When she was their age she can remember having to run 800m track in preparation for sports day and her teacher just sunbathed on the field. She doesn’t want to be like her. If she wasn’t the only teacher in the room she'd do the whole bloody endurance test with them just to make them feel better about it.

“Everyone in a line between the two blue cones.” Yaz asks of them.

“Miss.” A small voice she doesn’t recognise appears at her side. It’s a new girl who only got a place at the school last week and she isn’t in Yaz’s regular year eight class so she doesn’t know her name yet. 

“Hey, what’s up?” Yaz asks. 

“I don’t want to do it.” The sweet girl retreats into herself, picking nervously at her fingers.

“Why not?”  Yaz crouches down so that she’s on the young girls level.

“Because they’ll all laugh at me.” Her bright blue eyes look down at the floor. 

“Why would they do that?” 

“Because I’m not skinny.”

“Hey, don’t speak about yourself like that, okay?” Yaz refrains from giving her a hug like she wants to. She has to settle for words instead. “Just because they’re skinny doesn’t mean they’re fit. If you look up Olympic gold medal discus or shot put throwers they’re not going to be skinny but they’re still gold medalists. Just do your best. And if anyone does anything horrible I’ll kick them out.”

“But-”

“Just do your best okay? I know you’ll do good.”

Yaz’s reassuring words do the trick and she joins the line of other students awaiting instruction. It never goes away, that feeling you get when you’re a teacher. All these kids depend on you to know what to do, how fast to go, to tell them they’re doing good or if they need improvement.

“Alright everyone I want you all to do the best you can with this. I’m not testing you but I do want you to push yourselves. Basketball players can sprint short distances frequently but might not be able to run marathons, okay, so just because you might not be able to reach a high level with this doesn’t mean you’re not good at sport.” Yaz winks subtly at the blue eyed girl. “Ready?”

The robot voice comes out of the speakers explaining the rules of the test, setting them off for Yaz to observe from the sidelines. Yes, she said that she’s not testing them but she knows the national level averages for boys and girls their age. She’s not going to tell them that and they’re not going to get grades for how far they can go, she’s just going to use the information to see who might need extra motivation or help in class.

The one’s she suspects will fall out first do, although they last longer than Yaz thought they would. That’s level six, by level ten the ones who are struggling to keep up drop out, leaving only a couple still going. Yaz encourages them- two lads and a girl- and the rest of the class to make as much noise and cheer them on to keep going, rather than just drop out because they don’t want to do it anymore. The shorter of the lads falls out first with a stitch to his stomach. Yaz high fives him and points him towards his water bottle. No sooner had she looked up and the girl had dropped out too. All eyes and encouragement fall on the last lad, Simon, she thinks his name is going by all his friends shouting his name. A level passes, then another, then one more before he stops and walks over to rest his head against the wall. Everyone is clapping for him but Yaz can sense something wrong in the way he’s holding himself. Yaz approaches him with a quickness to her step.

“Alright mate?” She asks.

“I feel sick, Miss.” He says. There’s blood just about to drip from his nose as he says it.

“Go and sit outside for a minute, I’ll get Miss Jones.” Yaz leads him to the closest set of fire doors  and sits him down on the bench. Just across the way Mr Thompson is teaching his class of older students who can easily be left alone for a few minutes. “Sir, could you just watch him for a second?” Yaz calls him over, pulling out her department issued phone and dialing the number for the school nurse. 

“Medical room, Martha speaking.” She picks up within an instant.

“It’s Yaz Khan from PE. I’ve got a year eight who’s gone a bit too hard in my lesson and given himself a nosebleed and feels nauseous.” Yaz explains. 

Yaz hears a sigh hit her ear from the other end of the phone. “Bleep test?”

“Yeah.” Yaz says, wondering how Martha could guess.

“On my way.” Martha sighs again then hangs up.

“Here you go buddy. It’s clean, I promise.” Mr Thompson hands him a crumpled up tissue for his nose. “Check on your class Miss. I’ll tell you when Miss Jones gets here.” 

Yaz walks back into the artificially lit hall. All her students have gathered in a big group, not really bothered about their friend with a nosebleed and just taking the opportunity to chill out for a bit while unsupervised. Yaz diverts course and goes for one of the indoor cupboards, unlocking the heavy door and reaching for the bag full of dodgeballs. She lines about six along the center-line of the court, still undetected by her class.

“Oi!” She shouts to get their attention. It works. “Split into two groups of fifteen on either side of the line, if you’re unable to do it I’m telling your maths teachers.” 

They do as they’re told; friends picking to be with each other rather than against each other on different teams. There’s a scuffle between one group as they're over by a few people and some girls are refusing to get split up. Yaz stays back and doesn’t intervene. When the rest of the class realise that the longer they bicker the less time they have to play everyone shuffles reluctantly into formation. Yaz reminds them of the rules- specifically the one about no hits above the waist- and sets them all off with a blow of her whistle. Martha comes back in, walking directly over to Yaz.

“He’ll be fine but I’ve sent him to get changed early. It’s not the worst I’ve seen and no need for paperwork other than a quick incident report.” Martha reports.

“I had a kid break his arm in my class once.” Yaz tells her.

“Seriously?”

“Yep. Wasn’t the best thing that could have happened but at least it wasn’t anyone’s skull. I’ve had dislocated elbows, knees, shoulders, nosebleeds, the lot.” Yaz smiles, remembering her very first incident and how the adrenaline pumped through her blood as she watched it happen and dealt with it compared to how she reacts now.

“Remind me to never join one of your classes.” Martha says, hiking her first aid pack onto her shoulder. 

“It’s nothing to do with me.” Yaz shrugs. “I just get the reckless kids.”

As if some sick humored God of irony is watching, looking down on Yaz, the sound of a dodgeball hitting skin and bone rings through the room and the game halts as everyone notices. Walking behind one of the teams as a shortcut through to another part of the school are the Smith siblings, and with Yaz’s luck this lesson you can guess who the ball hit in the face. She hasn’t even been in for most of the day. 

“Doctor Smith-”

“Control your class Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith bites at her, rubbing her reddened cheek. 

Her sentiment would have had more of a kick if her brother was trying not to laugh behind her. However, it’s still enough to ruffle her feathers. You’re walking through the sports hall as a shortcut while there’s a load of almost thirteen year olds chucking balls at each other. Mr Smith can’t hold himself together for much longer and ends up laughing at his sister getting a ball to the face which in turn sets Yaz’s class into the giggles. Whether it be because she’s embarrassed or just annoyed at her brother Doctor Smith swiftly takes him in a headlock as they walk, pulling on his ear at the same time.

“Ow no! No, no- no Doctor Sm- Jess Jess Jess Jess Jess !” Is all anyone can hear over laughter as the English teacher gets dragged through the door. 

“I better let you ‘control your class’.” Martha sets herself up to leave. 

“Thank you.” Yaz shows her gratitude for the nurse coming out to sort out her student.

“No problem. There’s always one that pushes their body too far. They’re still young and too full of hormones to know their limits yet.” Martha shrugs off her work with an air of humbleness. “See ya later.” 

The interaction confirms the feeling Yaz got when they first crossed paths: Yaz likes Martha Jones. If they went on a night out together Yaz can see themselves getting along just fine in each other’s company. She considers her a fourth addition to her alliance here at work. Bill, Rose, Ryan, Martha and herself. That’s all the backing she needs. 

 

After work Yaz heads to the pet store in town. She knows the pet shop in town is big thanks to Ryan’s recommendation but it turns out to be massive. Like, super mega sized massive I’m-going-to-be-in-here-for-at-least-half-an-hour big. Sections for dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, aquariums, birds, a built in veterinary consultation room. It’s a lot, but Yaz likes it. As she’s been researching it she realised that goldfish could last up to fifteen years and maintenance is more than she thought it would be, so she’s here to investigate and decide on what pet she’s going to get. She’s brought Ryan with her to help her out, but also so that they can muck about like kids.

“Oi Yaz.” Ryan calls her over, something having caught his eye in the dog toy aisle. He picks up a long chew toy. “Dog toy or kinky sex toy?”

“Put it back.” Yaz laughs at him.

“What are we looking for.” He jogs a few steps to catch up to her side. 

“Supplies and pets.” Yaz says, heading towards the aquarium sections.

“Any specifics?” Ryan takes a string with a feather attached to the end designed for cats and Yaz pushes it back onto it’s shelf before Ryan can make another sex joke.

“Thinking of a goldfish but… not sure.” She says.

“Wait so you don’t actually know what you’re buying for?”

“That’s why I’m browsing.” Yaz shrugs. 

“Get a guinea pig. Or a rabbit, they’re cute.” Ryan lists a couple of suggestions.

“Rabbits are messy.” Yaz turns her nose up at the idea. She wants something small. Easy to care for.

“What’s so bad about a fish then?” Ryan asks as the wall of tanks appears in front of them both.

Yaz points at the massive shelf full of equipment and tank cleaning supplies. “They take a lot more maintenance than you would think.”

“But you can get really cool stuff for fish!” Ryan ignores the fish equipment and focuses on all the tank trinkets on the top of the shelves. “They have star wars merch dude!” He points excitedly at a death star wreck. 

“Can I help you with anything today?” A bouncy teen who probably only left school a couple of years ago approaches Ryan with a smile and a clearly put on customer service voice.

“My friend doesn’t know what pet to get.” He points at Yaz.

“May I ask for your criteria? Then maybe I could help.”

Yaz explains what she’s looking for. Something that doesn’t really need lots of attention and maintenance but will be a nice addition to her schedule and her life. He guides her to the rodent section and Yaz isn’t quite sure what she’s going to be shown. All three of them stop in front of stacked up small glass cages under the sign hanging from the ceiling that reads ‘Hamsters’.

“Cute. Small. Low maintenance. Cheap. Will sleep in the day when you’re at work and come out to play at night.” Their store guide tells them with confidence in his knowledge.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of them before.” Yaz says.

“Lots of adults just dismiss them as pets for children. Need a hand picking out resources for it?” The shop assistance smiles. 

“You say that like I’ve already made a decision.”

 

Twenty minutes later Yaz is packing a tank, shavings, bedding, toys and hamster food in the boot of her car with the promise to come back tomorrow and buy her new pet.


Wednesdays in the second rotating week of the timetable (week B) are much less stressful than Wednesdays week A for Yaz. She teaches periods three through to six and then the addition of boxing after school but alas her two periods free at the start of the day are much prefered to the one free hour she gets in week A. She’s in the middle of teaching period three year tens outside on the astroturf, far away from any school building when Danny runs up to her. 

“Fire bell Miss Khan!” He says. 

Yaz reiterates the message to her class and they make their way to their respective stations. As they walk further towards the main buildings of the school the ringing bells are heard more clearly and students in their grey uniforms dragging themselves out of class. There’s much more of a buzz among both students and staff this time compared to the planned fire drill that only happened last week. ‘It’s just the system malfunctioning’ Yaz hears a group of older students whisper. ‘If it is a fire do we have to go to other schools to use classrooms?’ a year seven asks his friend as Yaz walks past their forming tutor group. ‘The one time we get to watch a video in class and the fire bell disturbs it’ a year nine girl complains. 

Yaz makes it to her form group who are almost all there together, just missing a few. Their head of house hands Yaz a paper register and again in silence with the rest of the school doing the same Yaz ticks them off her list one by one. She hands the paper back to the head of house, who then passes it to a senior member of staff. 

“Sorry about this everyone, I’m sure you’re searching for a reason for this.” Deputy head Omar Retsam speaks through the megaphone wired up to the speakers this time. He sounds dry and frustrated, leading Yaz and many other members of staff to believe this was caused by a student messing about or someone spraying too much deodorant near a smoke detector. “Doctor Smith has been experimenting again.”

A low muttering of ‘of course’ like laughter shuffles its way through the entire school, including Yaz’s form. She knows she shouldn’t be laughing either and contradicts herself by telling her tutor group to be quiet while she’s smiling. 

“She’s fine, as always, just getting the once over from Miss Jones. And if anything good has come out of it, it’s that a lot of the staff just won a bet.” 

“Told you they take bets.” 

“Girls.” Yaz has to turn around and hush one of the girls in her group. Meanwhile inside her head she’s kicking herself for dismissing the bet as a rumour. She could have earned some money out of Doctor Smith’s scatterbrain. 

“And we get extra fire drill practise.” Everyone watches Donna wrestle the megaphone out of Retsam’s hands before he can say anything else passive aggressive about Doctor Smith. “You’ve all done really well once again and it makes me proud of the school. Please wait until your form tutors dismiss you then back to your classes ASAP.” Miss Noble gives the order. 

Silence is removed gradually with kids laughing and chatting with their friends the second their line gets released back into the wild. Yaz is left to wonder how many times this has happened before and whether it's a yearly- or twice yearly occurrence. Once her line is dismissed back to class Yaz turns and ends up following a bunch of English students chattering about how they want to walk back as slowly as possible because their lesson with Miss Oswald is so boring today. Unfortunately for them what they’re unaware of Mr Smith speeding up behind them ready to tell them to get a shuffle on. The group's pace gets faster and Mr Smith looks incredibly pleased with himself. Considering he’s just found out his sister has essentially blown herself up he’s taking the news well.

“Mr Smith?” Yaz calls out to him. He slows and the puzzle pieces in his mid fit together as to who she is.

“Ah! Dodgeball teacher.” He smiles at her. Mr Smith comes across as much warmer than his sister, Yaz can tell just from a quick glance at his smile. “Call me John, I don’t mind.”

“Yaz.” She swiftly introduces herself properly. “Is she okay? Doctor Smith, I mean.” Yaz asks. She didn’t expect the words to come out with such concern behind them.

“Oh Jess? Yeah, she’ll be fine.” He waves off Yaz’s concern nonchalantly. “You share a room with her right?”

“How do you know?”

John shoves his hands into his pocket, making him look a bit lanky, and sucks air through his teeth. “I get the impression she’s not exactly fond of you from the way she talks. Nor you with her.” 

“Charming.” Yaz mutters to herself.

“Don’t take offence, she's just being a knob.” He says. Yaz feels the muscles flex into a smile of disbelief. “What, you thought I was going to defend her?” John adds, picking up on Yaz’s not so discreet facial expressions.

“A little bit.” Yaz admits.

“Something’s up with her at the moment. She’s just not… Jess. It’s weird. She usually doesn’t blow up her lab until new years.” Mr Smith gets lost in his own thoughts.

“That's… interesting.”

“Sorry-” John snaps out of his internal monologue. “I’d love to stay and chat about my idiot sister but if I leave my year sevens alone for too long they’re going to draw a penis on my cardboard cutout of Emily Dickinson.”

“Don’t let me keep you.” Yaz insists politely. 

“You know what’s funny though Miss Khan?” Mr Smith asks, walking backwards but somehow knowing the layout of the school like it’s the back of his hand so he doesn’t walk into anything Yaz assumes he might.

“What?” Yaz asks. 

“You’re exactly her type.” He smiles and turns around, ending the conversation between them. 

Yaz doesn’t get it. She doesn’t have time to get it. If she doesn’t get a move on half of her class will disappear to bunk off unnoticed and she can’t have that. She jogs back to her class who are standing around needing leadership. No more of her teaching time today is going to be taken by Doctor Smith. 

 

The second Yaz has helped clear up after boxing club so that weird Scottish janitor doesn’t jump on their backs, she heads home to get changed then goes straight to the pet shop. Yaz drives into town full of excitement that is almost childlike. It’s another addition to her house to make it feel more like hers and settling her in further and overall, it’s just cool. Everyone loves moving out as a grown up and realising they can do whatever and buy whatever they want, including pets. There’s a thrill in the air knowing she’s about to pick out a little companion for the next two to three years that Yaz is going to look after and care for.

Yaz parks right outside the pet shop. It’s a big car park, it’s free and it’s not just for the pet shop but people are too lazy to park here and walk in. With that knowledge Yaz doesn’t feel guilty walking off to quickly buy herself some snacks from the supermarket about a five minute walk away. She has some fruit in mind, maybe some nuts and raisins and some yogurt. As always they’re in stock because no one else eats them and Yaz gets herself a full bag's worth and sets off to the pet store again. Walking out of a backstreet Yaz rounds a corner and undeniably sees Doctor Smith standing outside of a charity clothes shop. Yaz’s good mood pushes her not to cross the street and instead approach the Doctor. The closer she gets the more she sees how the ends of her hair have burnt off and the smell of fire around her is stronger than usual. 

“Hey.” Yaz says to get her attention. Doctor Smith visibly stops daydreaming and locks eyes with her. “You okay?” Yaz asks. 

“What do you mean?” Doctor Smith frowns at her.

“You- your lab incident today. I just wanted to make sure you’re not… you know, damaged or anything.” Yaz is so intimidated by her presence her words come out in a jumble- a wreck. 

“Oh! Yeah I’m fine. Just a quick ball of fire, I mixed the wrong chemicals together that’s all.” Doctor Smith brushes it off. Yaz stares at her in amazement. “Why are you looking at me like that?” Doctor Smith picks up on her change in facial expression straight away.

“I don’t like you but you still intrigue me.” Yaz says honestly. 

It’s true. She’s strange and different and Yaz hasn’t had the chance to properly meet her- although she doesn’t want to now. She can’t see them getting past hating each other so there’s no point wondering what life and work would have been like if they had become friends.

“So I’m a spectacle for your entertainment?” Doctor Smith’s posture turns defensive rather than curious and Yaz remembers: she’s so cold to her no matter how much she smells and plays with fire. 

Yaz holds up her hands in surrender and sighs, not having the time for her passive aggressive nature. “However you want to interpret it, Doctor Smith.”

She walks away not bothering to look back at the mad scientist. Her positivist attitude carries her all the way back to the pet shop, dropping her shopping off in the boot of her car then entering the store. She really does feel like a child, coming to buy herself a hamster like this. If she didn’t know it was the right choice for her, her lifestyle and pet experience at the moment she’d be a little embarrassed walking in and straight over to the glass cages to pick one out. 

There’s a variety of hamsters to choose from and from the personality descriptors on the cages it seems to Yaz that all of these are fairly young and new. Her eyes are immediately drawn past all of the other tiny animals towards a black and white one which Yaz quickly defines as the sweetest, cutest, most beautiful one there. That one. That’s the one Yaz is taking home.

“Come to pick up your baby?” The teen who helped her and Ryan yesterday walks up to her. 

“The black and white one.” Yaz points. 

“Sweet little boy that one.” He smiles. “I’ll get the box and care leaflet.” 

Yaz can’t wipe the smile off her face when the store worker lets her stroke her new pet's head before he puts it in the little cardboard box with air holes, and then into an even bigger box with air holes just in case he nibbles through the first one on the way home. He also includes a bit of his bedding so that when Yaz puts him in his new permanent home he’ll have something that smells familiar. 

It sounds stupid but Yaz even straps the seat belt around the box. It’s better than her driving with one hand with the box on her lap. Eleven pounds, that’s all the actual animal cost her. Eleven quid for a life. Dogs go for thousands, cats go for hundreds but you can get a hamster for just over a ten pound note and get just as much love and entertainment from them.

“Going to be a fun adventure mate.” Yaz says, hearing her internal monologue starting to sound like the weird lonely old woman who lives in the house that kids are scared to trick or treat at. Then she realises she’s talking to a hamster in a box strapped into a car and accepts there is no way to make this not weird. “I don’t have to talk to the air anymore.”

She drives home talking to the animal every now and then in between the sounds of scurrying feet and nibbling teeth. She tells him about her work and how he’ll probably hear a lot about a Doctor Smith but he can just ignore her when she does that. Yaz pulls up at home and has to take a second to figure out how she’s  going to carry a live wriggling animal and a bag of snacks inside. She decides to unlock the door and run in with her snacks first, dumping them just inside the door and running back to collect her new friend.

Yaz removes the big box and opens the smaller, half chewed one, and places it in the middle of the glass cage. She watches silently, trying to suppress the childish wonder tickling her brain. Najia let them have mice when Yaz was five, but a much younger Sonya left the cage door open and within a day Hakim had to set up a few traps that weren’t as humane as the ones you can get now to trap mice. The same rush of excitement Yaz got that day she’s experiencing again now but with the knowledge she’s not going to lose her pet this time. Hopefully. If she’s responsible enough. 

The black and white blob scuttles cautiously out of its box to explore. He’s so tiny in there compared to how he looked in the small container in the store. She should be marking a mini essay she set for her year tens but instead she’s pulling out her phone to take a selfie to send to her family back home and then a single picture of her boy to send to her friends. Her friends being just Ryan, since he’s the only one who knows about this.

‘Names?’ Yaz texts Ryan a picture of her new hamster for suggestions.

‘Gary.’ Ryan replies without missing a beat, sending a follow up text with his explanation. ‘Yaz and Gaz.’

Yaz laughs at her phone screen. It’s a stupid, silly name but she still likes it.

“Gaz it is then.” Yaz tells the newly named hamster. He’s currently digging up the freshly laid shavings and taking some food into his cheek pouches to take and hide. “You are much better than humans.”

Chapter Text

“Who wants to see my hamster?” Yaz announces the invitation to her tutor group once she’s registered them all. It’s Friday and Yaz lets them do whatever they want on Fridays, so she only has a short moment to hold their attention.

“You have a hamster Miss?” Alex, one of her year nine boys asks. His enthusiasm does not go unnoticed by his friends.

“Yeah got him Wednesday night.”

Yaz walks over to the small huddle of people who seem to have some kind of interest and pulls out her phone to show them. She’s taken so many photos in the past day and a half it’s ridiculous and she’s pretty sure she’s not got much storage left. The students interested coo over the pictures of her hamster and Yaz feels her heart swell. She let Gaz sniff her hand yesterday after work and he put one of his little paws on her thumb and she counts that as bonding. He’s her first born child now, that’s it.

“Why’d you get a hamster Miss? You’re like- old.”

“Thank you, Samuel, only in my early thirties but thank you.” Yaz says and the students that are paying attention to her laugh as she turns to go back to sitting at the computer. “I got a hamster to keep me company.”

“Do you live alone?” He asks.

“I do.” Yaz says. “Please don’t come to my house and murder me.”

“Are you single Miss?” One of the year eleven girls inappropriately asks. But it’s Friday, Doctor Smith isn’t hanging around to eavesdrop and Yaz doesn’t care. 

“Charlotte I just told you all I’m a woman in her early thirties who lives alone and has just bought a hamster. What do you think?”

Her group of kids laugh and gently poke fun at Charlotte and even though Yaz finds it funny too, she calls on one of her year eight boys that after just a month back at school has already been put on behaviour report. He sits next to her like he has an answer and excuse for everything. Talking back in class, being physically and verbally disruptive, using bad language, there’s an excuse for each one. Yaz warns him he’s going to end up getting expelled before term is over if he’s not careful and offers him a place at boxing club if he wants it. He tells her he’ll think about it but Yaz knows he probably won’t take her up on the offer. She talks to him for a bit longer to see if she can break him down and maybe get to the underlying cause of the disruptive behaviour.

The bell rings to signify that everyone should start moving along to their first class of the day. Yaz signs the little booklet to let the head of house know she’s talked to Harry about his report. Her other kids wish her a good weekend as they get up and scrape their stools under the tables and head for the door. Doctor Smith rushes in the second she can and before anyone already in the lab has left but in a strange turn of kindness she holds the door open for Yaz’s tutor group to leave.

“Go. Run my children and learn- have a good weekend. If you can’t be good be careful and if you can’t be careful, don’t get caught.” Yaz addresses them and gives them another reason to laugh and be in a good mood this morning. If she can set them up well for the day she’s met her job description for this role. Doctor Smith lets the door shut behind young troublesome Harry, leaving the two of them in the room together shut away from the bustling rush outside to get to class on time.

“Strange motto but okay.” Doctor Smith says. She mutters it, but it’s loud enough for Yaz to know she was meant to hear it.

“What do you mean?” Yaz asks, packing her bag with paperwork as quickly as she can. She doesn’t want to hang around and she’s been asked to cover an English class this morning since the school is low on cover teachers. 

“Don’t you want to encourage them to just work hard and not get in trouble at all?” Doctor Smith raises a perfectly arched eyebrow as she sets out some textbooks on the desks.

“I was only trying to have fun. I’m not their actual teacher.” Yaz shrugs, defending herself.

“You should always teach to make an impact like the rest of us. No offence.”

“Actually yes offence.” Yaz snaps at her. The clear refusal to accept what she’s saying throws Doctor Smith back. Yaz has been passive with her recently and her backlash has obviously come as a shock. “Your brother left a note for you on the whiteboard by the way.” 

“Arsehole.” Doctor Smith mutters as she reads ‘Doctor Smith is stinky!’ with a cartoon self portrait of Mr Smith’s face next to it.

“Guess it runs in the family.” Yaz lets herself mutter loud enough for Doctor Smith to hear the jab as she walks past. 

“Childish.” Doctor Smith scoffs after her. 

“Stuck-up.” Yaz doesn’t miss a beat in retaliating, letting the heavy blue door shut dramatically behind her. 

 

Yaz tries to keep the thought of Doctor Smith’s arrogance out of her head while she attempts to get a year seven English class to follow the instructions and tasks she’s been left to enforce. As a student Yaz was alright at English, better than she was at any of the sciences or maths. God help her the day she gets asked to cover a maths lesson. But English is easy enough, especially year seven English. Currently Yaz is trying to do some of her own work on the class computer while the young kids read a book of their choice and pick out their favourite line to decode.

They’re twenty minutes into the exercise and Yaz can feel the energy in the room becoming restless. Little whispers here and there, pen lids getting thrown around or dropped on the floor so that friends can speak under the table. It was easy to discipline at the start but as the lesson goes on Yaz is losing control. 

“Okay, everyone mark your pages for a second and stand up behind your chairs.” Yaz says, standing up and doing the same. The students are obviously apprehensive and unable to predict what Yaz is about to do. “Are we getting a bit bored?” Yaz asks softly. 

“Yeah.” They all reply in delayed unison.

“Let’s get our brains and bodies going again, yeah? Start with your fingers like this.” Yaz draws circles in the air with her fingers. “Now our wrists.” Yaz says and watches them do it for a bit. “Now our forearms, so only from the elbow.” Yaz sees some students smiling at each other. Some are ‘I’m too cool for this’ looks while others are ‘this is fun’ looks. “Okay so now hold your arms out to the side and make sure you don’t hit anyone circle them like you’re a windmill.”

The room has changed tone completely compared to a minute ago. Everyone is smiling, even the moody kids and the ones that were starting to cause trouble and disturbances. Yaz keeps them moving for a little bit longer to fit the time criteria she knows they need to reactivate the brain in people their age. Just when she’s about to get them to go through the process again, the door opens. 

“Everything o...kay in here Miss Khan?” Mr Smith asks. “Just coming to check in.” 

“Everything’s fine Sir, we were just getting a bit stiff.” Yaz says, trying to keep her cool. A cluster of boys try to suppress some giggles at her choice of words but Yaz ignores it. 

“Very good. I’ll pop back at the end.” Mr Smith nods and disappears as quickly as he turns up out of thin air.

“Now go back through the steps but circle your arms the other way.” Yaz gives her final instructions and sets them back to work straight away, hoping that Mr Smith isn’t secretly intending to tell her off like she’s a student. 

 

Yaz dismisses the English class that isn’t hers when the bell rings and is almost instantaneously greeted by John and Clara. 

“Thanks for covering for me.” Clara walks in and regains her spot at the teacher's desk. “Only Doctor’s appointment available was this morning.”

Yaz smiles politely. “No problem. I think they did everything they were meant to.”

“With added features. What was up with the...” John sits himself down on top of a desk and waves his arms about. 

“They were getting restless. I read an article once about how kids aren’t really awake until a certain hour in the morning and then when they do properly wake up they’re stuck in a classroom so sometimes it helps just to quickly get them moving.” Yaz explains. “I didn’t have any problems after that.” 

“I might use that, that’s good.” Mr Smith smirks. “You’re a good teacher, caring about their learning like that and it’s not even your subject.” 

He compliments her and Yaz has to laugh to herself. 

“Why’s that so funny?” Clara asks with a confused smile. 

“I- well…” She turns to John. “Your sister has made it very clear she doesn’t think I’m good at teaching so hearing you say th-”

“Oh, God, is she still acting weird?” John sighs with disappointment. 

“What did she say?” Clara leans back in her chair, arms folded across her chest. 

“I-” Yaz stutters under the pressure. “You’re her friend, I can’t-”

“I won’t tell her anything, Yaz. She’s acting out of the ordinary, it’s not just you noticing she’s being bitchy.”

“Well, it is you.” John says, itching his bushy sideburn. “Mostly. But she’s just being odd. Kind of spaced out and no one can figure out why.” 

“I made a joke with my tutor group this morning- you know the ‘if you can’t be good be careful, if you-’”

“Can’t be careful don’t get caught. A classic.” John says like it’s a given. 

“Yeah, I love that one.” Clara agrees. “What’s wrong with that?”

“She didn’t get it. Said I should teach to make an impact like everyone else and discourage them from getting into trouble completely. I dunno… called me childish too.” Yaz gets this morning's events partially off her chest. She’s hoping they don’t react too much to the revelations because the next class is starting to line up outside the door. 

“Jesus Ch- I swear Yaz she’s not- that’s not her.” Clara says, honesty in her eyes.

“I might have a word with her.” John says. Yaz can tell he’s seriously considering it by how he’s staring off into space again.

“No don’t.” Yaz hates the idea off the bat. “That means she’ll know I told you about it and it’s not worth the fuss, trust me.” She puts her bag on her back, once again making her look like one of the students. 

“Thank you Miss Khan. For covering.” Mr Smith says as she starts to leave. Almost ignoring their conversation about Doctor Smith ever happened.

“See you later Yaz.” Clara adds. 

 

Yaz files paperwork during the second period, plans lessons- one of which will end up being her progress assessment lesson hopefully- during break and sets off to teach her year elevens during period three and four. She’s waiting outside the girls changing room, ready to give them all a two minute warning to hurry them along. It’s always the older kids that try to extend getting dressed so that it eats into lesson time and even though this isn’t her exam class it’s still important that they get enough done as possible. After Christmas, these non-exam year elevens can opt to either use the time to revise or continue lessons. Almost everyone chooses to revise and it’s looking likely already from department meetings that Yaz is going to be the one organizing and supervising the class, so for now Yaz is wanting to push them all as much as possible while she can.

“Miss.” A girl from Mr Pinks class pokes her head out the door. She’s fully dressed and ready to find the rest of her class and yet she’s taking the time to talk to Yaz.

“How much longer are they going to be in-”

“Actually Miss, Ellie and Beth are fighting. It’s causing a bit of a scene.”

Yaz rolls her eyes and guesses she’ll be splitting up a fight before she gets to teach anything today. “Thank you for telling me. Mr Pink’s in the sports hall.” 

Yaz heads in and she’s thankful that that girl came out when she did because the second Yaz enters the changing room she sees Ellie push Beth backwards. 

“Oi oi oi!” Yaz raises her voice to get them to stop and acknowledge that there’s a teacher in the room but the argument continues and the two of them square up.

“You’re insane!”

“I know you fucking did it!”

“No I didn’t you deluded-”

Ellie goes to push Beth backwards again but Yaz stands in the way and takes the blow. Realising she just hit a teacher, Beth steps back and the room goes quiet. Yaz looks at Beth, then Ellie then Beth again.  

“Care to explain?” Yaz asks the question to both of them.

“She’s accusing me-” Beth starts but Ellie, the one with the platinum blonde hair and way more of an attitude, interrupts, starting the whole thing up again.

“I know you did you slag!” 

“I didn’t shag your boyfriend!” 

Oh great, Yaz thinks to herself rather than pinching the bridge of her nose, it’s about a boy.

“Listen- girls- listen, listen, listen!” Yaz has to hold her arms out to stop herself being squished in between the two of them. “Whatever this argument is, it’s not happening during my lesson time. Got it?”

“But-”

“No! This guy you’re arguing over, you’re not going to know him in about five years! I haven't spoken to or seen my boyfriend from when I was in year ten and you won’t know this guy either, I promise you.” Yaz turns to the accuser. “And even if what you’re accusing did happen, he’s your boyfriend and he would have had to play a part in it too. So please can we all hurry up and get on with our lesson.”

A shameful silence echoes through the changing room. Girls observing scutter past and out the door and anyone else left that needs to change gets their kit on in record speed. Yaz hangs about to make sure Beth doesn’t get shouted at again but leaves when they’re finally separated. Teaching is good. Having to deal with teenage angst and relationships you don’t care about and know won’t last is at the very bottom of Yaz’s to do list. Every teacher has to deal with it at some point and it always causes a spectacle. 

Yaz joins the rest of her waiting class in the gym- which is actually just a mini sports hall off to the side of the changing rooms with an aging wooden floor and one of those climbing frames that folds into the wall that only ever gets used by one class once a year.

“Stressful day, Miss?” One of her boys asks. He wouldn’t have knowledge of the fight in the changing rooms, that kind of news spreads fast but not that fast. It must just show on her face that the day is taking a toll on her. 

“You could say that.” She sighs.

 

After their lesson, Beth comes up to Yaz to apologise for causing a scene, even though Yaz’s understanding is that she was the one being picked on. They’re alone in the office, which is good since Yaz hasn’t spoken a word of the incident to anyone and isn’t going to bother writing it up. She can tell something up and that the teenager wants to talk about it to someone so Yaz lets her sit in Danny’s comfy ‘boss’ chair and offers her some of her lunch as well to ease the mood. 

“What’s up Beth?” Yaz asks gently. “Why did Ellie start accusing you?”

“Her boyfriend is cheating on her.” Beth mumbles. 

“With who?” Yaz asks, not wanting to make assumptions. 

“I don’t know but it’s not me.” Beth shrugs.

“So why did Ellie start accusing you? She had a real certainty it was you.”

“She saw this.” Beth sits herself up with a better posture. Yaz isn’t entirely sure what she’s about to be shown but Beth unbuttons the top of her school shirt to reveal a significant purple mark on her chest. 

“Oh.” Yaz sits back- the main thought running through her head being this girl trusts me enough to tell me this

“It wasn’t her boyfriend.” Beth panics. “It really wasn’t Miss, she just jumped to the conclusion.” 

“Why didn’t you tell her who it was if it wasn’t him? Or just pick out a random name to give her?” Yaz asks.

Yaz sits patiently watching Beth tap her knuckles together, gathering up the courage to say whatever it is that’s clearly playing on her mind. 

“Because the person who did this, they… she was in the room.”

“Your girlfriend?” Yaz places her salad lunch down on the desk behind her to give Beth her full attention. 

“Neither of us are out and it would feel wrong to say a boy's name in front of her. I didn’t want to.” The speed she’s tapping her knuckles together quickens. “Please don’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t. Don’t worry.” Yaz sits forward in her chair to get closer to Beth but to also make this next part of the conversation feel safe. “You know I said I had a boyfriend in year ten and that you forget about high school boyfriends after a few months out of school?” 

“Yeah.” Beth recalls.

“A few years after I dumped him I met this girl- Amy. She had bright ginger hair and an attitude on her you wouldn’t believe and somehow it worked for me. We dated and it was so different to what I’d had before. It just felt right and good, and you know what?”

“What?” Beth asks, eyes wide and engrossed in Yaz’s story.

“I haven’t forgotten about her.” Yaz grins as Beth’s face blushes and widens into a smile. “Important relationships stay with you, Ellie’s shitty cheating boyfriend won’t stay with her.” Yaz reaches behind her to pick up her lunch again. 

“I feel better now.” Beth mutters staring at the floor.

“Good.” Yaz continues to grin at her as she reaches for her lunch again. “Next time she says anything to you, walk away. It’s not worth it.” 

“Thanks Miss.” Beth stands, slinging her bag over her shoulder. 

“Beth.” Yaz calls after her as she leaves. She turns around looking a lot happier than she did walking into this impromptu meeting. “You know I’m meant to lecture you about safety and having underage sex, right?” 

“Um…”

Yaz smiles, turning back to her desk. “Go. I’ll pretend you told me it was just an innocent kiss.” She says, promising to turn a blind eye.

Beth shuts the door behind her and Yaz is smug with herself. Despite how the day started, she’s remembering that she is in fact, really fucking good at her job. 

 

Yaz stays late after school just to finish some stuff up. She’s also taking the time to print and cut out her initials for her tutor groups section on the pinboard. It’s about time she got around to doing it and after today she wants to leave her mark on the lab more than ever. Perhaps that’s why she makes herself wait so late after school: to make sure Doctor Smith has left for the day so that when she goes in there the lab will be empty. 

Approaching the lab door Yaz notices the lights are on, but there’s no sign of anyone inside. She gets her key and fiddles around until it unlocks and she can push inside and gasps, clutching her chest when weird Scottish janitor pops up from nowhere.

“I didn’t mean to make you jump!” He says, accent thick, waving his hands frantically in front of him, reaching out to Yaz. 

“It’s okay. I shouldn’t really be in here.” Yaz says, smiling in relief that she’s not about to get murdered by some random or worse, confronted with Doctor Smith.

“It’s your form room Miss Khan.”

“You remember me?” Yaz asks with gentle surprise.

“I remember everyone I hand out keys to. Jellybaby?” He pulls out a brown paper bag of sweets from his pockets and offers it in Yaz’s direction.

“I try not to eat sweets, sorry.” Yaz automatically denies the offer, making her way over to the board at the back of the room. 

“Suit yourself.” Weird Scottish janitor shrugs, popping a little jelly man in his mouth to chew on. “How are you finding the room?”

“It’s alright if I stick to Doctor Smith’s rules.” Yaz staples the Y onto the wall. Then the K then the H while weird Scottish janitor mops the floor. “And if I can remember how to open the door.”

“The door?” He looks up; bushy eyebrows making the question seem like an interrogation. 

“Yeah, you have to like, twist the handle a certain way and then turn the key and while you do that you have to lift the- my point is it’s an old and very complicated door. Seems to only work for Doctor Smith.” Yaz says. It’s true. It’s almost like the door has a mind of its own.

“I’ll get maintenance to have a look at it.” Weird Scottish janitor makes a mental note by tapping his temple. 

“Thank you...uh…” Yaz stutters, unable to straight up call him ‘weird Scottish janitor’ out loud and to his face.

“My name’s Jon.” He says, not looking up from the patch of floor he’s cleaning.

“Thank you Jon.” Yaz perches herself on the side of the counter.

“The students think I’m an alien you know.” He says, getting his brown paper bag full of sweets out again.

“Really?” Yaz asks.

“Oh totally.” Jon sits up on the counter with her. “The ones that don’t look straight through me that is.”

“I don’t think you’re an alien.” Yaz friendly leans into him to nudge him with her shoulder, taking sympathy in the fact that cleaning and maintenance staff always get overlooked.

“You should.” He says, slowly turning his head to look at her. 

Yaz smiles when she realises he’s joking, helping herself to one of the sweets in his paper bag. One won’t hurt. Unless he’s poisoned them with sonic alien goo or something. 


On Monday after the weekly staff meeting first thing in the morning Yaz is expecting the day to go normally. She’s not expecting to be greeted by the weird Scottish janitor now named Jon handing her a new key for the new fresh door to L13 that has replaced the old one.

“Wha-”

“Where the hell is my door?” Doctor Smith storms up to the two of them, stopping Yaz from asking what’s happened in a calm manner.

“It’s right there.” Yaz says. It’s not like they’ve taken the old one off and not replaced it leaving just a doorframe.

“No, my door, my proper door.” 

“Jess-” Jon tries to calm her down. It doesn’t work.

“I bet you’ve got something to do with this.” Doctor Smith turns her rage onto Yaz.

“Me?” Yaz asks. 

“Yeah, you.” Doctor Smith takes a step forward towards her and Yaz feels her heart rate increase. 

It is her fault. She told Jon last week that the door was tricky to open which prompted him to tell maintenance and now they’ve replaced the door completely over the course of the weekend. She can’t find out. Doctor Smith can never find out that Yaz was one the one to mention it otherwise their relationship will just deteriorate further. So, Yaz keeps her mouth shut.

“Jess the lock was basically faulty, it was a security threat, you were the only one with an old door left. It was going to go at some point.” Jon hands her her new key, forcing the reluctant woman to admit this is a decision she can’t control. 

“Is it still-”

“In the skip yes but-” Doctor Smith starts running off to where Yaz presumes the skip is. “-I don’t know what you’re intending to do with it!” He shouts after her and swiftly sighs afterwards.

“I didn’t think they would replace the whole door.” Yaz says, handing over her old key. 

“You didn’t do anything wrong.” Jon says. “Enjoy the working lock.” 

 

The rest of Monday Yaz doesn’t have to see or speak to Doctor Smith. Both of them probably make an unconscious effort to avoid each other's paths knowing that if they so much as make eye contact with each other something will go wrong. They even manage not to acknowledge each other’s existence during Tuesday break, but by Tuesday lunch time they can’t avoid each other anymore. 

They have to stand next to each other in the center of the ‘playground’ since Mrs Duncan didn’t pick up the cones she had set out last lesson since she has a replica lesson after lunch. Yaz is annoyed by it not only because it’s not that hard to pick up and set down a few plastic cones but because it means her and Doctor Smith are having to work together to make sure nothing gets broken, picked up or moved. Despite how they agreed with each other to get along for the sake of their jobs their communication breaks down too easily. 

“Could you just- please just try to prevent them rather than wait until they’re doing it?” Yaz asks of the Doctor. It’s almost like she’s letting them get away with it for her own entertainment. She’s so annoying she probably gets off on watching Yaz get more and more frustrated with her. 

“If your department was more organised-”

“No, your mood is clearly about something else.” Yaz corrects her, not allowing her to place the blame of both of their poor moods on something else. 

“Tell me what I’m mad about then Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith tries to torment her. The tone of her voice screaming ‘I dare you’ at her.

“For someone with a doctorate you don’t half act dumb.” Yaz says. “Academically gifted, intellectually challenged.”

“Right- now this is getting ridiculous.” Doctor Smith takes offence. “You know why I have a problem with you.”

“Yes and I did do it, okay? I mentioned to the weird janitor that the lock was hard to use and-”

“You got my door removed.” Doctor Smith says. The way she can keep her voice so steady irritates Yaz even further. 

“It’s just a door! Why are you getting so hung up about this?” Yaz asks, feeling her temper rise and become harder to control. 

“You don’t know anything about me.” Doctor Smith huffs, shaking her head in dismay. 

“Because you’ve never given me the chance to know you!” Yaz can’t resist getting in her face. 

“Oh yeah?” Doctor Smith raises her eyebrows, not backing off. 

“Yeah.” 

“Really?”

“Miss Khan!” 

“Really.” Yaz stands her ground firm.

“Miss Khan !” 

The seconds time her name gets called it registers in her brain and her eyes are drawn away from Doctor Smith. When her eyes land on the group of teenagers surrounding two boys brawling Yaz realises the sheer amount of noise and chanting she just hasn’t been hearing.  She mutters a curse to herself and runs to the situation with Doctor Smith at her side. The other woman disperses the forming crowd so that Yaz can try to gauge how to handle this. They’re boy big strong lads and one of them must at least be six foot tall.

“Boy’s stop now!” Yaz shouts and blows on the whistle draped around her neck as if this is a controlled fight she can stop on her own. 

The two tumble to the ground, one falling on top of the other and Yaz can work with that. As the lad on top lifts his arm back to throw a punch Yaz catches it and drags him up to his feet, restraining his other arm too and walks him away from the crowd and he shouts insults. Yaz feels herself longing for how simple the fight in the changing rooms last week was to sort out compared to this.

“I need staff on duty and people with first aid qualifications to come to the courts please, there’s an incident occurring.”  Yaz hears Doctor Smith say into their assigned lunch duty radios. The blonde then sees to the beat down kid as nearby teachers turn up to help- Donna being one of them.

“What’s happened?” Donna asks Yaz, helping her out by taking one of the students arms. 

“There was a fight.” Yaz says plainly. 

“He fucking started it.” The guy shouts over his shoulder.

“Oi, calm down, you’ll get a chance to write down your account. Come on.” 

 

Yaz thinks she’s done with the situation once she’s written up her account of what happened and dropped the boy off at the headmistress's office. The slip that arrives at the office summoning her to Donna’s office after school tells her otherwise. The issue plays on her mind all the way through the afternoon, wondering why Donna’s asked to talk to her. 

At the end of the day Yaz fights her way through a stream of students leaving school to get to Donna’s office. To her disgust, Doctor Smith is waiting outside too. They stand either side of the door in silence, refusing to look at each other. Yaz can smell the electricity bouncing off of Doctor Smith’s clothes and passes the waiting time by wondering what she smells like to her. Sweat? Maybe whatever the air outside smells like? Dirt- that would be gross. Or maybe she’ll like it and call it ‘earth tones’. 

“Doctor Smith. Miss Khan. Please come in and sit down.” 

Donna unlocks the door and invites them in without so much as looking at them or explaining as to why Mr Retsam is following behind her.

“Obviously you know I’m the head of behaviour at the school.” Omar starts to lecture them as they sit in their seats; Donna on one side of the table with Yaz and Doctor Smith on the other with a chair between them. “And when there’s an incident like this we take statements from the people involved but also witnesses. Want to hear what they said?”

Yaz says yes but her gut is telling her everything about this is about to reflect badly on her.

“So they’ve said, ‘Miss Khan and Doctor Smith were talking’,” He flicks the piece of paper onto the floor and Yaz thinks this is going to happen with every sheet. “‘Doctor Smith and Miss Khan looked like they were, like, in a proper heated conversation Sir’, ‘ the teachers on duty were more concerned with their conversation than watching’, ‘I called for Miss Khan about four times before she heard me all while the crowd was forming’. Care to comment?”

He dramatically drops the last piece of paper and the four of them sit in silence, Omar staring the pair of them down while everyone waits for the paper to hit the floor.

“Omar, pick those up.” Donna says without flinching.

“Sorry.” He scrambles to pick up everything he threw to the ground. Doctor Smith sniggers beside her and Yaz can’t help but smile at him being put in his place.

“But seriously.” Donna continues and Yaz is back to feeling like a kid about to get expelled. “It amazes me that you both were unable to pick up on this within a suitable time. I don’t want to know what you were talking about- that’s between you two- but this cannot happen again. It puts students in danger and also other staff members.”

“It was an honest mistake. Today’s been stressful.” Doctor Smith speaks for the pair of them.

“Considering we haven’t even hit October half term that’s not exactly-”

“This time it’s excusable.” Donna interrupts her inferior. “But it can’t happen again. We’ll be reconsidering putting you two on duty together in the same place if even a sniff of something like this happens again in the next few weeks. Understood.”

“Yes.” Doctor Smith says.

“Sorry.” Yaz adds. “It won’t happen again.”

“Go home. Both of you. Get some sleep and rejuvenate if you’re stressed.” Donna says. 

“Wait, the other kid, is he okay?” Yaz asks. She can't shake that part of this is her fault. 

“Just some bruises.” Donna says. “But neither of them have given up who started it so they’ve both been given a day of external exclusion and isolation for the rest of this week.”

Yaz nods, although disagreeing with how the school is handling it by keeping them out of class. Her and Doctor Smith stand up to leave at the same time, both of them undoubtedly clocking the deputy head standing behind Donna making very little attempts to dumb down his smug attitude and the smile on his face. They both had to take a moment once the office door is shut behind them to breathe out and remember they’re not students, they’re staff. At the same time, not knowing they're doing it together, they end up looking over at each other. Just the sight of Doctor Smith makes Yaz roll her eyes in disgust. Doctor Smith sees and huffs as she walks off, Yaz deciding to walk the long way around to the staff car park so as to not bump into her.

Chapter Text

Yaz successfully manages not to cross paths with Doctor Smith for two weeks, excluding being forced to work with her on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She’s never had two weeks of such peace in her working life like it before. The only proper contact they have is Doctor Smith’s leftover biscuit crumbs clinging to Yaz’s fingertips as she types, but even then she can brush off the crumbs and their irritating nature like it’s nothing and forget about them the second she’s walked out the room.

It’s early October and the weather is starting to turn, leaving Yaz and the rest of the PE department with a lot more strategically forgotten kits and notes from mums not wanting their baby boy catching a cold since they’re still holding lessons outside. Yaz takes it upon herself to remind every one of her classes there are spare clothes for everyone who forgets kit and there are school PE jumpers if they need them. They have a tally chart on the PE office whiteboard to see who has the most student excuses under them and whoever has the least at the end of winter gets a gift from the teacher with the most. Yaz is determined to keep her students in line. 

The week ahead of her is busy already without the addition of parents evening on Thursday evening and now, as she’s been informed just this morning via email, she’s having her teaching assessment. To make it even worse, it’s the deputy head assessing her and Yaz wants to rip her eyeballs out thanks to the fact. Surely Omar doesn’t know anything about teaching PE, plus Yaz is sure he’s still got it out for her after the break duty incident a couple of weeks ago. Either way she manages to speak to her year ten class to ask them to be on their best behaviour for her and they’ll all get a house point before he turns up, standing at the astroturf gate with clipboard in hand. 

Yaz gets them all started on a warm up, making them do a running exercise to get the blood pumping around their bodies as well as warm them up. She works as normal, doing some of the warm up with her students to keep them motivated and everything seems to be going well. But at the same time she calls them into a circle to do some stretches, the voices of thirty over-excited younger students distract her and Yaz looks over her shoulder at the field behind her. With them is Doctor Smith carrying a contraption under both her arms looking like she’s going to conduct an experiment and behind her is a young girl carrying a bottle of fizzy pop and a packet of mints.

“Oh this has got to be a joke.” Yaz whispers to herself. 

“Sorry Miss Khan. Forgot to mention she does these experiments on this day every year.” Omar says and Yaz realises this is part of her test. He’s planned this distraction, of course he has. Who else has their six week assessment in the ninth week? The week before half term when students and staff alike are tired and grouchy and needing a break.

Yaz keeps her chin up, not letting him know she’s onto his plan or that she’s affected by it in any way shape or form. She leads her class through her stretches and tries to explain the first proper exercise for the lesson over Doctor Smith’s voice echoing through the air. Why does she have to shout everything? Can’t she control her class just by talking calmly? And it isn’t just Yaz getting distracted.

“Guys.” Yaz says to get all eyes on her. “If you really want to watch Doctor Smith’s experiments I’m sure she'll be happy to do another demonstration after school for you but now it’s my lesson.” 

“Sorry Miss.” A couple of them mumble.

“It's okay, just focus on me." Yaz smiles. She doesn't want to come across too harsh.

Yaz must use up a days worth of concentration on that half hour Omar observes her, trying not to get sidetracked by Doctor Smith explaining what will happen when she puts a mint into the bottle of fizzy drink or how the pressure from pumping air into this water bottle rocket will make it fly up into the sky. Yaz can practically feel her class muttering with anticipation while Yaz is trying to get hers to learn how to run holding a hockey ball properly. She doesn't let herself get distracted by the cheers from the field and as if the morning couldn't get any more frustrating she feels droplets of water falling over her head.

"Head's up!" Doctor Smith's class shouts but it's too late. The plastic bottle hits Yaz right in the eye making her stumble backwards.

The first thing she feels is pain, the second thing is anger. She removes her hand from her eye and blinks a few times to get her vision back to normal but once everything becomes less blurry she would have rather kept her eyes shut because all she sees is Doctor Smith running towards her.

"Are you okay?" The blonde asks, her hand lightly brushing against Yaz's face. The simple touch makes Yaz's stomach flip and her whole body flinch, pushing the Doctor away. 

"I don't want you to touch me." Yaz says. 

"I honestly didn't realise it would come this way."

"You don't-" Yaz starts to get on the defensive but stops herself, seeing Omar and his clipboard out of the corner of her eye. She sucks it up and pretends she doesn't want to wrestle Doctor Smith to the ground. "You don't have to apologize, Doctor Smith. No one can control the wind." 

Doctor Smith picks up her flying rocket from the floor. "I am truly sorry Miss Khan."

"I think it's best we both get back to our lessons now." Yaz says.

"I'm off too." Omar says. "I think I've seen enough."

Yaz nods to acknowledge her assessment is over but she can’t help but feel helpless about it. She doesn’t feel like she’s done well at all and there’s a high chance she could be put on review. And he was here for such a short time, what’s that about? He might have already made his mind up on what he was going to write about her before he watched her do anything. 

"Should've hit him in the head." Doctor Smith tries to joke as their superior walks off and yes, Yaz agrees with her, but she's still mad about getting hit in the eye, so her silent glare wipes the smile off the Doctor's face. "I'll see you later Miss Khan."

"I hope not." Yaz mumbles.


Parents evenings as a PE teacher are stranger than most. There's a mix of year eleven students who only come because it's their best subject and year sevens because parents armed with notepads want to know what their children are being made to do. In the past Yaz has had parents shouting at her, accusing her of calling kids fat, bullying them into exercising, even false accusations of sexual misconduct when some at her last school found out she dates women as well as men and all of this because some bratty teenager doesn't like her. However, Yaz has never quite experienced anything like this before.

She's set up in the sports hall and has been non stop seeing parents for the past hour and a half, only now getting a break. She assumed more than usual would want to come and see her since she's new but she didn't expect every member of her year eleven and year nine classes turning up. It's more stressful than usual too with parents of students that she doesn't teach staring at the bruise just under her eye. She gets up from her horribly uncomfortable seat (she doesn't understand how kids can sit and take exams in these for days on end) to stretch her legs and mosey over to Mr Pinks desk where he's unwrapping a bar of dark chocolate alongside peeling an orange.

"How's it going?" She asks to disguise the fact she's stealing a segment of orange from him.

"Not bad. Haven't got another one until half six now." He says.

"Lucky." Yaz says. From the looks of her schedule she's going to be here until the end of the night.  

"It's not that fun just hanging around doing nothing." Danny smiles.

"Aren't you going to visit Miss Oswald in the library?" Yaz teases.

"I dunno, are you going to go and visit Doctor Smith?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Yaz asks, confused.

"You know. Go and torment her or something. Whatever it is you two do."

"Avoid each other, that's what we do." Yaz corrects him, stealing another orange segment.

Danny laughs to himself then changes the subject. "You know how the first day back after half term is Halloween."

"Yeah." Yaz says. "Why?"

"Are you going to dress up?" Danny asks.

"What do you mean?" Yaz answers his question with a question.

"Everyone dresses up as either something funny or a historical figure from their subject." Danny explains.

"Who are you coming as?" Yaz asks so she can take ideas and inspiration. 

"John McEnroe."

"The arrogant tennis player that swore a lot?"

"Yeah. Gives me a pass to swear at the kids." Danny grins. Yaz is just about to start brainstorming for herself but she spots her next student wandering over to her desk and has to drag herself away. 

The next hour makes her hungry. The hour after that makes her agitated. By the end of the night Yaz just wants to sit on her sofa with her hamster and a nice berry smoothie but she’s got to get there first. At the start of the evening maintenance were working on repainting the PE office so Yaz had to find somewhere else safe to leave her bag and paperwork that has yet to be filed electronically. That somewhere else safe is her form room with the new and improved door and lock. She walks there at a slow but steady pace and enters the room easily, not noticing that the lights are already on.

Yaz pauses. There’s a woman standing over by the stack of draws that she doesn’t recognise, dressed in a crisp white office shirt accompanied by a black pencil skirt hugging every curve in existence, and it confuses Yaz as she doesn’t know who else other than her and Doctor Smith have keys. Plus, she reckons she wouldn’t forget meeting a woman who looks like that .

“Sorry I- oh.” The other woman turns around with a blank expression and the mystery woman isn’t a mystery at all. Yaz feels herself blush and her heart skips a beat. “Doctor Smith?”

“I know I look different, don’t mention it.” Doctor Smith returns to placing exercise books back in the drawers she’s pulled out.

“Why?” Yaz asks, moving to retrieve her belongings from under the teachers desk where she left them.

Doctor Smith scoffs, not at Yaz but at the situation, that much is clear. “Parents don’t take you seriously when they see a blonde woman in weird clothes sitting behind the desk. They don’t see me as an experienced teacher of a difficult subject with a doctorate so I dress like a proper teacher. They still call me ‘miss’ either way but...”

“And looking like a proper teacher has the desired effect?” Yaz says, her body walking itself over to the other teacher instead of the door to leave.

“The mums listen to me and the dads drool over me.” Doctor Smith laughs, moving to her own bag to retrieve clothes that look like what she usually wears. Again, Yaz follows her, staying a few steps behind.

“So not good.” Yaz says.

“One parent listening is better than two refusing to believe anything I say.” Doctor Smith shrugs.

“It shouldn’t have to be like that.” Yaz sympathizes with her. 

“I know but...could you- could you just help with- I can’t-” Yaz notices Doctor Smith struggling to unzip the back of her skirt.

“Sure.” Yaz agrees to help without thinking.

She walks the three steps separating them leaving her bag behind but Yaz hesitates once she gets into her personal space. Doctor Smith has asked her to do this so she must trust her somehow. Yaz rests her left hand on the small of her back and uses her right to tug on the zip until it comes free. Not knowing when would be appropriate to stop essentially undressing her, Yaz just keeps unzipping slowly until it feels inappropriate.

“I hate wearing this stuff.” Doctor Smith reaches behind her to brush Yaz’s hand away before she pulls the zip down totally. “Thank you Miss Khan.” She coughs to bring back some level of professionalism.

“No problem Doctor Smith.” Yaz moves away, turning her back so that the other woman can get changed into something more comfortable with a bit of privacy.

“How’d yours go?” The Doctor asks, most likely to keep Yaz from feeling awkward.

“Busy. Probably because I’m new.” Yaz says. “Half my form turned up too.”

“Were they trying to scope you out?” Doctor Smith asks. Yaz can hear her placing each leg into their designated trouser leg. 

“Wouldn’t doubt it.” Yaz leans her back against one of the desks at the front to let herself yawn. 

“Tired?”

Yaz’s eyes open to see Doctor Smith approaching her, tucking her white shirt into her regular blue trousers, her mustard braces hanging by her sides and Yaz curses herself for finding her attractive when she really shouldn’t. It’s Doctor Smith. She hates Doctor Smith.

“Just a long day.” Yaz says.

“Do you want a lift home? I don’t want you falling asleep at the wheel or anything.” The Doctor offers, rummaging around in her backpack for something. 

“I think I’ll be fine. Thanks.” Yaz politely denies. Doctor Smith comes and leans her back on the desk next to Yaz, pushing a tub of biscuits under her nose.

“Here.” She offers.

“I don’t eat-”

“Don’t give me any of that healthy lifestyle bullshit and have a bit of sugar to keep you awake.” Doctor Smith takes a custard cream for herself to encourage Yaz to take part in this makeshift picnic. 

It works though. The biscuit tastes good and Yaz knows she'll probably have enough energy to get home. Doctor Smith is eating hers strangely- taking off the top and eating it then licking the cream off the other half. Yaz would call her out on the strange behaviour if they weren’t both so exhausted and too tired for an argument. Maybe that’s the trick to getting along with each other, to interact only when they’re too tired to fight. 

“I am really sorry about this by the way.” Doctor Smith ever so gently runs her thumb over the bruised part of her eye socket. It’s not as bad as it was when it first formed but it’s still visible and hurts when touched, but Doctor Smith is using her thumb with an equal amount of tenderness so it doesn’t hurt. In fact it makes Yaz feel warm and calm and she certainly blames it on being so touch starved.

“Only an accident.” Yaz says. It comes out as more of a whisper. “You’re not going out with the rest of the staff then?” She asks to change subjects. She doesn’t want to talk about the incident anymore and she wants her to stop touching her face. 

“Nope.” Doctor Smith withdraws her hand. “You?”

“I don’t want to. I hear these nights can get messy.” Yaz says. She doesn’t fancy going out at all let alone to the pub with the rest of the staff until the early hours of the morning.

“Donna buys everyone maccies after.” Doctor Smith chuckles, helping herself to another biscuit. Yaz takes another one too. 

“Seriously?” Yaz smiles, taking interest in what Doctor Smith has to say.

“Yep. Gotta be sober for work in the morning.”

“I don’t drink anyway so that wouldn’t be a problem.” Yaz tells her. There’s a little voice in the back of her mind telling her she’s revealing too much about herself but it’s not loud enough to cause Yaz to listen to it. 

“You teach teenagers every day and you don’t even have a cheeky glass of wine in the evening?” Doctor Smith asks like she’s wondering how Yaz is still standing.

Yaz shakes her head. “Do you?”

“No. Tastes funny. I prefer fruit juice.” Doctor Smith says and then immediately retracts into herself. “I should get going.”

“Gotta get home to someone?” Yaz asks. 

“Pfft. I wish.” Doctor Smith smiles and puts her bag on her back, turning towards the door and not looking at Yaz again. “Goodnight, Miss Khan.” She says as she leaves.

“Goodnight, Doctor Smith.” Yaz replies. 

It’s the most gentle, non aggressive departure from each other they’ve ever had.


Half term is a blissful escape from everything, even if Yaz does have a few first drafts of written coursework to mark. Yaz knows she’s lucky with her subject and she’s got a lot more free time than other staff in subjects like English and Science. She finds herself wondering a lot as to whether Doctor Smith meets up with her brother to get some work done together and if maybe this week will sort out whatever bee Doctor Smith has in her bonnet. She can’t ask and she won’t know if the week off will do her colleague any good until Monday so she tries to stop herself from thinking about it every two seconds she does some work. 

In her spare time in the evenings when she’s not marking or planning out lessons for next time Yaz takes to training her hamster in the evening and calling her mum up for a chat in the day. By the end of the week Gaz has learnt to sit on Yaz’s shoulder to travel around the house with her and if he’s lucky, he might get a treat for it. Something so small is just as capable of developing a personality as bigger pets and Yaz loves the calm and timid nature of him. 

It’s the Sunday before everyone returns back to work and school and Yaz still doesn’t have a costume. So she’s making a ghost out of an old bedsheet. It’ll be so shit it’s funny and that’s her argument about her outfit fitting the brief. She’s cutting out the holes she’s outlined while she sits in front of the TV, Gaz on her shoulder, with Yaz snacking on dried banana chips. She finishes cutting out the final eye hole and reaches for a snack, snapping it in half and then one of the halves in half again so that she can give the little pieces to Gaz to take into his cheek pouches. Sonya always tells her she eats rabbit food but this doesn’t count. It’s hamster food. 

“It’s my bedtime now bud.” Yaz scoops him up off her shoulder. “I’ll clean out your house tomorrow, I promise.”

She places the black and white blob back in his cage and he immediately runs off to eat the stored banana chips in secret. Yaz heads up to her own bedroom- already showered and dressed for bed she slips under the covers and like normal plays around on her phone. She checks her emails. There are the regular ones including the outline for the staff meeting tomorrow but there’s an extra one telling her she’ll be on the first bus pass check of the school year tomorrow. It means staying a few minutes late after school hours which she doesn’t mind. It’s not like she has anything else to do. Hopefully though it’s not just another set up test from the deputy head or a ploy to get her and Doctor Smith working together- an opportunity to catch them bickering and penalize them for it.

But would working with Doctor Smith be so bad? The last time they spoke it wasn’t that bad. Maybe that trend will continue? Part of Yaz doubts it but part of her can’t help but hope. 

 

The next day Yaz doesn’t see Doctor Smith until she’s dismissing her tutor group. Again, as per usual, it doesn’t take long for Yaz to realise all her fantasies about Doctor Smith coming back as a nicer person will purely stay as a fantasy. 

“What the hell are you wearing a sheet with holes in for?” Doctor Smith asks.

Yep. Still irritatingly blunt. 

“I’m a ghost.” Yaz quickly takes off the sheet to avoid ridicule. It was getting a bit hot under there anyway. “Who are you?” She asks, not recognising who the Doctor has dressed up as.

“I’m Nikola Tesla.” 

Doctor Smith lifts her arms up with a beaming smile exposing more of her outfit. Very late 1800s early 1900s with a waistcoat, tie, pocketwatch, blazer, trousers, still her normal boots but somehow it works.

“Who’s that?” Yaz asks, still ignorant as to who the scientist is. 

“Oh- Miss Khan please tell me you are joking.” Her arms flap down to her sides in defeat, her face looking purely offended. 

“I never really paid attention in science.” Yaz shrugs, logging out of the register system.

“Yeah, it shows.” Doctor Smith rolls her eyes with arrogance. “Not knowing who Tesla is oh my-”

“You know I have had to study some human biology to become a PE teacher, right? I do have qualifications and I went to university.” Yaz says. It comes out harsher than she intended and Yaz remembers how exasperating Doctor Smith can be. Their conversation before half term feels like lightyears ago.

“Alright. I know.” Doctor Smith holds her hands up. Yaz can’t take her seriously with that fake mustache stuck to her top lip. “Just saying he’s a pretty important guy.”

 

Doctor Smith’s air of egotism follows Yaz all day despite not seeing her again. It’s annoying how she can have such an effect on her just over a moments interaction and it’s visible to everyone. Her students pick up on it, her department picks up on it and her friends pick up on it.

“Hey.” Yaz sighs as she reaches Ryan, Bill and Rose all huddled around one of the serving counters in the canteen.

“You guys hear anything?” Ryan looks around. 

“Not really.” Bill says.

“Sounded like a ghost.” Rose adds.

“Very funny.” Yaz takes off her ghost sheet so they stop taking the mickey out of her. She should have gone for a more simple costume like Bill’s hair net that looks like Frankenstein's monster or Rose’s pumpkin glasses. 

“Cheer up mate it’s halloween!” Ryan nudges her with his elbow. 

“Guys do you know who the scientist Nikola Tesla is?” Yaz asks.

“No.” Bill says.

“Nope.” Ryan shakes his head.

“Bold to assume I paid attention in school.” Rose says. “Why?”

“Nothing.” Yaz mumbles. It’s good to know that she wasn’t just being dumb for Doctor Smith to make fun of her.

“That means Doctor Smith.” Bill says. 

“Wha-”

“Hm, yeah that’s your Doctor Smith problem voice.” Ryan agrees.

“I do not have a voice dedicated to Doctor Smith.” Yaz denies the accusation. She rejects the idea of Doctor Smith being attached to her. 

“Yeah you do.” All three of them say at the same time. 

“What does it sound like?” Yaz asks out of curiosity. 

“Post orgasm.” Bill says. Ryan and Rose giggle to themselves. Yaz just sticks her middle finger up at her. “Seriously though, stop letting her affect you like this.”

“You’re not the one that has to see her every day.” Yaz frowns. 

“Just keep hanging around me. She doesn’t hate me.” Rose says, taking a tray of chips and placing it under the pass. 

“I don’t think she hates me either just…” Yaz says. Then she realises what she just said doesn’t even want to entertain the idea that one day Doctor know-it-all and her could be friends. “I dunno. I’d rather she just stay out of my way, then I don’t have to feel anything about her at all.” 

Yaz is so wrapped up in her own mood she doesn’t notice her friends share looks of ‘told you’ and ‘oh boy’. 

“What… do you fee-”

“Rose! Burgers!” One of the chefs from the back calls. Yaz assumes today is burger and chips day. 

“Yep I’m coming!” Rose says, disappearing and the conversation moves away with her. Bill gets back to work too, placing out some hot paninis and chicken burgers in her snack section. 

“Stop winding yourself up over the woman.” Ryan repeats. “She’s not worth it.”

“Actually she is quite cool when you-”

“Not helping Rose.” Bill jumps in. 

The staff on lunch duty today open the doors at the back of the canteen allowing a flood of humans in, all hungry to get the first choice of food. 

“ANYONE FOR A BAGUETTE!” Bill shouts, wasting no time trying to attract the kids to her station. It makes Yaz’s ears ring and pushes her away more than the undesirable probability of being trampled by a herd of teens.

Yaz takes her friends advice and lightens up for her last lessons of the day. She teaches them all in her ghost costume to make her students laugh, even if she does get a bit cold every now and then. But she does take it off as she stands outside one of the buses with a clipboard and a list of students to tick off so that they can all see her face. The school pays for local coach companies to do the routes, picking up and dropping off students, all so that families don’t have to spend money on bus passes and the school doesn’t receive any complaints from the council. 

“Yasmin Khan, well I never.” The older cockney bus driver walks towards her and Yaz doesn’t quite recognise him. “I’m Ryan’s-”

“Oh, Graham! Hi.” Yaz smiles. She’s only ever heard stories of him from Ryan and this is the first time she’s ever met him in the flesh. 

“You keeping him under control?” Graham asks, unlocking the door of his bus manually. Yaz assumes he’s talking about Ryan. 

“I like to think so.” Yaz says even though it feels like Ryan’s the one keeping her under control and in line. A boy tries to step onto the bus and thanks to Yaz’s quick reflexes she puts her arm across the door and pushes him back. “Bus pass please.”

He shows her his and she ticks him off the list. Everyone else floods into the bus lanes and Yaz ticks off all the appropriate ones and turns away a couple of people trying to sneak friends in for Halloween sleepovers. She guesses that’s why the school chose to do it today. Most of these buses are full to capacity and if someone brings a friend on one person with an actual seat won’t have a lift home. Yaz then waits the ten minutes allowed from the end of lesson to when the buses depart to see if any late out students turn up. The bus departure bell leaves and instead of leaving all the staff walk onto their assigned buses to make sure everyone is wearing seatbelts. A few older kids near the back scramble to put them on but Yaz doesn’t have to do much else but look at them to get them to do what they know is expected of them. 

“Oi, ain’t it your birthday tomorrow?” Graham asks when Yaz reaches the front of the coach again.

“Yeah, it is.” Yaz says. It’s a little bit weird that he knows that but Ryan might have mentioned it in the same room or maybe Grace remembered who she is and when it’s her birthday.

“Brilliant, doing anything fun?” He asks with kindness. 

“Teaching.” Yaz shrugs. Come to think of it, she doesn’t have any plans at all for her birthday. That’s a bit sad, isn’t it? Turning thirty-two with no friends coming round, no party, no going out and just a face time with her family. She’s not even thought about what she’s going to have for dinner. 

“Have a goodn’ sweetheart. I hope the kids don’t cause you too much hassle.” Graham passes on his well wishes. 

“Cheers Graham.” It’s not the kids I have to worry about, Yaz thinks to herself.

“All aboard and off we go ladies and ghouls. Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride through the duration of the journey as a precaution for zombie bites. Unfortunately the undead do not have bus passes so they can’t ride with us this afternoon.” Graham speaks into his little microphone attached to the speaker system on the coach. His Halloween themed jokes make a few of the younger students laugh and Yaz steps off the coach and watches as the army of them drives away. 

 

Yaz spends her evening alone, watching spooky movies on TV and handing out sweets to the local kids that pop by trick or treating. If any of them go to the school they pretend not to know Yaz and Yaz doesn’t recognise them under their costumes anyway. By ten she tries to settle down in front of a repeat of a TV show she’s seen before many times and by eleven she’s bored as hell but still not tired. She puts her TV on standby and runs through her options. She could batch cook some pasta for her lunches this week or maybe make some sandwiches. Again, like she always does when she’s bored she considers taking herself upstairs for some alone time- slip her fingers between her legs for a bit to pass the time. Again, after a couple of seconds of consideration she remembers how unsatisfying it is when she does that by herself. Maybe that’s what she should do for her birthday. Buy herself a vibrator so she doesn’t have to do anything with much effort. 

Still lost for ideas as to how to occupy herself, the squeak of Gaz on his exercise wheel reminds her she said she would clean out his terrarium tonight. She’s not mad and she knows the animal wouldn’t know that’s exactly what she said but now is a better time than ever to do it. She gets up and gets everything she needs and works around Gaz as much as she can and she manages to clear a good amount of shavings before having to disturb him.

“Come on buddy.” Yaz moves Gaz into his hamster ball for him to roll around on the floor, out of the way.

She’s just about to get the pet safe disinfectant to clean the glass when her phone vibrates on the coffee table. The text is from her mum, prompting her to check the time. It’s past midnight. Her birthday. She doesn’t need to read the text that ends in ‘call me in the morning’ because she’s essentially received the same text from her mum every year at midnight since she moved out. So, knowing her mum will still be awake, Yaz calls her number to see if she can speak to her now.

"Hi mum." Yaz says when Najia inevitably picks up. 

"What are you still doing awake?" Najia asks quietly. Everyone else at home must be asleep. 

"Could ask the same to you."

"I'm seeing in the day I gave birth to you."

"Funny, me too." Yaz smiles, holding her phone between her shoulder and her chin so that she can clean properly. 

“You should be asleep Yaz, especially if you have plans for after work afternoon.”

“I’m not doing anything in the afternoon. Or the evening or anything. I’m just staying at home.” Yaz says.

“Oh, Yasmin…” Najia takes pity on her and Yaz knows she’s doing it.

“You know I don’t like going out mum.” She reminds her.

“But it’s your birthday! Your first one at your new place, surely you have someone special to invite over for the night.” 

“Mum I’m not dating anyone.” Yaz sighs. For her past few birthdays the subject has come up earlier and earlier in the day but this is a new record. 

“Are you searching for someone?”

“No.” Yaz says.

“Why not Yaz-”

“Mum I just don’t want to date anyone at the moment. I’m fine on my own and I have enough to keep me occupied at work.” Yaz pauses her cleaning to put all her efforts into forcing her mum to accept she’s just not that interested in dating at the moment.

“So you’re hooking up with someone at work?”

“No, mum-”

“Is it that Ryan boy?”

“I’m not hooking up with anyone at work! Since when did this birthday call turn into an interrogation?” Yaz asks. She should have known not to call her mum about this without her dad around to stop her from asking stupid questions. 

“I’m sorry sweetheart.” Najia apologises. “I just want to make sure you’re having fun before you’re too old.”

“Ugh- god- mum-”

“Not like that!”

“Then what did you mean?” Yaz asks, crossing her arm not holding her phone across her chest to wait for an answer. A few beats of silence follow her question. 

“Happy birthday Yaz.” Is all her mum says in response. 

“Thanks mum. I’ll call you after work tonight, yeah?” Yaz offers a different time to talk when she knows her mother won’t start picking at her love life.

“Yeah, once everyone’s home. Night night sweetheart.” 

 

Yaz, despite how going to bed late made her tired, stops off at the supermarket on the way to work in the morning and buys a large chocolate cake. Once at the school she sneaks into the PE department office before anyone else and uses the one knife big enough from the kitchen to cut it up into enough slices to accommodate her tutor group. She hasn’t alluded to the fact it’s her birthday today at all, so there’s a pleasant round of well wishes when she eventually mentions it to them when they’re all sat at their desks. 

“Right, listen! Oi!” Yaz shouts over the excitement her tutor group is expelling through their mouths as she pulls out the chocolate cake. “One slice each, either eat it now before your classes or save it for break or lunch- I do not want any emails from staff about you eating cake in their lessons.” 

“You’re a PE teacher Miss, shouldn’t you teach us healthy eating?” One of her kids tries to joke with her. 

“Calories don’t count on birthdays.” Yaz says. They do though. That’s why she hasn’t cut herself a slice. 

“Miss, are there seven billion birthdays a year or 365 birthdays?”

“That… I would say… is a question for Doctor Smith.” Yaz says, unable to come up with an answer. 

Yaz stays chilled out during form time, not doing anything she’s supposed to do but it’s not the end of the world missing one morning of activities. Plus, she turns a blind eye to every student scribbling down homework answers that should have been finished before now. Everyone is grateful for the time and all of them wish her a happy birthday as they leave through the door being opened by Doctor Smith.

“What’s that?” Doctor Smith points at the remains of the cake packaging Yaz is clearing up.

“My Birthday cake.” Yaz says.

“Why is there only one slice left?” Doctor Smith asks.

“Because I gave some to my form.” Yaz says. Her defensive attitude springs up out of her like it’s a sixth sense before Doctor Smith even says anything.

“I’ve told you they can’t eat-”

“Oh! Happy birthday Miss Khan, hope you’re treating yourself today Miss Khan, have a good rest of the day Miss Khan.” Yaz says, imitating what any other normal member of staff would say. “You eat in here all the time. Get off your high horse.”

“They can’t eat in here because there’s a probability of chemicals being left on the desks- I can eat in here because I know nothing comes into contact with my desk except you.”

“Are you calling me a chemical?” Yaz asks, placing her bag on her shoulder.

“Yes and I can’t for the life of me get you off my skin.” Doctor Smith bites.

“Request for me to move then.” Yaz shrugs. Her voice is calm, much calmer than she’s feeling inside. She’s over this. All of it. “Move the entire form group into another room if you can’t stand me. Or take those kids on yourself and free up my mornings.”

Yaz turns to leave without a second thought; silently praising herself for saying all that without stuttering or getting over emotional like she usually does in arguments.

“Wait, Miss-”

“I’ll see you at break time Doctor Smith.” 


Two weeks since her birthday nothing seems to be looking up for Yaz but for once it’s not because of Doctor Smith. Calling her a chemical she can’t scrub off did actually get under Yaz’s skin so now even if Doctor Smith does make an effort to be some degree of kind Yaz ignores her completely. She doesn’t want to hear it and she doesn’t know when she eventually will. No, the issues grinding on Yaz’s soul are to do with the increasingly bad weather. There’s a storm coming in. The past couple of days the temperature has dropped and the winds have picked up making it horrible to teach hockey lessons outside. Students are grumpy and backlashing against her every day and she’s just about had enough of it. 

Today is the day of the storm and Mr Pink has made the executive decision to merge all year group classes together to either play table tennis in the gym and school hall or badminton in the sports hall and then halfway through the lesson they’ll switch around so that they get to do both. She’s currently got a load of year nines playing badminton to control. You would be amazed at the amount of kids that don’t bother playing and just use the rackets as air guitar props or something to pick at until the tape around the handle comes off. 

She can hear the rain getting heavier on the corrugated roof of the sports hall as the lesson runs on to the point where it’s almost deafening in addition to the wind outside. If she’s honest, it’s a little bit frightening. A clap of thunder overhead doesn’t help keep the students concentrated on their tasks either and Yaz knows she’s going to need to take action. 

“Time for a tournament!” Yaz shouts so that her voice can be heard. “This half of the room versus this side of the room. Here’s how we’re going to-” Yaz stops as the lights of the hall flicker and take everyone’s attention away from her. “We’re going to do it so that-”

The lights fail and the class screams as they’re plunged into darkness- the only light coming from the green glow of the emergency exit signs above the door. Yaz shouts out for everyone to calm down and heads to open the door she knows leads out to the corridor that holds the changing rooms. No light there either and she can see through the window that the maths building isn’t having much luck with power either. She pins the door open so what little light is coming through the window lights up the hall a little bit. It doesn’t do much but it’s her attempting to take back control of the situation. 

“Seriously you are not all five year olds and it’s only a power cut! Calm down!” Yaz has to shout into the room again. 

As soon as she says it maintenance must have started the back up generator as the emergency lights come on. It’s still not much but at least it will stop her students from messing around in the dark. Yaz goes to explain how they’re going to play the game again but gets no further than she did before when the back up generator fails and everyone is left in the dark again. 

Instead of screams this time the students whisper to each other the classic things students whisper when there’s a power cut. ‘By law if they can’t get it back in an hour they have to send us home’, ‘if the heating cuts out and it’s below freezing they have to send us home too.’, ‘what if the buses can’t get here because of fallen trees in the road?’ and so on and so on. Not knowing what else to do- making the class continue in the dark being a health and safety nightmare- Yaz just lets them talk and conspire. A few minutes later Danny brings his class and Mr Thompson brings his group into the sports hall by the light of their phone torches. Yaz gets hers on too and the three of them huddle together to figure out what they’re going to do. 

“It’s not up to us whether they close the school or not but we can’t keep teaching them.” Danny says.

“Someone’s going to end up with a broken leg.” Mr Thompson says and Yaz and Danny jump on him without missing a beat. 

“Sssh!”

“Don’t jinx it man!” 

“I reckon the school’s going to close. The storm isn’t going to let up anytime soon.” Mr Thompson moves the attention away from his rookie mistake. 

“So do we get them changed?” Yaz asks, bringing them back on topic. Danny takes a moment to think.

“Not until we get the official notice of school closure. We keep them in here for now.” He says. Yaz takes his word for it and settles in for however long it’s going to take to hear the news by sitting on the floor with her back to the wall. If anything she’ll be glad if the school closes so she can go home and take a nap.

“Keep them herded up like sheep.” Yaz says not particularly to anyone specific but Danny takes a seat next to her. 

“Not like you to be defeatist.” He says. 

“I’m just tired.” Yaz says with little enthusiasm and a monotonous tone that anyone could mistake for her being miserable. 

“Not sleeping well or is it the job?”

“Both.” Yaz says. “And since my birthday my mother won’t stop badgering me about finding someone to settle down with.” 

“Hmm. Mothers.” Danny nods in agreement. “You’re not dating anyone then?”

“You’re starting to sound like her.”

“Okay.” Danny shuts up. “Do you have any dietary requirements?”

“Huh?” Yaz turns to question him with her eyes although she can’t see much but the outline of his face in the dark. Why would he need to ask her that?

“Every year the prefects put on a Christmas show for the lower school and every year there’s a contest in it where two teachers that the students voted for compete in an eating competition. Last year it was lemons, the year before was onions.”

“And you need my dietary requirements because…”

“Because the vote opened at the beginning of this week and you’re one of the favourites to compete.”

“Against who?” Yaz sits up with interest. No, not interest- fear. Because she knows exactly who else the students could possibly want to see her compete against.

Danny smirks. “Who do you think?” 


On one of the last days of November Yaz invites Ryan and Bill over for dinner and to show them how to look after Gaz for when she visits home for the holidays. Since the evenings are darker Gaz is already awake and sits him on her shoulder and lets him walk across her and through her hands. He’s so small and cute Yaz can’t think she can love him much more than she does already and yes, even though he doesn’t wake up until it’s dark he still makes her house feel less lonely. When the doorbell rings Yaz places him on her shoulder again to open it.

“Hey!” Yaz answers the door enthusiastically. 

“There’s a rodent on your shoulder.” Bill says.

“Don’t speak about her son like that!” Ryan sucks his teeth in disappointment at Bill, letting himself inside. Bill steps in too, almost with her back to the wall of the hallway to keep herself far away from Gaz.

“Careful, he’ll jump on your face if he doesn’t like you.” Yaz says. 

“Seriously?” Bill freezes in fear.

“No, I’m taking the piss. Come on.” 

Yaz places Gaz back into his house for him to play in there instead, and once she places him down she gets straight to pointing out what her friends are going to need to do when she’s away. She explains how to test that the water is coming out of his bottle, how much food he should have in his bowl and where the food is stored. She’s only visiting home for a few days and she’s going to clean his cage out again before that so they don’t have to worry about hamster droppings. 

“And if you put him in his ball make sure to watch him in case the lid comes off and he escapes.” Yaz says. “I think that’s everything.” 

“Ryan you can do that.” Bill passes off playtime duty.

“Are you seriously scared of that cute little thing? Look at his face!” Ryan says, pointing over to the glass cage. 

“You don’t have to get him out at all if you don’t want to, just make sure he’s fed and watered and basically not dead.” Yaz says. 

“What I want to know is why you’re not staying with your family until new years.” Ryan says.

Yaz sits herself inbetween them both on the sofa. “Because new years means new years kisses and my mother is expecting me to try and find one here.”

“Tell her you’re kissing me. Simple.” Bill suggests.

“I’m not kissing you Bill.”  Yaz says. 

“I’m not saying you should actually do it I’m just saying you should tell her you are.” Bill corrects her. 

“Yeah or just tell her you’re kissing me.” Ryan says. “Either one of us would work.”

“Not you Ry, she already thinks there’s potential for a relationship.”

“I don’t like that.” He says. 

“Me neither.” Yaz agrees.

“Could be worse though. You could be dating Doctor Smith.” Ryan says. Bill snorts. But something about the way they easily make fun of her doesn’t sit well with Yaz. 

“Guys… don’t.” She says. They both look at her like she’s mad and she might be mad by defending her like this but it won't stop her from doing it. “Doctor Smith might be shitty to me but everyone deserves to be loved.” 

“Okay.”

“Alright.”

Bill and Ryan say at the same time sharing a similar look they did on Halloween- and exactly like on Halloween Yaz doesn’t realise what it is. Her timer ringing from the kitchen is the only thing that stops her from asking what it’s all about.

Chapter Text

When Danny told her about this Christmas show the prefects put on, she didn’t expect it to be this much of a big deal. She thought it would be in the school hall on the stage but a fake stage has been made in the sports hall so the whole school can fit in and watch. It’s probably a safety or fire hazard with all of them packed into one space but the buzz in the room suggests no one is really thinking about that. The drama department has rigged up special lighting and there are year eleven media studies students at the back with a camera filming the whole thing to upload to the schools website. 

It starts with a performance from the staff band, then Mr Thompson does some kind of dance spoof on stage looking like a greased up sleazeball and after that the staff choir sings a song. A few of the prefects perform in their band a song they wrote about the school at Christmas and Yaz picks up a line jokingly pointing out her and Doctor Smith feud. She wasn’t really paying attention and can’t recall it once the song is over but it got a few laughs from the audience so it must have been true to life. Next up she knows is her eating challenge.

“Please welcome to the stage, the new PE teacher on the block, Miss Khan everybody!” Omar introduces her. 

Yaz steps up onto the stage with the school clapping and cheering at her. Omar leads her behind an exam desk that’s been placed next to another with a paper plate on top of it covered with a sheet of kitchen towel.

“And in the blue corner we have the cause for all our unplanned fire alarms- Doctor Smith!”

It’s evident who the hall is rooting for more and it’s not Yaz. The clapping and screaming for her is almost deafening and she eats it up, encouraging them to be louder, cupping her hands behind her ears and they all respond like she’s God.  

“GO ON DOCTOR SMITH!” Ryan’s voice booms through the sports hall.

“Ryan!” Yaz shouts back at him and then mouths the word ‘traitor’ across the room.

“Come on Jess!” Yaz hears John shout his support.

“You have one minute to eat half a bulb of garlic.” Omar rips off the sheets of tissue to reveal the plates with six cloves of garlic each on the plates. The kids all grimace and laugh in disbelief at the challenge they’ve voted for the two teachers to take part in. “You’re not allowed to swallow the cloves whole, you have to chew them. You can tap out whenever but you’ll lose by default and there’s a sick bucket either side of you if you need it but that counts as a disqualification as well. Ready?”

Yaz nods. So does Doctor Smith and Omar counts down from three. Yaz thinks it’s not going to be that bad but after taking just one bite of the first clove her throat burns, her nose is stinging and her gag reflex is already playing up. She tries to focus on chewing and the chanting of her name that’s started rather than the foul sharp taste in her mouth. She forces herself to swallow and puts another clove in her mouth. Yaz grips onto the side of the desk as she tries so hard to power through, turning her head to check on Doctor Smith and she’s not doing that great either. Unless she’s playing up to the audience. However, Yaz steals Doctor Smith’s trick of pinching her nose to dull the taste. By two and a half cloves Yaz’s eyes are starting to water now too and she has to take a second to gather herself, losing valuable moments and letting Doctor Smith take the lead. The chants for her name get overshadowed by the hall screaming ‘Doc-tor Smith! Doc-tor Smith! Doc-tor Smith’. There’s a clear fan favourite but Yaz will be damned if she lets her win by default. She just manages to swallow the next half of the fourth clove when the media studies students play and alarm tone marking the end of the minute. 

“We have a winner.” Omar picks up Doctor Smith’s hand and raises it in the air like she’s just won a boxing match. Yaz over dramatically slumps over the exam desk to go along with the show. A prefect passes her a bottle and she’s grateful for it. If she doesn’t hydrate herself now she’s going to wake up in the middle of the night with dry mouth for days.

“They’re not going to be able to kiss anyone for weeks. So much for a new year's kiss ladies and gentlemen.” Omar laughs to entertain the crowd. He takes the microphone away from his mouth and drapes his arms over both of their shoulders. “Unless you kiss each other, you know, you can’t tell if you’re both on it.” 

Yaz shuffles herself out of his grip, a little bit disgusted at what he’s insinuating.

“Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith holds out her hand for Yaz to shake. 

Like a fool Yaz goes to shake it and it’s swiftly taken away from her- Doctor Smith’s fingers forming an L shape on her forehead. The entire school laughs again and Yaz feels so embarrassed. It’s clear they’re laughing with Doctor Smith and at the same time at her. 

They leave the stage with Yaz leaving the room just behind Doctor Smith; the school still laughing behind them as Omar swiftly moves on the proceedings. At first Yaz doesn’t realise she’s following Doctor Smith to the staff toilets but when she does realises she starts to run through what she wants to say to her through her head. 

“Are you following me?” Doctor Smith asks over her shoulder. 

“No.” Yaz says. She knows she is. She waits outside the staff toilets until she hears a toilet flush- she’s got to give Doctor Smith a little bit of privacy- before barging in, still very upset about what just happened.

“You didn’t have to humiliate me like that.” Yaz folds her arms across her chest. 

“I thought it was quite funny.” Doctor Smith says, drying her hands with paper towels.

“Well it wasn’t.” Yaz resists the urge to stamp her foot like a toddler. 

“It was just a joke, chill out.” Doctor Smith scoffs so Yaz does the only thing she knows how in these situations and pushes her backwards against the sinks. Yaz feels like a schoolgirl having a pathetic fight in the toilets but it feels good to let out some anger. She’s never had to resort to doing this before with anyone and it feels wrong. She regrets it. But she doesn’t regret the look of shock and offence on Doctor Smith’s face. “Push me again Miss Khan and you’ll have a lawsuit on your hands.” 

Yaz listens to her and instead of pushing her she pulls on her braces, making them both invade each other’s personal space so that Yaz can whisper.

“In January the break duty rotas will change. After that don’t come anywhere fucking near me or I’ll do more than just push you.” Yaz says.

“Fighting talk.” Doctor Smith has the audacity to smirk and raise an eyebrow.

“I could take you down so easily.” Yaz’s voice filters through her gritted teeth. Sharp. Biting like the cold winter wind.

“Do it then Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith dares her. “Give me everything you’ve got.” 

Yaz holds her gaze like a lion tracking its prey. She could do it. She could get in a physical brawl with this woman, lose her job and never have to talk to her again. Or maybe she would just do enough so that Doctor Smith wouldn’t snitch but she would receive her warning loud and clear. Yaz lets go of Doctor Smith’s braces and takes a step back from her as well as a deep breath. She’s not worth it. 

“You wouldn’t be able to handle it.” Yaz says. 

“Oh, you’d be amazed at what I could handle.” Doctor Smith steps forward and gives a breathy laugh that lands right on Yaz’s lips. She hates it. She hates her so much it boils inside her stomach making it painful. Or maybe that’s just the garlic.

“Everything okay? You’re not about to throw up or anything?” Donna comes in to check up on her staff and Yaz sees her as her knight in shining armour, coming to save her from this whole situation.

“Everything’s fine.” Doctor Smith puts on a very convincing smile. “Just teaching Miss Khan not to be a sore loser.”

“Very funny.” Yaz smiles back. “I was getting some tissue for my nose.” She lies. She takes some tissue from a stall anyway since the garlic did make her nose run on stage.

“Well done to both of you. Everyone loved it.” Donna gives a big toothy grin and sticks up both of her thumbs to congratulate them. “Come on, it’s almost over and then we can all go home for Christmas.” 


“Yaz!” Najia basically jumps into Yaz’s arms when Yaz arrives home on the morning of Christmas Eve.

“Hi mum.” Yaz hugs her back tightly. With all her adventures that happen in her life and her career her mum is the constant that brings her back down to Earth every time. “Happy Christmas.”

“Happy Christmas sweetheart- wha-” Najia Pushes Yaz back by her shoulders. “Why do you smell of garlic?”

“It’s a long story but there’s video evidence to explain.” Yaz sighs. She’s used to basically sweating out garlic by now and didn’t realise she still smelt of it.

Yaz greets the rest of her family then swiftly gets up the video of her and Doctor Smith choking on garlic on the TV for everyone to watch. She hasn’t watched the footage back until now and the first thing she notices is Doctor Smith constantly focusing on her while she chews and spits. The images of the event set Yaz’s blood alight and also at the same time disgusts her as Doctor Smith shovels in the garlic like they’re candied sweets.

“She’s such a nasty woman.” Yaz shakes her head as she relives the moment Doctor Smith was announced the winner.

“Really?” Najia asks.

“Well,” Yaz points her hand at the television screen. “Yeah!” 

“It just looks like she’s playing up for the students.” Sonya shrugs at her. Of course she would be the one to take Doctor Smith’s side.

“She’s always that full of herself, trust me.” Yaz says. 

“If you hate her so much why do you know so much about her?” Sonya asks. 

“Because… I have to share- we just have to spend time with each other at work.” Yaz says. She doesn’t mention that her hatred for her is slowly consuming every waking moment of her days, sometimes nights.

“You’ve got a crush.” Sonya tries to tease. Yaz doesn’t find it funny.

“I do not! She repulses me.” 

“Are you sure?”

Yaz throws a pillow at her sister to get her to shut up. 

 

The next morning everyone in the Khan household wakes up early to enjoy each other’s presence and help Hakim start cooking their feast for later on. The tradition is to eat some cereal or toast for breakfast, maybe a pastry if you’re feeling fancy, get dressed and ready for the day, exchange gifts and then just chill out until it’s time to eat- helping cook when you can. They’ve just got past the exchanging gifts part when Yaz’s phone starts pinging left right and center. It’s a message from a new work group chat with the school's name and then Christmas emojis next to it as the name of the group.

“Happy festivities to you all!” The first text reads with an attached image of Donna holding a glass of bubbly. 

Several other messages and a few selfies are sent and Yaz scrolls through them deciding whether she wants to send a picture or not. She drafts up a message of well wishes and chooses to just send that instead. There’s a hundred odd staff at the school and Yaz will only be a few words out of all of them. No one wants to see her mug on their phone screens on Christmas. Some more images pour in of older staff with their kids and their thumbs up, younger staff with their babies, and unsurprisingly a picture of John and Jess in their onesies chilling on their sofa by their tree together. She can’t even have a Christmas without it being tainted by Doctor Smith. 

“Yaz.”

“Hm?” Yaz looks up from her phone screen to see her mum holding a rectangle shaped gift wrapped box, everyone else having left to place their received gifts in their rooms. 

“Anyone interesting?” Najia asks.

“No, just work.” Yaz shrugs and throws her phone to the side. “What’s that?” 

“Don’t let your sister or your dad know I got you an extra gift. Count it as a late birthday present.”

Yaz accepts it with a smile and gently unwraps it to reveal the box underneath. It’s plain white with no clues as to what’s inside so Yaz delves deeper. She doesn’t know what she was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t a phallic object with a switch Yaz assumes makes it vibrate.

“Mum!” Yaz slams the lid of the box closed and pushes back into her mother’s hands.

“Listen-”

“Why would you even think to get me-!”

“I don’t mind if you turn out to be a spinster or a lonely crazy old… hamster lady but if you’re going solo I need you to be taking care of yourself.” Najia explains her reasoning for getting Yaz...that but it’s not a good enough reason for Yaz. In fact she thinks it’s stupid. 

“Mum I’m thirty-two, I am not that old!” Yaz strains her voice into a whine in preference to shouting. 

“Yes but most people your age are planning weddings or engagement parties.” Najia tries to hand the cursed box back to Yaz but Yaz refuses to accept the gift of a vibrator from her own birth giver. 

“I don’t want it mum- just. Leave it.” Yaz says. She can’t even bring herself to look at the box.

“Okay.” Najia agrees. “I’ll leave it on the coffee table and I’ll leave the room. Then you just… dispose of it how you wish. I’ll neve know where it went.” 

“Ugh- God- mum!” 

“I’ll be approximately five minutes.” Najia says as she leaves. 

Yaz flops back down on the sofa for a face off with that damn box. What the hell has her life come to if her mum is getting her a sex toy for Christmas because she’s worried about her being lonely? She could just chuck it down the rubbish chute but it looks expensive and she can’t just chuck away a sex toy in a communal bin. But at the same time she can’t just leave it out on the coffee table of her family's flat for her dad or god forbid her sister to find. She would never hear the end of it. Ever. Yaz groans as she realises she only has one choice and that’s to take it. So she does, and hides it under her pillow. 

Najia doesn’t mention it again or that it’s missing from the coffee table or even throws Yaz a funny look. They sit and eat at two in the afternoon after nibbling on snacks all day and lazing around watching Christmas themed TV. It's a delicious meal they’ve all managed to make. If her dad had been left alone it might not have turned out so good but the Khan women keep that fact under their hats to appease him. Yaz feels that warm feeling in her chest when she looks at her family around the table. She loves them so much it’s hard to process the feelings, even her idiot annoying sister. All Yaz can hope for is for Sonya to be happy and for her parents to live comfortably as they grow older. Yaz stays up and watches a film with said parents once the day has successfully passed until she can’t keep her eyes open anymore. Ryan sent a picture of him after feeding Gaz and it triggered something in Yaz’s body that tells her it’s time to go to bed. 

Yaz lays her head down on her pillow and she feels a lump under her skull. The box. Now alone and over the shock of her mum handing it to her Yaz pulls it out from under her pillow to investigate it. She only caught a glimpse of the contents earlier and she wants to know more, to find out what her mum thinks her tastes are for starters. It’s a decent size. Feels nice. Smooth, but that’s just against her fingertips. 

Knowing it’s a risky move Yaz checks to see she’s closed her door. She has. Purely for experimental purposes Yaz lifts her top up to expose her stomach, her abs less prominent due to how much she’s eaten today, and drags the tip of her toy down it. Still feels nice. She lifts the elastic of her bed shorts with one hand and pushes the toy down just to rest against her most intimate area. Yeah. Still good. Her thumb explores the other end near the palm of her hand, searching for a switch she knows is somewhere and when she finds it, she presses it. 

Nothing.

Yaz pulls it back up and untwists the cap where she assumes the power source would be. There’s nothing in there and Yaz just places it back into its box where it belongs.

“Could’ve at least included batteries.” Yaz grumbles, pulling the sheets closer around her. 


The first day back after Christmas and new years. Everyone’s had a rest, eaten too much food and are now supposed to be totally refreshed and ready for a new term. Of course there’s a lag of a few days before everyone has that refreshed feeling about them but it’s nice. A brand new year, a year of new opportunities. For Yaz, a year of new challenges. Starting with a visit from one of the school’s welfare officers telling her that one of her year elevens is going to be pulled out of tutor time because she sent sexual photos to a boy over the holidays. It’s not how Yaz would have chosen to start the year but that’s the way it’s turned out.

Yaz remains as cheerful as possible to keep spirits up, cracking jokes and making conversation with the rest of her form to distract from the fact that one of their loudest members isn’t in the room with them. It’s Charlotte, the one that asked her if she was single, and Yaz can hear whispers of her name circling around the year tens and elevens of the room. Luckily she only turns up when Yaz dismisses the rest of her class and Doctor Smith starts faffing around her. They haven't spoken. Haven’t even looked at each other.

“Can I talk to you for a second Miss?” The young girl asks. She doesn’t have the same bravado as she usually does.

“Sure. Do you mind Doctor Smith hanging around? Technically this is her room now.” Yaz checks. 

“It’s fine, I’m just pissed off.” 

There it is. There’s the usual teenager Yaz knows. 

“Tell me exactly what happened because I don’t know the details.” Yaz says. 

“Over Christmas I admit, yeah, that I like, sent some pictures to my boyfriend yeah and then like on new years I saw him kissing that slag from year ten on snapchat so I asked him about it and he said I was speaking shit when I wasn’t it was clear as day filmed and he told me to stop chatting shite or he’ll leak my pictures but I didn’t Miss because I stand my ground.”

Somewhere within her one sentence speech Doctor Smith has joined Yaz at their shared desk and listened in. Both of them are so confused as to what’s just been laid in front of them they’re not bothered by each other’s presence.

“So basically… you sent nudes to your boyfriend, you had an argument, and then he spread them around?” Yaz tries to clarify.

“Yeah.” Charlotte nods.

“Oh, kid…” Doctor Smith says. 

“Why did you even send them in the first place Charlotte?” Yaz asks. 

“Because I wanted to. I’m of age, I know what sex is.” 

“Thing is though- which I’m sure you’ve been told- you are not an adult.” Yaz says to knock down the girls defensive wall. “In the eyes of the law you’re still a child so not only could your ex be charged with possession of indecent images of a minor you could be charged with distributing indecent images of a minor as well.”

“How’d you know all that?” Doctor Smith asks her. 

“I was in the police cadets when I was younger.” Yaz explains. 

“Hm.” Doctor Smith makes a noise and face of approval.

“Did you just admit to being impressed by me?” Yaz smirks, pleased with herself. 

“Maybe.” Doctor Smith tries not to smile. “Anyway back to the point, you shouldn’t be sending nudes to anyone at your age let alone to cheating douchebags.”

“But…” Charlotte starts but she doesn’t finish. She knows she doesn’t have an argument against the two older and wiser women.

“Listen, I understand getting and sending nudes can be hot and yes, you’re right, you are of age for sex but at least wait until you’re eighteen for nudes and send them to someone who isn’t a dick.”

“Yeah your body is precious, don’t just let anyone see it.” Yaz backs up Doctor Smith’s point. She can’t believe she is backing her up but strange things are happening this morning.

“They’ve put me in isolation for it.” Charlotte grumbles. “Can you get me out of it Miss?”

“I can have a word with the head of house but I can’t promise anything.” Yaz says. She knows she’s not going to get anywhere with an appeal since isolation is the procedure to ‘protect’ the students from ridicule from their peers after an incident like this. It’s a stupid policy as it just draws more attention to the situation but it’s better than a police charge. 

“I’ll try too if you want but you need to get going to the isolation room now or you’ll get in more trouble.” Doctor Smith offers. 

“Uuuuugh.”

“Go on and get it over with. I can’t do anything about it if you’re still standing here.” Yaz shoos her away from behind the desk. 

Charlotte begrudgingly walks out of the door giving Yaz a few moments alone to question Doctor Smith before she really must get going to teach herself.

“‘Getting an sending nudes can be hot’. You have a thing for nudes, Doctor Smith?” Yaz smirks at her again as she packs up her bag ready to leave her year eight class.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Doctor Smith takes big strides away from Yaz to continue setting up for her lesson. 

“Why aren’t you a form tutor?” Yaz asks out of intrigue. “You dealt with that really well.”

“Now who’s paying the accidental compliments?” Doctor Smith says, pulling out a heavy tray of what look like bunsen burners. “Look, Miss Khan… it’s a new year and talking to my brother over the holiday made me realise-”

“What’s happening?” Yaz asks, wide eyed, as Doctor Smith moves towards her again with a new kind of timidness to her walk.

“- I’ve been a right dick. I’m not saying I want to be best of friends but I don’t want to keep arguing. It’s too stressful and… I just want to start again.”

“It might take more than a few words, Doctor Smith.” Yaz says. Some of the stuff that’s been said and done is irreversible. 

“Understandable.” Doctor Smith gives a swift nod of her head and turns to walk away again. Yaz places her hand lightly on the Doctor’s elbow to get her to turn around mid turn, making her do a whole 360 spin on the spot.

“I didn’t say we couldn’t try.” Yaz says. Starting again with Doctor Smith would mean a lot less hassle for her. All anyone really wants is an easy life, right?

Doctor Smith smiles wide and extends her arm to shake hands on their new promise. Yaz tries to be a positivist most of the time, but she can’t help wondering how long this promise is going to last. 


Yaz was right to doubt not trusting Doctor Smith’s change of heart. It’s Thursday periods five and six and Yaz has booked the computers in the library for her year eleven non exam class to do some revision- except when Yaz turns up there Doctor Smith has already sat her class down. 

“I think there’s been a mistake.” Yaz says, approaching the Doctor convinced that she’s the one in the right.

“No mistake Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith pouts and shakes her head.

“Um. I think there is. I have a whole class wanting to revise for exams.” Yaz points behind her to the class all standing in the doorway not knowing whether to take off their bags or not. 

“And as you can see my class is about to take part in an online experiment.” Doctor Smith gestures to her year eight class behind her. 

“How can you possibly teach physics experiments on a computer?” Yaz sighs exasperatedly.

“How can you possibly teach physical education in a library?”

“Shush!” 

Yaz and Doctor Smith are both shunned by the librarian, Ruth, giving them death stares over her glasses on the tip of her nose, from behind the circular counter in the middle of the room, positioned so that she can watch everyone and everything. Now aware of her presence Doctor Smith and Yaz race towards her to get her to check on the system who rightfully booked their class in first to use the facilities. It’s a tense moment between them as Ruth pulls up the log. 

“Doctor Smith did book the computers before you Miss Khan, there must have been a fault in the system.”

“See?” Doctor Smith torments her as she gets back to her class.

“You two are worse than the kids, honestly.” Ruth mutters, typing away to see what other computer rooms are free. “The maths computer room.” She says, handing Yaz a key with the room number etched into it from the Technology department.

“Thank you.” Yaz says, taking the key for herself. 

“I’m looking forward to the football match tomorrow.” Ruth says. 

Yaz looks over at Doctor Smith, leaning over a desk with her tongue sticking out her mouth trying to stick a wire into the back of a computer. 

“I can’t wait either.” She says. The idea of thrashing Doctor Smith at a sport she’s good out sounds right up her street. 

 

After school Yaz joins the rest of the PE department in the sports hall for a last minute kick about. There aren’t enough PE staff to have an entire team plus subs, so some of the support staff are joining them who have an interest in sport. Yaz has been assigned center forward after Danny saw the power behind her kicks and Yaz is fine with it- it’s the position she used to always have on the school playground when she was having a game with the boys. But that means tonight the defenders on their team are trying to tackle her like it’s nobody's business. Yaz hopes no one in the science department tomorrow is as tall as her colleagues barreling towards her right now. 

At the end of their final training session Danny gathers them all together for a pep talk. It’s a bit cringey that they’re even doing it, but the school takes this fundraising event so seriously Yaz suspects she wouldn’t be looked favourably on by anyone if she says ‘it’s only a game’. 

“Tomorrow we’re waiting on the weather to see if we can play outside. It’s not looking likely so we’ll probably be in here so we’ll have to open up the storage cupboards so that everyone can fit in. It’s being filmed so most students will just watch it live online. Please remember it is just a game. No need to go after specific staff members.” Danny says. Everyone’s eyes flicker over to Yaz.

“Don’t look at me.” She grumbles. 

“My point is that yes they won last year, and the year before, and the year before that but it’s just a bit of fun to raise money and it’s entertainment for everyone.” Danny grins at everyone. “Go home. Eat good food. Don’t let the impending adrenaline and pressure keep you up at night.”

 

The next day Yaz greets her tutor group by reminding them to put all their support into the PE department after school today and they all leave the pound they’ve been asked to bring in in the charity bucket labelled PE. Of course all the money raised is going to be added up together but not before it’s revealed which department raised the most. Yaz makes the charity bucket disappear before Doctor Smith can see that she’s brought it into her department. 

Through all of her lessons today Yaz notices a significant buzz around the students. Whispers and bets being held on who’s going to score, who’s going to win and who’s going to be fouled most on the pitch. It’s almost a blessing that the weather takes a turn in the middle of the day. Since everyone has been packed into the sports hall or are in their tutor rooms Yaz has many helping hands willing to empty out the cupboards to make room for spectators later on. The last two periods of the day are basically non existent with students too excited to concentrate on anything else around the school and Yaz is starting to feel the pressure. 

It’s funny. She’s never worked in a school with this much community spirit before. 

Although the school has a big community spirit, it doesn’t have a lot of funding. Or at least not enough for football kits for the staff. Yaz places her bag with spare clothes in the women's changing rooms anyway, simply slips a yellow coloured bib over her work clothes and heads out to find the rest of her department to do some stretches on their side of the indoor pitch. The music department has done it again and set up speakers in one of the doorways to play cheesy motivational music to pump up the atmosphere even more. They’re halfway through Seven Nation Army when the Science department appears in their red bibs. Together all of them look like a scene out of Harry Potter. 

They keep warming up until the music fades out and the sound of Donna’s voice comes through the speakers giving them a minute to gather themselves and,- to quote- “get in whatever positions you need to, I don’t know anything about footie”.

Danny wins the coin toss between him and the head of science and the match gets underway. It’s a slow start. Always is. Mr Thompson scores twenty minutes in and Yaz is personally determined to score at least once to make up for how the school didn’t cheer for her during the eating contest. She loses the ball a couple of times and is saved by the rest of her department from giving it away to science completely but soon enough Yaz is dribbling down the pitch, leaving her position to drive it down the side but is suddenly faced with an attempted tackle from Doctor Smith. Yaz tries to keep the ball safe under her foot and turns her back to Doctor Smith, refusing to let it go over the line and let science get a free throw in. Doctor Smith keeps her hands up to prove she’s not pushing Yaz but her front is pushed up against her back, making Yaz realise how much she’s sweating. 

“Hi.” Doctor Smith whispers.

“Hello.” Yaz whispers back, not allowing herself to get distracted and lose her possession of the ball for the sake of small talk or the feeling of her body pressed against her back.

Somehow (she doesn’t know how) Yaz breaks free and runs as fast as her feet can carry her to the point where she can score easily without the pressure of anyone being behind her. It must have been impressive considering the cheers that erupt around the hall. Danny gives her a high five that stings and the game continues on. Yaz has one more successful goal alongside her other one and Mr Thompson’s goal leaves them 3-1 by half time. 

“I’ve never been happier to have hired you.” Danny says between gulping down water on the sidelines. 

Yaz is convinced when the second half is going to be just as good as the first but within five minutes the science department scores and Yaz realises she’s cursed herself by being complacent. The next time she gets possession she gets pushed to dribbling down the side of the pitch again and gets tripped up by someone she doesn’t see. She falls onto the floor with the people around her gasping. The first thing she sees that isn’t the floor is Doctor Smith holding out her hand to help her up. Assuming that she’s the one that tripped her up, Yaz swats her arm away and gets up by herself. Of course lots of people see her do it and make cautionary noises but no one calls for a foul or some kind of other repercussion. 

“Play nice ladies.” Omar says from where he’s watching from the side. He’s standing exactly where Yaz got tripped up. 

Getting more and more pissed off the next time Yaz gains possession of the ball she’d determined not to let it out of her sight. She doesn’t check to see if any of her tem are beside her to pass to and keeps her eyes on the ball and the floor space in front of her. When she knows she’s getting close to the goal, Yaz lifts her head up to check how far away she is and when she can start planning whether to pass or try and score herself. 

She raises her head, and she smacks heads with Doctor Smith making them both shout out and fall to the floor. Yaz’s eye throbs and she can’t believe this is the second time Doctor Smith has given her a bruise by mistake, meanwhile Doctor Smith sits up pinching her nose and holding her forehead. Somewhere in the distance a whistle blows and Yaz sees Martha running towards her and Doctor Smith. 

“You need an ice pack and you need a tissue and an ice pack.” She says as her diagnosis. Yaz guesses she’s given Doctor Smith a nosebleed. 

“I’m fine.” Yaz says, desperate to continue and not look like an idiot. She stands but the room spins around her and Martha has to catch her to keep her upright. Her game is over for sure. 

Her and Doctor Smith leave the sports hall to a round of applause and get dragged to the changing room by Martha. They’re sat on the benches not looking at each other, blood still dripping from Doctor Smith’s nose and Martha snapping quick action cold packs on the floor. She passes the first one to Yaz who gratefully places it where it hurts. She can almost feel a lump forming under the skin already.

“Should’ve guessed it was going to be you two.” Martha mumbles, handing Doctor Smith her ice pack and a handful of tissue. “Don’t start beating each other up, I’m going to get my proper first aid kit.”

Yaz sits still and silent while Martha leaves. The only noise in the room is Doctor Smith breathing from her mouth and grunting every time she moves the tissue under her nose. 

“So… this is frustrating.” Yaz says, trying to lighten the mood between them. 

“Wouldn’t be here if you had just looked up sooner.” Doctor Smith grumbles under her breath, taking her tissue and ice pack away from her face so she can take off her top.

“Yeah. Of course.” Yaz takes the ice pack away from her head, smiling in disbelief. “Because everything’s my fault.”

“It is, actually.” Doctor Smith stiffly gets herself up and starts rummaging around in her bag with one hand. 

“How? How is you being so mardy all the time my fault?” Yaz’s voice raises without her actively commanding it to; her body standing to give herself more height. Wanting to get out of there as soon as possible, discharge from Martha or not, Yaz begins to undress herself as well.

“Because I wasn’t like this before you came here!” Doctor Smith shouts at her. Yaz finds her a bit scary and she’s glad she’s a few bodies away from her- but at the same time the bash to the head must be making her crazy because after she takes off her leggings she steps forward to confront the Doctor in all her rage. 

“So what did I do to you? Huh? What exactly have I done?” Yaz keeps her voice firm but calm, not rising to shout or getting distracted by the scientist stripping down to her underwear. 

“You make me…” Doctor Smith crumples all of her clothing into a ball in her hands. “God, I don’t know.” 

“Well it’s obviously something!” Yaz scoffs at her and waits as still as anything for Doctor Smith to say something- do something. But she doesn’t. Doctor Smith turns away from Yaz and fumbles with her white shirt within a shirt trying to get it so that she can pull it over her head. Sensing Doctor Smith isn’t going to give her anything in return, Yaz reaches for her sweatpants to dress herself, but she realises that even if Doctor Smith is done with the conversation, Yaz isn’t. “And you know what, actually I was-”

Yaz doesn’t realise what’s happening until her back hits the cold tiles of the wall behind her, making her skin outbreak with goosebumps or maybe it’s just Doctor Smith, who is kissing her with a force Yaz has never felt before and to her own surprise Yaz is opening her mouth and moving along with her to let her in. Something clicks. All those times her stomach has flipped with rage and hatred: it might have been the wrong diagnosis all along.

Yaz makes no attempt to push Doctor Smith away. She’s good at kissing her- ridiculously, infuriatingly good- and her tongue pushes past Yaz’s lips at just the right moments to make her grasp against her skin. She tastes of sugar and blood from her remains of her bleeding nose and everything Yaz has ever denied herself of. It feels so right and so wrong at the same time Yaz doesn’t know what to do. Her hands are flailing everywhere, unable to keep still like Doctor Smith’s hands that are stuck to her waist. Yaz is gripping onto her like she’s trying to cling onto her senses, her brain is only just managing to keep up with the Doctor’s mouth let alone able to think about what to do with her own limbs but even through all the entangled mess there’s always enough room for her to push the Doctor away if she needs.

Right before she feels like she’s about to suffocate from lack of air, Doctor Smith captures Yaz’s right hand and drags it down the front of her stomach. Their mouths move away from each other as Yaz looks down, noticing that she’s not stopping at the waistband of her boxers. The changing room is filled with heavy breathing and Yaz’s heart thrumming in her ears. Is this real? Is she dreaming? If she is dreaming, why isn’t she considering it a nightmare? With Doctor Smith still guiding her hands she feels her fingertips fall through a forest of hair, pausing just before Yaz can touch the source of the heat she can feel radiating against her hand. Doctor Smith’s other slender hand cups Yaz’s cheek bringing their eyes to the same level again. Yaz doesn’t know if her pupils are blown out but Doctor Smith’s are and she can feel how uneven her breathing is on her lips. They just stand there. Staring. Each of them holding their breath but trying to steady themselves at the same time.

“Make me come Miss Khan.” She whispers through trembling lips, her hand removing itself from guiding Yaz's in an unfamiliar gesture that says 'I trust you'.

Yaz kisses her again to give herself some thinking time. It’s been so long since she’s been with a woman- been with anyone for that matter and she’s itching to show her what she can do. Prove to this woman that she’s not useless- not the cause of everything wrong in her life and her work. Without considering the other options Yaz lets her hand dip lower. She’s so wet with arousal Yaz’s fingers slide through her easily, Doctor Smith gasping, tilting her head back when Yaz runs over her clit, tormenting her like they’ve been driving each other up the walls for months. Her aim is to make the Doctor beg. Make her squirm until the demand to make her orgasm turns into a pleading request.

“Please.” Doctor Smith rests her forehead against Yaz’s- her hands now not knowing how to stay still either jumping from her shoulders to her waist to her sports bra and anywhere else she can think of to put them. “I want- I need- you- I- I want to- to you- I-”

“You’re not making any sense.” Yaz’s voice rattles with how hard she’s trying to comprehend the fact her fingers are covered in Doctor Smith and probing at her entrance. 

Instead of using words since they seem to be failing her, Doctor Smith tilts her head so that she can attach her lips to the pulse point in Yaz’s neck. Yaz loses her grip on time and space. How long has it been since she’d been touched again? Doctor Smith’s hands finally find their places, one on Yaz’s shoulder and the other… oh well the other is falling down the front of her stomach. This is it. No going back. Yaz pushes Doctor Smith’s head back from her neck to face her. She needs to see her. She needs to see what she looks like and her eyes are just as pleading as her words. Doctor Smith’s hand waits at the top of Yaz’s underwear. Yaz can feel her fingers trembling.

“Please.” Doctor Smith whispers again. 

She’s not begging for her own release, she’s begging for Yaz to let her touch her. All or nothing. Her heart is racing. Her body aches. Yaz tilts her head forward and then-

As if the universe is telling them doing this is wrong, the sound of the door creaking open leaves Yaz pushing the Doctor away after exploring her for probably only a minute and reaching for her discarded sweatpants; Doctor Smith similarly reaches for her t-shirts. Yaz has no choice but to wipe her fingers across her stomach, refusing to put them anywhere near her mouth or taint her clothes. She hates her. She’s supposed to hate Doctor Smith. 

Martha returns. She checks Doctor Smith’s nose first and deduces that it’s not broken and has just taken a bash.

“Head alright Yaz?” Martha asks. Her voice sounds so loud in a room now too quiet for what was just happening. 

“Yeah. I’m fine.” Yaz tries to push out a smile as she puts a fresh shirt on over her head.

“Can I just check your-”

“I’d rather just go home, thanks.” Yaz shovels her clothes into her bag and places it on her back fully prepared to just walk out. 

“You’re not dizzy, seeing double or anything? The match is still going on, you could still go and watch.”

“I’m fine. Seriously.” Yaz says firmly. “I just want to go home.” 

“Okay well if you get dizzy or feel sick go to a&e or call an ambulance.” Martha goes to hold Yaz’s shoulder but in a swift turn of events Martha tricks her and holds two fingers against her pulse point. Yaz has to prevent the thought of how Doctor Smith’s mouth there felt so much better. 

“I will.” Yaz says. 

“I’m serious Yaz. Your heart rate has gone up.” Of course it has.

Yaz turns around to back out of the door but as she passes Doctor Smith she feels their arms rub together and she feels positively repulsed. Would she have let her do the same as she was doing to her?

“I know you’re serious.” Yaz nods her head to convince her even if it does hurt a little bit. 

“Miss Khan, your top is on inside out.” Doctor Smith says. 

“Yaz I don’t think I can let you go yet. Please.”

Yaz is too overwhelmed to think and lets herself get pulled back into the room and sat down on the bench right next to Doctor Smith. She can’t look at her. Jesus she can’t look at her but just seconds ago her hand was-

“Yaz.”

“What?” Yaz asks. Both Martha and Doctor Smith are staring at her with a decent level of concern.

“You’re not filling me with confidence right now.” Martha says softly. 

“I’m fine.” Yaz tries to smile. She knows it looks forced. 

“Do you want me to stay Miss Khan?” Doctor Smith asks. Except it’s a question within a question. 

Yaz gathers herself enough to look up at her and Doctor Smith’s hazel-green eyes are asking the real question. ‘ If you’re uncomfortable I can leave’ is the main sentiment but she’s also asking ‘ am I really making you this uncomfortable?’ like it hurts her . Like Yaz has hurt her.

“It might help if you stay Jess-”

“Honestly Doctor Smith.” Yaz finds her voice. “I’m just a bit dizzy. You can go if- if you want.” 

Doctor Smith shares a look with Martha then very openly physically gathers herself. Martha continues to prod at Yaz to check her pupil dilation all the while Doctor Smith is gathering up her belongings and placing the ice pack back on her head. Yaz watches Doctor Smith leave out the corner of her eye and even though she’s still in the presence of the school nurse she lets out a heavy sigh.

“Did she force herself on you?” Martha asks gently. The accusation shocks Yaz for many reasons it’s hard for her to focus on just one. 

“What- no. No! She wouldn’t- we both-”

“Are you trying to say it wasn’t one sided?” Martha takes a step away from her and couches down to be at the same eye level as Yaz. Probably a technique she uses to see if a kid is lying or not about being ill. 

Yaz gulps down her pride. “Yeah.” Her eyes drop straight to the floor. Fuck, this is so embarrassing. "I wanted her. A lot, clearly."

"Yaz-"

"Please I don't... these are all very new feeling when it comes to her and I haven't figured them out yet but I know she didn't force me to do anything." Yaz says. It's all she can say.

“Then I didn’t see anything.” Martha stands up again. “Just- calm down a bit so I can actually see if you’re concussed or not. I’ll give you a couple of minutes.” 

She leaves. Leaving Yaz alone to hold her head in her hands and audibly groan.

Christ, this is bad. This is really bad. Fuck the fact that it happened in school, with staff and students down the corridor that could have easily walked in, that did walk in. They could have lost their jobs, both of them. But the thought isn’t as bad as the fact she got intimate with Doctor Smith, almost naked due to circumstance, and can still smell her on her fingers. She’ll scrub them to the bone when she gets home.

Her phone pings in her bag and wanting a distraction Yaz happily searches for it. It’s from Ryan, who is overseeing that the match gets broadcast across the school, and there’s a video attached.

‘These kids work fast.’ Ryan’s text says.

The video attached in question is an edit of the football match live stream on the schools website, specifically of Yaz and Doctor Smith headbutting edited to match the start of Hollaback Girl. None of them have any idea of what that headbutt just led to.

Yaz lets the back of her head hit the tile of the wall behind her. She gets a flashback to how Doctor Smith moved her across the room so easily and took charge of her body while still giving her room to say no and deny her. It would be so much easier now if Yaz had just denied her. But still, that feeling of being wanted, that feeling that rushed through her when Doctor Smith was pleading- begging for Yaz to let her touch her. There is no denying that she liked that. The state of her underwear can prove it.

Chapter Text

The PE department won the match. Yaz did not go to the after party. Instead, the second Martha said she could go Yaz went straight home and she hasn’t stepped out of her door since. She’s sitting inside her house with her hamster watching comfort cartoons, wearing hoodies and pyjamas and eating so much food she shouldn’t and she’s been doing it all weekend. 

She can’t stop thinking about it. She can’t stop thinking about how she felt on her fingers. How she felt in her mouth, how she felt on her neck and it’s freaking her out because Yaz didn’t hate it. She knows for certain she would have let the Doctor finger her in that changing room all the way to climax if they had had the time because she’s dreamt about it. Her mind has played it out for her already for her. By Sunday evening she needs to tell someone about what happened in the changing room to save herself from going mad. So she texts Bill asking her to come over when she can and use the key under the mat to let herself in. 

Currently Yaz is sitting in bed under her covers with a hot dish of nachos filled with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black olives, salsa all smothered in the chilli she spent all afternoon cooking. Food gives her something to concentrate on other than the thought of her and Doctor Smith alone in a changing room. 

“What the hell is this?” Bill asks. Yaz didn’t even hear her enter the house.

“I’m comfort eating.” Yaz says, mouth half full.

“Why?” Bill drops her bag on the floor so she can climb on her bed and cuddle up to Yaz. “What’s happened? Other than the black eye, that looks bad by the way.”

“You can’t laugh at me when I say it.” Yaz says. 

“Try me.” Bill takes a triangle shaped crisp and uses it to scoop up every element of the dish. 

Yaz feels the words tickle behind her lips and she gets nervous. She hasn’t even said it out loud to herself yet and it might break her when she does.

“On Friday in the changing rooms, once I’d been sent off, I started having sex with Doctor Smith.” Yaz goes ahead and says it- helping herself to some more of her food to ease the blow. 

“Oh. My God.” Bill stops chewing to digest the news. She puts back her half eaten crisp and moves to sit up on her knees, sending warning signs to Yaz that she’s going to be getting hell handed to her. 

“Bill…”

“How? Why? What- wait oh my God does she say something really nerdy when she climaxes like ‘ to infinity and beyond!’ ?”

“I don’t know.” Yaz says. “I said we started. We didn’t… I didn’t… we got caught.” She says. She feels so ashamed at the fact they got caught- probably because she was on track to the receiving end. 

“You’ve kept this from me for two days ?” Bill almost shouts

“What am I going to do?” Yaz hopelessly helps herself to some more cheese infused chili.

“Who initiated it?” Bill continues her crusade of questions. 

“She did.” Yaz mutters. 

“And who… what was… who was...” 

“I’m not telling you that.”  Yaz says when she realises what Bill is insinuating with the way she’s looking at her hands.

“Yaz!”

“Bill!” Yaz shouts back her name with the same tone.

“Why invite me over if you’re not going to tell me anything?” Bill slumps back.

“I’m freaking out because it’s not like it was just a quick kiss or a declaration of… whatever. It just happened. We were arguing and then she jumped me and I let her.”

“Oh so it was like a hate sex thing.” Bill picks up her abandoned serving again. “This is really tasty by the way.”

“Not really.” Yaz shrugs. She dips the point of her crisp into the blob of guacamole closest to her. “Is it hate sex if you can’t tell if you hate it?”

“Oh no.” Bill sighs. “Now I understand the comfort food.” 

“I don’t know what to do.” Yaz grumbles. 

“I think talking to her might help.”

“Yes because all of our conversations go down well.”

“What are you actually afraid of Yaz?” Bill asks. "That the schools going to find out you had almost-sex in a changing room or the fact you might want to do that stuff again with Doctor Smith?"

“That I might want to do it again.” The words slip out her mouth without warning and Yaz is taken by surprise by her own certainty. “Don’t.” She says, shifting the tray on her lap so that she can eat the rest of it for herself. 


Yaz holds off as long as possible before entering the weekly staff meeting on Monday morning. She doesn’t want to go in. She doesn’t want to speak to her department and have to lie about where she went Friday night. She doesn’t want anyone to look at her and see the bruising just above her eye that will connect her to Doctor Smith. She doesn’t want anyone to talk to her about Doctor Smith. It’s only when Donna steps up on stage Yaz steps inside. She can’t make it to where her department is sitting so she stands at the side with her back against the wall, hoping it will almost make her invisible. 

“Okay, good morning everyone.” Donna says. The room falls silent. “Not much to say today. The Science versus P.E football match raised £478 which is brilliant. Fantastic display of sportsmanship on Friday even if it did result in a couple of black eyes.”

There’s a shuffling motion on the other side of the room that draws Yaz’s eyes towards it. Members of her department are pushing and poking Doctor Smith teasingly with her smiling as she stands there. She still has her bruise too. Their eyes lock together and the smile falls off Doctor Smith’s face. Yaz feels Bill slide up next to her for support. Or maybe just to stop her from doing something stupid.

“New break duty rotas have been sent out- any problems please email the appropriate staff.” I think that’s it for today.” 

Everyone in the room takes that as an informal dismissal and since they’ve finished literally so early everyone is using the opportunity to have a casual chat. Yaz would go to her form room, but Doctor Smith would turn up there at one point or another. So, she tries to start a conversation with Bill. Her mouth is open for a fraction of a second when she hears her name being called. She knows exactly who it is.

“Miss Khan.” 

Yaz turns to leave but Bill blocks her way. “I can’t-”

“Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith calls again.

“Yes you can.” Bill says and she almost pushes Yaz towards Doctor Smith as she does. 

Yaz stands sheepishly while Bill disappears and she waits for Doctor Smith to take the last few steps towards her. She can feel the nerves rattling around her body and her thoughts equally doing the same inside her skull. 

“Hi.” Doctor Smith says. 

“Hi.” Yaz says back. A common courtesy. 

“Can we…” Doctor Smith nods to the glass doors at the back of the school hall and Yaz blindly follows her out away from their boss and the rest of their colleagues. It feels like so many of them are staring at them leaving together. They get just outside the hall  “We need to talk about this.” 

“No we don’t.” Yaz refuses as a way of defending her own emotions. 

“We do.” 

“You’re the one that kissed me.” Yaz senses herself getting her back up in an action of defense. Stop, she tries to calm herself down. Now isn’t the time.

“You kissed me back.” Doctor Smith says. Her voice is too loud for Yaz’s liking.

“We can’t talk about this here. We could get fired.” Yaz hisses. 

“What for just a kiss?” 

“We both know that what happened was not just a kiss.” Yaz says. 

“And I feel bad about it. I should have stopped I- I should have made sure you were okay I should’ve-.”

“Yaz!” The glass door behind them squeaks open and Mr Smith bounces up to the two of them, imposing himself on their conversation. Yaz throws Doctor Smith a look that says ‘we’re not finished’ then acknowledges that her brother is there. 

“Hi… John.” Yaz says, unsure of how she’s meant to make herself sound. 

“How are you? Interesting game on Friday, right?” He grins. 

“You could say that.” Yaz exhales a shaky laugh, refusing to let her eyes drift over to Doctor Smith.

“Hope you celebrated the win. Jess just sulked all weekend, almost like she was having a crisis.”

“Shut up!” Doctor Smith goes to stomp on his foot but Mr Smith is smart enough to know it’s coming and steps sideways like it’s nothing. 

“What? You were- ow!” He doesn’t manage to jump out of the way of Doctor Smith’s fingers pinching the skin on his neck. 

“Doctor Smith, can I have a word with you in your lab please.” Yaz says. If she lets the two of them continue to bicker like children, she and Doctor Smith will never get the chance to address the elephant in the room today and it has to be today. The conversation has started now and Yaz needs it to finish it in one go to be able to live with herself. 

At the speed Yaz is walking it only takes them two minutes to get to L13, Yaz opening the door since she’s ahead, leading Doctor Smith like a dog handler taking her dog back to its kennel. 

“Did you tell him?” Yaz asks once they’re inside and alone. She doesn’t even bother to wait until the door is shut. 

“I-”

“Did you tell him?” Yaz repeats her question with a matter of urgency.

“Yes.” Doctor Smith admits and Yaz feels the stress levels in her body rise. 

“Great that makes three.” She sighs.

Three?” Doctor Smith leans towards her in shock with wide eyes that are asking who the other two people are. 

“I told Bill.” Yaz says. 

“You told someone else and yet you want to have a go at me for telling my own brot-”

“Martha knows too.” Yaz says. She doesn’t care that Doctor Smith was just attempting to start yet another argument with her. 

Doctor Smith goes quiet as she tries to figure out how the nurse could possibly know. “You mean-”

“She saw.” Yaz nods, making a nervous fist in front of her mouth. “I don’t know how much but she saw.”

“Oh… shit.” Doctor Smith groans and crosses her arms in front of her forehead so that she can comfortably rest her head against one of the student desks. Yaz really really should not be intrigued by how her body looks bent over a table but everything is so messed up in her head anyway she doesn’t have time to unpack all that. Doctor Smith lifts herself up again looking totally and utterly defeated. Yaz watches as she lifts her arms in a kind of shrugging motion and opens her mouth to speak again. “I can’t say I regret it.”

Her unfiltered honesty makes blood flush hot in Yaz’s cheeks. 

“I can’t talk about this with you while we’re at work.” Yaz decides. Her form will be here in a minute. She needs to start up the computer and get ready and act like everything in her life is normal today when it’s not. 

“Wait!” Doctor Smith manages to take Yaz’s hand, preventing her from moving any further away. Yaz stares at it. Both their hands together. In some ways it freaks her out more than the initial reason why they’re having this conversation. “Yaz.” 

Yaz looks up. Doctor Smith’s face is soft and vulnerable in front of her. This is new. 

“Jess.” Yaz says. Her name. Her proper name feels fuzzy on her tongue like the centre of a lemon sherbet exploding. Looking at her with the addition of her hand in hers words rise up in her throat and Yaz doesn't push them back down. She lets them fall out in a whisper. “I want to kiss you again.”

Jess holds Yaz’s hand a little bit tighter. “Me t-”

The door to the lab flies open and Mr Smith tumbles in with it. He stomps his feet as he catches himself from going arse over tit and clears his throat as he stands up straight. Yaz lets go of Doctor Smith’s hand out of fear of being seen and equally Doctor Smith jumps back away from her. Mr Smith steadies himself, his eye jumping from his sister to Yaz his sister to Yaz his sister to the door.

“That’s a- that’s a very good new door. Nice handle very… very solid. Robust.” He coughs again and shoves his hands in his pockets. “I’m gonna go collect some money from Miss Oswald.” 

He wanders off not looking at either of them again, whistling a tune as he goes. 

“I’ll kill him one day.” Doctor Smith says once the door shuts again. “Can we talk somewhere people we know aren’t going to listen in at the door? Or interrupt- or anything?” 

“My house.” Yaz says. It’s not neutral territory but it’s where Yaz would feel most safe talking to her. 

“You- your house?” Doctor Smith does a double take at the offer. 

Yaz reaches over to the teachers desk and steals a sticky note and a pen to scribble down her address. 

“Come at five.” Yaz says, holding the note out in front of her for Doctor Smith to take if she wishes. Doctor Smith takes the note and nods like she can’t believe it. 

“Until then Miss Khan.” She says, trying to compose herself. 

They’re stuck. Both of them standing and staring at each other not knowing what else to say. Still very much alone with each other. Yaz can see Doctor Smith refraining from looking at Yaz’s lips. Yaz herself isn’t as controlled and ends up searching the body in front of her for signs of what to do. Do it now, the little voice in her head makes an appearance. Kiss her. Look at her face, she wants you to kiss her. Kiss her. Do it. Do. It. 

Overwhelmed by the pressure her thoughts are putting on her Yaz crumbles under their demands. Doctor Smith, clearly on the same wavelength, holds out her arms ready to catch her. But she never gets there.

The bell rings.

“Doctor Smith.” Yaz steps away and nods. Why did I just do that?

“Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith does the same, leaving the room entirely. 


Yaz finds herself making absolutely no effort to dress up for Doctor Smith’s visit. She wears the sweatpants she spent all of the weekend in and her hoodie. No tshirt, no bra, hell she would have put on her PJs if she could. It’s just what she’s comfortable wearing and she needs that comfort right now. It’s her house, but similarly, it’s her problem that she’s going to have to deal with. 

The knock on the door comes at five to five. Early, but Yaz doesn’t mind. It just means it’ll be over with sooner. Yaz opens the door to find Doctor Smith smiling awkwardly and holding a box.

“I brought Capri Suns.” Doctor Smith says.

“You remembered?” Yaz smiles and steps aside to let Doctor Smith in. She closes the door behind her guest while she kicks off her boots. 

“Yeah. I don’t drink either so I thought-”

“This isn’t a date, Doctor.” Yaz feels the need to remind her. 

“Your tongue has been in my mouth, please just call me Jess.” Jess mumbles. 

“Okay.” Yaz nods- flushed and embarrassed already.

“And I know it’s not a date.” Jess hands her the box of squash. “They should still be cold-ish.” 

Yaz welcomes her to her home as graciously as she can, considering, and leaves Doctor- Jess in her living room while she goes and puts the box of drinks in her fridge. 

“You have a hamster?” Jess asks.

“Yeah.” Yaz hands her a juice packet. 

“I’d’ve got a fish.” Jess says. 

Yaz lets her lips form a small smile at the coincidence as she moves over to the sofa, sitting with her legs tucked underneath her and one of her arms draped across the back. Jess comes and sits on the other side, mirroring Yaz’s sitting position but letting her legs dangle over the side rather than sit on them. Both of them punch the foil seal with their straws and silently take a sip. 

“So-”

“How do we-”

They speak at the same time and both laugh quietly, turning their head back to their drinks and taking another long sip through the straw during the awkward silence. Yaz doesn’t know how to start a conversation like this let alone pick it up from where they left it this morning. It should be easier to talk about than this. Yaz looks up from the space between them on the sofa to find Jess with the orange straw between her lips, just looking at her. 

“You’re looking at me funny.” Yaz says. 

“Am I?” Jess’s brow knots into a frown. Yaz reckons she can probably make a second face out of how doughy it is. 

“Yeah you’re kind of… staring.” Yaz shifts where she sits. She can’t tell if she’s uncomfortable or just afraid to talk to her. 

“Sorry I just- I don’t think I’ve ever seen you out of work attire before.”

Yaz chokes on her drink and places the packet down on the coffee table. “I mean, you have.”

“Oh! No I mean-” Jess abandoned her drink as well so that she can speak with her hands. Does she teach like this? Is she seeing a whole new side to her? “you just- you’re um- you’re really beautiful.” 

“Jess how have we gone from shouting at each other in toilets to this? I honestly can’t figure it out.” Yaz cuts out all the crap, deciding they can’t keep going on like nothing else has happened the last few months. “You said you weren’t like this before I came to the school. What did that mean?”

Now Jess shuffles uncomfortably. Yaz finds it weird to watch her. It’s still weird to refer to her as ‘Jess’ and not Doctor Smith. It’s weird that she’s sitting in her front room and it’s weirder that Yaz doesn’t mind it as much as she thought she would.

“I started to feel… I feel… you make me feel a lot of things and I don’t know what to do with them.” Jess says. She can’t keep eye contact for more than two words at a time. 

“So you were just miserable towards me, for what? Fun?”

“No I…” Jess tries to think of the right words and it shows on her face. “I… am… very very attracted to you physically but mentally I’ve convinced myself I have to hate you because I thought you hate me. If that makes sense.” 

“I think I’m the same.” Yaz says straight away, not letting herself overthink it. She moves closer, intrigued as to how Jess will respond and where the conversation will go from here. “You don’t really hate me, you were just so attracted to me you didn’t know what to do?”

“I mean, don’t flatter yourself too much but yes.” Jess says.

“I’ve always wanted to know you properly but you’ve just been so defensive it was easier to decide to hate you and now we’re stuck.” Yaz hopelessly laughs at how ridiculous they’ve been. 

“So what do we do about it?” Jess asks. 

Yaz raises her eyes devilishly.

Do it, the voice from this morning reappears. Not as urgent, but still there. She doesn’t rush this time when their lips touch. It’s soft and sweet but when Yaz cups her cheek with her hand and Jess gasps she can’t resist gently slipping her tongue slip past her lips. She tastes exactly the same, just more sugar and less blood, and Yaz wants more. She switches sides just to move their lips together that bit longer before she remembers this is Doctor Smith and she really shouldn’t be enjoying it. Yaz pulls back, just to check she’s okay. From the delayed reopening of her eyes Yaz reckons she’s pretty okay.

“Okay, that works.” Jess whispers. She bites her own lip and Yaz knows what’s coming next. “I haven’t stopped thinking about Fri-”

“Do something then.” Yaz demands. 

She thought it would take a lot more than a few firm words to get Jess to do what she wants but it works. Yaz’s leg gets tugged so that it’s resting between Jess’s thighs and they kiss and grope and pull at each other like they’re each other’s water source in a desert. Any outsider would think it looks like they’re trying to murder each other rather than take part in foreplay. Yaz shoves off the braces and pulls on Jess’s shirts wanting nothing more than to see her almost naked again and maybe a little bit more. Jess’s warm hands equally find their way under Yaz’s hoodie and it isn’t until her hands touch the underside of her boobs her eyes snap open as she realises what it feels like. 

“For me?” Jess raises her eyebrows, looking pleased with herself.

“No. I didn’t- I wasn’t- I hadn’t planned that we would-  I just-”

Jess attaches her mouth to Yaz’s throat making her whine in addition to her hands massaging her boobs. Handsy. That’s her new way to describe her. Handsy and so far very good with her mouth. 

“Wait wait wait wait wait-” Jess breathlessly pushes Yaz away from her and Yaz can’t figure out what’s going to come out of her mouth next. “Before I kissed you- the first time- you started saying something. What was it?”

“You’re asking me that now?”

“Yes, your answer might change my mind.” Jess stands behind her question.

“I was going to say I’m actually starting to not mind being around you. At times.” Yaz reveals.

Yaz chooses to ignore the implications of that statement and lets her bodily needs take over completely. She reaches out and feels hard nipples through fabric, urging her on to awkwardly remove Jess’s bra over her head. Yaz knows exactly where she’s going after that, dipping her head down to take a dusky pink nub between her lips eliciting a deep reaction from inside the both of them. 

“Where’s your bedroom?” Jess asks. Yaz notices the other woman is finding it harder and harder to keep her voice steady. 

“No.” Yaz shakes her head deciding they don’t have time to waste.

“Here?” Jess squeaks.

“Uh-huh.” Yaz nods, pulling back to take off her hoodie that’s not making her sweat more than the idea of having Doctor Smith at her mercy. 

“Holy...”

Yaz lets Jess marvel at her body and say her little prayer of thanks to give herself time to figure out how her trousers unclip and shuffle them and her underwear down bright white thighs until they can fall to the floor on their own. Her heart is in her throat as she places her knee between Jess’s legs again to keep them open and part of her questions if she can remember how to do this at all. The second a solitary finger flutters over her clit and Jess releases a moan like Yaz has never heard before her confidence comes flooding back. She takes it one step further and pushes her finger into her with ease. Jess is hot against her finger tip as well as against her ear, softly panting as Yaz pulls her finger almost out and fills her again with a second addition. She moans properly then and Yaz can feel it triggering heat to flush between her own legs. She picks up the pace, letting her thumb bash clumsily against her clit like it’s nothing. 

“I knew you’d be good.” Jess mumbles. 

“You really don’t have to try and flatter me, this is happening.” 

“I know but-”

“Oh my god just shut up.”

Yaz kisses her again to make sure she has no choice but to swallow her words. She grinds her own hips down onto Jess’s leg to chase some kind of release of her own- her remaining clothes are in the way but it’s something for now. Yaz keeps her hand moving fast and consistent, reaching deep enough a few times to make Jess groan from the pit of her guts. All the while Jess remains to be handsy, stroking the curve of Yaz’s backside, her hips, her stomach, her tits, everything to wind her up and get ready for her turn because it is so damn obvious Jess isn’t going to let her just walk away like last time. 

“Slow down.” Jess says all of a sudden, gripping onto Yaz’s shoulder. “Yaz- slow down- I’ll- too soon- I can’t- I’ll-”

“Isn’t that what you wanted me to do in the first place?” Yaz teases by whispering against her earlobe. Jess stays quiet, trying to control herself, so Yaz leaves kisses from the joint of her jaw all around to her chin, bringing her face up to let her see her mouth form the magic command word. “Come.”

Jess can’t hold herself together any longer and Yaz herself moans at the sensation of her inner walls gripping tight to the rhythm of her heart against her fingers. Removing her hand from where heat burns hottest Yaz cleans her wet fingers by letting her tongue and mouth lap over them. Yaz doesn’t note how she tastes as her only motive is to try and get her hand clean to remove the rest of her clothes but the action must have sent the scientist feral as her body is soon being lifted and laid down on the sofa. 

“You’re so fucking sexy.” Jess rids of Yaz’s joggers in a blink of an eye and hooks one of her legs up on her hip. “Please.”

“Don’t think I’m not taking notice of the fact you like to beg.” Yaz warns. She thinks if Jess says please one more time she’ll have to give her something she really has to beg for. 

Jess takes the hint to keep her mouth busy and heads down Yaz’s body, leaving a trail of kisses on her way. Yaz can only watch as Jess covers the whole of her vulva with her mouth and uses her teeth to pinch her underwear and drag it down her legs right to the very end. Suddenly very naked and exposed Yaz realises how much trust she’s actually putting into this woman but she has no more than a millisecond to think about it before she feels the tip of Jess’s tongue flick against her clit. She hisses, oversensitive from not being touched anywhere else down there yet. Jess works so beautifully around her Yaz’s hand flies over her mouth to repress her moan when She swirls over her nerves again. Just as quickly as her arm gets there, Jess’s hand is pulling it away, gripping on her wrist to stop her from ever denying herself from making sounds again.

“Jess.” Yaz says. She doesn’t have anything else to say. Just her name. Just as an encouragement. 

Jess’s hand removes itself from Yaz’s wrist and a finger goes straight into her core so that her mouth can focus on stimulating her clit. Yaz thinks she might explode- she might shout or cry or scream at how good it feels to have someone between her legs paying attention to her needs. If Jess thinks she was quick to finish Yaz is set to be quicker. She can feel it coiling around her entire body like she’s being strangled by barbed wire and Jess is the only one with wire cutters strong enough to cut through. And she snaps, rocking her body against Jess’s face to keep the orgasm rolling through her and to keep Jess’s finger in her for as long as possible. When Jess is finally set free she moves up and lays silently on Yaz’s chest.

“I guess this changes some things.” Jess says. 

“Don’t get smart.” Yaz mumbles.

“Okay.” 

 

“What are we calling this?” Jess asks as Yaz follows her into the hallway, fully dressed but with a bad case of post-coitus hair. 

“Nothing because no one’s going to know.” Yaz folds her arms to let her know she’s serious. Not a single soul is going to know about their little arrangement. 

“Bang buddies? Friends with benefits?” Jess suggests while she slips on her boots. 

“We are not friends.” Yaz snorts. 

“Okay fine, what about-”

“Jess, we're just two people that find each other attractive and can’t get it anywhere else.” Yaz cuts her short. It sounds harsh but the truth is often always harsh. 

“So you admit this is going to happen again.” Jess smirks. 

“If you don’t piss me off too much.” Yaz threatens. She knows she’ll probably give in to her anyway but she’s not going to let her know that. 

“Challenge accepted.” Jess smiles as she slips her coat on her shoulders. She’s kind of cute when she smiles.

Yaz opens the door to let her out and in a twist of surprise Jess kisses her again with one hand on her cheek and another on her waist. Yaz’s brain is still mush and she lets her kiss her like it’s nothing before kicking her out with a small wave. 

***

“You’re in a good mood today.” Bill says. Yaz let herself sleep in so she’s in the canteen to buy some food.

“Am I?” Yaz leans against the counter as far as she can without her head getting burnt by the heat light. 

“Yeah. Miles better than yesterday.” Bill continues to insist that Yaz’s mood has improved greatly. 

“I don’t know what you mean.” Yaz says, placing her finger on the scanner so that Bill can charge her. “Can I have a croissant please.”

“Eating sugar at work? Now I know something’s up.” Bill teases but punches in the cost on screen anyway and hands Yaz the pastry in a napkin.

“Nothing’s up I just-”

Bill coughs suspiciously causing Yaz to stop talking and look behind her. Doctor Smith is striding towards her with a cartoon of juice in her hand that she must have got from the refrigerated section. Yaz gets flashbacks to the night before as she gets closer, thinking about how close they got, how she took off her clothes, how Doctor Smith specifically took her underwear off. She has a certain spring to her step too and Yaz hopes Bill isn’t picking up on it. 

Instead of asking Yaz to move so that she can get to the finger scanner she grabs a bacon butty as well and leans in towards Yaz. her scent fills all of Yaz’s senses and it’s hard to keep her poker face. Once her finger is scanned and Bill has said she’s paid Doctor Smith stabs her drink with a straw. Only now does Yaz notice: it’s a Capri Sun. 

“Good morning Miss Khan.” She says, sipping on her juice. 

“Doctor Smith.” Yaz finds it impossible to hide a slight smile at how brazen the other is being. 

Doctor Smith walks off like nothing happened, leaving Yaz to fall under the cursed stare of her friend on the other side of the counter. 

“So.” Bill says. 

“So?” Yaz asks. 

“So.” Bill repeats. 

“What?” Yaz bites into her croissant so that whatever Bill asks next she’ll have a reason to have a delayed response. 

“What’s up with that?” Bill asks. Yaz chews until she can’t anymore, swallows, and is unable to think of any kind of acceptable answer so she takes another bite. Bill stares at her with a look of shock and at the same time disappointment. “Tell me you didn’t.”

“It’s just sex.” Yaz shrugs, keeping her voice low. 

“Just sex?” Bill raises her eyebrows, obviously not believing her. 

“Just sex.” Yaz nods. 

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!” Yaz opens her eyes and her arms wide to drive home her point. It’s not like she can shout it in the middle of a canteen already starting to accommodate a few of the teenage students. 

“Bet that’s what you sounded like last night.” Bill teases, collecting a new bun to cut in half and make another bacon sandwich. 

“I will throw these cornflakes at you.” Yaz says, grabbing the small single potion box in front of her. 

“Careful mate don’t get too close to the cornflakes, you might lose your appetite for her.”

Yaz grins and her friend taking the piss and throws it just hard enough to hit Bill in the chest. 

“What’s up? Why are you throwing my cereals?” Rose arrives to help Bill start serving more kids as the buses are starting to turn up. 

“Yaz had sex with-”

“Ssssh! We’re in a school!” Yaz tries to hush her into silence but silence is wishful thinking.

“That didn’t stop you the first time.” Bill says. 

“Whoa hold on I’m- I don’t understand what we’re talking about?” Rose asks. Yaz would be just as lost if she had entered this conversation at the same stage. 

“Yaz slept with Doctor Smith.” Bill says. Yaz just bites down into her breakfast again.

“Well shit.” Rose says, not looking very shocked or taken back at all. “I owe John money.”

Chapter Text

“I’m sorry.” Yaz apologises as they lay in bed only just having recovered. In the heat of the moment ripping off shirts is fun and sexy but when your hookup has to get dressed again and her shirt is almost ripped beyond repair it really isn’t as fun and sexy, it just creates a predicament.

Their situation together has worked out quite well this week. The second time they had sex together it got rid off all of their residual nerves and the rest of the time has meant absolutely no arguments at work. Not even one bad look. 

“You really hated me today, didn’t you.” Jess smirks, running the torn fabric through her hands, assessing whether she can send it to the textiles department for them to fix. 

“You shouldn’t have tormented me while I was trying to speak to our boss.” Yaz says. 

“But that was fun.” Jess rasps in an attempt to flirt.

“Not for me.” Yaz shakes her head lightly. 

“Really? Didn’t seem like it at the time.” Jess tries to act innocent, running her fingers up and down Yaz’s thigh in a similar fashion to what happened this morning. 

“You hid under the desk and tried to touch me up.” Yaz removes her hand. Not because she doesn’t like it but because she’s trying to make a point.

“Lead to good sex though.” Jess pouts.

“I always give you good sex.” Yaz repositions herself so that she can rest on her head on its side right next to the blonde. She smells of blown plug sockets, electricity and sweat today and Yaz wonders what kind of experiment went wrong to make the natural perfume. “Seriously though Jess, don’t do that again. Not at school.”

“Okay.” Jess nods seriously. Respectfully. “I’ll just have to come round here more often.” The seriousness in her face disappears and is replaced by a suggestive grin.

“You come enough.” Yaz rasps, raising her hand from her waist up to her closest breast, rolling her palm over her until she feels her nipple grow hard underneath her touch. She smiles, biting her lip slightly as she watches Jess go from playful to stone cold serious. 

“Don’t start me up again.” Jess threatens. 

“Or what?” Yaz grins now knowing she has the upper hand. 

Or maybe she doesn't, because Jess swings her legs out of bed and retrieves her clothes that aren’t ridiculously ripped to shreds.

“Yaz I don’t have time to play games.” Jess says. The funs over. 

“Borrow one of my shirts, bottom draw.” Yaz says.

“Thank you. I’ll wash it over the weekend.”  

With her saying that Yaz realises they haven’t discussed if they’re allowed to contact each other over the weekends for a bit of fun. They’ve only been doing this for a week and they haven’t had a day yet when they’ve not seen each other ‘after school’ if you want to put it that way. Would it be weird to do that? They should probably take a break anyway and seeing each other at work five days a week used to be enough anyway. Yaz thinks it over as she dresses herself. She’ll have a shower once Jess is dressed but it feels strange to stay nude while the other is slowly regaining their clothing. 

“Yaz.” Jess calls her.

“Yeah?”

“What the fuck is this?” Jess asks. 

Yaz turns to see her holding the toy she got for Christmas. If she’s honest she forgot she put it in there. Out of sight, out of mind, she guesses. 

“There’s a story to it.” Yaz says, getting up to take it away from her lover, fully aware that everything below her waist is still on show. 

“No batteries?” Jess kinks an eyebrow as she checks. 

“Because I haven’t used it.”

“So why do you have it?” Jess pokes Yaz’s shoulder with it like a child would poke their parent with a stick they were proud of finding. 

“My mum got it for me.”

“Your mother brought you a vibrating dildo.” Jess says. Yaz understands that there's a lot to unpack in that sentence.

“She was concerned that I was too alone for my age and I wasn’t being ‘taken care of’.”

“I should send her a letter to thank her for her concern but it’s not needed.” Jess continues to analyse the shape and functions of the mechanical length in her hands. 

“No.” Yaz snatches it away from her and throws it onto tousled sheets.

“You’re saying I don’t take care of you?” Jess asks. Yaz slides her hands over her collarbones, her shoulders, then lets them dangle behind Jess’ back. 

“You’re the reason I get so frustrated in the first place.” 

Yaz kisses Jess again in the hopes that maybe she can stay a bit longer. The deeper she kisses the more she hopes and the harder her illusion of success is shattered when Jess pulls away. 

“No, seriously, I need to go.” Jess collects her phone from the floor and shoves it in her pocket. She then finds her braces and clips them back on. 

“Where are you rushing off to anyway?” Yaz asks. 

“What’s it to you?” Jess asks, tucking in her shirt. Yaz shouldn’t find it attractive but she does. 

“Nothing. Just wondering.” She shrugs. Her voice isn’t very convincing and she knows it isn’t from the look of Jess’ face- her lips falling into a tiny smirk at Yaz’s intrigue at her whereabouts. 

“I’m going home to make dinner. I’m hungry.” Jess says. 

“You should have told me I could have made dinner.” Yaz argues. 

“I don’t come here to eat your health foods, I come here to eat you out.” 

“You’re right, you're right." Yaz folds her arms having to check herself. When they’re in bed together they’re Yaz and Jess. Any other time they’re Miss Khan and Doctor Smith and they can’t stand each other, let alone sit down in Yaz’s house and eat food together. 

“I’ll show myself out.” Jess steals another kiss from Yaz and she lets her hand stroke a bare bum cheek. “You’re brilliant.”

“I know.” Yaz stands smugly watching Jess leave her room without looking back.


Monday morning Yaz can’t get the class computer to start up. She’s tried everything she knows and everything her form group suggests to her. There’s nothing else she can think of to do other than call for Ryan, but Doctor Smith enters the room to set up for her class around Yaz’s tutor group and it gives Yaz someone else to ask. She’s in this room more than Yaz is so she should know how to fix it.

“Jess can you help-” Yaz starts but as soon as she says it every soul in the room freezes and stares at her. Yaz doesn’t get it until she locks eyes with Doctor Smith and sees her frowning. “Sorry, Doctor Smith.” Yaz corrects herself.

“What’s wrong Miss Khan?” She asks, her coat flowing behind her as she strides over to the computer. Yaz knows what she’s doing. Acting all confident to throw the students off the fact Yaz is suddenly allowed to call her by her first name. 

“I can’t get it to work.” Yaz huffs. 

“Sometimes you have to jiggle the wires.” Doctor Smith says. “Let me just hack the mainframe.”

“What?” Yaz frowns confused. 

“Just a joke.” Doctor Smith says.

Doctor Smith leans beside her like an annoying itch she can’t scratch otherwise she won’t get what she wants which at this moment, is a working computer to register these students. 

“Talk among yourselves.” Yaz tells her class, very away that eyes are still on her after her slip up. She personally doesn’t see it as a big deal but she has to read the room. 

“Move away.” Doctor Smith whispers. Yaz can barely hear her. She's speaking so quietly. 

“Why?” Yaz asks.

“That’s what you’d usually do. You can't stand me, remember?” Doctor Smith says without looking at her. Like she’s refusing to look at her to back up her own point. 

“They might just think we’re getting along for once.”

“You said yourself we’re not friends.” Doctor Smith huffs and in order to keep herself from starting an argument, Yaz moves like she suggests.

Just jiggling and wiggling a few wires takes longer and longer than Yaz expects so just in case she sends a square of paper around the room for everyone to sign and she’ll fill in the electronic register when she gets a chance in the PE office. Her students are quite grateful that the computer doesn’t work because Yaz can’t force them to make teams and partake in the weekly quiz. She can’t help but note, however, that her misuse of Doctor Smith’s name is the cause of a few whispers and all she can think is that these students are bold to have the nerve to talk about it when the two people they’re talking about are still in the room. Yaz holds out until everyone under the age of eighteen has left to start her own conversation about it. 

“You didn’t have to be a dick.” Yaz says when form time is over and they’re finally alone with each other.

“I wasn’t being a dick.” Doctor Smith says. She spent all of tutor time trying to fix the computer she’s now having to rush to set up her lesson that’s happening in a matter of minutes. 

“We’re allowed to be normal at work Jess.” Yaz says.

“I literally said you moving away would be normal.” Doctor Smith stops faffing to get her point across.

“No, the normal you I’ve been getting to know.” Yaz pushes back against her.

“That’ll just fuel the rumor mill.” Doctor Smith rolls her eyes. She’s turning from an itch to an intense bug bite on her backside she could never scratch in public.

“Let them have their rumours! It won’t do any harm, every school has a handful of teachers that every kid thinks are a-” Couple. “-thing. All I did was ask another teacher for help.”

“You called me Jess in front of them!”

“Oh I’m sorry for the inconvenience of people knowing the sensitive public information that is your name, Doctor Smith.”

Yaz curses herself for getting so annoyed at such a simple indiscretion. Why did she even bother bringing it up again? Now she’s just mad with unsteady breathing and not knowing what else to say next. 

“Your house at eight?” Doctor Smith suggests.

“Be there.”


The next day Yaz and Doctor Smith don’t bicker at all. They don’t even cross paths really, nor do they Wednesday morning. Having sex together sure does bring them a new boost of calmness around each other and Yaz wonders how long this boost will last before they need each others services again. However, Yaz gets a text not one hour into the school day from Doctor Smith requesting to meet up after Yaz is done with the boxing club today. 'Shit morning, day looks shittier.' It says. But it's not the bit that makes it hard for Yaz not to laugh. 'Need to stroke your pet.' 

That last line keeps her returning to her phone at break time to smile at her screen. What a stupid yet clever thing to say at the same time. 

“Hey.” Ryan knocks at the PE office door. “Just to let you know the L13 computer is being replaced. Are there any files you need to save or restore?”

“No. That’s more J- Doctor Smith’s problem.” Yaz says, her heart racing at her almost repeating her mistake from a few days ago. They’ve been ‘together’ a week and a half now and Ryan still doesn’t know. 

“Okay. Also I’m going into town after work for a few things, do you need anything?” He asks. 

“I don’t thin- OH hamster food, I need more hamster food.” Yaz says. “Please.” She adds for good measure. The pet store is probably further out than Ryan intended to go.

“Fine but you owe me a video game night or something. You’ve been so busy since Christmas.” Ryan says. 

“Thank you.” Yaz can’t tell if her cheeks are pink because he’s letting all the cold into the office or because she knows she’s been with Doctor Smith all those times he's referencing. 

“I’ll drop it at your house when I’ve got it.” 

“You’re my favourite.” Yaz smiles at him. 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” 

Ryan leaves and shuts the door behind him, Yaz shuffles the mini heater towards her more to heat up in time for her next lesson. The air is cold and it’s hard to get students to want to do anything at all outside but unfortunately Yaz has drawn the short straw today and is working outside for each lesson. If Jess hadn’t of text earlier Yaz probably would have by the end of the day, just to use her body heat to warm up her bones again. 

Yaz registers her class and opens up the girls changing room for them to all shuffle inside and start spraying obscene amounts of deodorant that could probably suffocate a few people if they stayed in there too long. She’s setting out different coloured, half ripped and torn, plastic cones for her group warm up when her phone starts ringing.

“Hello.” She answers once she’s dug the device out of all of her thermal layers.

“Miss Khan can you come to the boys changing room please.” The male voice says and then hangs up. Only when Yaz looks down at the caller ID does she realise it’s Danny that called.

“Hoo boy.” Yaz whistles to herself. She doubts this is going to be good. 

She can smell the problem before she can see it. She smelt it all the time when she was at uni and the smell of weed is worse mixed with boys spray deodorant. The issue in question that Yaz has been called to is leaning against the wall outside the changing room smiling into nothingness. 

“Is this one of your students?” Danny checks with her. 

Yaz sighs. “Yeah.”

“He’s high as shit but still insisting on partaking in your lesson.” Danny whispers.

“I’m not high Miss I’m sure!” He says, giggling through the whole sentence. 

“Let me see your eyes.” Yaz requests firmly. 

“No, you don’t have to see my eyes Miss.” He refuses. Unfortunately for him Yaz can see that the whites of his eyes are tinged pink and his pupils are blown.

“If you’re high you can’t come to my lesson. You need to go and see Miss Jones and your head of house.” 

“But Miss, Miss, Miss Miss Miss Miss Miss they all want me to ask you.”

“Ask me what?” Yaz asks. She prides herself on being patient with kids and even if they’ve done something stupid like smoke weed in school she’ll always give them a chance to speak. 

“Are you and Doctor Smith a thing, Miss?” He asks. 

Yaz regrets her stance on giving all students a chance to speak. 

“Absolutely not.” Yaz says, trying not to let the shock of the question read on her face.

“Do you do teacher kink stuff together?”

The crowd now surrounding them burst into fits of giggling too, half in disbelief that their friend actually asked her that and the other half just enjoying the show. 

“Boys!” Danny shouts. 

“I am not in a relationship with Doctor Smith, I do not have sex with Doctor Smith, Doctor Smith does not have sex with me. I work with Doctor Smith and that’s it. You need to remember where you are and who you’re talking to because questions like that to any member of staff are unacceptable.” Yaz lies through her teeth flawlessly. Everyone around her is left speechless and remains silent. 

“Everyone to your lessons. Now.” Danny instructs. He waits until the majority are gone to place his hand on yaz’s shoulder and talk to her directly. “He won’t go unpunished, don’t worry.” 

“I’ll take him to Miss Jones.” Yaz says, prompting the young lad to stand up straight and huff.

“I’ll tell your class you’ll be a bit late.” He offers to cover her back.

“I swear I’m not high Miss.” The boy who can’t hold his tongue repeats again. 

“Then you won’t mind if Miss Jones takes a swab of your mouth for a drugs test.” 

 

By the time Yaz gets home from boxing club she has just enough time to pour herself a glass of water before there’s a knock at her door. She can tell who it is by the urgency her knuckles hit the wood. Jess just as urgently jumps on Yaz the second the door is opened wide enough to let her in.

"First of all, don't bring my son into this with your texts. He’s innocent." Yaz says holding a finger against Jess’ lips before they can meet hers.

"I was trying to be discreet, we were on school wifi." Jess kicks off her boots and immediately holds Yaz’s body in her arms, her lips going towards her jaw and her neck with no hesitation. 

"We need a code then." Yaz says to try and keep her on topic. 

Jess groans with annoyance that Yaz is trying to continue a conversation while she’s clearly trying to get on with something else. 

"Easy. Hamster." 

Yaz just rolls her eyes and tugs on her braces to get on with what she’s come here for, trying to get her undressed as they walk. Although Jess' urgency to get things moving resorts to Yaz pinning her against the wall and not making it anywhere near the bedroom.

"That kid today said something to me." Yaz says as they break apart for the soul purpose of getting rid of Jess’ coat. 

"The high one?" Jess asks. It was hot news around the staff rooms at lunch time. 

"Yeah. Asked me if you and I are a thing." Yaz keeps still for them both to focus on the conversation without distractions. 

"Shit.” Jess frowns. “That's not good. Can we talk about it later though, I'm kind of really…"

"Right- sorry."

Yaz drops to her knees to Jess's delight and uses her hands to unclip her trousers. To warm up her mouth Yaz untucks and lifts Jess's shirts to expose her midriff, giving her access to press her lips against her skin- the lower she goes the more tongue she uses to tease her skin into goosebumps. She's turned on, Yaz knew that already before she even stepped into the house, but she didn't expect her to respond so fondly to her touch so quickly. Yaz drags it out as long as possible, unclipping her braces one by one rather than just pushing them down her arms. Blue trousers get shuffled down her thighs, boxers too. Jess's back hits the wall while her bottom half stays pointing in Yaz's direction begging for her mouth. Yaz cups her arse to help keep her in that position, smiling to herself as she can watch her practically drip before her eyes. 

"You're a sight and a half on your knees, you know that?" Jess mumbles. Yaz strokes her tongue the length of her up to her clit just once as a thank you for the compliment.

"You taste good." Yaz mumbles back making sure to keep her lips touching the nub in front of her- the vibrations obviously causing more trouble than Yaz thought they would.

"Mphf." Jess exhales as she lets her head thud back on Yaz's wall. Her hand sits patiently on the top of Yaz's head, ready to take command of her movements if she needs to but Yaz rarely moves her attention away from her clit. If Yaz has learnt one thing about Jess from their whole situation it's that Jess is more than capable of a quick recovery time.

"Keep going- shit, that's it." Jess is so tightly wound Yaz barely has to put any effort in to have her brimming on the edge. Even without her words Yaz can tell; the way her back slides down the wall a little, the way her breathing is becoming strained, the way her muscles are tense against Yaz's forehead, and the way the grip on her head has tightened. "Yaz I'm close. I'm close- I'm- Yaz..."

Jess' voice trails off into silence and then a harsh grunt accompanied by her crotch thrusting further into Yaz's face. Yaz moans a little herself as she eats the woman above her out until the grinding and moaning stops and Jess finishes completely.

"Better?" Yaz asks, getting up from her knees, licking her lips clean and catching the remainder of Jess with the pad of her thumb.

"Loads." 

Jess cups Yaz over her clothes pushing pressure and fabric up against her cunt and rubs slowly. Yaz had expected something in return, but she hadn't thought of this so soon. So this is how it's going to be. Yaz rests her hands on Jess's shoulders to keep her steady and so that she can spread her legs a step each side. She can feel something building inside her, being stimulated by tight damp underwear.

"Want more?" Jess teases.

Yaz nods. Jess kisses her deeply as her fingers move from fabric to folds, making Yaz moan lightly into her mouth. Jess covers her fingers a few times by doing the same action then uses two of them to enter her easily. Yaz sucks air through her teeth with pleasure and grinds herself down until she can feel the palm of her hand hit her where she needs it. Jess dips her head, sucking on Yaz’s neck hard enough to make her give up control but not with enough force to leave a mark for colleagues and students to see. She hits deep inside her making Yaz fall into her body, Jess catching her with her lips.

"Yaz I brought the-" 

Ryan walks in, spare key in his hand, and it’s too late for Yaz and Jess to do anything but freeze and turn their heads slowly, as if that's going to make him disappear. Yaz can see it’s obvious to him what’s happening; Doctor Smith’s hand is down Yaz’s front, Yaz’s arms are clinging onto her shoulders, Doctor Smith’s trousers are still halfway down her thighs- her decency hidden from view by Yaz’s leg, thank god. Although it’s not like this situation can get any more uncomfortable. 

"Aw hell no fuck this man." Ryan mutters to himself, turning to leave again and freeing himself from this freeze frame. Jess takes her hand away and wipes it on her underwear as she pulls it back up to cover herself. Yaz panics and tries to follow Ryan before he’s too far away and she’ll be shouting her explanation in the street. 

"Wait- Ryan!" 

"Nope." Ryan shakes his head, too scared to turn around and see Yaz chasing him. 

"Ryan.” Yaz reaches out and holds his elbow and he finally stops and turns around. “Please let us explain." 

Ryan’s jaw drops open. " Us? "

 

All three of them sit silently on Yaz’s sofa sipping leftover tropical flavour Capri Suns. Jess on one side, Yaz in the middle and Ryan next to her. None of them know what to say, so they just sip- Jess and Yaz exchanging side glances asking each other to say something- until there’s no juice left to drink and they’re just sucking at a foil wrapper. 

“How long have you been…”

“Just over a week.” Yaz answers Ryan’s question before he’s finished it.

“Okay.” Ryan nods a couple of times. “Does anyone else know?”

“My brother.” Jess says. 

“Bill.” Yaz admits.

“Martha.” Jess adds to the list.

“Rose.”

“Wait- Rose?” Jess sits up in surprise. Yaz just shrugs at her. 

“And Clara Oswald.” 

“Clara?”

Yaz puts her hand on Jess’ shoulder to calm her down. “John said she owed him money, remember?” She daren’t mention right now that John had a bet with Rose too. Or that he won both.

“So basically everyone but me.” Ryan says. “Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. Cool. And it’s just-” 

“Sex.” Jess says.

“Yeah.” Yaz backs her up. 

“Cool. Cool.” Ryan nods again. Silence falls over them again. "Does Donna know?"

"Why would she?" Jess asks.

"Well… you know...you're a thing."

Yaz laughs. "Oh, no, mate, we're not a thing thing we just-"

"Have sex, yeah, I know, don't have to say it again. Doctor Smith and Yaz Khan having sex." Ryan stands to take his leave. He places his hand on the top of Gaz’s cage. “Gaz my man, you’re the only soul in this house I respect.” 

“Ryan…”

“You named your hamster Gaz?” Jess asks in a sort of mocking way.

“I left his feed that you asked for… well I kind of dropped it when…it’s in the hall.” 

Ryan lets himself out and the two women breath out a sigh of not quite relief, but something. Yaz gets up to collect the dried food packet Ryan dropped and Jess follows her. 

"Maybe we should slow down a bit with how much of this we do." Jess suggests. Yaz chucks the packet through the living room and onto where they were just sitting. 

"Are you saying maybe, or we should?" Yaz asks for some clarification.

"We should slow it down a bit." Jess says for definite. “Almost everyday is nice but… I think people are starting to notice.”

“Okay.” Yaz agrees. Reluctantly. But she agrees. "Are you… gonna, um… do you think you could…"

"What?"

"Finish what you started?” Yaz asks. Now that they’re both alone again and Ryan has learnt to knock and not just use his spare key, her body is back to aching for Jess to do something to her. Anything, just to give her what her fingers were promising before. Jess just continues to look at her like she’s placed a difficult maths question in front of her to answer without a calculator. 

"I'm not asking to finish what we're doing here Yaz I'm just saying we should take a-"

"Are you going to get me off or what?" Yaz says plainly. Sometimes it’s the only way to get through to her. It finally clicks for Jess.

"I- I thought the mood had passed." Yaz shakes her head, looking up at Jess seductively through her eyelashes. "Yaz I'm kind of still recovering from the whole intrusion thing I'm not really…it's gone."

"Okay." In a bold move Yaz takes her hand and starts to touch herself while she stands in front of Jess. She breathes  light and shallow when she feels how wet with arousal she still is, resisting the urge to just rub herself frantically and come in front of her in mere seconds to get the job done and let Jess go home. Instead within the restrictions of her clothing, she inserts a finger into herself, teases how she feels by parting her lips and focuses on the look on Jess' face. Her jaw has dropped to the floor and her tongue is pushing on the back of her teeth not knowing what to say. "I'll just go and sort myself out. Maybe make sure those batteries work. The ones you got for my-" 

"Mood's back now." Jess grips onto Yaz’s wrist and rips her hand out of her pants, then moves to pick Yaz up so she can carry her in one swift movement that makes Yaz gasp happily.

"Thought so." Yaz mumbles into her neck as she gets carried away, happy that Jess will be staying in her company for a bit longer, even if it’s only a matter of a few minutes.

Chapter Text

“You’re late.” Yaz drags Jess into her house before she even has time to knock. She’s two hours late. Two hours late when she knows Yaz has had a really tough week. The audacity. The nerve.

“I was marking. The job still comes first.” Jess tries to wrestle Yaz for control and fails as Yaz’s body screams at her while her mouth stays silent.

“Bring your marking here to cut down on travel time.” 

“Jesus, rough week?” Jess laughs and withdraws her hands to let Yaz grasp and grope at her as much as she wants. It’s nice to have the option there but Yaz would rather get her naked in bed sooner rather than later.

“Very.” 

Yaz grips onto one of Jess’s braces and pulls her upstairs not caring how desperate she’s coming across. Jess trips up on the last step and Yaz picks her up, dragging her into her bedroom and moving quickly to take off her shirts. 

“I am still a human with feelings Yaz.” Jess says. “I’m not your walking talking dildo.”

“I know. I’m sorry I’m just…” Yaz pauses as her hands feel something hard against her hand. She gives Jess a teasing smile. 

“You said we could.” Jess shrugs. She’s right. Yaz did say they could but she wasn’t expecting her to come prepared nor did she expect her to come prepared tonight. In fact it’s a little bit thoughtful of her to do it. 

“You’re hard for me already?” Yaz smirks and strokes the detachable length in her hand up and down, making sure the base gets pushed against Jess to place pressure against her clit. 

“Always.” Jess breathes shallow and shaky, winding Yaz up even further into madness as her breath hits her lips.

“You know, I’m usually the one that wears these.” Yaz tells her, leaning in to mold their bodies into one. 

“Even with men?” Jess asks. 

“I’ve had some very open minded boyfriends.” Yaz giggles, her voice low, trying to be seductive to get her away, pushing noses together. Jess mimics her laugh.

“I’m not taking it off.” She shakes her head. Defiant. 

“I can’t tempt you?” Yaz kinks an eyebrow, her fingers starting to fiddle with the buckle that’s keeping the harness in place around Jess’ hips. "I've had good reviews."

“Absolutely not.” Jess firmly pushes away Yaz’s wrist from her hip. “You booty called me, I’m wearing it for your sake.” 

"You sound confident." Yaz says- her voice still trying to keep up the facade of control while her heart already knows she’s lost it. She’s at the scientists' mercy for any experiment she likes.

"Just you wait I’m gonna-"

“Don’t describe it, just do it.” Yaz interrupts. 

“Okay.”

Jess has become unnaturally skilled at removing Yaz’s clothes without much fumbling. It’s unnaturally easy for her to get Yaz naked on her hands and knees, legs spread so that Jess can lay underneath her and eat her out for a couple of precious moments before dragging her lips across her thighs and her bum. Yaz’s thoughts are all fuzzy as Jess kneels behind her, her cock sliding over her core to tease and make sure Yaz is ready. Yaz falls to her elbows when she feels simply the tip push against her entrance but she doesn’t get any more because Jess leans over and straightens her arm out again. When Jess finally gives Yaz what she’s been aching for for hours they both groan, especially when Jess comes to rest to give with no length left to give her to give her time to adjust. 

“The Doctor is in.” Jess sighs. Yaz pinches her tongue with her teeth to stop her laugh from escaping and turns her head over her shoulder. 

“Jess please do not ever repeat that again or I'm…” Yaz tails off as Jess slowly moves back and forth, her head sinking between her shoulders unable to keep itself up to look back at Jess. “I’ll… I will… uhhm...”

“You were saying?” Jess asks, her voice high pitched and patronizing. 

“Shut up.” 

Yaz pushes herself back against Jess encouraging her to get on with it and fuck her. She needs her to make her forget the hell the last week has thrown her through and give her something else to think about, or perhaps make her not think at all if she’s lucky. With her hands on her waist Jess complies and picks up the pace, pushing herself all the way in then pulling almost all the way out making Yaz feel every stroke like it’s the first ever. It’s not even just the sensation of Jess inside her that’s thrilling but also the sound of her thighs slapping against her buttocks, her hands gripping onto her waist so hard to keep her still Yaz feels like she might be left with marks, the moans that are slipping out of Yaz’s mouth with so little resistance. Jess slips one of her hands down to stroke Yaz’s stomach, her other squeezing her backside, and her body bends to hit a deeper angle and allow her to kiss the middle of Yaz’s spine. Now she’s closer Yaz can hear how hard she’s panting, how hard she’s working to try and make Yaz come, how hard she’s trying to keep her own pleasure from showing. When a hand escapes its post to pinch stiff nipple Yaz’s hand flies to keep it there and massage her. Jess leans fully against her back, her hips snapping into her arse still in long hard hitting strokes, making Yaz openly moan and letting Jess kiss her neck- Jess groaning herself a few times. 

“Jess-” 

“Lay on your back.” Jess huffs, pulling out. 

Yaz whines as her body clenches around nothing but she does as she says and lets Jess position her body how she wants. Yaz knows Jess came here with the mentality that she’s going to be the one giving but Yaz knows she’s getting at least some kind of pleasure out of it. Jess leans down and kisses her harshly. Yaz is hardly able to keep up with her mouth, too distracted by the toy covered in silky arousal resting against the skin of her pelvis. She wants her back inside feverishly. 

Reading her mind, Jess sits back on her legs and lines herself up. She pushes in, just the tip, but before Yaz can complain Jess shunts Yaz’s legs towards her, wrapping them around her hips and pulling her down on her length. 

“Could’ve warned me.” Yaz laughs deliriously, gripping onto the sheets. 

“You’re wet enough.” Jess shrugs it off. Her hands rest on her waist again to hold her down and start moving again. It’s good, but it’s not enough. She’s not hitting her in the right places and Jess can tell by how quiet she’s being. 

“What do you need?” Jess asks. Her voice is so strained Yaz doesn’t know now much longer she’ll last.

“Touch me.” Yaz breathes shallow and desperate. 

“Where?”

“You fucking know where!” Yaz shouts, her patience running thin.

“Alright! Jeez.”

The second Jess’ thumb brushes against her clit she’s glad the older woman is holding her down, otherwise she would have gone flying through the ceiling. Instead Yaz moans so much she has to remind herself to breathe and watches Jess watch her lose her mind. Jess circles her clumsily but with enough efficiency for Yaz to reach out for her, want for her body to be closer, and somehow she manages it. Yaz pulls Jess down so that they’re face to face, smothering each other with hot pants and changing the angle she’s penetrating Yaz to make it feel better. Breast to breast, mouth to mouth, Yaz’s hands on her back and in her blonde hair, connected in all ways they can be, Yaz can feel herself getting wound up tight.

“God- Jess.” Yaz whimpers, wrapping her arms around Jess’ middle and holding onto her for dear life.

“Come on.” Jess grunts onto Yaz’s lips. “Come with m-”

Too late. Yaz feels her inside clench around the toy Jess is still thrusting into her frantically, chasing her own orgasm against its base. Her vision blurs and Jess is above her repeating her name like it's a prayer is the only thing keeping Yaz in this plane of existence. Her body pulses and quivers and rises up against Jess as she clings to her, leaving nail marks in her back. As Yaz comes down Jess reaches her peak- voice shaking, hips rolling, eyes screwed shut, Yaz’s name even though it’s only one syllable falls through her lips broken and quivering. Then she falls, her body collapsing onto Yaz and her face hiding itself in the crook of Yaz’s neck. 

“It’s okay.” Yaz mutters, moving her hand so she can stroke sweat clad hair. 

Jess just moans with relief onto her skin until she runs out of puff. Still laying ontop of Yaz she unbuckles the harness then accidentally hits Yaz’s clit as she pulls out- making Yaz suck air through her teeth from overstimulation and Jess apologise for it. Yaz misses their welcome weight of her lover's body as she rolls off of her, both of them still trying to regulate their breathing in the silence. 

“Feel my heart.” Jess lazily reaches for Yaz’s wrist and brings it over to rest on her chest. 

“Holy shit.” Yaz grins at the feeling of the fast paced thumping under her palm. It’s almost like she’s got two in there. 

Yaz reclaims her hand and compares Jess’ heartbeat to hers. It’s a bit slower but she's not far off. She doesn’t like to compare partners but bloody hell no one has ever fucked her like that before and she doesn’t want to let Jess know in case it feeds her ego. 

“Hey.” Jess says to grab her attention. 

Yaz turns her head on her pillow to see Jess staring at her. “Hey.”

“Are you okay?” Jess asks. 

Yaz smiles and raises an eyebrow, blissed out and not reading the tone of the question right. “You gave it to me good.”

“No, Yaz, I wasn’t asking about… you said you’d had a rough week earlier, I was just wondering.” Jess says with a sense of timidness. 

“I’m better now.” Yaz says, technically avoiding the question but technically still telling the truth. 

“Okay.” Jess lets it go.

They go back to laying next to each other, staring up at the ceiling. The more she cools down in all senses of the word the more Yaz feels sticky and sweaty and uncomfortable. Listening to Jess beside her soothes all her muscles and for the first time ever Yaz thanks the stars that she ever ended up meeting her. She trusts her more than she ever thought she would; enough to lay nude and vulnerable next to her. 

“Jess.” Yaz says.

“Yeah?” Jess mumbles. 

“Do you ever think about what the students think of you?” Yaz asks of her. She knows she said to Jess she needed the sex to forget about all of this but who better to talk to about it than someone who works in the same environment, sometimes with the same people. 

“All the time.” Jess says. “Why? Did someone say something to you?”

“Not specifically. A few kids have just been giving me shit, I feel like they’re all just… ganging up on me recently.” Yaz turns her whole body to lay on her side so that she can look at Jess while she speaks to her. “Like... I’m not considered new anymore, am I?”

“You could be considered new for the whole year.” Jess says. It’s not what Yaz wants to hear and it obviously shows on her face. “It’s fine Yaz, the staff love you.” 

“Do you love me?” Yaz asks. Jess’ cheeks are pink anyway after all the physical activity but now they blush hot pink and Yaz realises what she’s asked. “Wait, not like-”

“You’re an excellent teacher Miss Khan.” Jess says, as calm as anything. She lays back, breaking eye contact, and holds her hands behind her head. “Pretty good shag too.”

Yaz picks up her pillow from behind her and throws it at Jess, both of them breaking into smiles and post sex laughter. 

“I’m going to shower.” Yaz announces. She can’t wait for Jess to leave to wash herself so she might as well give the Doctor some privacy for a few minutes to get changed. 

The water feels good against her skin. Warm. Refreshing. Rejuvenating. Clean. Not that she wants to wash Jess off of her but sex is messy at the best of times. It’s worse when it’s under the covers. At least Yaz can tuck herself into bed and the sheets are relatively fresh. While she dries herself off, she wonders how Jess is going to get her strap out of the house. Yaz knows she drives here but she’ll still have to walk from the front door to her car without anyone seeing. Everyone on her street knows she works at the school and equally everyone on the street knows Jess does too. Would it be polite to suggest she can leave it here? Would that be too suggestive? Soon enough she’ll find out.

Or not. 

Towel wrapped around her body Yaz re enters her room to find Jess has tucked herself into bed and fallen asleep. Yaz smiles gently to herself, telling herself Jess is an idiot and can’t handle a bit of sex without considering it’s the end of the work week and she didn’t even get here until ten because she was marking. Or maybe she does recognise that, as Yaz tells herself she’ll wake her up once she’s moisturized and gets dressed for bed to give her a few minutes' kip but does all that and then doesn’t keep her word. Jess just looks… peaceful. Totally out of it and on the brink of snoring and drooling on Yaz's pillow case but peaceful. Yaz makes her decision then. She’s going to let the naked lady in her bed stay. She’ll probably sneak out in the middle of the night anyway and Yaz will see her again on Monday morning with nothing more said about it. Yaz turns out the light and gets into bed without so much as a second thought to it. 

 

She wakes up tangled with Jess’ body. She can’t move. Like, at all . She’s stuck being hugged and hugging her back and this goes against everything they’ve set up and she doesn’t know how to react and she doesn’t know how Jess is going to react when she wakes up and oh boy this is a mess. Her panic must register somewhere in Jess’ conscious because her eyelids begin to flutter and open. Jess frowns when she sees Yaz and her eyes dart around trying to figure out where she is.

“Did I…” Jess grumbles. Yaz wants to say that her sleepy voice is sexy but if anything it’s arguably adorable. 

“Yeah.” Yaz whispers. “Out cold, I couldn’t wake you.”

What Yaz should have said is ‘I didn’t choose to wake you up’ because she didn’t try to wake her up at all, she just let her sleep. But of course she won’t let herself admit that. 

“Shit.” Jess rubs her eyes. She sounds sort of impressed with herself. “That’s never happened before.”

Jess’ calm manner rubs off on Yaz. She’s no longer freaking out about waking up with her still in her bed, under her roof. In fact she kind of doesn’t really mind it at all. Perhaps if it was someone different, someone Yaz has a better relationship with this situation might be the cure to her lonely house. But it’s Jess, so obviously it isn’t.

“Hey, what kind of cereal do you have?” Jess asks, untangling their limbs to give each other room to breathe. 

“Seriously?” Yaz asks. She thought she would just leave and go home.

Jess shrugs. “I’m hungry. I can’t drive when I’m hungry.” 

“Shredded wheat.” Yaz says. “That or toast, it’s all I have in the cupboards.”

“Is that it?” Jess has never looked so unimpressed with her.

“Or fruit.” Yaz says, but that’s mainly her breakfast in the summer. 

“No coco pops?” Jess asks. 

“Nope.”

“Chocolate shreddies?”

“No.”

“Frosted flakes?”

“No.”

“Honey and nut flakes?”

“No.”

“Do you ever have fun food? Ever?” Jess looks at her with pity. 

“Sometimes I eat pizza.” Yaz shuffles under her scrutinizing gaze.

“Alright, I guess I’m crashing my car today.” Jess springs up out of bed and immediately starts dressing herself.

“You’ve only just woken up and you’re already starting on me?” Yaz sits up.

“Consider yourself my murderer Yasmin Khan.” Jess steps into her boxers and her trousers at the same time. 

“Don’t be so dramatic.” Yaz brushes her off. It’s too early to fight.

“One day I’ll get you to come with me to that place in town where you can get pancakes and ice cream for breakfast.” 

Yaz registers the words Jess is saying but she doesn’t register that they would be worthy for a response. Anyway, she’s too busy staring at how flawless Jess looks standing topless with such confidence; her hands never having looked so attractive zipping up the fly of her trousers and fiddling to reattach her braces. When the hands she’s staring at slide into the blue pockets Yaz looks up and with Jess equally staring at her waiting for a response, Yaz’s cheeks flush hot and she snaps out of it. 

“Sounds disgusting.” Yaz says at last.

“It’s everything but disgusting.” Jess argues, picking up her shirts. 

“I don’t believe you.”

“Come with me then.” Jess’ voice is muffled by her dressing herself. Her head pops through the hole and all Yaz can think about is her hair. How can she go to bed with sex hair and wake up with it perfectly wavy. “Let’s go now.” 

Yaz rolls out of bed and crosses her arms across her front to give herself some power as she rounds over to Jess. “Are you asking me out on a breakfast date?” She asks. 

“No, I’m just trying to culture your taste buds. So what do you say?”

“You’re serious?” Yaz checks. She’s showered but Jess hasn’t and she’s the one that did most of the work last night. Surely she must feel gross or at least a little bit uncomfortable. Or maybe that’s what gives her her distinct smell Yaz enjoys so much.

“Deadly.”

 

The deadliest thing about this outing together is not the fact most students live in this town or the fact they’ve somehow ended up hanging out on a Saturday but the pile of sugar on Jess' plate in front of her. She chose waffles with sprinkles, bacon and bright blue bubblegum flavoured ice cream accompanied with chocolate sauce. It looks like the circus came to town at the same time as pride and shat all over the blonde’s plate. Yaz is glad she fought with her to just have a plate of pancakes with bananas and chocolate sauce otherwise she would have ended up with something similar. 

“How can you eat all that and not throw up?” Yaz has to ask. 

“Practise.” Jess says, putting a spoonful of everything into her mouth and chewing on it. “I kiss you with this mouth.” 

“I question why I let you every day.” Yaz teases her. 

“Because I’m hot.” Jess teases back. A few months ago Yaz would have considered it conceited and brash but she can’t disagree. They’ve already concluded they find each other attractive, even when one of them has chocolate sauce and melted blue food colouring covering their lips.

“How often do you come here?” Yaz asks.

“You sound like you’re trying to pick me up in the pub.” Jess chuckles. “Is this the equivalent to meeting you in a bar? Instead of getting drunk with each other we just give ourselves sugar rushes.”

“You know what I mean.” Yaz shakes her head at Jess’ ridiculousness and keeps eating her food. Jess is right, this place is good but Yaz wouldn’t want to make it a habit to keep coming here too often.

“Every other week or so.” Jess answers Yaz’s question properly. Yaz has to do a double take to believe it.

“You eat so much sugar I worry for you.” Yaz says. 

“You don’t eat enough.” Jess counters. “Look, how about this: You eat a spoonful of this-”

“Nope!”

“-let me finish you idiot! If you eat a spoonful of this you can cook me one of your fancy healthy meals one night.”

“That seems like a lot more work for me than it is for you.” Yaz squints. She has to eat a spoonful of sugar and additives and cook a whole meal while all Jess has to do is eat the meal she slaved over. Jess doesn’t listen and builds up a pile of food on her spoon intended for Yaz. “Jess, that's too much!”

“Please, like you’ve ever gagged on anything I’ve put in your mouth.” 

“Keep your voice down!” Yaz hisses, holding onto Jess’ wrist. “Just because I’ve come here with you doesn’t mean you can start shouting about what we do in bed- which is still supposed to be a secret, by the way.” 

“I’m sorry.” Jess mumbles, unable to look Yaz in the eye. Yaz lets go of her wrist and takes her spoon and brings it to her mouth. She cringes, having to mentally prepare herself, then puts the whole spoonful in her mouth. 

It’s not as bad as having to eat garlic cloves but it’s a close second. The waffle is alright, the chocolate sauce is okay, there is no bacon which is nice of Jess to consider but she reckons it would have balanced out the sweetness, the sprinkles are just sugar and the blue bubblegum ice cream makes her feel sick the second she swallows it. If it was just the waffles, sauce and maybe salted caramel ice cream she would have found it okay but the sprinkles and the bubblegum ice cream makes it horrible. 

“You know what,” Yaz says, helping herself to a scoop of her preferred ingredients to Jess’ surprise. “I might actually like that if it had a different ice cream.” 

“I told you it’s good!” Jess lights up like a child being told they can have seconds.

“Why do you like proving me wrong so much?” Yaz asks as she finishes off her own food.

“I don’t do that.” Jess’ childish delight turns into a very adult frown.

Yaz tilts her head and smiles, unimpressed with her denial. “Don’t lie.”

“I’m not lying, I just…” Yaz feels Jess’ hand rest on her knee under the table and suddenly she feels like she’s fifteen again. “I like to have discussions with you and most of the time my point wins, that’s all.” Jess smiles. 

If they were dating Yaz would wet her thumb right now and wipe the chocolate sauce off the corner of Jess’ lips right now. Hold her hand on her knee under the table in secret, play with her fingertips and draw patterns and words into her palms and they would smile together in their own little world where no one else knows her business. Instead she just smiles and hands Jess back her spoon.

“Oooh! Are we sharing?” A chair scrapes along the floor. John Smith sits himself down at their table rubbing his hands together greedily and throwing his toothy grin back and forth between the two women. Yaz has no idea what to do or say and she can feel herself struggling to find a way to grasp control of this. “I love this place but it’s a bit expensive you know?”

“Haven’t you won enough bets in the past month to be able to afford your own order?” Jess removes her hand from Yaz’s knee to protectively bring her food closer to her. “Why are you here? You’re annoying me.”

“Oi, I’ve only been here less than a minute!” John turns to Yaz. “You don’t mind, do you Miss Khan?”

Yaz becomes more flustered than she’s ever felt before in public. “Um-”

“your faces! I’m just messing with you both- Ow!” Jess pinches her brother’s arm to get him to shut up and stop making fun of them. “What was that for?”

“I’ll pay.” Jess says.

“Are you sure?” Yaz wants to check. As they agreed, this is not a date and both of them should be paying for their own food. 

“Yeah.” Jess stands. “I’ll meet you outside.”

Sensing that if she doesn’t do what Jess says she’ll be stuck in the middle of a conversation only siblings can have together, Yaz gets up and leaves, preventing herself from looking back until the glass door shuts behind her and she’s standing out on the street. 

“That doesn’t look like just sex.” Rose appears out of nowhere.

“Jesus!” Yaz jumps. “I didn’t know you were here too.”

“How many times has she slept over in your bed Yaz?” Rose asks. 

“Is this an interrogation now?” Yaz straightens her back up defensively. “She didn’t stay over. She invited me here this morning to talk.” Yaz lies through her teeth. Unless Jess tells them otherwise it’ll look just like what Yaz has said, especially considering they both drove here in their own cars so they can go to their own homes after. 

Rose stays quiet, looking unimpressed, and Yaz turns around to peer through the glass door again. Jess is positively red with anger and steam coming out of her ears with her brother equally having a heated but hushed discussion with her at the till. 

“What’s he saying to her?” Yaz asks, suspecting that Rose might have an idea. 

“He’s worried about her.”

“Why?” Yaz frowns, confused. 

Rose sighs, preparing herself to give up information. “He thinks she’s falling for you and not telling you so you’ll keep sleeping with her with no strings attached.” 

“He’s wrong.” Yaz says without thinking. Yaz is good at reading people, she would know if Jess is acting differently or hiding something from her. 

“He hasn’t been wrong about anything else he’s said about you and her.” Rose shrugs.

Yaz doesn’t have time to properly listen to that fact she’s thrown on her because the door swings open, John shooting out in one direction and Jess storming out the other. 

“Bye John.”

“Bye Jess.” 

They snap at each other. There’s something fulfilling for Yaz hearing her act like that with people other than her and she’s so preoccupied with it she lets Jess almost walk out of her sight. She has to run a few paces to catch up with her, not caring that John and Rose might have turned back around and seen her rushing to get to her side.

“What did he say?” Yaz asks. Jess just keeps walking in the direction of the car park and Yaz doesn’t waste her breath calling after her. Not until she’s slipping between cars and unlocking her own which is parked a couple of bays away from Yaz’s. “Jess-”

“Do you think I’m taking advantage of you? Sleeping with you and then not asking you out on dates or anything?” Jess asks. She smiles, but it’s insecure and sad. 

“No. We agreed, just sex.” Yaz reminds her. “Jess, whatever your brother said, I don’t care and you shouldn’t either.”

“So you’re not developing any feelings for me?” Jess asks.

“No. Are you for me?” Yaz asks.

“No.” Jess says, shaking her head. “I mean you’re a bit more tolerable now but-”

“Jess.”

“I shouldn’t say that.” Jess bites her tongue.

“No, you shouldn’t.” Yaz agrees. 

“I’ll see you on Monday then Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith says. “I might need to see you after school too because I have a lot of angry energy in me right now and you’re good at dealing with that.”

“You could just come back to mine now Jess.” Yaz offers. 

Jess laughs, nervous and unsure at where they stand. “No, no we should… it’s the weekend.” 

“Okay.” Yaz throws her hands up in surrender, walking backwards towards her car but maintaining a fair amount of eye contact with Jess. “I’ll leave the door unlocked.”


Monday morning Yaz walks into Jess’ lab to discover a new cartoon drawn by John left for them both to see. Much bigger than the last, covering half the board, depicting a blossoming tree with a branch sticking out and on that branch sits cartoon Yaz and cartoon Doctor Smith sitting next to each other holding hands. If Yaz hadn't seen them arguing at the weekend she would have thought Mr Smith drew this as a joke but now it comes across as more tormenting than anything. Why can’t he just leave his sister alone? Does he have something against Yaz in particular?

“An interesting take on your relationship.” Weird Scottish janitor Jon says. He doesn’t make Yaz jump anymore with how often he just appears out of the blue. “Jessica and Yasmin sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”

Jon hums the rest of the nursery rhyme as he leaves, Doctor Smith passing him in the hallways just outside the door. She smiles at him politely but Yaz can tell by the look on the rest of her face she’s a little freaked out by his humming. 

“What’s he doin- oh for fucks sake.” Doctor Smith stops dead in her tracks at Yaz’s side. “Wipe it off.”

“Your brother.” Yaz hands Jess the cloth to clean up the mess. Well, it’s not really a mess actually. It’s quite a good cartoon without the background context if she’s honest but it can’t stay up for the world to see. 

Doctor Smith takes the raggedy cloth and cleans from the top down. The way she’s scrubbing so hard makes Yaz worry that it might be drawn in permanent marker but the way she’s puffed out her cheeks just shows her she’s pissed off. Yaz gets on with firing up the brand new computer that everyone else in the school is jealous of.

“Have you done your hair differently?” Doctor Smith asks.

“Not really.” Yaz says. All she’s done is straighten it and tie it back. “Why?”

“Looks really cute.” Doctor Smith says. Her voice is tense so her compliment sounds like a threat.

“Thank you." Yaz kisses Doctor Smith’s cheek without a second thought- her lips meeting the corner of Doctor Smith’s leaving both of them to consider what to do next. 

“We’re at work Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith exhales. It’s not a warning or a rejection. More of a simple reminder. 

“I know.” Yaz nods.

Doctor Smith gives herself up too easily, letting Yaz push her back against the whiteboard and hold her waist while they kiss. Jess hums against her beautifully, encouraging Yaz to move her lips to her neck to nip and tease her skin. 

“No marks.” Jess reminds her. 

Yaz would repeat her ‘I know’ but that would waste time. The bell is going to ring any second, not to mention the massive windows that look out onto the road at the back of the school. They’re tinted, but still outside is in the grey mists of late January and the lights are on inside. But blimey the thrill. The intensity of having Jess at her mercy at work because Jess needs her to calm her down, to kiss her until all the anger has disappeared even though a superior or student can walk in and see them at any second; it sets her heart racing beyond belief. Yaz moves again to taste her lips and softness, her hand sliding around to the back of Jess’ neck, messing up her hair, probably, but she can’t resist. 

The bell rings and despite it’s warning they both ignore it, indulging in each other those few seconds together before the door opens. The door does open. Students do start coming in. Yaz lets go of Doctor Smith ensuring to take a couple of steps away from each other- Doctor Smith patting down her hair and Yaz turning to greet her students arriving like waiting is all she’s been doing.

“Good morning, good morning good morning!” Yaz chirps. “Good weekends everyone?” 

“Good.”

“Boring.”

“Too much homework.”

“I saw my aunt.”

“Doctor Smith there’s whiteboard ink on your back.”

The first four voices are expected- the fifth isn’t. Yaz along with everyone else in the room sends their eyes across to Doctor Smith who is trying to look at her own back like a cat tries to catch its tail. There is a mark on her coat from the black ink John used to draw the trunk of the tree that had been rubbing on her back when Yaz had her held against the wall just moments ago. Yaz stops herself from smiling and awaits an excuse from Doctor Smith. 

“Is it whiteboard ink or was I fighting a squid?” She asks, addressing the group of mixed aged students. The younger ones giggle at her stupidity but the others look at her with suspicion. “I tripped and landed on the board, don’t worry there’s no squid. Or is there…?”

The room stays silent. 

“Doctor Smith-”

“I’ll let you get on with whatever you do Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith interrupts. 

“Actually, Doctor Smith…” Yaz follows her with her eyes as she walks towards the door. When the blonde stops Yaz looks around the room that belongs to her for the next twenty minutes and all the students that are watching turn away and busy themselves by chatting to each other. “I’m having an issue with the way I find the lab on Tuesday mornings, I think it’s something we should discuss after school.” 

Yaz fears for a moment that Doctor Smith isn’t understanding her insinuation with the way she’s looking at her. She can’t say it any other way or come up with a different excuse because it's obvious every single student is pointing an ear towards them.

“Of course Miss Khan, I’ve noticed it too. Anything I can do to help.” Doctor Smith gives confirmation that she understands.

“OoooOOOOooo!”

The class reaction triggers a defensive response in both Yaz and Doctor Smith with the two of them standing upright in a power stance with their arms crossed against their fronts. Seeing that they’ve made a massive mistake by making a childish teasing noise the group of kids stop giggling in phases and before long they’re cowering in their seats, holding their breath and waiting for either of the two authority figures to say something.

“What’s that about?” Yaz asks, simply and plainly.

The teens stay silent. If Yaz was dealing with this on her own she would stand in front of them all like she is now, just as quiet, and she would wait for some of them to crack. But she isn’t alone, and Doctor Smith being the teacher with a longer history at the school speaks up.

“Anyone going to say anything? Anything at all?” Doctor Smith adds. God she’s sexy when she takes control of situations. “Look we know what you all think but it’s purely teenage imagination. And I cannot fathom as to how you all think it’s okay to even comment on it in front of us- in front of any staff. Do you do the same with Mr Smith and Miss Tyler? No, you don’t. Keep your mouths shut about mine and my colleagues business and learn some respect.”

“Thank you Doctor Smith.” Yaz mutters. 

“Miss Khan I’ll see what I can do about the issue and get back to you tonight.”

Doctor Smith leaves and Yaz makes her tutor group do the weekly quiz in silence. Between changing the slides Yaz pretends to fill in paperwork while she instead twiddles her thumbs in her lap, thinking about how Jess looks when she’s naked. How she feels behind, on top, under and inside her and how easily she denies it all in front of critics.


They don’t see each other again until Friday. It’s a cruel trick from the universe, forcing them together for a whole term when they don’t want to be and then when they can’t keep their hands off of each other they’re busy and barely have enough time to say hello in the morning. As promised, Jess brings round her stack of marking and the two of them have been working away at Yaz’s kitchen table for a couple of hours now. There’s something in the way Doctor Smith works that attracts Yaz to her even more. When she’s stressed she does it with elegance and grace, never faltering or getting mad at herself. 

Both of them needing a break after a good while- Jess for the sake of her hand hurting and Yaz for the sake of her eyes that keep drifting up from her papers to look at Jess working- Yaz gets Gaz out for their formal introduction. She places him on her shoulder and walks the couple of steps over to the scientist.

“He sits on your shoulder?” Jess asks. Yaz nods, proud of her little friend's skill.

“Let him sniff you.” Jess sticks out a finger and Yaz has to gently push her away. “Back of your hand Jess or he’ll think you’re a snack.”

“I am a snack.” Jess mumbles, lips ridden with a smirk.

Yaz laughs a breathy laugh with her. Her self centered humor is starting to grow on Yaz immensely as the days go by. “How come you don’t have a girlfriend?” She asks. 

“Huh?” Jess laughs nervously, unsure of where this is going and she’s right to be unsure, because Yaz doesn’t know where this conversation is going either. She doesn't even know where it came from in the first place.

“You’re funny and at times if I catch you in the right mood you can be sweet.” Yaz says. She has had the passing thought a couple of times now: why does this woman keep hanging around her if she clearly has what it takes to charm any woman she wants into bed?

“Just busy. I don’t really have a social life outside of work and you.” Jess shrugs, using the tips of her fingers to stroke the fur on Gaz’s back. “Why don’t you have a partner? Surely you’re fighting off attention left right and center.” 

Yaz laughs, not knowing what to say with awkwardness seeping in and tying up her tongue. “Is that your way of calling me a hot piece of ass?”

“Stop deflecting and answer the question.” Jess smiles at her ever so softly.

“I haven’t really found anyone yet.” Yaz mumbles. She takes Gaz off her shoulder so he can walk over her hands like a treadmill and also serve as a reason to not look Jess in the eye. 

“You will.” Jess insists, tilting her head and continuing to stroke the hamster in her hands so that Yaz is forced to look at her. It makes Yaz’s heart move up to her throat.

“We don’t usually have this kind of conversation, it's making me feel weird.” Yaz forces herself to put Gaz back where he can run free.

“Would you rather we didn’t talk at all?” Jess asks, twisting her body from side to side like a child who knows they’re about to get what they want.

“Jess I know the whole point of you coming here is to- for us to…” Jess stands and waits for her so patiently, looking at her so attentively it gives her the courage to just come out with it. “I just don’t really want to have sex tonight, I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologise. It’s okay.” Jess insists. 

“You can leave if you-”

“Do you think we could just make out for a bit instead?” Jess suggests. Yaz chews her lip as she tries to think of a response to such a teenage request. “Aren’t you meant to be cooking me dinner anyway?” Jess smirks, winding her arms around Yaz’s waist.

Yaz nods. The muscles in her face gently swing into a smile. “In a bit though.” She whispers.

“In a bit.”

Jess kisses her first making sure to pull back after a couple of seconds to let Yaz have the chance to change her mind and kick her out of her house if she wishes. She doesn’t. She could never with the way her lips treat her. Instead Yaz guides Jess to lay her down on the sofa, an echo of their first time but with switched places, and takes the lead determined to keep everything soft. It’s relaxing and different to the whirlwind of lust and bodily fluids. For once Yaz wants Jess’ hands to stay over her clothes on the top half of her body and that’s exactly what they do. A little voice in her head pokes at her consciousness reminding her that Jess is not permanent. One day the feeling of her lips will just be the ghost of a memory and someone else will be here on her sofa and the thought just makes her kiss Jess deeper. 

“What’s wrong?” Jess asks, sensing the change in how she’s being kissed.

“Nothin’.” Yaz shakes her head in a way that lets her get access to Jess’ neck. Nothing too heavy or seductive, just something that feels nice for the both of them.

“Yaz he’s looking at me.” Jess taps Yaz’s shoulder until she’s forced to look.

Gaz is standing on his back legs near the glass of his cage. What Jess has defined as him watching is actually just him taking a break from washing himself. 

“So?” 

“Those beady little black eyes are staring into my soul.” Jess hisses, whispering like Gaz is about to break through the glass and put a gun to her head for touching his human mum.

“We have done much worse things in front of him.” Yaz reminds her. She didn’t care then, why is she caring now?

“Oh my god I am so sorry Mr Khan.” Jess apologises to the hamster in his cage. 

Yaz finds herself smiling because of the stupid woman. Again.

“Jess.” Yaz says, breaking Jess’ staring match with Gaz. 

“Yeah?”

“Can we just order pizza?” Yaz asks. 

“You don’t want to torture me with health foods that taste like and have the consistency of cardboard?” Jess shuffles, surprised that Yaz isn’t jumping at the opportunity. 

“It’s not…” Yaz starts to defend her diet choices but at the same time Jess brushes a couple of loose strands of hair out of her eyes for her and it makes her stop. “No. I don’t. Not tonight at least.”

“This is weird.” Jess frowns. A few quiet moments pass between them.

“Wanna feel my tits while you kiss me?” Yaz asks. It’s the only thing she can think of that would make this evening together feel like their normal.

“Yeah, go on.” Jess agrees. Yaz smiles, glad they’re back on a familiar page and attempts to close the gap between them again. Jess pushes her back by her shoulders. “Wait- do you share one pizza between a group of people or do you let people have their own whole pizza like everyone else who aren’t fit freaks?” 

“Share.” Yaz tells her.

“Yeah, I’m going to feel your butt too to make up for that.” 

“Jess!”

“I’m joking! I’m joking, I’ll share a-”

Yaz kisses her again to shut her up. It also shuts up the feeling in her gut telling her the boundaries her and Jess set for themselves are slowly disintegrating before her very own eyes- her own warnings becoming more and more neglected for the sake of silencing that feeling of loneliness that’s still hanging around.

Chapter Text

“Yaz, people who just have sex together do not kiss that much man.” Ryan says. He and Bill have come over to spend the evening with Yaz and chill out eating chips and catching up. They both know the reason why Yaz has been ‘so busy’ in the evenings and wouldn't leave her alone until she promised a date she would set aside for them. No Doctor Smith, just the guy from IT support and the lunch lady.

“Really?” Yaz questions it.

“I mean… maybe a quick smooch for foreplay but they usually just get on with what they came for not sit around on the sofa making out for hours on end with no sex.” Ryan shrugs. “I mean- that’s what I see on TV, I don’t have a… whatever Doctor Smith is to you.”

“And you’re kissing more at work.” Bill says.

Now that is true. Neither her or Jess have made any complaints or concerns about kissing during stolen moments at work. They still won’t take it any further than lips on lips or on anything above collarbones, cautious of being respectful of their jobs and the fact that schools are a safe haven for just as many kids as those who think school is hell and they should respect that place for the kids.

“We’re careful.” Yaz says.

“Then why have half the lunch staff seen you doing it?” Bill asks, pursing her lips politely and waiting for an answer. 

“Do you mean you and Rose because that’s not quite half.” Yaz quips back.

“At least you haven’t seen them actually doing it.” Ryan says, traumatized still.

“I’ve apologised for that.” Yaz points at him, threatening him to not bring the incident up yet again.

“Better you than me buddy.” Bill sympathetically pats his shoulder. “I’m surprised she’s not here tonight.” 

“She doesn’t come here as much now.” Yaz lies. She sits herself down on her sofa with her plate of chips expecting her friends to join her but all they do is stand with confrontational energy surrounding them in front of her. “What?”

“Then why is there a pile of Physics mock exam papers on your table?” Bill asks. 

“Uuuuuuhm…” Yaz attempts to stall for an excuse that doesn’t come.

“Tell us the truth Yaz, we’re your mates.” Ryan gives in and sits down, leaving Bill with no choice but to join them or be the odd one out. 

“It just makes it easier. I don’t have to wait for her to finish marking. She can do it here and not have to travel.” Yaz says. 

“She literally only lives on the other side of town.” Ryan says, clearly not seeing the initiative of it. 

“Is the sex really that good that you have to have her here for hours before you do it?” Bill asks. 

“Shut up.” Yaz shoves a golden chip in her mouth.

“I still don’t get it.” Bill says. 

“Get what?” Yaz asks.

“Why you’re tapping that?”

“I would.” Ryan says. Bill and Yaz look at him disapprovingly. “What? If she was into guys I would.”

“But she was horrible to you Yaz. I don’t understand how hate sex can last this long.” Bill reiterates her point. 

“It’s just regular hanky panky now.” Ryan says. “Trust me, I’ve seen it.”

“Would you-” Yaz pushes Ryan’s arm to get him to shut up. “Look, I know what you’re all thinking, there’s nothing else going on, no feelings, we’ve talked about that.”

“That’s the thing Yaz, you’re talking and kissing a lot more than normal hookups do.” Bill says.

“Whatever.” Yaz mumbles, refusing to listen to her friends warnings. 

Sensing they’re not getting anywhere with it, Bill and Ryan change the topic of conversation to regular work and life that doesn’t involve Doctor Smith. They have a good evening together, the three of them, and the chippy down the road provides a good meal for them to talk over too. There’s a moment when Yaz is watching Ryan play with Gaz and torment Bill with him where she considers that she might be neglecting her friendships for the sake of spending time with Doctor Smith, and she wishes all of them could get along and all hang out together. However she reminds herself that that’s something that people in relationships do, and suddenly she’s turned off by the idea.

She watches her friends walk off into the night towards the bus stop, then gets out her phone. 

'They’re gone.’ Yaz sends the text she knows Jess has been waiting for. 

Yaz thinks she might have time to freshen herself up- maybe put on some perfume or nicer clothes to only have them taken off again by different hands- but she doesn’t. She barely makes it to the top of her stairs with a freshly poured glass of water when there’s a frantic knock at the door.

“That was quick.” Yaz says as she answers and sees Jess standing there. 

“I’ve literally been parked up the street for an hour, why did they have to come over tonight and not the weekend?” Jess asks, her hands already probing at the buttons on Yaz’s shirt. 

“It’s the only night we could all do.” Yaz answers, letting her continue to unbutton her clothes. 

“Can you do me now?” Jess smirks. 

Yaz nods, smiling just as wide, and lets Jess start to kiss her lips, jaw, neck and chest. She sets her skin on fire even with the simplest of touches.

“Wait- wait Jess I have to ask you something.” Yaz places her hands on her shoulders to stop her from guiding her upstairs to her bedroom backwards. 

“What?” Jess asks, breathless with hair in her face.

“Do you think we kiss too much for a casual hookup relationship?” Yaz asks. 

“Right now we’re not kissing enough, c’mere.” 

Jess guides her up, fluent in the floor plans of Yaz’s house by now, and the two of them get to doing what they know makes each other feel good. 

 

When Yaz wakes up, she realises Jess has fallen asleep with her again. She doesn’t mind. Or at least she doesn’t mind until she looks over at her window and sees light coming from underneath her blinds.

“Jess?” Yaz mumbles, shaking her awake. 

“Hm?” Jess stirs. 

"What day is it today?"

"Thursday." Jess mumbles.

“What time is sunrise?” Yaz asks.

“About half seven, quarter to eight ish.” Jess opens her eyes and sees what Yaz sees; light flooding through sides of her blinds. She reaches for her coat on the floor and pulls out her phone. “Shit, we’re late!”

“This is bad, this is bad bad.” Yaz mutters as they both get out of bed faster than lighting, hearts in their throats.

“Why didn’t your fucking alarm go off?” Jess asks. Yaz checks her phone but the screen stays black.

“It’s dead.” She sighs. 

“Fat lot of good you are.”

“Oi, you didn’t give me a chance to put it on charge! Don’t make me remind you how desperate you were!” Yaz throws her trousers at her out of anger and frustration.

“I’d’ve thought someone as organised as you would have a back up alarm or at least a body clock!” Jess shouts.

“Why don’t you have any alarms set? Huh? I bet you just get up, get dressed and leave since you can never do anything wrong!” Yaz shouts back.

“God you’re sexy when you’re angry.” Jess compliments her.

“Don’t try it, this is the worse day this could have happened.” Yaz grumbles.

“You’re telling me, I have a meeting with Donna first thing! I can’t be late, I’ll get in trouble!” Jess whines.

“Wait-”

“Do I have time to go home and change or not?” Jess sniffs herself and her top within a top. “I still smell of-” 

“You have a meeting first thing?” Yaz asks firmly to get her attention. 

“Yeah. With Donna.”

“I do too.” Yaz says.

Jess pauses. The two of them stare at each other. The two of them, who are coincidentally invited to the same meeting together without being told. 

“Do you think we’ve been caught or something?” Jess asks.

“Don’t say that.” Yaz doesn’t let herself entertain the idea and instead hurries to get on some appropriate clothes for work. 

“If it’s only us it won’t matter if we’re both a bit late.” Jess tries to look on the upside.

“I still wouldn’t take a trip home though.” Yaz advises. There’s barely enough time to make it to work a couple of minutes late, she wouldn’t want to expand on that.

“Yaz this is going to sound really weird but…”

“What?” Yaz snaps, ready to lose her temper again.

“May I borrow some underwear?” Jess blushes holding the blue and white checked boxers she was wearing last night. Safe to say they got a bit damp and to put them on now will probably be uncomfortable. 

“I think you should go commando.” Yaz teases. “It’d be a big turn-on for me.” 

“Not funny.” Jess sweeps past her and rummages through Yaz’s dresser drawers to search for herself. “I still want to use this on you sometime soon too.” Jess throws the still unused sex toy onto the bed.

“You can use that on me if you go commando at work at some point.” 

“Deal, now come on we really have to leave.” Jess rushes past her again.

“You still haven't chosen any underwear.” Yaz questions her empty hands.

“You don’t own any nice boxers, I’ll just wear mine inside out.”

“You’re gross.” Yaz cringes.

“I’ll go home at break time and change, chill out, now come on !” Jess urges. Yaz has gotten so used to her dragging her into this room that hearing her trying to drag her out feels wrong.

 

Turns out both of them were incorrect in their assumptions about the nature of this meeting. They rush into Donna’s conference room opposite her office to find at least twenty people already sitting at the massive conference table. From her quick deductions Yaz spots that there are members of the pastoral care team and then the head of each department with one member of staff sitting next to them. Danny sits with a chair left empty beside him, Jess’s head of department has saved a seat for her but the worst part is John and Clara smirking at them both running in out of breath and panicked. 

“Sorry we-”

“Overslept.” Doctor Smith jumps in.

“Traffic was bad.” Yaz says. They look at each other; both of their replies sounding too desperate and made up on the spot to be true.  

“I… overslept, Miss Khan was just stuck in traffic.” Doctor Smith tries to cover them both. John and Clara look like they’re about to explode from holding in laughter, Danny is looking at her with eyebrows raised and a smile but overall he looks like he has his own interview for Yaz set up for the next time they’re in their own department office.

“You can explain your real excuses to me once this meeting is over.” Donna says, gesturing for them to sit down. 

Yaz and Doctor Smith alike keep their eyes to the floor as they walk over to the seats saved for them. It feels like walking miles for Yaz, everyone watching her and Jess. 

“Why didn’t you reply to my text?” Danny whispers. 

“Forgot to charge my phone last night.” 

“Busy night?”

Yaz kicks him under the table. Now is not the time.

“To catch you both up- Yaz, Ella in your year eleven exam PE class can’t do any extreme practical work anymore.” Donna says.

“Why not?” Yaz asks. “Is she sick? Broken something?”

“She’s four and a half months pregnant.” Donna says. 

“Wow.” Doctor Smith leans back in her chair in surprise.

“As I was saying.” Donna pauses, flicking her eyes between Yaz and Doctor Smith silently shaming them. “You’re all here because you’re a head of department or you teach the student in question. All of you are going to need to be sensitive around this including controlling classes because as of today the likelihood is that the whole school is going to know. We have a duty of care towards her and her parents have requested that we look out for her.”

“Does the father of the baby go to the school?” John asks. “Should we know about him?”

“Halloween fling, apparently.” Omar speaks up. Yaz has never seen him so quiet in a meeting before. He’s probably been told to stay on his best behaviour due to the sensitivity of the subject.

“Her sixteenth birthday.” Yaz recalls, sighing. Ella had talked to her about it in their lesson before the half term break and she was so excited for her big sweet sixteenth party she’d been planning.

“That’s a bit shit isn’t it?” Doctor Smith speaks up. “You can finally get it on legally and someone gets you pregnant.” 

There’s a mumble of laughter that says ‘we shouldn’t be laughing but she’s right’ that gently tails off when Donna starts speaking again.

“Well, either way, she’s decided to keep the baby. Our priority is to get her through exams since the timings are quite close. She’ll be eight and a bit months by the time she’s sitting down for exams but we’re trying to bring hers forward or do whatever we can. Everything with this pregnancy is subjective.”

The meeting continues with Yaz listening and Doctor Smith in the corner of her vision helping herself to the biscuits in the middle of the conference table. How can she do that? Eat so many biscuits so early in the morning? Then she remembers that she’s seen what Doctor Smith eats for breakfast at the weekend and she's no longer horrified. As promised, Donna keeps them both behind. Doctor Smith moves from the other side of the table to sit next to Yaz as if it might help their case. 

“So what’s the deal?” Donna asks them both, perching herself on the edge of the table like she’s hip and cool. 

“I overslept and Miss-”

“Nope!” Donna stops Doctor’s Smith from repeating her excuse. “None of that crap missus. We’ve all heard the rumors, what’s going on? Dating? Friends with benefits? Cheeky shag every now and then?” Donna grins and wiggles her shoulders.

“It’s-”

“Cheeky shag.” Yaz says. She’s not going to let Jess try and come up with some elongated explanation as to what they’re doing to make it sound better or more dignified. Doctor Smith looks at her, betrayed, hurt. “What? That’s literally all we do.” 

“Not on the premises I hope.” Donna suddenly gets serious.

“No.”

“Never.” 

They both deny, ignoring the fact that this whole thing started in the changing rooms and now their habits are slowly creeping into work with kisses here and there. 

“You’d be the first not to.” Donna scoffs and her demeanor changes. “So what’s the real reason you were late?”

“Late night.” Yaz steps in before Doctor Smith can. “Slept in by mistake.” 

“It won’t happen again.” Doctor Smith says. “I don’t have a habit of… staying.” 

Yaz wants to bury herself. She wants the ground to open up and swallow her whole to save her from the embarrassment of her boss realising that it really is just a physical thing between her and the scientist. The revelation leaves nothing to the imagination and yet so much at the same time. 

“I see.” Donna says. “I trust it won’t get in the way of work then.”

“It won’t.” Yaz and Doctor Smith say together. Donna looks at their synchronization suspiciously and thankfully the bell for the start of form time rings and the pair of them have an excuse to leave. 

“Will I see you again tonight?” Jess asks quietly as they both weave through the hallways to get to the same destination. 

“I don’t know…” Yaz cautiously replies. 

“Come on Yaz, it’s not like now she knows she’s going to be keeping tabs on us.”

“Not outside work but she might while we’re here.” Yaz airs her worries. “I wouldn’t doubt that everything’s already on CCTV.”

“So you’re saying I should just stay away from you while we’re at work?”

“Well it shouldn’t be hard for you considering you don’t make a habit of staying around.” Yaz huffs.

“Is that what this is really about? You’re just mad that I said that?” Doctor Smith asks. 

“A little bit yeah!” Yaz finds herself snapping at her again. While Jess looks at her in shock Yaz reminds herself to keep this conversation hushed and not have it echo through the corridor, then continues. “You’re in my bed almost every night, at my kitchen table marking work and you call that not hanging around.” 

“Hm it’s almost just as irritating at you saying I’m just a quick shag whenever you want.” Jess spits. 

“Because you are! This is always what we’ve been!” Yaz hisses. 

“Well it hurts, actually.” Jess mumbles. “You really do only see me as a human sex toy.” 

“Then we can stop.” Yaz stops walking. If they keep walking through the upcoming double doors they’ll meet with Yaz’s tutor group standing outside the lab door waiting for it to be unlocked. “Is that what you want? If it’s hurting you so much that I only want sex from you we can stop- although you were literally just asking to come over tonight.”

“You know what, forget it Miss Khan.” 

Doctor Smith storms off and Yaz awkwardly follows a few paces behind. The tension between them gets picked up on by the line of students awaiting her and at least three of them look like they have something to say about it. 

“Any wise-arse comments and all of you are getting lunch detention.” Yaz threatens before anything can happen. 

The entire group stays silent, not even daring to mutter a word.

 

Yaz avoids the PE department office all of break time in fear of getting interrogated by Danny. She just works through it in the computer room booked for her year eleven class next period. Her class that when they arrive seems to be more interested in chatting outside rather than coming in, actually, and Yaz has to force herself out of the comfy teacher computer chair and swing the door open to encourage them in to do work.

“Come on, I’m sure you’ve all got some mock exam results to work on.” Yaz says, escorting them inside. 

They grumble about it but they do as she says. The best thing about this kind of lesson is that if Yaz is on top of her work she doesn’t have to do anything, just sit and help students if she can. One of the perks is also being able to watch what every single one of the students is doing without moving using a programme installed on all teacher accounts that allows her to see all the screens in real time. Ten minutes into the lesson something catches her eye. 

Two computers next to each other are playing around on the notes app discussing the rumor that Doctor Smith and Miss Khan were spotted turning up late together for a meeting this morning. Yaz checks the user information and identifies the two people as Tom and Dan who are reading each other’s notes off their screens and typing on their own to make it look like they’re working not talking. Yaz closes the notes app on both their computers the second they start discussing something unsavoury that if continued will get them in big trouble. The two boys notice and look up at Yaz. She keeps her face unreadable and simply shakes her head at them as a warning. 

Aware that the teacher is now watching their every move, the class keeps their heads down and works. The peace lasts another ten minutes before the next challenge of the day appears in the form of the school bell going off. 

The bell rings and as usual everyone waits a few seconds to determine whether it’s malfunctioning or a proper fire drill. It continues and continues and Yaz makes the executive decision to shift her class out the fire doors and onto the field. It’s the start of February and somehow February weather is worse than January. Everything’s wet and cold and squishy underfoot to everyone's disliking. There’s an extra layer of mumbling because of it that staff are having to settle down into silence. It’s probably not a fire but Donna expects the drill to be followed all in good practice and she’s right to want that. 

When Yaz gets to her gathering form group however, there’s a genuine air of concern around the teaching body. Senior staff members are huddled around in conversation with the head of the science department and other staff have stern looks on their faces. Lewis, the year eight from boxing club, passes her on his way to his form with a group of his friends and Yaz calls after him rather than rattling her own form group.

“Hey, hey Lewis.” Yaz catches his attention. “What are they saying has happened?” She whispers. 

“I don’t know but we heard a bang come from science.” He grins. The excitement of the situation clearly muffles the more adult fear that this is actually quite bad. “Are you worried about your girlfriend, Miss?”

“She’s not my-” Yaz starts defensively but stops herself. If she answers, it shows she’s assumed he means Doctor Smith. “Yes I’m worried but she’s not-”

“Your register Miss Khan. Run along Lewis.”

Her head of house hands her the slip of paper and she has to suck it up and get on with her job. She’s not going to be the only one worried about her. Miss Oswald, Mr Smith, Rose, all of her department are going to be just as concerned. Yaz takes the register- all students accounted for- and hands it back. She wishes the other form tutors would hurry up and do their’s so that Omar can make an announcement on his stupid megaphone. Meanwhile Yaz just scans the school hoping to see a glimpse of poorly dyed blonde hair. 

She said such horrible things to her and now she might be hurt. Only a psychopath wouldn’t let that play on their conscience. 

“Well done everyone.” Omar brings the megaphone to his lips. His voice sounds different. Less annoyed, more concerned. “Please stay silent while we assess the situation. There has been an incident but it’s more smoke damage than fire. Thank you.” 

Of course no one remains silent. Speculation over what exactly has happened gets muttered and whispered between lines of students all across the field and playgrounds. Yaz tries to convince herself that she’s not as worried as she actually is because other than her being a colleague there shouldn’t be any other need to care about her safety. She talks to her form to keep herself busy, keeping her voice hushed, but her eyes are always scanning around for any sight of Doctor Smith. She’s probably with Martha anyway if this is her problem she’s caused. 

Yaz’s theory is proved right seconds later. The back door to the building that the medical room is situated in opens and out steps a local fireman, Martha and then Doctor Smith looking windswept with a bottle of water in her hands and her entire front is black with… well whatever the hell it is she’s blown up in her face. Even from this far away Yaz can see the mark around her eyes from where her safety goggles were. Yaz wants to go and see her. Now. But she can’t, she has a responsibility for these kids and no one else is allowed to go over. Plus, she’s keeping track of the fireman walking down towards Donna and Omar, along with the rest of the school. He gives Omar an update and Omar stands up on the steps again. 

“Okay, Science classes please find your teachers over here when your form group has been dismissed. Everyone else please return to your lessons in the same calm manner you came out here and await further instruction.”

Yaz dismisses her tutor group the second she can and does not walk in the direction as where she should be going. One of her students sees her and even calls her name but she doesn’t answer, she doesn’t even really listen. She’s fast walking towards Doctor Smith, trying to move as quickly as possible without looking like she’s running but her walk does in fact soon shift into a run with her heart beating harder against her ribs the closer she gets. 

Without thinking when she reaches her, Yaz throws her arms around Doctor Smith with her body feeling like it’s moving in slow motion. Jess hugs her back and Yaz squeezes her tight, even indulging in closing her eyes in relief that she’s okay. She survived blowing up her lab. Again. The smell of smoke clinging to her is overwhelming and Yaz can’t place it as the usual smell of fire that defines her. No chemicals, no copper smell, nothing for her to tell it’s Jess, just smoke and it scares her into holding her closer.

“I’m sorry.” Yaz whispers her apology for sour words exchanged this morning. At the same time, she promises herself never to leave any conversation with anyone on a bad note ever again. 

“You’re not helping with the breathing thing.” Doctor Smith wheezes. 

“Sorry.” Yaz forces herself away from her. She doesn’t want to make her worse. “Sorry I just…You idiot, what did you do?” Yaz pushes her shoulder, demanding an answer.   

“I’ll tell you later.” Doctor Smith says, taking a sip of her water. “You’ve never hugged me before.” 

“But you’re okay though?” Yaz says. She can’t take her eyes away from her.

“I’m fine. The lab’s not fine but I’m fine.”

Yaz wants to kiss her. She wants to hug her again. Hold her body against hers and let her relief flood through them both. But she can’t. Half the school is still yet to walk past them and their bosses could see too. So they’re stuck staring at each other imagining what they wish they could do. 

“Miss Khan, your class will be waiting for you.” Martha reminds her, stepping between the two of them. “She’ll be checked over by an ambulance crew but she’s fine, honestly.”

“Of course.” Yaz drags her eyes away from Doctor Smith- the action heavy and hard to do for many reasons. “Of course.” She repeats and sets off to where she’s supposed to be.

 

The school closes for the rest of the day. Logistically it wouldn’t work to stay open. The smell of smoke inhabits the science department so no classes can continue there and all those students would have to take over the sports hall, which the PE department is using a lot at the moment thanks to poor weather. In addition to that the thrill of such a scandal makes it hard to get everyone else to pay attention to their relative classes. It would have been a waste of a day to keep students in. However, staff still have to stay to listen to an emergency meeting about how the school is going to run for the next few days. Yaz can’t really concentrate and goes home intending to read the summarized email instead. 

Jess knocks on her door after about four hours and the second she’s inside Yaz selfishly pulls her into a hug again. Her clothes have been changed, she smells like Jess again but a bit more fruity and Yaz can feel her hair is still damp from her shower. Yaz indulges in holding her close, feeling her working body mould into hers and listening to her breathing against her neck. Jess’s hands creep up under Yaz’s shirt to hold the small of her back, skin on skin. Yaz pulls her head back to kiss her, cupping her cheek as she does.  

"Remind me I'm alive." Jess mumbles, holding Yaz's body with a firm grip. 

"Jess-"

"Talk after, I promise."

Yaz trusts her. She kisses her again then takes her hands, intertwining their fingers, and takes her upstairs with an idea of exactly what she can do to relax her.

 

“You’re so tight.” Yaz sighs, setting her hands to work. 

“Feels good.” Jess moans into the sheets. “When did you get a masseuse qualification?” 

“Sports massage. It’s a bit different. I just thought it would be fun to do a course over a summer.” Yaz says. 

She’s straddling Jess’s waist and putting her not-so-useless qualification to work. Her back is full of knots and things that should be putting the woman in significant daily pain but Yaz is determined to get them out. Besides, she somehow has the most attractive back she’s ever seen- freckles moles and all.

“You do extra educational courses for fun when you’re already a teacher and spend all your time in school?” Jess torments. 

“Says the woman with a doctorate.” Yaz says.  

Jess goes quiet again. Yaz keeps massaging her. She wonders how long she’ll be sitting here doing this. Whether she’ll get the chance to do her legs at all or if all her energy is going to be spent on fixing her back; if she should have used all the proper oils or if her hands will do the trick just fine. She moves slowly down her back admiring her muscles and her general bone configuration. Why is that attractive? Why? The lower Yaz goes the more noises slip out of Jess’ mouth. By the time she’s reached the small of her back Jess is outright moaning. 

“Stop making those noises.” Yaz warns. “They’re distracting me.”

“Am I turning you on?” Jess rasps.

“Stop it, I’m trying to do something nice for you.” Yaz laughs gently to put her at ease. 

Jess starts to shuffle and Yaz relaxes her grip on her to let her turn around. Yaz doesn’t understand why she’s frowning. 

“Is that what we do now? Be nice to each other?” Jess asks, her hands planting themselves on her thighs. 

“Would you rather I spanked you and called you a whore?” Yaz asks, drawing patterns with her fingertips on Jess’ bare stomach leaving goosebumps in her path.

“You know I’m not into that.” Jess says softly. 

“Yeah, I know.” Yaz nods and waits for Jess to say something else. 

“You’re not going to ask what happened?” Jess asks. 

“The school already told us.” Yaz tells her. Guessing that Jess probably doesn’t like people talking about her mishaps behind her back, Yaz holds one of her hands on her thigh in an attempt to comfort and ground her. “Big fireball. Lots of smoke.”

“Hm.” Jess grumbles. 

“You don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to.” Yaz reminds her. 

“There is something I want to talk about.” Jess mumbles, removing eye contact as well as Yaz’s grip on her hand. 

“What?” Yaz asks politely, trying to reattach their eyes. 

“I…” She starts and Yaz clings onto the single letter like her life depends on it. She wants to listen to her, she wants to hear her speak her mind, she wants to understand what goes on inside her head. “Never mind, take your top off.” Jess changes her mind.

They have lazy sex for hours together. Mainly Yaz giving Jess what she needs to ‘remind her she’s alive’ with Jess thanking her with her mouth in intervals. Like almost everything today it feels different; like they’re more appreciative of each other for being there and letting this happen. Yaz uses her fingers and her mouth and her face and every part of her body she can to make her feel good until she’s come so many times she can’t help but fall asleep. 

Yaz showers and does her best to not disturb Jess as she gets back into bed. If she hadn't almost blown herself up today Yaz would have woken her up and kicked her out and she is still pissed at how she spoke to her this morning. But she did almost blow herself up and Yaz settles down beside her under the covers without protest.

Doctor Jessica Smith is still a mystery to her. She looks like a totally different person when she sleeps; soft, sweet, no hard edges, peaceful and oh so kissable. Yaz resists, instead making sure her phone is plugged in and charging and her alarms are set to loud. Turning back to her Yaz can’t take her mind, her eyes or her hands off of Jess. She rests her hand on her waist, her eyes on her lips and her thoughts slowly trickle from her mind out of her mouth. 

“What did you want to talk about?” Yaz whispers softly, her hand experimentally moving to tuck loose strands of hair behind her ear. Jess still doesn’t react or move. “I want to know what you want to talk about.” She whispers again.

Jess shuffles into Yaz but doesn’t wake. Unsure of what she should do- having to weigh up whether to wake her or to just make herself comfortable against her body.  Jess starts to lightly snore and Yaz’s mind is made up for her. She readjusts herself to feel comfortable and lets herself hold Jess as she drifts off deeper and deeper into sleep.

Chapter Text

The morning is cold and wet- the sound of the rain hitting Yaz’s window having woken her up and done her alarms job for her. She doesn’t deactivate her alarm though, just in case the rain's gentle melody sends her off to sleep again. Rolling over so that her head can rest against the cool side of her pillow Yaz senses that Jess is already laying awake next to her. It’s the third time Jess has stayed over and despite what she insists, Yaz is starting to realise she is developing a habit of sticking around. 

“Hey.” Yaz greets her warmly. She’s not sure if the incident from yesterday let her have enough sleep. 

“Work called.” Jess says. Her eyes stay on the ceiling, unblinking. “They’ve shut the school for today so they can clean up my mess over the weekend.”

Yaz shuffles closer to her on her side so that she can press her lips against her cheek and put her hand over her soft stomach. Yaz noted last night that in Jess’ backpack she did bring a set of pyjamas but Yaz had got her so tired Jess didn’t bother to change into them. 

“It was an accident.” Yaz reminds her. 

“An accident that was my fault.” 

“Stop it.” Yaz grumbles at her negativity. Jess moves her arm behind Yaz’s back and Yaz can’t tell if she’s trying to hug her or make herself more comfortable but she likes it either way. “At least now we have the day off.” 

In a selfish attempt to keep her where she is, Yaz brushes the tip of her nose along Jess’ jawline, kissing the corner of her jaw when she gets there then moves to the sensitive spot on her neck just under her ear where she knows Jess likes. While her lips slowly work at the skin on her neck Yaz lets her hand wander up Jess’ stomach until fingertips brush lightly against the tender curve of her breast. Jess whimpers as Yaz starts to use teeth and then soothe her skin with her tongue- an action that’s never been allowed before thanks to work but with three days off Yaz reckons she can get away with a three day temporary mark. The hand resting against her back starts to grip at her skin when Yaz massages supple peaks with her hand in addition to the work of her mouth. Jess squeaks when Yaz pinches her nipple between two fingers and Yaz tries her damned hardest to try and turn that noise into a moan. Whimpers and squeaks are not what Yaz wants and she doesn’t understand why she’s being so reserved.

“I can’t do this anymore.” Jess sighs through her nose. 

Yaz stops and lifts her head away from her to give her the space she needs. That sigh is not the sound she wanted to make her make. Jess looks tired. Finished. Like she can’t fight anymore but Yaz can’t see and doesn’t know what she’s fighting. 

“Can’t do what?” Yaz asks, concerned by the out of place look taking over her face. 

“I can’t have sex with you anymore.” Jess says. She bites her lips and shakes her head before rubbing her face with her hands and Yaz gets that overwhelming need to know what’s going on inside her head again.

“Why?” Yaz asks as she watches her. Jess closes her eyes to avoid her. “Jess?”

“I just can’t.” She shakes her head again. 

“Is that it? Is that all you’re going to say to me?” Yaz sits up on her knees not knowing whether it’s going to help her case but it makes her feel in power. In control to stop herself from getting hurt. “Jess talk to me.” She tries to plead.

“I don’t know what to say!” Jess shouts, voice strained. “I don’t know- I don’t…”

“You’ve slept with me for weeks and now you don’t even have the decency tell me why we’re stopping?” Yaz hears her own voice rising along with the intensity of her emotions. 

"Because it's you! You with your perfect body and your perfect hair and your perfect face and your perfect lifestyle and I love you!" Jess covers her mouth with her hand in an instant as if skin and bone can stop the words from coming out but it's too late. Yaz, stunned into silence herself by the declaration, watches her go through the motions of deciding whether to pretend she never said those fateful three words or accept that she's said them and deal with it and then finally: defeat. Her hand falls away from her mouth and their eyes lock onto each other like it might be the last time they ever do. “I love you.” 

“What…?” Yaz doesn’t have the brainpower to come up with a full question. If she’s feeling lost she can’t comprehend how the woman laying next to her is feeling.

“I’m not saying it again.” Yaz spots Jess rolling her eyes.

“Since when?” She asks. 

Jess just shrugs- her body having more of an ability than her mouth to speak. “I can’t just… casually keep being intimate with…” Jess pauses to look her in the eye. “I want all of you or nothing.” 

“I don’t know how to feel.” Yaz says. She can’t lie and say ‘I love you too’ or ‘get out of my house’ because she simply does not know if either of them are what she truly wants to say. So then where does she stand?

“Let me take you out on a date.” Jess says although it sounds more like a beg and looks like a beg with how she’s matching Yaz’s sitting position.

“A date?” Yaz mutters, distracted by her comfortable Jess is, sitting naked in front of her.

“A proper date with just me and you. No sex- not even talk of sex, no talk of work, just us.”

“Jess…”  

Yaz does not know what to say. She’s grown to like Jess. She thinks she’s hot, funny at times, but overall she knows she cares for her to some extent, and seeing her with those lost puppy dog eyes and soft features full of equal amounts of hope and concern leaves her not wanting to break her heart. So she just stays silent. Jess nods once accepting that Yaz might stay silent and removes herself from Yaz’s bed, reaching for her clothes to dress herself and most likely leave. 

In the short amount of time it takes for Jess to dress the bottom half of her body Yaz realises that this is it. If she lets her leave now it’s over, all of it, this whole situation they have is finished. But she doesn’t want it to end, at least not like this. Yaz gets out of bed and lightly taps Jess’ shoulder.

“When?” Yaz asks. If she agrees to go on this date with her at least it will give them the chance to talk properly about what this means for the two of them.

“Tonight?” Jess suggests. 

“Okay.” Yaz agrees quietly. Jess smiles at her and Yaz hates to do it but she has to remind her that this doesn’t mean anything serious. “I haven’t figured out if I love you too, you know that right?” 

Jess nods, her smile fading.

“And I don’t know if I will.” Yaz adds. Jesus it pains her to say it. She might as well be sticking a knife through her chest. 

Jess nods again. “I’ll pick you up at seven?” 

“Do I have to dress fancy?” Yaz asks. She has an inkling that Jess has daydreamed about Yaz agreeing to go on a date with her for a while. She can’t tell if it makes her feel uncomfortable or not considering how long they’ve been doing stuff together. 

“You look nice in whatever you wear.” Jess mumbles. 

Yeah. That makes her uncomfortable. Unsteady in her chest.

“Just a statement, don’t get your knickers in a twist.” Jess says. She sounds more like the Jess that Yaz knows. “I’ll see you at seven.”

 

As she does with literally any date she’s ever been on Yaz overthinks what tonight is going to be like. She doesn’t know what to expect and somehow it’s worse that they’ve already been to bed together. Normally she would use that to advantage; drag her date along by showing little bits of skin and tormenting their imagination to get them to stick around but Jess knows all those details. Jess knows everything in that department leaving Yaz with no choice but to do tonight properly. Like an adult. And of course like an adult Yaz invites Bill over to help her because she can’t get ready on her own. 

“Why exactly am I here?” Bill asks, stepping inside. It’s the only detail Yaz has neglected to tell her: exactly the reason she needs her here so desperately. 

“I have a date and I need your help.” Yaz takes her hand and leads her into the living room. 

“Wha- with who?” 

“Doctor Smith.” 

“Oh my God finally, Ryan owes me a tenner.” Bill flops onto the sofa and Yaz is left to stare begrudgingly at her. Are her and Jess something people just take bets on now? “I mean… congrats but why am I needed?”

“I need you to help me choose what to wear.”

“Will I get to feel up your abs?” Bill asks. 

“What? No!”

“Then I’m not interested.” Bill stands up to leave but Yaz pushes her back down again by her shoulders. 

“No, I need you! I need to get this date right and I need you to stay here and wait for me to come home so that I don’t end up having sex with her.” 

“Isn’t that how your nights together always end? Like, it’s the whole point of you two?” Bill raises her eyebrows and plucks Yaz’s fingers from her shoulders one by one. 

“I told you this is different.” Yaz flops down next to her friend. 

“Care to tell me how?” Bill asks, becoming increasingly irritated with Yaz’s lack of information with her instructions.

“She told me she loves me this morning.” Yaz says. 

“Pussy whipped.” Bill snorts after a few seconds of silence.

“Bill!” 

“Okay! Okay! I’ll help you.” Bill throws her hands up in surrender and Yaz is so relieved that she’s agreed to help. “Take me to your wardrobe.”

Yaz does. Pretty soon though she realises she must have only ever had dates in the summer in the past because there’s nothing suitable for a date in the winter. She can see herself freezing to death in half of them and the other half of the outfits are either too casual or too seductive. 

“Yaz I will literally pay you to see you in this.” Bill says. Yaz turns around to see what she’s talking about only to find her underwear draw open and her friend holding up her long since redundant black lace lingerie set. 

“You’re meant to be helping me choose an outfit.” Yaz rolls her eyes so far into the back of her head she swears she can see the back of her skull.

“I am and I choose this. I can already see her tiny little nerd brain exploding over it.”

“We’re not having sex tonight. She won’t see it.” Yaz reiterates, snatching the set out of her hands. 

“Wait - you’re serious? This isn’t some kind of joke, you really do want to try with her?” Bill asks.  

Yaz has to take a moment. She agreed to see her tonight to try and figure out if she then wants to try with her. It’s almost like a pre-date date to figure out what she wants but she also knows Jess already knows what she wants. Is she being unfair dragging her along like this? Dangling the carrot right in front of the donkey not knowing if she’ll ever let her have it? Maybe she should call it off. Maybe she should just sit in her feelings and figure them out and then go to Jess and talk to her. But will Jess want to talk to her again if Yaz ditches her tonight? She simply doesn’t know what to do.

“Yaz if you’re unsure-”

“I’m sure I want to at least give her one date.” Yaz nods to reassure herself. “I want to know what she’s going to do.”

“Mate if this goes wrong you’re still going to have to work with her.” Bill reminds her. This isn’t just some random Yaz can ghost afterwards.

“I know.” Yaz says. It’s a risk she’s willing to take.

 

With Bill to help and distract her seven o’clock comes around fast. In the end she chooses her blue jumpsuit with white flowers on and her leather jacket. Bill even helps her do her hair up nice and Yaz hopes she’s made enough effort. When the doorbell rings and Yaz opens it to see Jess standing there in essentially her finest black suit she feels severely under-dressed. 

“Wow- I, you’re… wow.” Jess laughs like the air has been taken out of her lungs. 

“You’ve dressed smarter than me.” Yaz shrugs suddenly feeling out of place and insecure. 

“Honestly Yaz you look amazin’.” Jess grins. “Wait- hold on.” 

Seeing that Yaz is a little uncomfortable Jess removes her blazer jacket and chucks it onto the bonnet of her car. Next she pulls a face while she undoes her bowtie and throws that away too. She uncuffs her sleeves, rolls them up three quarters of the way up her arms, then gives herself a minimum of fifteen chins as she undoes the top two buttons of her white shirt.

“Better?” She asks. 

“Better.” Yaz agrees. She looks more casual. Less like she’s just come from a big meeting and more like they’re going out for a meal.

“Are you two going to leave anytime soon or-” Bill starts, making her way into the hallway but she stops dead in her tracks when she sees Jess standing there with her hands in her pockets. She pauses.

“Hi.” Jess greets her with a little tilt of her chin.

“I get it now. I get why you’re sleeping with that. Good luck.” Bill pats Yaz’s shoulder twice and then returns to the sofa where she’ll probably stay for the next few hours. 

“Come on.” Yaz says to Jess.

Jess’ car looks old and battered on the outside but it’s comfy enough on the inside. Sitting in the passenger seat waiting for Jess to put her blazer jacket and bowtie in the back Yaz notices how the air inside the shell of metal smells of her. She’s got what must be every single air freshener she’s ever used hanging from her rearview mirror but either way the mix still smells good. Jess joins her in the driver's seat and pulls away from the curb. 

“You told her.” Jess sighs over Bill’s presence.

“I needed her help.” Yaz says. “Stop us from falling into habit and having sex when you drop me back.” She mumbles her addition. 

“Fair enough.” Jess nods, keeping her eyes on the road. “I’ve booked a table at a restaurant in the next town over. Just in case you think I’m kidnapping you or something.”

“Why the next town over?” Yaz asks.

“I don’t want any students seeing us.” Jess says. 

“Fairs.”

Silence between them. Just the hum of the car engine and Jess’ squeaky brakes. Yaz is okay sitting in the quiet. She’s alright with just the two of them sitting together, however it’s obvious that Jess isn’t.

“I’m sorry, this is more awkward than it should be because of my big mouth this morning.” Jess says, thoroughly disappointed in herself. 

“It’s okay Jess.”

“But it’s not, I should have just asked you out like a normal person without saying… you know.” Jess shrugs. 

“Then pretend you never said it.” Yaz says. “Pretend that we are just… I don’t know.”

Jess is quiet for the rest of the drive, both of them listening to the radio instead. Bill asks Yaz through a text how it’s going and even though it’s premature in the evening to ask that Yaz replies telling her how they’re driving in silence and how she’s feeling. Once they have something to talk about- not sex or work like agreed- the night will probably go a lot more smoothly.

They park a couple of streets away in the car park that’s free. Even though Yaz offers to pay for closer parking Jess refuses to let her and insists that it’ll be nice to walk together. The main difference between this town and the one Yaz and Jess live in is that it is clearly a wealthier place. Posher shops, fancier looking cafes and restaurants lining the approaching highstreet, supermarket stores that Yaz could only dream to be able to afford to do weekly food shops at. As they walk Jess gives her a verbal walking history tour of the town and even though Yaz doesn’t really care about it she’s enamoured by her enthusiasm and asks questions and entertains her knowledgeable speech. They pass several pubs that Yaz guesses they might go into and then a nandos which she definitely wouldn’t doubt Jess bringing her to but they cross the street and Jess gestures at the fancy looking restaurant in front of them.

“Here?” Yaz asks.

“Yeah.” Jess’ smile gets knocked off her lips. “Is there a problem with it, did I choose the wrong place?”

“No, it’s great Jess, it just looks expensive.” 

“I’m paying for your meal, you don’t have to worry about that.” Jess opens the door and with her hand on the small of her back Yaz doesn’t have the chance to argue against it. 

They get sat by the waiter at a table for two hidden away in a corner of the dimly lit restaurant and handed fancy menus bound in a leather casing. They get asked if they want to hear the wine specials but Jess orders an apple juice and Yaz orders water which quite frankly takes the suited waiter by surprise. They probably make half their profits from pushing overpriced alcohol. 

“Why’d you choose this place?” Yaz asks once they’re left alone. 

“Recommendation.” Jess shrugs and leans back in her chair and Yaz has to stop herself from getting turned on by the simple action and how she looks doing it. “And apparently even though it’s posh they don’t serve up those tiny portions.”

“I hate it when they do that.” Yaz grimaces.

“I know right! Tiny portion for a big price, I’d rather go to a fast food joint.” 

“Why didn’t you take me to a fast food joint?” Yaz asks.

“First of all I knew you’d protest it being healthy ‘n all that.” Jess smiles. “Secondly you deserve more than shitty fast food.” 

“So this is where the flattery begins?” Yaz teases. 

“I- I can stop if I’m making you uncomfortable.” Jess becomes small and insecure in where she sits and Yaz takes pity on her. How can she not when she looks like that?

“I like it when you flatter me.” Yaz says, leaning forward and unintentionally letting the tealight candle light her facial features. “More than when you shout at me.”

Their conversation is paused as the waiter places their drinks in front of a blushing Jess and easily amused Yaz. They thank the man- probably a bit older than Yaz but not as old as Jess- and ask for a few more minutes to choose their food. 

“If I could meet you all over again I would do it differently.” Jess says. 

“Differently how?” Yaz asks, picking up the menu again.

“I wouldn’t be such a dick. I wish I could just...” Jess adjusts her posture and extends her arm over the table. “Hi, I’m Doctor Smith but you can call me Jess.” 

Yaz gently pushes Jess’ arm hand away. “You’ve seen me naked Jess. I think we're past the point of being able to do that.”

“Are you a starter girl or a dessert girl.” Jess asks, but then instantly looks up from the page she’s looking at. “I take that back, you don’t eat sugar.” 

“I’d share one with you but then you don’t share food.” Yaz says. “Maybe we should both break the status quo for once.”

“Good song that.” 

“Huh?” Yaz smiles to cover up that she’s lost to what her date is talking about. 

“Stick to the Status Quo, it’s a song from High School Musical.” 

“I’ve never seen it.” Yaz says. 

“You’ve never-!” Jess rolls her whole body back like she’s about to faint. “Oh my god, order and then I’ll enlighten you.” 

Yaz orders a fancy sounding risotto from the wide selection of dishes and Jess goes for a ‘gourmet burger’ which Yaz guesses is just going to be a regular burger but made with fancier ingredients, and then the next story for Jess’ mouth comes out.

Through their entire main course and the wait for it Jess outlines the plot and the songs for the first High School Musical film. If the way she explains it is the same way she teaches Yaz can see how students fall in love with her. She sits, eats, asks questions, laughs until their plates are being cleared and they’re being handed the menus again to pick out a desert. 

“And that’s why Gabriella and Troy are actually the villains of the series, not Sharpay and Ryan.” Jess concludes with a matter of pride behind her voice. Yaz just sits and smiles at her, wondering if she's realised a whole chunk of their evening has passed them by. “Oh- shit have I done that thing again?”

“What thing?” Yaz asks. 

“I have, haven’t I, I start talking about meaningless things when I’m nervous.” Jess holds her head in her hands.

“Why are you so nervous around me Jess?” Yaz asks, reaching over and making sure her sleeve doesn’t fall into the little candle and burn while she rips Jess’ hands away from her face. “You confident when your dick’s ins-”

“No sex talk, you’re breaking the rules.” Jess doesn’t let her finish her sentence. “It’s because I know what I’m doing in bed with you whereas I’ve never felt…”

“I know.” Yaz nods sympathetically. “Concentrate on what you want for pudding.”

They order the hot brownie with ice cream and two spoons. No matter how up market a restaurant is they will always have a brownie on the dessert menu, even if they do make it try and sound posher. Yaz realises while they’re eating off the same plate that she hasn’t acknowledged how she’s been feeling this entire evening, and that actually that’s because deep down she knows she feels content. Obviously she won’t properly note right now that she’s comfortable and at ease with the Doctor because it will most certainly freak herself out and the rest of the evening will be ruined by her overthinking it. But it’s there for her to face when she gets home.

“You know whoever gets handed the bill is the top.” Yaz teases as they wait for the requested bill to come over. 

“No sex talk.” Jess reminds her of the rule for the second time tonight. The waiter arrives with the bill on a tiny tray accompanied by a couple of mints and places it in front of Jess, who asks for the card machine then looks up at Yaz as smug as anything. “Actually, you were saying?”

“Just a theory anyway, it’s not been proven.” Yaz says. 

Jess continues to look smug as she pays and asks the server how to add a tip and only when she steps out into the cold night air does the look get wiped off her face. It is cold and everyone else who’s out tonight has clearly had the sense to book a taxi to pick them up right outside the door.

“Freezin’ out here.” Jess says, her lips already starting to turn blue. 

“Should’ve brought your jacket.” Yaz says, leaning into her side and not pulling back away, making sure they’re walking in close proximity to each other. She can almost feel Jess’ heart pounding through her shirt.

“You sound like my mum.” Jess laughs through her nose. 

“What’s your mum’s name?” Yaz asks. In some ways she can’t believe they’ve got this far on a first date without talking about personal lives. 

“Sarah Jane.” Jess smiles absently to herself. “She was a journalist.”

“Is she the one who covered the-”

“Astronomy section with Professor Brian Cox, yeah. She was.” Jess takes another moment for herself. “Um, she’s gone now. Just me and John left.” 

“I’m sorry.” Yaz says, feeling her features soften and blush against the cold air.

“Not your fault.” Jess smiles again. “What’s your mum’s name?”

“Najia.” Yaz says. “She’s a hotel manager.”

“Yaz’s mum the hotel manager.” Jess grins. “I’d like to meet her one day.”

“Why, so you can find out where she bought that dildo?”

“Absolutely.” Jess laughs. 

Yaz decides she likes her laugh. It’s joyful, sweet and honest and tickles her eardrums beautifully, warming the pit of her stomach as well. They walk quietly side by side through the highstreet lit by street lamps and the glow from inside restaurants they pass. Knuckles brush knuckles and soon enough Yaz takes the initiative and loosely holds Jess' hand. Once again, it feels different. All the other times she’s held her hand like this she’s either in the midst of her own orgasm or with her head stuck between blushing thighs but now they’re just walking together, happy in the quiet. 

“Do you think it might rain again?” Jess asks, tilting her head up. Yaz follows suit looking up at the grey starless sky; the glow of the moon barely pushing through the clouds.

“Probably.” Yaz sighs wistfully. “Better get me home Doctor Smith.”

“I don’t want Bill to lecture me.” Jess sighs in a similar manner. At the same time she holds Yaz’s hand tighter. Yaz leans into her again, sharing a little bit of body warmth as they walk back to the car park perhaps a little slower than a normal pair of colleagues would.

Jess drives back with Yaz’s hand on her thigh and the two of them chatting away about the annoying similarities John and Sonya have between them. In their quiet pauses for Jess to deal with idiots on the road and roundabouts Yaz takes the time to acknowledge how at ease she feels. She’s spending time with Jess and for once she doesn’t want to drag her up to bed after. She’s at peace with having to leave her on the road outside her house and see her again on Monday. However, by the end of the ride home Jess gets out with Yaz and walks her up to the door. To ‘make sure she’s safe’ she claims, although Bill can probably see her from the window and Jess can certainly watch from the road. 

“So…” Jess shuffles on her feet on the doorstep.

“I enjoyed spending time with you.” Yaz says. Both of them keep their voices quiet to not be overheard by neighbours or a prying lunch lady.

“Me too.” Jess tries to hide her smile by looking down at her boots.

“Thank you for a great evening.” Yaz says. It sounds too polite, too formal. Like something you’d tell your boss after a staff night out and her own words embarrass her. “Forget I said-”

Jess kisses Yaz’s cheek. Yaz takes Jess’ blushing face in her hands when she pulls away and makes her kiss her properly on the lips. Nothing too long, nothing too deep but something. A dangerous move overall as Jess gets a little excited and tries to make it more than what it is, but Yaz is able to stop. She curls the little baby hairs at the back of her neck around her finger to let Jess recover her brain cells. 

“I’ll see you on Monday, Doctor Smith.” Yaz lets her go.

“Goodnight, Miss Khan.” Jess smiles politely and nods.

Yaz starts to close the door as her date walks away but pauses when she sees Jess punch the air and grin to herself. 

“I can still see you Jess.” Yaz says. 

“‘Kay.” Jess coughs, shoving her hands in her pockets to stop herself from doing another performance of elation.

Yaz watches a few seconds longer then forces herself to close the door on her date. The moment she does, the dulcet tones of ‘Careless Whisper’ start floating through from her living room.

“Stop it.” Yaz says. Bill just comes out into the hallway using her phone as the base of an invisible saxophone. “You’re annoying.”

“That looked like it went well.” Bill laughs, giving up her free performance and switching off the music. 

“It did.” Yaz unknowingly bites her lip and she shrugs off her jacket. 

“You’ve got it bad girl.” Bill crosses her arms across her chest- smug.

“What? No I don’t.” She kicks off her boots. 

“You’re falling in love with Doctor Arrogance.”

“She’s not arrogant.” Yaz leaps to Jess’ defense.

“See.” Her friend smirks. “Never would have said that a few months ago.”

“She was nice to me.” Yaz smiles and shrugs. “She paid for my food too and she entertained me. Conversation didn’t run dry once.” 

“She’s trying to buy your love.” Bill attempts to contradict her. 

“No she’s not she’s just… trying.” 

“And is it working?” Bill says.

Yaz rolls her eyes and sighs, unwilling to fight anymore, and heads upstairs to bed. “Goodnight Bill.” 

“I ate all your snacks that weren’t rodent food by the way!” Bill shouts after her. 

“You can replace them with the ten quid Ryan owes you!”


Yaz’s good mood that Jess has left her in carries her through the weekend and into Monday morning. The smell of smoke hasn’t quite left L13 yet, as she and the rest of the staff are informed in the Monday briefing, and her tutor group get shuffled into the empty lab next door instead. Everyone, and she means everyone , is talking about the fire. Walking through the school you can’t go more than five steps without hearing a different conversation about it so it makes sense that her tutor group doesn’t want to talk about anything else. Yaz lets them indulge in it, her theory being that if they talk about it now they won’t talk about it in lessons and consequently be disruptive. Doctor Smith enters with just as much cheer carrying a plastic tray full of exercise books. Yaz has already forewarned her group of teenagers not to mention the incident to Doctor Smith since it ‘might still be a touchy subject’. Of course Yaz knows it is a touchy subject, but she wouldn’t let that on.

“Good weekend Miss Khan?” Doctor Smith asks, resting the big plastic box on the teachers desk and leaning on it with her arms folded. 

“Yeah really good.” Yaz smiles at her then turns to the computer to pretend to busy herself. “I went on a date.”

“You went on a date?” Even though she’s looking at the screen, Yaz can see Doctor Smith raise an eyebrow.

“Really handsome guy.” Yaz turns back to her, scraping her teeth against her bottom lip to tease without the students knowing. “Wore a nice suit, took me out to dinner, didn’t try anything- you know. A proper gentleman.” 

“Good for you.” Doctor Smith smiles as the bell for next period rings through the school. Yaz gives her group the nod to leave but so enthralled in listening in on the conversation they’re very slow to move. “Will you see him again?”

“I think so. I’m just waiting for him to give me details.” 

The two of them watch the last few stragglers leave the classroom wishing them a good day and waiting for the door to close behind the last child.

“You meant me right?” Doctor Smith asks hurriedly.

“Yes- I thought that was obvious.” Yaz laughs. 

“But you used male pronouns?” Doctor Smith scowls at her.

“So the students think I’m dating literally anyone but you.” Yaz says softly, leaning into Doctor Smith’s personal space over the desk just to be double sure that she hears. 

“We’re dating now?” Doctor Smith’s eyebrows fly up into her hairline. 

“I want to give it a go.” Yaz admits, softly nodding.

“With the handsome stranger?” 

“With you, you idiot.” Yaz pokes her in the shoulder. To drag out the time Jess has to cover up her excitement Yaz gathers up everything she needs for the day and gently strolls around the teachers desk. “Have a good day.” She pecks Jess’ cheek.

“Don’t do that.” The Doctor grabs her wrist firmly to keep her in place. Her voice is low and on the verge of recklessness. 

“Why not?” Yaz asks (her voice not as controlled).

“Don’t do that when I’m trying so hard to respect you and not to kiss you back.” 

“You can kiss me whenever you like.” Yaz kinks her eyebrow. Immediately she feels bad as she reminds herself that this woman has laid out her true feelings and by teasing her she’s stamping all over them.

But with the way Jess assertively kisses her, Yaz doesn’t think she’s done any harm at all. Her back hits a desk when she tries to balance herself and one of Jess’ legs sits comfortable between her thighs. 

“I’ve missed your body.” Jess mumbles. 

“It’s been three days.” Yaz breathes out the words while she can. 

“Three too many.”

Jess is on her again like a shot wanting to create an imprint of Yaz’s lips on her own to place in her memory bank until the next time they get a chance to go on a date. Yaz doesn’t mind because even though she’s firm and needy she’s also moving so intensely it feels like every second lasts a minute. Hands hold onto sides, both pairs forcing themselves to stay at a respectable height and Yaz makes the mistake of humming against her lovers lips and Jess gasps against her in response, making a lightning strike of heat shoot straight between her legs. It also makes the situation look dirtier than it is when an elderly supply teacher walks in without warning.

“Oh! Dear, that’s, uh, I’m so sorry I’ll just…” 

He scuttles off, obviously not having got the memo about Doctor Smith taking over this room for a couple of days. Doctor Smith who is currently pacing back and forth blowing out her cheeks with her hands on her own hips. 

“I need to get to my year eights.” Yaz excuses herself, ignoring how they’ve just been caught. Thank the stars above it was just a kiss. 

“Yup.” Jess nods, her voice taut.

“And you should check to see… see if you just gave that poor old man a heart attack.” Yaz adds. 

“Me? If he dies in the next few days it’s on both of us!” 

“Calm down Jess.” Yaz is forced to take her by the shoulders. 

“I can’t calm down when you’re in front of me.” Jess shakes her head. “I can’t-”

“Okay, I’ll leave! I’ll leave.” Yaz backs away, not knowing whether to find this situation funny or concerning. Jess stands looking sorry for herself. “Just make sure he knows it’s not… that I’m- we’re…”

“A thing?” Jess asks. Yaz feels her voice get stuck in her throat. She doesn’t want to say yes yet, but it’s obvious to the both of them now that it isn’t just sex like first believed. “I’ll sort it.” Jess speaks for her instead, letting Yaz leave. 


Their second date is not as extravagant as their first. It simply involves Jess sitting in the PE department office with Yaz eating their lunch together while they have the time. Everyone else in the department is busy or on break duty and apparently Jess eats lunch on her own otherwise so no one is going to be asking where she is. Yaz finds it a little bit sad when she hears that. 

“Crisp?” Jess offers up her packet. If they were simply salted Yaz might have taken one but  they look and smell like they’re smothered in an artificial flavoring dust. 

“You know there’s usually more oil in a packet of those than actual potatoes, right?” Yaz denies her offer.

“Alright, spoil sport.” Jess rolls her eyes at her but doesn’t force her to share food.

“What do you have next lesson?” Yaz asks. 

“Double year ten. Practical.” Jess says, trying hard not to spit food at Yaz. 

“Should I be worried for your safety?”

“Not this time, I promise.” Jess smiles at her brightly. “What do you have?”

“Free then a games period- might just let them run around and do what they want, and then boxing club.”

“Can I come to boxing club?” Jess asks. 

“No. You’ll distract me.” Yaz says. Jess looks very not-so-secretly pleased with that reason. “Hey, what do you think of valentine's day?” Yaz changes the subject.

“In general or the idea of spending it with you?”

“Both.” Yaz clarifies. It’s a bold move to request both answers but she’s intrigued to know. 

“In general it’s just a way for businesses to make money by capitalizing off of a beautiful and vulnerable human emotion so I hate it.” Jess shrugs and takes a bite of her hot panini she got from the canteen. “But a valentine's day with you? I suppose it could be bearable.”

“Are you sure you want to use the word bearable when I’m asking you out?” Yaz reveals her real intentions of asking. Maybe she should have been more straightforward since Jess is scrunching every muscle in her face up at her. 

“Wait, that was you asking me out on a date on valentine’s day?” Jess chokes on her food. “I did not- I didn’t think- I wasn’t-”

“Doctor Smith.” Yaz says firmly. 

“Yeah?” Jess gulps. 

“What do you want to do for valentines day with me?” Yaz asks. 

“I…” Jess continues to frown at her as she sits back in Mr Pink’s chair. “I want to know what your invitation means.”

“I just told you.” Yaz starts to frown herself, using all her willpower to not start an argument since they’ve managed almost a week without one.

“No, I want to know what it means about us.” Jess says. Judging by her tone and body language, it’s actually a demand. 

Yaz shuffles her wheeled chair a couple of steps across the little office until their knees bash together. She makes sure Jess is looking her dead in the eye before saying the next part. 

“I want to spend more time with you Jess.” Yaz says. She’s never felt herself be so honest before, not even when she came out to her parents. 

“So you can make up your mind? Yaz you either like me or you don’t.”

“I really like you.” Yaz says. “I really do and I’m sure of that much.”

Her answer seems to pacify the other woman into silence again, giving her the chance to chomp down on her panini and evade eye contact for a bit to gather her own thoughts. . 

“So if you don’t like material gifts, what would you like?” Yaz asks. 

“You don’t have to get me anything Yaz.”

“I know, that’s why I’m asking.” Yaz says. Once again Jess looks at her with pure confusion. Yaz resists rolling her eyes at her and tries to be patient as she explains. “I want to cook you dinner, I want to chill out on my sofa and watch a film with you. I want to do whatever you want as a gift to you. Kind of. I dunno I feel kind of stupid now.” 

Once the ever bright Doctor Smith realises what Yaz is getting on about she only needs to take a couple of seconds to come to a conclusion. Yaz can see that she knows what she wants on her face but her lips stay tightly sealed with not so much of an inkling of a suggestion 

“...dance.”

“Huh?” Yaz has to ask her to speak up.

“Lap dance.” Jess says timidly.

Yaz’s automatic response is to scoff. “I think you’re overestimating my physical abilities Jess.” 

“I’ve thought about it.” Jess admits. Her confidence is slowly coming back to her and soon enough Yaz wouldn’t doubt it to turn into cockiness. 

“You have?” Yaz raises an eyebrow in surprise. 

“Dreamt it once and I couldn’t shake it.” Jess says. Yaz was right. She’s gone all cocky.

“You dream about me?” Yaz places her hand on her knee to see if she can make her flinch. She doesn’t.

“All the time.” Jess smirks. “Makes it very hard to get out of bed in the morning.” 

The moment Jess says the word ‘hard’ Yaz shakes her head in disbelief of her brazenness and lunges forward to kiss her. Thankfully the creak of the old door who’s hinges have been rusted for years gives away that they’re not alone anymore, and Yaz diverts to finding something on the desk behind Jess to reach for. It makes Yaz wish she never ended up getting the lab's old door replaced. 

“No scissoring in the PE office ladies. Keep that business in the science department.” Danny says. 

“Shut up Danny we’re just having lunch.” Yaz says, reaching into Jess’ open packet of crisps and forcing herself to eat it while she pushes her chair back to the opposite desk. 

“Why’s there a science teacher here anyway, this is sacred land?” Danny asks, partially teasing and fetching his bagel from the mini fridge. 

“We’re planning.” Jess says. 

“Planning what?” Danny asks. Yaz says a little prayer that Jess might have the brains not to tell him they’re planning their valentines evening together. 

“Our next publicity stunt.” Jess says. Yaz lets out a little inaudible sigh of relief. “I think Yaz deserves a good thrashing.” The Doctor moves her eyes to Yaz, all innocent on the outside but Yaz understands what she really means. 

“You wish.” Yaz snaps back. “You won’t beat me again.” She adds to go along with the lie. 

“We’re one all, someone’s got to come out on top.” Jess says.

Yaz shakes her head at her blatant euphemisms that are lost on Danny, the poor man. 

“It’s cross country Thursday next week. Why don’t you compete in that.” Danny suggests. He’s making his way to the door again and in an attempt to get just her and Doctor Smith alone again Yaz agrees to it and suddenly, the two of them are signed up to race each other next Thursday.

“I guess we’re running cross country now.” Yaz shrugs now that they’re alone. 

“Bring it on.” Jess says, sensing that her lunch time with Yaz is coming to a natural close. “I have good stamina for long distances.”

“You’re ridiculous.” Yaz scoffs lightheartedly. 

“You’re going down.” Jess says as she gets up to leave.

“You wish I was.” Yaz makes her voice go low and raspy. 

“You know it babe.” Jess winks then pauses- both of them carefully considering her choice of words. “Sorry I… I didn’t think I was going to say that, that’s… odd.” Jess runs her tongue over her teeth as if the word has a bad taste to it. 

“I kind of like it.” Yaz stands to recklessly leave a small kiss on Jess’ cheekbone. Somehow despite the entire hidden conversation they had right in front of Yaz’s department boss, this is what makes Jess blush bright red. “I’ll see you later.” 

“Yaz what I said about what I wanted to do-”

“It’s okay Jess.”

“-you don’t actually have to do it.” Jess says. “I don’t want to push you into anything you don’t want to do because of what you know about me feeling…” 

“You’re not the best with words are you?” Yaz can’t help but grin at her. She doesn’t mean to tease or take the piss out of her but the way she can go from knowing what she wants to backtracking the second she thinks Yaz might be uncomfortable flatters her more than she ever thought someone could. “I think you’re more stuck up on the fact you said it than I am.” 

“I don’t want to end up arguing with you again.” Jess mumbles. 

“We’re doing alright so far.” Yaz drapes her arms over her shoulders and nudges their noses together. Something so intimate in a setting it should never be in. 

“Yeah?” Jess whispers with her lips curling into a gentle smile. 

“Yeah. I think so.” Yaz nods. 

She kisses her then with her hands stroking the back of her neck. Going cold turkey could never be an option and they learnt that on Monday but every day gets more and more difficult to keep their hands off of each other. Even the way Jess hesitantly cups her cheek makes her heart flutter like it never has before and in this moment, Yaz lets herself fall a little for Jessica Smith. 

“Forgot my-” Danny gets cut short halfway through the door. Still wrapped up in their moment and the emotions that come with it Jess attempts to keep her forehead pressed against Yaz’s head as the latter turns to face her boss and remove how her arms are holding the scientist. Even though he only made a joke about it a couple of minutes ago Danny genuinely looks surprised to catch the two of them like this. “You weren’t talking about cross country running were you?”

“Mention this to anyone and I’ll get Clara to chop off your balls while you sleep.” Jess threatens. 

Danny takes his previously forgotten water bottle from the side and turns away. “I didn’t see anything.”

Chapter Text

Instead of calling it a school they should call it a gossip factory. Thanks to whoever it was that spilled the beans Yaz can’t be seen around Doctor Smith anymore and Doctor Smith can’t be anywhere near Yaz. Students don’t openly tease, they whisper and whispering distracts from learning. The two of them are also under the watchful eye of their superiors, so even if they could steal a moment in an empty classroom or staff office it’s not worth the risk of being caught again. Their abstinence of each other is taking its toll with the two women clearly missing each other, but Jess is still unable to bring herself to have casual sex with Yaz. Her emotional welfare comes before any other needs so it’s safe to say Yaz has had to resort to a lot of ‘me, myself and I’ time for the sake of not upsetting Jess.

Still, not being around Jess has had an undeniable effect on Yaz’s moods and it’s starting to seep into how she teaches. She’s distracted and her students are taking advantage of her inability to keep her lessons under control. Right now she’s attempting to teach some basketball to her year ten class: passing techniques, where to aim to hit against the backboard and score, the lines on the court and the rules. She sets them up to do dribbling and passing exercises and makes the mistake of leaving them to it while she blanks out, imagining if Doctor Smith is struggling to concentrate as badly as she is. Everyone takes the opportunity to slack off and chat, only half-heartedly doing what they’ve been told.

“Everyone hold your balls still.” Yaz commands when she comes back around to the scene in front of her so she can speak without interruption. Of course in this group of fourteen to fifteen year olds some boys decide to interpret her instruction another way. “Very funny.” Yaz sighs at them and holds her own arms across her chest and waits for the childish moment to end. In her head she’s adding up the time and it will eat into their break if they don’t hurry up. The sound of a basketball falling onto tarmac draws her attention as there’s a scuffle to try and pick it up without notice. “Five laps.” Yaz orders. 

The kids mumble and some roll their eyes but they do as they’re told. Knowing that it might actually have just been a mistake, Yaz resets the overtime they have to do and gives them back their break time. To a lot of them, running is enough of a punishment. 

“You’re so uptight today Miss.” Adam, one of the renowned trouble makers of this class, attempts to lighten up the mood once everyone is back standing where they started. 

“Wouldn’t have to be if you all just did what I say.” Yaz shrugs, smiling small and politely. Just enough to say ‘I’m on your side until you play up’.

“Is Doctor Smith not giving it to you good enough at home-”

“Shut up man!” One of Adam’s mates tries to kick his shin.

“After school detention for you. Ten laps of the perimeter for everyone.” 

This time, everyone audibly groans to show their disgust.

“Do you put Doctor Smith in detention too Miss?” Adam continues to smirk. 

Yaz has to pull on every ounce of self restraint, her good nature and overall teacher training not to deck the kid then and there. 

“Miss Noble’s office. Now.” Yaz says, her voice much calmer than she thought it would be.

“Whoa- wait it’s Mr Pink first.” He protests, suddenly realising that the line he’s crossed is a good few steps behind him. 

“Why? So you can play the system and get off easily? So you don’t have to face proper punishment for your blatant disregard of your teachers? You are year ten, I expect you to have learnt the meaning of respect towards staff by now. You are taking this subject for a GCSE qualification and at the moment I am the one with the power to either kick you off the course or move you to a class without all your friends. Do you understand?” Yaz says. 

“But Miss it was just a joke.” 

“Jokes are supposed to be funny. Look at your classmates now.” Yaz makes him look at the twenty nine other students running around in the cold, fueled purely by their hate for their classmate making them do this. “Are they laughing?”

“No Miss.” He mumbles.

“Miss Noble’s office and be glad I’m not handing you over to Mr Retsam.”

“He always finds out anyway.” Adam mumbles as he heads out of the courts and towards the main building when he can then cut across the canteen to get to Donna’s office. 

Donna has a policy so deeply ingrained in the school that students know if they’ve been sent to her office they have to go straight there. No dawdling, no hiding in the toilets because they’ll get found out and their punishment will be worse. They just somehow all conform without complaint or rebellion. Yaz quickly calls up the office to leave a message while her class is still doing laps, informing the headmistress that there’s going to be a student waiting outside her office, then attempts to go back to teaching. 

 

The interaction plays on her mind the rest of the day. News travels fast and a couple more students ask her if it’s true that someone said something distasteful but Yaz ignores them for the sake of her own sanity. The whole debacle throws whatever concentration she had left and it makes the rest of her work day harder. When school is over and she finally gets to sit down in the PE office after marking two tallies under her name on the whiteboard (she had two students ‘forget’ their kit today) not even then she can rest. There’s an orange slip sitting on the desk with her name on, summoning her to Donna’s office. Pushing herself to her feet, wanting nothing more than to just go home and eat snacks and a hot meal, Yaz takes herself to the office. 

Inside sits Donna on one side of her desk and Adam on the other looking sheepish.

“Miss Noble.” Yaz greets her boss. 

“Just waiting for-” Donna starts but the door opens and she doesn’t have to explain. 

Doctor Smith sees Yaz first and smiles at her before remembering this isn’t one of their rendezvous and they’re certainly not alone. Yaz gets that familiar yet uncertain feeling in her gut when she sees Doctor Smith in a work capacity. It’s like she’s conditioned to brace herself in case the Doctor starts to pick an argument with her but at the same time she knows the real Jess outside of work and how she wouldn’t do that to her- at least not anymore. It’s a proper conflict of interest all happening inside her gut.

“What’s this about?” Doctor Smith carefully closes the door behind her and comes to a standstill next to Yaz. Just having her in her vicinity makes Yaz want to touch her; a hand hold, a brush of their knuckles, anything, and it makes her realise how much she’s been missing her contact. 

“Do you want to explain or should Miss Khan?” Donna gives the teenager the option. While Adam and Donna whisper their debate as to what should happen, Doctor Smith nudges Yaz’s arm with her elbow. 

“Are we in trouble?” Jess whispers, quieter than the two others in the room. Yaz shakes her head as if to say ‘I dealt with it’ and after that Yaz forces herself to tear her eyes away and wait. She doesn’t want to risk drawing attention to them both. 

“Miss Khan please enlighten us as to why we’re all here and not getting on with our afternoons.” Donna says, finally.

Yaz takes a deep inhale to steady her emotions and starts to talk, her words directly spoken to Doctor Smith. “Adam here commented on my mood as I was teaching his class today and decided to be funny, asking if you weren't ‘giving it to me enough at home’. I put him in detention and obviously not getting the gist he then decided to ask in an inappropriate sexual context if I ever put you in detention.”

“I’m very offended by that.” Doctor Smith says then she has to take a moment to pause and plan out what she wants to say in her head. “What on Earth possessed you to make those comments?” She asks.

“Heard some rumors.” Adam mumbles. 

“Rumors.” Doctor Smith laughs. Yaz is tempted to place her hand on her shoulder to try and keep her calm but suspecting that it’s too late and any comforting contact between the two of them might not help, all Yaz can do is fold her arms across her chest and look at the floor. “Always bloody rumors. You know feeding into them doesn’t get you anywhere right? It’s teenage stupidity.”

“I’m sorry, I was just trying to joke around with my friends.”

“So Doctor Smith and I just exist to serve as the butt of your jokes?” Yaz asks, lifting her head and making her stare as glassy and cold as possible.

The air grows thick around them all homing in on the cornered teen with nowhere to run. He fucked up. Yaz knows he fucked up. Doctor Smith knows he fucked up, Donna knows he fucked up, it’s just a matter of getting him himself to admit it. 

“It is so hard to teach and give people the education they deserve when all they can do when they look at you is think about what may or may not be happening in your private life.” Doctor Smith says, her voice and overall body language a lot calmer than before. “Your jokes aren’t helping.” 

“It’s unacceptable Adam. You’ll be placed in internal exclusion tomorrow as a lesson to all other students that might think making comments like that are acceptable. Report to the isolation room first thing tomorrow.” Donna says. Her word is final and Adam timidly apologises as he gets up and leaves under the watchful eye of the three teachers. 

“Did he really say all that?” Doctor Smith asks Yaz the second the heavy door shuts.

“Yeah, he did.” Yaz confirms. 

“Little shit.” Doctor Smith mumbles. 

“Are you both content with his punishment?” Donna asks them. “I think you did the right thing Yaz, sending him to me. His parents will know of his behaviour too.” 

“He was so convinced he would only be sent to only Mr Pink.” Yaz scoffs. “Sometimes they get so used to the system they just…” Yaz shakes her head and scoffs, restricting herself from calling her student a cocky little wanker or some other word she shouldn’t be calling young students.

“You do seem a bit tense. Is everything okay between you?” Donna asks, intrigue dancing in her eyes alongside a tiny glint of hunger for gossip.

“We’re fine.” Doctor Smith says on her behalf. “Nothing that can affect work.”

“Sure? Yaz?” Their boss asks, wanting to hear both sides of the story.

“Sure.” Yaz forces herself to smile then turns to Doctor Smith. “I might need a quick word with you though Jess. If you don’t mind.” 

“Oka-”

“Oh, don’t mind me, you can talk in here if you like. More soundproof than a lab and I have a staff meeting anyway.” Donna gets up out of her seat gathering up papers and files that she needs to take with her. “Don’t worry about locking the door when you leave. If you do anything nasty on my desk you’re both fired.” 

Donna’s ‘joke’ hits a sore spot within both of them but for the sake of saving face they both laugh through their noses and smile as she leaves. However, their silence doesn’t completely leave with her, making Yaz feel uneasy, stirring up those feelings in her gut again.

“Not really doing much of that at the moment.” Jess mutters to herself and leans back against Donna’s desk. She’s doing that polite smile thing that Yaz can’t decide whether it makes her want to kiss her or punch her. “What did you want to say to me?” 

In her uneasy state, Yaz lightly balls her hand into a fist in front of her mouth so her lips kiss her knuckles when she speaks. “I miss you.” She mumbles.

“Is that it?” Jess asks. Yaz shrugs, insecure in what she might want to say next. “C’mere.” Jess tilts her chin up.

“Why?” 

“Come here.” Jess says again, her voice firm and almost scary and her hand reaching for Yaz’s wrist to pull her hand away from her face. 

Without much of a choice. Yaz ends up walking in between Jess’ legs where she sits on the head teachers desk. When their hold each other and Jess’ other arm wraps around her waist Yaz panics. 

“Jess, there are students-”

“It’s one way windows. We can see out, they can’t see in.” Jess reassures her. 

Yaz looks out the tinted window to check for herself to ease her conscience. There’s still a steady flow of students leaving the premises wandering past. Jess watches too with her neck turned at such an angle that Yaz is expecting it to crack any second but even if it does they’re both too distracted by the vein demonstration a group of year eleven boys and girls are giving them. They fix their hair and unbutton the top couple of buttons of their shirts and even use the window to apply some make up. The two teachers inside try not to laugh at them but under the illusion that they’re hidden away from the world a couple of giggles come out to reveal their amusement. Suddenly much more comfortable, Yaz lets her spare hand rest on top of Jess’ sturdy shoulder and mindlessly starts brushing her thumb over her collarbone.

“How do you do that with your eyes?” Jess asks; her attention firmly back on Yaz. 

“Do what?” Yaz asks back. She doesn’t remember doing anything with her eyes. 

“That thing where you make them all... hardcore. It’s kind of attractive.” 

“You like it when I’m strict?” Yaz smirks with playful innocence. 

“Little bit.” Jess chews her lip. “Or maybe I’m just so deprived of your attention I can’t think right.” 

Yaz’s thumb stills. She wishes they were better at just telling each other how they feel. If they were, they probably would have spent more time together rather than end up getting openly frustrated at the lack of contact with each other. Ignoring the sounds of students outside Yaz kisses her softly. Maybe it’s because she feels sorry for her or maybe she can’t stand the idea of leaving this room without doing it but it’s a relief that Jess kisses her back- even if she does then cut it short. 

“What are you doing?” Jess whispers, unknowingly telling Yaz that she’s more nervous than she looks.

Yaz rather indelicately swings her leg over Jess’ leg and pushes her body in closer to her. “I’m putting you in detention.” 

“You’re fantastic Miss Khan.” Jess grins, switching from nervous to being unable to contain herself. 

“I haven’t done anything to you yet.” Yaz smiles with her eyes through her lashes. “Also why are you calling me that?” She pulls away when she realises the way Jess referred to her.

“I thought you liked it?” Jess frowns.

“Since when?” Yaz frowns back.

“Since you said you were putting me in detention, I thought it was a whole roleplay thing? Not student teacher though, that’s gross, just teacher teacher.” Jess explains, grinning at how smart she thinks she’s being. “Because we’re teachers!”

“No I was referencing when- never mind just-” Taking the hint, Jess pulls in the collar of Yaz’s polo shirt and seals her into a committed wanton kiss. Yaz lets all of her frustration and anger of the day out on her partner, knowing she can take it even if she does dig her nails into her back every time Yaz gets a bit rough. 

“Yaz.” Jess strains her name through her teeth.

“What?”

“Weird Scottish janitor.”

“What, Jon, where?” Yaz jumps away from her, flattening her collar and making herself look better. Less flustered. In her panic she can hear Jess chuckling to herself.

“Calm down.” Jess takes her hand in hers. “This is the first building they clean today.” 

“We should probably do this anywhere but our boss’ office.” Yaz says, concluding that this is a bad idea anyway. 

Jess kinks and eyebrow at her, her head on a slight teasing tilt. “Yes Miss.” 

 

They almost make it. They almost convince themselves they’re able to do this but the second Jess’ back hits the mattress Yaz can’t put her through it. The tell tale signs are there. All she can do is freeze as she kneels over her, watching her trusting eyes try to figure out why she’s stopped.

“Why aren’t you doing anything?” Jess asks, propping herself up on her elbows. 

“Because I can see it in your face.” Yaz brushes the strand of Jess’ hair away from covering her eye. It’s not for Yaz to look her directly in the eye but more to be something for her to fiddle with as she speaks. “The nerve in your top left eyelid twitches when you’re worried or uncomfortable.” 

“I didn’t even know that.” Jess frowns. 

“Well it does. So I’m not going to do anything with you.”  

Yaz rolls over to lay in her back next to Jess and stares up at the ceiling. With every failed attempt they’re getting closer and closer to having to call the whole thing off to save themselves from getting hurt but Yaz is slowly realising how big of a presence Jess is in her life after only a few months of knowing her. It seems impossible to let her go. As she lays there, mind whirring faster than a washing machine that seems like it might take off, she lets Jess wrap her fingers around her own in the gap between their bodies. She turns her head at the same time as Jess. Her eye is still doing the twitching thing and Yaz wonders whether she should invite her to leave if they’re not going to get it on, but then she doesn’t want her to leave. But then Jess might want to go home and-

“Jess do you ever masturbate about me?” Yaz asks without thinking- her inner thoughts spilling out of her mouth with no filter. 

Every visible skin cell on Jess’ body blushes bright red and all of a sudden it’s hard for her to keep eye contact. “Bit forward.” 

“That’s a yes then.” Yaz’s lips curl into a cruel smile.

“Do you? About me?” Jess asks, finding her eyes again. Yaz doesn’t find the question as funny anymore now that the attention is on her. She nods her confession. “Cool.”

“Cool?” Yaz laughs.

“Shut up I’m nervous.” Jess whines at her. 

“Do you want to watch a movie instead?” Yaz offers, squeezing the hand in hers. 

“I want to have sex with you you.” Jess says. Her eyelid twitches as she says it.

“Your body’s giving you away, Jess.” Yaz sighs.  

“It was easier when you didn’t respect me so much.” Jess lightly shakes her head. The gesture looks hesitant or rather regretful and Yaz can guess what she’s thinking.

“You mean when I didn’t know you love me.” Yaz asks. 

Jess’ face sinks. She lets go of her hand resting between them. “I should go.” 

“Wait- no- Jess stay, I’m sorry.” Like Jess’ face, Yaz’s heart sinks as she watches her get up. This is it. This is the end if she can’t come up with something to make her stay. 

“This isn’t working Yaz.”

“Jess-”

“I wasn’t kidding when I said I can’t do this anymore!” Jess attempts to raise her voice at her but ends up sounding like she might cry. Yaz has never seen her cry before, and hung up on that thought she almost gives her the chance to.   

“Kung Fu Panda.” Yaz says. 

“What?” Jess’ face crinkles up but it does stop her from continuing to leave. 

“You told me once that your favourite movie was Kung Fu Panda so I bought it but I haven’t watched it yet.” Yaz shuffles under her unwavering hazel-green eyes. “Just stay and watch it with me, that’s all I’m asking.” 

 

Around an hour and twenty-five minutes later, unconsciously having ended up cuddled up together on Yaz’s sofa watching the last couple of scenes of a kids film, Jess goes quiet. Yaz doesn’t question it; she just assumes she’s so invested in her favourite movie and watches along with her without comment. She kind of wishes the film was longer since she feels so comfortable sitting next to her- a definite change in feelings in that instead of refusing to admit that they’re there she accepts them. She welcomes them with open arms and lets them tickle and aggravate the butterflies in her stomach even if she still doesn’t want to put names on them.

When the credits finally roll, Yaz hears Jess sniff. At a closer examination of her face her eyes are wet too. 

“Are you crying?” Yaz asks gently, not wanting to offend her feelings. 

“When Oogway ascends it just hits different.” Jess sniffs, wiping her eyes. “Don’t laugh at me, I know it’s stupid.”

“I’m not laughing and I don’t think it’s stupid.” Yaz says. She may not be laughing but she sure is smiling.

“Yaz I’m a woman with a doctorate crying over a fictional story about an animated panda that does martial arts!” Jess laughs at herself despite her request not to be laughed at.

“Why does that make me more attracted to you?” Yaz asks her as if she has the answers to everyone’s personal questions. 

“Me crying at movies make you want to get between my legs?” Jess asks. 

“No I just love-” you. “-it. You’re very passionate Doctor Smith.”

“You paused.” Jess says, picking up on Yaz’s momentary hesitation. Yaz feels trapped- caught in the middle and unprepared to confront the other variation of the sentence that could have come out of her mouth. “Say what you mean.”

“I…” Yaz starts, but has to give herself a couple of seconds to accept it. “I think I love you too.” 

Jess leans away from her like it hurts to be so close. “You’re just saying that because you don’t want me to leave, you still want me as a booty call.”

“I’m not. I swear I’m not.” Yaz insists. She gets the urge to close in on her body but forces herself to keep them both separate as she prepares to display her heart on her sleeve. “I can’t go a day without seeing you. I can’t go a day without thinking about you and I’m grumpy if I even try. I want to be with you. If I don’t say it now I’ll never get the chance to find out what could’ve happened will I? I think I… you know, the feeling is there I just need the chance to explore it. With you.”

“You really love me?” Jess asks. The way she makes her voice so childlike and vulnerable makes Yaz’s heart skip a beat- and then she remembered she probably isn’t making her voice sound vulnerable but that probably is how she’s actually feeling.

“I love you.” Yaz says again, dropping the word ‘think’ from the middle. “I think- I know it scares me a bit to say it considering our origins but somewhere in my heart I do.”

There’s a beat in time when Yaz thinks it’s not enough. The declaration is half empty, Jess isn’t reacting while she digests it and Yaz can’t think of anything else to say. 

And then Jess smiles like she can’t believe it.

“I’m still going to beat you in the cross country race on Thursday.” Jess comes over all smug.

“If you win-”

“I will win.”

If you win, what do you want your prize to be? You can’t say lap dance.” Yaz asks.

“Two lap dances.” Jess requests with ease. Although, knowing that Yaz is being serious, she tones down her joyous mood. “I’ll think of something. What do you want if there’s the slim chance that you beat me?” 

“You’ll find out when I win.” Yaz grins, cheeky and wide.

“You’re very competitive Miss Khan.” Jess slides are arm behind Yaz’s shoulder 

“Says you.” Yaz scoffs.

“You’re worth competing for.” Jess mutters and gives her one of those gentle smiles.

"Was that meant to be a compliment?” Yaz asks. 

“I want to start complimenting you more.” Jess shrugs. “Is that allowed?”

“I like it.” Yaz nods reaching behind her shoulder to hold onto and play with her fingers. “When do you have to go home?” 

Jess inhales deeply and lets out a sigh so hard Yaz thinks her lungs might explode. “Now, probably. I have loads of lessons to plan and all sorts of shit I don’t really want to do tonight.”

“You can’t bring it here?” Yaz asks. 

“You'll distract me.” 

“I’m a very good distraction.” Yaz lightly presses a kiss against her jaw trying to entice her to stay. 

“I’m serious Yaz. I need to plan my lessons.” Jess has a smile on her face but removes her arm from around Yaz’s shoulders and Yaz knows no matter how hard she tries she’s not going to stay. “I’m sure you have a lesson to plan too.” 

“Yeah. I need to figure out how you can earn some house points.” Yaz teases.

“I can’t earn house points, I’m a teacher and I’m not aligned to any of the houses.” Jess doesn’t catch onto the metaphor.

“Private house points.” Yaz attempts to make her point clear without saying it point blank. 

“You mean like… extra credit?” Jess’ brow creases.

“You go and do your work and I’ll be thinking about-”

“Ooooooooh! This is a sex thing! Right.” Jess nods to herself, pleased that she figured it out on her own. 

“You idiot.” Yaz shakes her head in disbelief. 

“You weren’t exactly making it clear!”

“Yes I was!” Yaz laughs at her. “My point is that it sucks that you have to go but next time you come over, if you want, we can… just do whatever.” 

“Even if I just want to chill out with you?” Jess asks. 

Yaz can’t help but smile. Even though Yaz has very openly admitted just minutes ago her true emotions- despite them being new-  and still Jess has that look about her that screams insecurity. 

“I’d like that just as much.” Yaz says.  


The cross country race start and finish line is at the front of the school. Also at the front of the school is a pretty busy road and since Yaz is still the newbie she’s the one designated to control traffic as students are set off in waves. Overall they’ll run about 5k around country paths, backstreets, fields and a section of wooded area before the loop concludes with them crossing the road in front of Yaz again and crossing the line for Mr Pink or any other member of the PE department to give them their time.

Yaz stops the traffic for the final wave of kids to run across, wishing them luck as they go, and as she steps back onto the pavement and releases the small queue of cars on both sides, she sees Martha coming to join her.

“Thought I’d come and keep you company.” She says as she arrives at Yaz’s side. 

“Thanks.” Yaz gives her a friendly smile. “Do many of them get sick from cross country runs then?”

“I usually get a couple of twisted ankles and kids out of puff that think they’re dying but other than that not really. I’m here out of necessity.”

“Mmm gotta stick to those health and safety protocols.” Yaz pokes fun at her. 

“How are you anyway? Anymore shenanigans involving changing rooms?” Martha asks. 

“I’m not sure what on Earth you could be referring to Miss Jones.” Yaz teases. Martha simply knowingly smirks at her and Yaz knows she’s going to have to come up with a proper answer. “Nah. We’re good. Very good, actually. I think.” 

“She’s lucky. If I were into women I probably would have tried it on with you by now.” Martha enlightens her.

“You know what, I probably would have let you.” Yaz gives a toothy grin, thinking about how she’s liked Martha as a person from the start.

“In another universe Miss Khan.” Martha turns to look behind her and Yaz follows her eyes down to the collection of teachers and at the side of the group is Jess, looking a little lost but dressed in running clothes doing warm up stretches. Yaz can’t tell if she’s turned on by it or if she should be concerned about how skinny and spaghetti like her arms look. Not uncooked spaghetti, spaghetti that’s been in the pan for too long. “She’s been bragging about how she’s going to beat you all day you know.” 

“She wishes.” Yaz snorts. “Her diet consists of custard creams, ice cream, juice and microwave meals, I don’t think she’s going to get very far.”

“I dunno. She basically speed walks around the school all day every day.”

“And then she crashes on my sofa all evening. Please, I’ve got this in the bag.” Yaz says. She doesn’t care that she sounds cocky because she truly does not believe that Doctor Smith can win at a running race.

Yaz and Martha chat pleasantly for a good half hour before the sporty kids from the first wave of students arrive again and Yaz has to stop the traffic and Martha has to go back to the finishing line to provide care for anyone that needs it. Thankfully at this time after the end of school rush there isn’t much traffic and Yaz can pretty much stand in the road the whole time as students pass her. The longer she stands there she notes the differences in their breathing patterns, their techniques and by the end the last few stragglers faces are puffed out and many are running through stitches in their stomach. In some ways Yaz is over the moon when Danny radios her to tell her to come back to the start line because she just can’t stand seeing the kids who have clearly been pressured by her colleagues to take part. She feels too sorry for them.

“Pass the sexy hi-vis, I don’t want either of you being run over.” Martha says, meeting Yaz halfway between the road and the start line to take up her position.

Yaz hands it over along with her radio and continues on towards the fourty odd students and handful of staff. Within the crowd she finds Doctor Smith talking to some students and Yaz politely waits for their conversation to be over before approaching her properly. It feels wrong, going to greet her without a peck on the cheek or at the very least a hug. She decides she doesn’t like it, but not as much as she doesn’t like how her face looks like a puppy that’s been thrown out for pissing on the new carpet.

“What’s wrong?” Yaz asks. 

“What were you talking about?” Doctor Smith asks back. 

“With who?”

“You and Martha.” Doctor Smith says, her voice bitter. 

“Nothing. Just friendly chat.” Yaz shrugs, not seeing the problem.

“Yeah, looked very friendly.” Doctor Smith mumbles. Unhappy with the tone she’s being talked to in, Yaz pulls Doctor Smith to the side away from listening ears. 

“Are you jealous?” Yaz whispers. 

“Do you like her?” Jess avoids the question.

“I like her but it’s not like I love her.” Yaz bites. She holds eye contact with Jess until she knows the point has fully settled within her. “Jealousy isn’t a good look on you Doctor Smith.”

“Sorry. I just feel like I’ve only just got you.” Jess says. 

“I’m not something to own.” Yaz says.

“I know, I just- I didn’t mean it like-”

“Oi! If you want to go back to the changing rooms and go home, follow Mrs Duncan, if you want to see Doctor Smith and Miss Khan race then stick around!” Danny shouts. Barely anyone goes towards Mrs Duncan.

Now with an audience looking at them their conversation is officially over, at least for now, and all the two of them can do is assume position at the start line. 

“No fighting on the way around. No cheating, no pushing or shoving yeah?” Danny jokes. Little does he know all of that might actually happen. “Three. Two. One. Go!”

As Danny shouts the students erupt into cheering that soon fades away as the two women pace up towards the road and past Martha. After that Doctor Smith starts to run a little bit faster and despite Yaz’s warnings about pacing yourself and how this is not a sprint, Doctor Smith quickly vanishes from her view. She reckons she’ll catch her up after she’s run down the wonky country path but she doesn’t. She thinks she’ll be able to see her when she rounds a corner on one of the back streets but she doesn’t. She convinces herself she’ll find her out of breath and struggling when she comes out on the open field but still she doesn't. When Yaz gets to the wooded area of the course she’s starting to worry about whether someone jumped out of the bushes and kidnapped Doctor Smith, or tripped her up or hurt her and now she’s laying dead in a ditch. She kind of wants to backtrack to make sure, but she’s so close to the end now it would be easier to finish and then start again. Someone’s going to have to go around and collect all the direction arrows anyway. As the loop concludes Yaz doesn’t even look at Martha. Her eyes are fixated on Doctor Smith already over the finish line and waiting for Yaz. Yaz starts to sprint, focusing only on the blonde and skids over the line with only Doctor Smith’s body stopping her from running into the bush in front of her. 

“Easy.” Doctor Smith says as she holds her up. Once Yaz finds her footing again she makes herself push her body away.

“You cheated.” Yaz accuses her, a little bit out of puff after her final sprint over the finish line.

“The only way I could have done that is if I had a time machine and they don’t exist. Yet. I’m pretty sure they will soon though.” Doctor Smith says. 

“She won fair and square Miss Khan.” 

Danny takes Jess’ hand and raises it up in the air for the students to cheer and celebrate her. The loss is hard on Yaz since she was so complacent, thinking for sure she would win but she claps like a good sports person anyway. 

“You know I have good stamina Miss Khan.” Doctor Smith whispers in her ear without warning. 

Yaz restrains her reaction and lets her be smug and bathe in her glorious win. She still doesn’t understand how she managed to beat her without cheating but the strange Doctor will always surprise her. 

“So go on then. What’s your chosen prize for winning?” Yaz asks when the students are getting rounded up into a heard and taken back inside to get changed. 

Jess stares at her with greed, pride and devilish delight. “I’ll tell you on Saturday.” 


Saturday is the day Yaz and Jess decide to spend valentine's day together, despite the fourteenth actually being a few days ago by now. They did have full intention to spend the actual day together but work as per usual got in the way and they were both really really tired and didn’t see each other at all, not even in passing in the corridors and neither of the dared to send anonymous roses to each other (although Yaz’s form group got one for her, which was sweet). Plus, moving it to today means less people probing around their business and Jess can incorporate her race win in with her valentines wish. 

Her race win prize being Yaz cooking her dinner and playing with Gaz outside of his cage. So, as of right now after an afternoon of hanging out, they’re sitting facing each other with their legs open and their feet connected so that Gaz has an area to run around in.

“How do you know he won’t run away?” Jess asks. 

“He might. That’s why you have to watch him.” Yaz answers. She’s asked a lot about hamsters today and despite only having Gaz for a matter of months Yaz happily answers. The way Jess learns and takes in knowledge- it’s a different kind of beautiful.

“Hm.” Jess takes a sip of her Capri Sun. Apple and blackcurrant today. Yaz can taste it on her lips every time she kisses her. 

“Did you ever have pets when you and John were kids?” Yaz asks, taking the opportunity to get to know her better. It’s strange in that they’ve both admitted their adoration of each other but it’s like they haven’t had a chance to get to know each other at all yet. They’ve done everything backwards and somehow it’s making it harder.

“We had a dog but he died when I was ten and mum was too busy with work to replace him so…” Gaz climbs his fat little body up onto Jess’ leg and not wanting him to run away, Jess scoops him up and holds him in her hands in front of her face. “You're cool though. I like you even though you’re not mine. Your whiskers are tickling my cheek.”

Before Yaz registers how full her heart feels watching Doctor Smith interact with her hamster of all things, she spots her phone screen lighting up beside her with her mum’s call ID.

“Who is it?” Jess asks.

“My mother.” Yaz huffs. They haven’t talked in a while so if she answers she doesn’t know how long she’ll be on the phone with her for.

“Answer it.” Jess says.

“I don’t want to answer it.” 

“Is it because you don’t want her to know I’m here?” Jess asks, getting up from the floor to put Gaz back in his cage with a tender kiss on his head. “I can leave the room if you want.”

“No, I just-”

“Answer it then.” Jess closes in on her with Yaz thinking she’s just going to sit down on the floor next to her.

“I dunn- oi!”

Without warning Jess natches away Yaz’s phone and holds it up to her ear.

“Hi Yaz’s mum!”

“Jess!” Yaz leaps up to grab her phone back but Jess takes a big step back. The pair of them end up circling around the sofa as Jess speaks- Jess with a feral grin plastered on her face the whole time.

“Yeah she’s a bit busy at the moment. We’re having a belated valentines day. I can get her to call you back if you like but I think we’re going to be a bit busy for a while.”

“Jess stop it!” Yaz tries to reach for her phone again, fearful of the side of the conversation she’s not hearing, but all that happens is Jess takes her hand. All Yaz can do is stand there and wait for her to hang up.

“Okay. Okay. Okay I’ll tell her to call you tomorrow. Bye Yaz’s mum!” Jess brings the phone away from her ear and smiles, waiting for Yaz to say something else. 

“What did she say?” Yaz asks.

“Nothing.” Jess shrugs.

“Jess you had a whole conversa-” Yaz stops talking when Jess holds up the phone screen that illuminates the message that says ‘Missed call: Mum’ .

“I was too slow.” Jess shrugs again, innocently.

“You’re thirty-seven.” Yaz takes her phone back and rests it on the coffee table.

“And you’re thirty-two.” Jess says, obviously not realising Yaz was commenting on her childishness. “Are we running off facts we know about each other now?” 

“Sit down.” Yaz instructs, nodding at the sofa behind Jess. 

“Are you mad at me?” Jess asks, no longer entertained by her prank. 

“Sit down and find out.” Yaz nods again and completely under her thumb Jess sits. Yaz crawls on top of her, knees either side of her thighs, and still all Jess can look at is her eyes. 

“Wait, no, Yaz did I seriously upset you? I didn’t want to do that I was just playing arou-”

“I’m giving you your lap dance you arse.” 

“Oh…” Jess sighs at the revelation. “O-oh, wow.” Jess turns into a stuttering mess when Yaz pulls away her jumper, revealing the black lace bralette she’s wearing. Bill’s idea of course. Bill was right. Her tiny nerd brain is exploding.

Jess kisses Yaz’s stomach while she’s kneeling up and as she sinks into her lap Yaz captures her mouth in an already heated kiss. Determined to be in control Yaz slows it down, moving the focus more on her hands ruffling up Jess’ hair and feeling over her clothes and eventually under then to untuck her shirts and brush her knuckles against soft skin. When they break for air Jess has to take a moment  before opening her eyes again. She seems to be having a great time and Yaz hasn’t even branched out into doing anything proper yet; meanwhile Yaz herself can’t shake the feeling that whatever she does next is going to go wrong.

“I don’t actually know what I’m doing.” Yaz mutters. 

“That’s okay.” Jess smiles and cups Yaz’s cheek which sends a wave of reassurance through her body. It’s only Jess. She can’t do anything wrong in her eyes. Jess takes out her phone from deep inside her pocket and unlocks it with her thumb. “Maybe some music will- sorry!”

Yaz can only assume that Jess’ thumb slipped and pressed play on the song that was already on pause because a few notes burst out of the device speaker.

“Was that the High School Musical soundtrack?” Yaz asks, suspecting it might be.

“Doesn’t matter.” Jess conveniently brushes off the matter by playing a song Yaz doesn’t know but it has a generic enough beat for her to predict when she should roll her hips. 

Except she doesn’t have to predict or guess because Jess isn’t done helping her yet. Nimble fingers pop the button on her light blue jeans and pull down the fly. Even at the small suggestion of matching underwear Jess makes a small squeaky noise from the back of her throat but Yaz doesn’t have the chance to make a funny quip because the feeling of Jess’ hands slipping into her jeans and around to her backside silences her. They probably should have had sex before to quash the overwhelming sensetivity around being touched by each other but it’s too late now and Yaz gives out a breathy sigh as Jess’ fingers grip just above her hips and start to move her lower half in circles. 

“Is this what you imagined?” Yaz asks, catching on that she basically just has to pretend that she’s riding her and allowing Jess to grope her bum and her back. She drags her thumb against Jess’ bottom lip all while pushing Jess back against the sofa to put some distance between them. Any closer and it will become less of a dance more a session of foreplay. 

“Sort of.”

“Sort of how?” Yaz raises an eyebrow and a disguise from how it’s knocked her confidence. 

“You kiss me more in my dreams.” 

Yaz smirks lightly, pulling not so lightly on Jess’ braces to bring her close again- her idea of keeping them separate thrown out the window but Yaz still keeps it inside, dangling the idea by its feet by keeping her lips a milimeter away from Jess’ but refusing to let them touch- just ghost over each other. Jess looks up at her with such an intense look behind her eyes Yaz is too afraid to say anything to break their connection. Instead Yaz makes Jess do it by slipping her hand that isn’t resting on her shoulder under her shirt and up towards the fabric of her sports bra. She pushes her palm against the hardened nipple she feels through the fabric and successfully tears Jess’ eyes away if only for a fleeting moment. There’s a building tension in the way they both stare. Like any movement Yaz makes with her body next that could take Jess by surprise will make sparks that will fly out into the stratosphere and set the whole world alight. Jess makes an attempt to connect their lips and with a groan is denied- Yaz chooses to dip her head to the side, brushing her nose against the curve of her neck with her hips still moving like she’s trying to drag an invisible organ to climax. 

“Tell me what you like about me.” Yaz breathes against her ear, pushing their bodies together. 

“Everything.” Jess says. Her voice gives a shake at each syllable. 

Not being the answer Yaz wants,  Yaz teasingly pinches Jess’ lip between her teeth and pulls her, pushing her legs apart at the same time to give her enough room to sit herself between them. With her back to Jess, Yaz begins the unflattering maneuver of peeling away her jeans. 

“There’s literally no sexy way to take off skinny jeans.” Yaz complains at her own choice of clothing restricting the sultry way she’s trying to undress herself.

“Pretty sexy from ‘ere.” Jess mumbles and the grin on her lips is evident in the sound of her voice. She must be having the time of her life. 

Yaz rolls her eyes to herself. Of course Jess would say something like that. She leans back into Jess’ body with Jess jumping at the opportunity to leave tight lipped kisses along the curve of her neck- her arms hugging her stomach and her hands feeling up her muscles. “Enjoying it?”

“Can’t not enjoy you Yaz. You’re stunnin’. Amazin’, beautiful, totally just utterly-” Yaz flips her body over between her legs, pushing herself up with Jess’ knees and connects her mouth with the pulse point in her neck in an instant. “You’re killing me.” Jess gasps, composure failing. 

Yaz, mirroring the position they ended up in the other afternoon in Donna’s office, throws her leg over Jess’s thigh. Unable to get in the right position she resorts to shuffling the both of them further to the edge. Her leg between Jess’ thighs standing on the floor and her other kneeling on the cushion giving her the opportunity to slide along her thigh and put pressure against her center every now and then. Distracted by trying to get back into rhythm and beat of the song playing from Jess’ phone Yaz misses the sensation of Jess’ fingertips dragging themselves down her front and almost passing down her underwear. Noticing it the same time she feels her other hand reaching for her chest Yaz grabs her by both wrists. 

“No.” Yaz pins Jess’ wrists to the back of the sofa alongside her strict instruction. Not allowing her the privilege of looking her in the eye (Yaz has guessed by now that that’s something she really likes) Yaz instead chooses to suck on her neck. 

“Fucking hell Yaz, I only want to touch you.” 

“Should’ve done this on a proper chair.” Yaz says, sort of to herself to entertain the idea of switching. On a proper chair she could circle her, tease her more from behind and from the sides. Lean over her, torment her, all sorts of things she could have fun with. She has the confidence to simply just imagine something like that now compared to when this endeavor first started.

“No, It’s great, it’s- uh, you’re- it’s… shit!”

Jess grunts into Yaz’s chest as Yaz ruts forward on her leg. Both of them freeze with Yaz pulling her face away from her neck to see what’s wrong. Jess’ hands are balled into fists where Yaz had pinned them against the back of the sofa and with the addition of her biting down on her lip with such force and the wet feeling against her knee pressing into her core over Jess’ clothes, Yaz can guess exactly what’s happened.

“Um… Jess did you-”

“Don’t.” Jess brings a hand in front of her face to hide how red she’s turning. “It’s so embarrassing.” 

“It’s alright.”

“I might cry.” Jess warns her.

“Do you want to stop?” Yaz strokes wild hairs away from her face making it harder for Jess to stay behind just one hand. 

“For a bit.” Jess nods. Yaz takes the time to retrieve her jumper and put it back on. She doesn’t bother with her jeans. She only wore them to contrast her underwear anyway.  “You’re just so…”

“It’s okay. It’s kind of cute.” Yaz snuggles up next to her, curling her knees under herself. 

“Embarrassing.” Jess repeats. 

“It’s cute that I can do that to you.” Yaz smiles, resting her chin on Jess’ shoulder. 

“It’s really not for me.” Jess laughs at herself. 

“I can make you come without-”

“Stop, alright.” Jess says. The way she’s becoming a little snappy is enough of a warning for Yaz to start taking this accident seriously.

“It’s honestly not a big deal Jess. My ‘dance’ wasn’t even that good.” Yaz says softly, taking up rubbing Jess’ back to make her calm down. “It was sort of just, grinding to music.” 

“Well it worked!” Jess says in such a way it makes Yaz huff out a laugh. “I just feel very strongly about you.” 

“Please stay all weekend.” Yaz says, softly stroking Jess’ still bright red cheek with her knuckles. “Gaz needs his cage cleaned tomorrow, you can entertain him.”

“It’s parents evening on Monday.” Jess leans forward to collect her recently discarded drink packet.

“So?” Yaz asks, quickly taking a sip for herself. 

“We both need to concentrate on that.” Jess shrugs like it’s the most obvious thing in the universe. A few months ago Yaz would have taken it as arrogance.

“Since when were you all work, no play?” Yaz hands her back her drink. “Bring it here.” 

“I dunno, isn’t that moving too fast?” Jess asks. Yaz has to stop herself from laughing. 

“You’ve slept in my bed next to me multiple times, made your first move by putting my hand down your boxers, you’ve already done work at my kitchen table and you’ve told me you love me.” Yaz says. 

Jess slurps at her drink until it’s empty and only the remnants of silver plastic. “Well that answers that then.”

“You’ll stay?” Yaz asks hopefully. 

“I’ll stay.” Jess nods. Yaz does notice however how she quickly scans over her to check her out. “Your body is incredible though.” 

“Is that another one of your compliments?” Yaz says, now moving her hand to stroke under her chin. There’s something about Jess that makes her revert back to how she felt as a teen. Lost but excited at the same time and she can feel herself starting to act like some kind of lovesick puppy around her. Jess must be too because the way she’s looking at her it’s like she never even heard Yaz’s question. So, Yaz does the only thing she can think of doing- the only thing she wants to do: kisses her (still blushing) cheek and turns the TV on for them to settle down in front of together in their own little world. Their world that no one knows about properly.

Yet.

Chapter Text

“I have lots to tell you.” Yaz rushes towards Bill stacking the fridge units with fresh baguettes and sandwiches. 

“Yeah you do. Spill. Did she enjoy your choice of clothing?”

“Little too much.” 

Yaz leans against the side of the metal unit in an attempt to keep this conversation relatively private. Not many people are in yet and Yaz wouldn’t doubt that it would be more suspicious if she pulled Bill away from her work to talk to her. 

“What does that mean?” Bill scowls at her. 

“I was… I mean I was attempting to, you know. Do the thing.”

“Lap dance?” Bill says it for her. 

“Didn’t really turn out as a dance but anyway- I was on her lap and stuff kissing her, touching her.” Yaz mumbles. 

“Nice.” 

“Then there was an accident.” Yaz says. 

“She passed out?” Bill asks. 

“No.” 

“Your tit knocked her out.” Bill continues to guess. “Blood rush to the head.” 

“No she was conscious the whole time.” Yaz says. 

“I don’t get it then, what happened?”

If Yaz could she would back away from this conversation; say never mind and move on to some other topic of conversation but she knows better. Bill will never let her backtrack now.

“She, um, she… finished.” Yaz whispers. 

“Finished?” 

“You know, she…”  Yaz flaps her hand around as if it might allude to what she means. 

“Shut. Up.” Bill raises her voice as she realises. Yaz rushes to hush her.

“You can’t tell anyone I told you! It would devastate her!” 

“Just from you sitting on her lap in your underwear?” Bill asks.

“Yeah.” Yaz nods, her cheeks flushing hot. Why did she even start telling her this?

“That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Did she cry?” Bill abandons what she’s supposed to be doing to analyse how Yaz reacts to her questions.  

“Almost.” Yaz mumbles.

“I knew it. I knew she’d cry at some point.”

“Don’t tease her.” Yaz makes a weak attempt at defending Jess- although it’s all her fault that Bill knows at all.

“Will you do it again?” Bill asks. “Give her a chance to redeem herself.”

Yaz manages to huff out a laugh instead of scoffing at her. “No way mate, I’m not doing that again.”

“Why not when you know she likes it so much?” Bill smirks, moving the baguette in her hand so that it’s pointing up not down.

“I’d really rather just take her to bed.” Yaz takes the food out of Bill’s hand and places it on the shelf for her before she can depict anything else crude with it. 

“Horny bastards.” Bill tuts. 

Except they’re not like that anymore. Kind of. Okay so they’re still quite like that but the process is different. Jess comes over and instead of jumping on each other in the hallway they talk, they work, they sometimes eat together and then talk some more, then they go up to bed and sometimes Jess stays over. Then they talk some more in the morning before dragging themselves into work. Yaz has opened up her feelings to her and they’ve created this whole world that exists in Yaz’s house that no one else knows about. 

“Why have you gone quiet?” Bill asks.

“Nothing.” Yaz mumbles, placing her hands into the warm pocket on the front of her hoodie.

“No- I know you Yaz. Something’s up.”

“I told her I love her back.” Yaz confesses. Bill doesn’t do much to react, she just stands there with not so much as a smile appearing. “We spent all weekend together." 

“Well that much was obvious.” Bill shrugs. 

“Really?”

“Really.” Bill nods

“Huh. I thought that would grant a bigger reaction.” Yaz says, disappointed that maybe this isn’t hot news after all- that it doesn’t just exist inside Yaz’s house. 

“No, we’ve all known for a very long time mate.” Bill says. “Even before you were a thing you talked about her all the time.”

“Did I?” Yaz feels the skin on her forehead crease without her brain telling it to.

“Yeah. Well done for finally getting there though.” Bill pats her head with the last packaged baguette then places it on the shelf and closes the shutters to the fridge unit.

“Bill.” Yaz has to call after her.

“Yup?” Bill turns around.

“Don’t tell Rose yet.” Yaz says. She felt like posing it as a request but it comes out more like a demand. If Rose finds out, John will find out, if John finds out, it will get back to Jess and Jess will mention it to Yaz.

Bill nods and Yaz is satisfied enough to get on with the rest of her day.

  

She meets up with Jess at lunch, throwing away all needs to keep themselves away from each other to hide from rumours. All they’re doing together visibly anyway is walking through the grounds probably a meter apart and talking about the upcoming parents evening for the rest of the school that hasn’t had it yet. Since it takes more time to set up, the school is closing after lunch to get the kids out of the way and let teachers organize their papers, so in fact it probably helps Yaz and Doctor Smith become invisible since the students are so excited about getting half the day off. They become so invisible actually, that as they walk through a dense area of older students, something cold and wet hits her cheek so hard it stings. It’s so hard to restrain from cursing or bringing her hand to her face but she does screw her eyes shut to stop them watering and the students involved gasp then laugh knowing they’re not supposed to. 

“Who was throwing that around?” Yaz hears Doctor Smith ask. Yaz opens her eyes and sees a tampon on the floor, heavy with water from the muddy puddles on the ground. “Yaz are you okay? Let me see.” Doctor Smith tilts Yaz’s chin up so she can look at her eye. 

“It didn’t hit my eye.” Yaz says. 

“No but the dirty water could have splattered in there. Look to the left.” Doctor Smith says as she cups her cheek.

Yaz is very grateful that Doctor Smith tells her to look left because out of the corner of her eye she sees a student taking out their phone and pointing it at the two of them. 

“Put your phone down now!” Yaz warns them with an additional point of her finger. 

“You, pick that up and put it in the bin before you hurt someone else.” Doctor Smith orders.

“Thank you Doctor Smith I’ll take it from here.” Omar pats both Yaz and Doctor Smith’s back then pushes through the gap between the two of them to collect the perpetrators. “Really boys, a stint like this right outside of my office window?” He tuts and takes them away, Doctor Smith and Yaz slipping away while the eyes aren’t on them. 

Jess peppers Yaz’s irritated cheek with kisses the second the lab door closes behind them. 

“Jess- I’m fine, it was just a bit embarrassing.” Yaz laughs at how attentive she’s being. 

“It was so hard not to kiss you straight away back there.” 

“Well I’m glad you didn’t.” Yaz presses a finger against Jess’ lips before she can kiss her properly. “We would have been filmed. And I like having you all to myself.” 

“About that.” Jess says. It rings alarm bells for Yaz but she hears her out. “John and Clara and Rose are coming to mine tonight for a takeaway. We kind of do it after every second parents evening- you can bring Ryan if you want. Or Bill.”

“You’re inviting me to your house?” Yaz asks. 

“Yeah. Is that okay?”

“I’ve never been to your house before.” Yaz says. 

“Oh.” Jess steps back, her face telling Yaz she’s clearly entering a questioning state of mind. “You really haven't. That's quite rude of me, do you think it’s rude?” 

“I don’t mind.” Yaz shrugs. “I think I might just… come to yours by myself tonight, no Ryan or anything.” 

“Okay.” Jess nods. “For any specific reason or just-”

“My friends ask too many questions.” 

“Okay.” Jess agrees without questioning her again. Something tells Yaz she didn’t really want Ryan or Bill coming anyway. “I’m gonna go and get changed.”

“Changed?”

“Can’t be all rainbows and trousers that don’t reach can I?” Jess says, reminding Yaz of their previous conversation about this.

Yaz eats her lunch- no longer afraid of Jess telling her off for eating in the lab- and logs on to the computer so she can register and group and send them away as soon as possible. When the bell rings, Jess still isn’t back but Yaz doesn’t need her to register her class anyway. She uses the tactic of getting all her students lined up, looking up at them, registering them in, then telling them to move along. The last three she doesn’t need to look up to see since they’re the only three names left.

“Go. Go. Go. Go-oh my god.” 

Yaz looks up to see a fourth person which takes her by surprise. It’s only Jess but Jesus Christ with her dressed like that Yaz can feel the hot blood pumping around her body. There’s something about seeing Jess in a shirt and pencil skirt- so different from everyday life that it sends Yaz into a state of madness. 

“What?” Jess asks.

“You just- um- you look… fuck me you’re amazing.” Yaz ends up sighing and the click of Jess’ heels narrate her footsteps. 

“You’ve seen me wear this before.” Jess says.

“Yeah, but…” Yaz makes a feeble attempt to back up her point but ends up staring and licking her lips instead.

“Yaz I know you’re trying to compliment me but you know I’m only wearing this out of necessity and I don’t actually feel comfortable at all.” Jess says to politely remind her.

“I know. I’m sorry.” Yaz shakes some sense and respect into herself and pulls Jess into a hug almost as tight as her skirt. “I like you with whatever you wear anyway.”

“I love my students and I want the best for them but I hate parents' evening.” Jess mumbles. "Somehow teenagers are better to get along with than adults."

Yaz pushes herself onto the balls on her feet to be able to comfortably rest her head on Jess’ shoulder. Yes she looks incredible in what she’s wearing but it makes her taller and walk funny and she’s just not Jess and all she wants to do is hold her. Jess would do anything to be a good teacher and this proves it.

“Miss Kha-” Ryan walks in without knocking. Thinking that it might be a student or one of their superiors Yaz and Jess jumps apart but upon seeing that it’s only Ryan they don’t bother making a huge effort to be separate. “You know what? Not the worst thing I’ve walked in on.” He decides. 

“What’s up Ryan?” Yaz asks. 

“Oh! Yeah, it is this weekend I need to feed your hamster right?” Ryan asks.

“Please. Thanks dude.” Yaz confirms. 

“Cool beans.” Ryan sticks his thumbs up and leaves almost as swiftly as he entered.

“Why does he need to feed him?” Jess asks, looking very very confused.

“I’m visiting my parents. I should’ve told you before now, I organised it a few weeks ago.” Yaz says, unable to look her in the eye. She feels bad for not telling her but a lot has changed in those few weeks. It slipped her mind too easily.

“Can I come?” Jess asks, pulling back Yaz’s attention. 

“Really?” Yaz asks. She’s not sure what the meaning of all this is. 

“I want to meet them.” Jess shrugs timidly. “Just an idea.”

“Can I think about it?” Yaz asks.

“Sure.” Jess nods. “Come on, let’s go before they think we’re doing something else.”

 

Yaz finishes seeing students and their parents and guardians way before anyone else in school does. She just powered through all of her appointments, bringing people forward if other people missed a spot and didn’t allow herself a break until all hers were over. It still takes a while, of course, but not many students bother to go and see their PE teacher. Now all she has to do is pass the time while she waits for Jess to finish. She could go home and change, but instead Yaz wanders from the sports hall to the canteen to the gym to the school hall to see if any other members of staff want a snack from the shop down the road.

Half an hour later with a multi pack of chocolate bars and a couple of energy drinks Yaz feels might dissolve her skin if she got the liquid on herself, Yaz returns to the school and hands out the goods. The last treat she has to hand out is for Jess so she heads to the gym- the creaking old floorboards giving her entrance away. A few science teachers and a couple of maths teachers look up and see her but none of their eyes linger and Yaz is headed straight forward to Jess anyway, who is luckily standing and shaking hands with the father of one of her students. As the dad with greying hair walks away Yaz spots him looking back at Jess and an intense pang of jealousy shoots up Yaz’s back. The mums listen to me and the dads drool over me. It makes her skin crawl seeing it in action. 

“Special delivery.” Yaz says, placing down a refrigerated Capri Sun on Jess’ desk. Jess looks up from her papers and sighs in relief. 

“You’re a star Miss Khan.” She smiles. 

“Anything to help, Doctor Smith.”

“Wait- Miss Khan.” Jess takes Yaz’s wrist to stop her from leaving. “I have five minutes.” 

Yaz smiles softly and takes one of the chairs meant for students and parents and places it next to Jess so they can talk. They talk about nothing and everything at the same time, discussing how the evening is going for each other and Jess even shows her a ridiculous answer a kid wrote in the tests she’s marking between appointments. Comfortable that they’re hidden by the desk and remaining chairs in front of it, Yaz places her hand on Jess’ knee while they chat. Jess is halfway through explaining how many students she has left to see when she yawns.  

“Tired?” Yaz ends up moving her hand behind Jess’ back to rub between her shoulder blades. 

“I’ll be fine when I’m home.” Jess makes an attempt to smile but ends up yawning again.

Yaz wants to rest her head on her shoulder. Pull her in for a hug or just do anything to show any kind of affection but she knows she can’t. Rubbing her back is suspicious enough and not only would staff see, but also students and their parents and guardians. It's too risky, so Yaz just has to grin and bear it.

“So this is how it is, is it?” A woman stands a couple of meters away from them that Yaz recognises instantly as a pissed off parent. She stands, Jess following suit ready to defend themselves. “My son gets and internal exclusion for insinuating you two are in a relationship which you openly deny but now you’re all cuddled up for everyone to-” 

“Mrs Mitchell this is not the place to bring up a complaint.” Jess attempts to speak up for Yaz. Yaz is just surprised that Jess knows the last name of one of Yaz’s students.

“Discussing what you’re going to get up to once you’re out of here are you?” 

“We’re discussing the welfare of one of the students we share to see if their concentration in my lessons can be transferred to Doctor Smith’s.” Yaz lies. It’s easy to do and in all honesty she’s had it in the back of her mind ever since Jess asked her to stay for a few minutes. 

“I don’t believe that one bit.” Adam’s mum scoffs. 

“You are disturbing the other meetings going on, please, I can show you to Miss Noble's office but not here. At all.”

Jess commands herself in such a way Yaz doesn’t know whether to be scared or turned on. She towers over the little woman and isn’t afraid to get up in her space and maybe it reminds Yaz of how they used to be. 

“I know exactly where her office is. Thank you.” Mrs Mitchell smiles venomously and exits the gym.

“Are you okay Doctor Smith?” A young girl sitting at one of the maths teachers stations asks. 

“Yeah, I’m all good. Not the first time I’ve had angry parents in my face.” Jess laughs it off.

“Nor me.” Yaz says, acknowledging that she’s part of this debacle as well. “I’ll let you get on Doctor Smith.” 

 

Yaz follows Jess in her car and not only discovers that she breaks late but also that Jess really does live on the other side of town. Unlike Yaz she has a relatively large flat which Yaz sees is filled with science trinkets and mementos once she’s inside. In her living room Yaz has to pause to take everything in. It’s all just so Jess from the purple sofa to the framed picture of her receiving her doctorate next to the framed document itself sitting next to her TV to the coffee table that is very evidently made out of the old blue door that belonged to lab thirteen that she rescued from the skip.

“Seriously?” Yaz asks.

“It was my first ever classroom I had to myself, of course I was going to keep the door.” Jess says like it’s obvious. A normal thing for teachers to do.

“You couldn’t have just taken off the door number?” Yaz holds back her amusement. “You don’t do things in half Jess.” 

“No, I wanted the- mother fucker-”

Yaz stops staring at the door-turned-coffee table and turns around again to see Jess struggling to unzip her skirt. 

“Come here you idiot.” Yaz says. 

She proceeds to unzip Jess’ skirt but unlike the last time she had to do it, she doesn’t fear boundaries and she takes the liberty of untucking the back of Jess’ shirt for her too, allowing her fingertips to brush against the skin of her back.

“Thank you.” 

“Go and get changed Jess.” Yaz lightly pushes her away as an encouragement.

Now alone in the middle of Jess’ flat Yaz resists the temptation to explore further. It would be rude without an invitation to start rummaging through her stuff. Although her flat is full with stuff Jess is very neat. She should have guessed that considering she always keeps her lab tidy (despite the biscuit crumbs). Even if Yaz did want to start snooping around there’s a knock at the door and with Jess still getting changed Yaz goes to answer it knowing who it’s going to be. 

“Food ti- oh, Miss Kha- I mean Yaz. I didn’t know you’d be here?” John says as he walks in with three pizza boxes in his hand.

“Jess invited me.” Yaz says. 

“We didn’t get you any specific food.” Rose says.

“It’s okay, she can share mine.” Jess swoops in to take the pizza box and encourages Yaz to sit down next to her. In her new change of clothes she looks far more comfortable to the point where Yaz is happy for her.

“Jessica Smith you never share food.” John says, standing upright with surprise. “You beat me up once for drinking some of your Capri Suns.”

“Because you made fun of me for buying them in the first place and you took eight of them, you deserved what you got.” Jess says, still sounding very offended by the ordeal.

“She lets me drink them.” Yaz says, just to pour salt in the wound.

“She lets you do a lot of things.” Rose mutters. Clara not so secretly snorts at that.

“Anyway,” John holds up a slice of pizza as if it was an ice cold beer. “congratulations on another year of parents' evenings over.” 

“Agreed.” Jess says, raising a slice.

Yaz, Clara and Rose join in too and they cheers their food. It’s always a long night and food is welcome. As they eat they discuss how each of their evenings went, talking about how the students with big personalities cower when sat in front of them with their parents, all of their bravado evaporating. The quiet students grin when they get praised and the ones that lack confidence have to have their feedback told carefully so they don’t overthink it. Most teenagers do their utmost best to differentiate themselves from their peers but they’re all the same really. They’re all going through the same stuff. 

Yaz lets Jess have the last slice of pizza and the box gets discarded to the floor. Five minutes later Jess is having her own conversation with Yaz while John and Clara discuss the upcoming English trip as Rose listens in. She’s sweet for not leaving Yaz out and making her feel included. Tonight kind of feels like an initiation to her- she’s hanging out with her brother and her friends in her flat after months of telling herself that their arrangement was just… that. 

“You can come with me.” Yaz says after a moment of deliberation. If Jess can invite her into her home, Yaz can introduce her to her family- even if they do end up breaking up in a few months' time. 

“What?” Jess frowns.

“To my parents. We leave Friday straight after work. Unless you don’t want to come anymore.”

Jess grins and instead of verbally confirming she kisses her instead. Yaz smiles at Jess’ happiness and her own making it hard not to clash teeth.

“Okay well obviously this is no longer a fling anymore, come on!” Clara shouts like she's addressing the elephant in the room. 

“Nice observation, English.” Jess directs her smile at her friend. 

“Wait, so what is actually going on?” John asks, a lot more serious and concerned for his sister's welfare. Yaz isn't sure what that says about what he thinks about her, but she would do the same for her sister so she kind of understands the hostility. 

“We’re… um…” Jess turns to Yaz. “What actually are we?”

“Seeing each other?” Yaz suggests.

“Yes! Seeing each other! That’s it.” Jess agrees. 

“Just seeing each other? No girlfriends, no L words just-”

“Actually you kind of… blurted out a certain L word.” Yaz says, gently encouraging Jess to talk about it. 

“You said it back.” Jess frowns, disappointed in her.

“After a few weeks.”

“Yeah but you still-”

“You’ve said you love each other but you’re only ‘seeing each other’?” John asks. He doesn’t exactly look approving. Still, it doesn’t put Yaz off. 

“It’s still new.” Jess says. 

“Could’ve fooled me.” Clara sips her drink.

“Well I’m happy for you two.” Rose says. 

Yaz feels Jess reaching for her hand and she lets her hold it and somehow… the action makes her feel more vulnerable than all the times they’ve been walking in on.


Thanks to their fiasco on Monday Yaz and Jess agree to avoid each other again during work hours no matter how much it sucks. They have to maintain professionalism over everything else. It’s a lot more obvious now that the two teachers are getting along rather than fighting all the time but it’s still best to come across only as friends. So Yaz teaches, she helps at boxing club, and she keeps up with the welfare of the kids in her tutor group like she’s paid to do and more. She loves her job- but she’s also falling in love with Jess. By Thursday evening Yaz has to invite Jess over otherwise she feels like she might be getting withdrawal symptoms. When she’s home without her she gets phantom wafts of her scent, invisible touches that don’t exist and she hears her voice in the quiet. It’s like a form of madness. 

“Make the most of me tonight.” Jess says, throwing herself onto Yaz’s bed. 

“Why? Why are you saying it like that?” Yaz sits up, afraid that she’s going to say she has to leave early or she wants a break.

“I forgot that I’ve been invited to a conference in Paris for science teachers with PhDs.” Jess explains. 

“That doesn’t seem like something someone would forget easily.” Yaz squints at her with suspicion. 

“I’ve been preoccupied.” Jess reaches over to stroke up and down Yaz’s spine until Yaz is won over enough to lay with her head on Jess’ chest. 

“How long are you away for?” Yaz asks. 

“Saturday morning til Tuesday night.” 

“Jess we’re visiting my parents this weekend!” Yaz’s head shoots up and she repositions herself.

“I know. I’ll have to leave for the airport Saturday morning, I’m sorry. I can’t really say no to this stuff, Donna wants me there representing the school.” Jess says. Yaz secretly excuses her but she’s not going to let her get away with it without grovelling a little. 

“So we’ll be away from each other for basically five days because I won’t see you until Wednesday evening.” Yaz says. 

“When you put it like that it sounds shit.” 

“Are you staying in a hotel?” Yaz asks, trying to bring up the good parts of this trip. It sounds like a great opportunity and she doesn’t want Jess to not experience it because she’s too busy sulking around.

“Yeah.” Jess nods. “Nothing fancy but definitely half decent.” 

“Will you fall for the seductive charms of a French hotel maid and leave me for her?” Yaz asks- teasing, but not at the same time.

“No. I’d never do that.” Jess frowns, taking it seriously. Yaz doesn’t bother picking her up on it.

“Will you think about me?” Yaz asks, starting to press her lips against the side of Jess’ jaw.

“I always think about you.” Jess sighs. 

“But will you think about me? When you’re all alone in that hotel?” Yaz brings her kisses up across Jess’ cheek so that she fully understands what she’s insinuating. 

“If that’s what you want.”

“Can you show me? Now?” 

“Only if you kiss me while I do it.” 

Yaz nods at her agreement which prompts Jess to not so calmly rid herself of her trousers and boxers. She’s so enthusiastic about the idea Yaz giggles at her until Jess spreads her legs wide and repositions Yaz so she’s straddling her thigh. She can see her eyes and the trust that’s in them. Then it’s not funny anymore. 

“You look like you’ve changed your mind.” Jess says with a look in her eye that she's willing to stop everything in a heartbeat if Yaz says so. She’ll do anything if Yaz says so.

“I haven’t.” Yaz says. 

“Promise?”

Yaz nods. “Promise.”

Yaz lets Jess feel her up; lets her commit the shape of her body to memory and Yaz makes small noises at every flick of her tongue in her mouth and squeeze of her breasts over her top to help get her wet but Yaz doesn’t touch her. She’s not going to be there to touch her. Either way it works and Yaz can hear Jess’ fingers sliding through her folds. Jess gasps when (Yaz assumes) she runs over her clit, giving Yaz the opportunity to lay on her side next to her, her leg still draped loosely over Jess’, so she can watch what her hand is doing.

“What are you thinking about?” Yaz whispers, making sure her lips are ghosting against her earlobe.

“You.” Jess says.

“Specifics, Jess. Tell me what you think about when I’m not there.” Yaz orders of her. To make it seem like a reasonable request she kisses the slope of Jess’ neck. 

“You- uh, I think about you bent over one of the science desks a lot- letting me have you and I think about you riding me sometimes. Quite a bit actually, I like thinking about you on top.”

“You know we can actually do one of those things?” Yaz smiles against her neck. 

“Both if we’re careful.”

“What else do you think about?” Yaz asks, ignoring the last hopeful comment. 

“How you confronted me in the staff toilets one time, that turned me on, pushing me up against the wall like that.” The composure in Jess’ voice fails on the last syllable of her sentence, prompting Yaz to look down between Jess’ legs to see her hips lightly roll against the finger that’s not disappeared inside of herself. 

“It did?” Yaz asks.

“Don’t act surprised.” Jess grins as she adds another finger easily. She uses another finger on her other hand to gently push Yaz’s face back around to look her in the eye. “I also think about how adorable you were, grinding on my lap trying so hard to be sexy when you just-”

“Don’t make fun of me!” Yaz whines at her.

“I’m not!” Jess laughs. “I’m just saying you were cute more than anything. You were trying.”  

Despite having two of her fingers inside herself Jess takes a moment to use her spare hand and push her fingers into Yaz’s hair, pulling her down until their foreheads are touching with a stupid smile on her face. Not wanting her to stop Yaz glances down at her wrist and only looks back up at her when she can see her fingers moving and feel the breath hitting her cheek quiver. Sticking by her promise Yaz kisses Jess as she touches herself. Dancing to the beat of her own drum Jess keeps them locked in a deep and sensual kiss. Yaz lets her take whatever she wants from her, letting her lead until she has to break away to release a sound Yaz has never heard her make before. With her mouth now distracted Yaz pays attention to Jess’ neck instead, nipping and sucking at her skin hoping the feeling will stick with her long enough for this trip. At the same time she selfishly commits every sound, every small movement to memory. Jess is amazing anyway but without having to concentrate on being the one giving her pleasure Yaz gets a unique opportunity to observe just how Jess reacts to the simplest of touches.

“Does it usually take you this long?” Yaz asks, noting how Jess is taking longer than she usually lasts.

“It’s a bit difficult with an audience.” Jess snaps. Whether it be out of pity for her or her need to move things along Yaz abandons her place at Jess’ side and settles on her stomach between her legs instead, pulling a leg over her shoulder. “Yaz. Yaz what are you doing?” Jess asks.

“Keep going.” She instructs.

Yaz flicks her tongue against Jess’ clit, listening to the wet hot sounds Jess’ fingers make as she continues to pump into herself. The moans Jess makes turn into one continuous sound soon after with Yaz’s mouth helping out. She can tell Jess is close when sticky fingers hold onto her cheek with another hand holding her head in place, and when she looks up she’s just in time to see her throw her head back and unravel. It’s not the most intense, not the most violent but still satisfactory. Enough.

“Thank you.” Jess whispers when the two of them are face to face again.

“You did most of it yourself.” Yaz smiles, proud that somehow she’s managed to get away with asking her to do that. 

“I got stuff all over your face.” Jess says, embarrassed. 

“Do you really think I care?” 

“Whoa-” Yaz lunges for Jess’ tshirt but is stopped by Jess’ hands on top of hers. “slow, yeah?” Jess cups her face with a strong tenderness. “We’ve got time.”


“Last question then you can go!” Doctor Smith announces to her year seven class. It’s a couple of minutes from the Friday bell going and Yaz is in the back of the class pretending to make changes to the display board when actually she’s just waiting for the end of the day so she can hurry Jess along for their hour journey up to her parents. “What’s the seventh planet from the sun, Earth, Saturn, Venus or Uranus?”

“Why do you pronounce it like that Doctor?” One of her students asks. 

“Pronounce what like what?” Doctor Smith asks.

“You pronounced Uranus like Urannuse.” The kid makes fun of her pronunciation and the rest of the class giggles in agreement. Yaz abandons her fake display board maintenance and rests her back against the counter. 

“Yeah, that’s how you pronounce it.” Doctor Smith says. 

“No it’s not.” Her students argue against her.

“Yes it is!” Doctor Smith’s voice goes high pitched and she turns to Yaz, who she’s ignored for the past five minutes. “Miss Khan, how do you pronounce Uranus?” 

“Ur- anus.” Yaz says in agreement with the class. 

“Get owned Doctor Smith!”

“Hands up who got taught to say it like Miss Khan says it.” Doctor Smith says. Almost all the class including Yaz put up their hand and Doctor Smith looks positively distraught. “Jesus- I need a word with all of your old science teachers because they are wrong.” The bell signalling the end of the day rings. “Fine, the answer is Uranus. Go. Have a good weekend. Remember I won’t be here Monday and Tuesday next week so please behave for your substitutes!”

The youngest students in the school all filter out of the lab as fast as they can without running. They all still have the freedom to have fun with their friends and play out unlike the older students and the staff who have work and homework to do. They have reasons to be rushing home.

“It’s just a planet Doctor Smith.” Yaz smirks, noticing Jess is muttering to herself about the pronunciation of the planet name.

“It’s still a name! Imagine if I started calling you Yasminee or something.” Jess grumbles.

“I’d tell you to piss right off.” Yaz laughs through her nose at her, leaning on the other side of the teachers desk. 

“So stop calling it Uranus you heathen.” Jess says, getting on with typing up her instruction sheets for the cover teachers next week. 

“I like Uranus.” Yaz mumbles. 

Jess blows through her nose, her eyes not leaving the computer screen. “Are you objectifying me in the workplace Miss Khan?”

“Will you punish me for it Doctor Smith?” Yaz kinks an eyebrow. That gets her attention. “Bend me over a desk?”

“Are.. are you being serious?” Jess whispers, looking at her with an equal balance of fear and excitement. 

“Course I’m not serious, we need to get going.” 

Yaz turns away to put stools up on desks to help the cleaners and at the same time give Jess a chance to show her disappointment without anyone else seeing. 

“You’re a horrible tease.” Jess says, joining her. 

“Maybe one day.” Yaz swiftly kisses her cheek. “When it doesn’t matter if we get fired and maybe arrested.” 

 

Yaz drives in front while Jess follows. It would have been easier to have the both of them in one car but this conference Jess is going to tomorrow morning has already paid for a parking space at the airport for her. Plus, she’ll have to drive to the airport anyway. When Yaz and Jess have completed the hour journey and they’re walking over to the lift, Yaz realises how nervous Jess looks.

“You good?” Yaz takes her hand as they enter the lift. 

“They know I’m coming right?” Jess asks. 

“Um… about that.”

“Yaz!” 

“It’s not a big deal! They’re always prepared for guests.” Yaz says. Jess just continues to look like she’s going to faint. “It’s okay. Honestly.” 

“Should I have brought them anything?” Jess asks.

“Jess, seriously, look at me.” Yaz pauses until she does. “This is casual, yeah?”

The lift door opens and Yaz almost has to drag Jess out of it. She doesn’t let go of her hand in fear of her running away until she reaches the flat door and has to dig her keys out of her jeans pocket.

“Is that you Yaz?” Hakim asks when he hears the door open.

“Yeah it’s me.” Yaz says. “Dad I’ve got-”

“How was work love?” Najia asks. Yaz hasn’t even had a chance to get down the hallway yet. 

“Good. Look, mum I’ve got-”

“Just good? What about that bitch of a scientist, is she not giving you grief?” Najia asks. Yaz feels Jess’ palm go sweaty and ashamed to look at her Yaz just squeezes her hand.

“Mum.” Yaz says more firmly. Now they’re in the room with each other, Yaz's parents look up from what they’re doing and visibly see Jess standing by her side. They look confused, more than anything. “This is Jess. Also known as Doctor Smith.” 

There’s almost an audible gasp. Apart from that, you could hear a pin drop.

“Hi.” Jess says. Yaz can hear in her voice that she’s drawing on all the professionalism she has to not sound offended.  

“We’re… um. We’re dating.” Yaz announces. 

Najia and Hakim share a look Yaz can’t decipher then cautiously stand to greet their guest. Yaz is seriously regretting not calling ahead and explaining and now her own mother has called Jess a bitch in front of her. 

“Whe-” Najia starts but is soon interrupted.

“I’m home!” Sonya shouts. “Is Yaz here yet, I thought I saw her car but-”

Sonya stops dead, all of them ending up in a big circle like they’re about to pull guns on each other. Yaz watches her sister analyse the faces of everyone, looks down at Yaz and Jess’ joined hands, then takes a good ten seconds to recognise where she’s seen Jess before. 

“Hi.” Jess says, not knowing what else to say with this very judgmental woman in her twenties staring at her face. 

“Well. This looks a little bit awkward.” Sonya chimes. 

 

Now that everyone’s home Yaz sits them all down to explain. Jess distances herself from Yaz while she speaks and Yaz knows it's because she knows Yaz talked to her mum about her behind her back and not in a good way and on top of that, she never rectified her opinion. For all Jess knows Yaz could still be calling her a bitch behind her back. But for now, Yaz explains to her family with less graphic details how they got to this point. She makes up a lie saying they decided to be nice to each other after new year (which Jess had suggested at the time) and phrases it like they became friends and then they just… happened. Hakim goes with it, Sonya looks over the moon that she was right about Yaz having a crush, and Najia looks like she’s having none of it but goes with the story for the time being. Najia makes an effort to apologise directly to Jess for referring to her the way she did and says that Yaz was ‘an arse’ for not giving her an update on her love life sooner.

After that, the tone in the flat changes. Jess talks more and is the usual self Yaz is still getting to know and she’s more physically affectionate with Yaz when they sit down together. Hakim suggests ordering in Chinese which is a nice gesture. Jess offers to pay for hers which goes down well with Yaz’s parents. By the time they’re all eating Jess is cracking jokes with Yaz’s family and even Sonya is warming to her. Yaz personally falls a little bit more in love with Jess sitting around the table together. Whether it be because of the hand that rests on her knee or the fact Jess speaks so highly about her in front of her, she just evokes this warm feeling in Yaz’s chest. 

When they all gather around the TV to watch a film, Jess sits up close to Yaz with her arm resting over Yaz’s shoulders. Yaz likes it. Other than it feeling nice and right it’s also a bit of a fuck you to her mum who seemed to have given up on Yaz finding a partner. Not that they’re partners but hopefully with a good few more weeks they could be more. At least that’s how tonight is making Yaz feel. 

No one is really invested in the movie Sonya puts on- the woman herself leaving early- and they talk all the way through it. Jess explains how she’s going to be leaving early tomorrow morning and why, which Yaz can tell sits well with her parents and makes up for the early departure. Jess is smart and brilliant and invited to a conference in Paris with other smart people. It’s not Yaz’s achievement to claim but it makes her feel smug that someone like Jess wants to be with her. 

The film ends. Everyone wishes each other good night and Yaz thinks that’s the end of the day and she can have a conversation- a debrief- with Jess in bed. When her mum corners her in the kitchen while she gets herself a glass of water, she realises it’s not quite the end of the day yet.

“When did you really start seeing her?” Najia asks in that motherly tone you wouldn’t dare lie to. 

“January.” Yaz says. 

“But when? How did it happen?” Najia persists. 

“I told you mum.” Yaz continues to refuse to give her anything. 

“I know you’re lying to me Yaz.”

“Maybe because I don’t want to give you all the personal details.” Yaz says. “It’s my life mum.”

“So you slept with her.” Najia beams, interpreting ‘personal details’ as sex.

“Yes, I did, many times before we ever went out on a date and then a lot more after that. Is that what you want to know?” Yaz snaps.

“Alright. I get it. I shouldn’t pry.” Najia smirks at her daughter and backs away. 

Noticing that Yaz has just given her mother all the information she wanted she has to calm herself. Usually Najia is great at talking to her about things, but as Yaz has got older she’s had to find new ways to get into the details of her private life. It’s incredibly frustrating and annoying and Yaz wishes she could just wait until she’s ready to say something, but at the same time she wouldn’t switch her mum for anyone else in the world. Yaz pads back to her room trying to get her head cool again before she talks to Jess. 

“You took a while.” Jess says, having stayed up for her to come back. 

“Mum cornered me.” Yaz grumbles, setting down her cup of water. 

“Do they like me?” Jess whispers. 

“I think so. Not sure yet.” Yaz climbs under the covers next to a very disgruntled looking Jess. “But I like you.”

“Did I do something wrong?” Jess asks. 

“No. It’s me.” Yaz says. Jess frowns and backs away from her. Knowing Yaz can’t get away with only saying that, she sighs, preparing herself to explain some more, having skirted around the subject while talking to her family. “I slagged you off when I came home for Christmas, it’s my fault they’re being like this. I think they’re still stuck thinking you’re really horrible to me.”  

“Yaz.” Jess whines her name with hurt and disappointment. 

“I’m sorry! But at the time you had just shown me up in front of the entire school and I was pretty much ready to get in a physical fight with you.” Yaz tries to excuse herself with a smile but Jess rolls over away from her. “Don’t get in a huff Jess.”

“I’m not getting in a huff.” Jess says, definitely in a huff. 

“Yeah you are.”

“Am not.”

“Jess.” Yaz says. No response. “Jess.” Yaz sings her name and tugs on her shirt so that she rolls back onto her back. Yaz leans over her to force her to look her in the eye. “They will like you.”

“I leave tomorrow morning- that’s not enough time to win them over.” Jess says. 

“Just be yourse-.”

“What exactly did you say about me?” Jess asks. 

“Does it really matter?” Yaz takes Jess’ hand that’s laying on her stomach and tries to hold it. Jess is having none of it.

“Goodnight Yaz.” She says.

“I showed them the video of the eating contest and I think I just said you were arrogant and a bit up yourself. Sonya and mum defended you, I was being an idiot.” Yaz has no choice but to tell her otherwise they’ll end up going to sleep angry at each other. 

Jess shuffles. “Your sister?” 

“Yeah.” Yaz confirms.

“I guess that’s an achievement.”

“Obviously I don’t think that stuff now.” Yaz goes to hold Jess’ hand again and this time is successful. “I love you.”

“Hm.” Jess rolls over again away from her.

“Jess don’t be like this.” Yaz pleads with her. 

“I’m still mad about how you pronounce Uranus.” Jess grumbles. Yaz smiles to herself and kisses Jess’ cheek. 

“Goodnight Doctor Smith.” 

 

The next morning Yaz wakes up to an empty space next to her and for a moment she thinks Jess was a dream. Then she comes to her senses and realises Jess is probably up and getting ready to leave for her flight. In another twist of feelings Yaz then gets scared that Jess left without saying goodbye so she jumps out of bed and heads towards the kitchen. She finds Jess sitting with her parents eating breakfast with them which is a sight she never thought she would see. Doctor Smith and her parents. Blimey.

“Morning.” Jess smiles, abandoning her seat around the table with the rest of the Khans like they don’t even exist and almost running towards Yaz. “Your parents have a better cereal selection than you do by the way.”

“Are you going now?” Yaz asks. She doesn’t want her to but she’s already dressed in her light blue suit and her overnight bag is already sitting by the door. 

“Afraid so.” Jess shrugs.

“You look great.” Yaz says, looking her up and down, shamelessly checking her out. 

“Gotta make a good first impression.” Jess smiles with a hint of nervousness. 

“No but you look really …” Yaz tails off, unable to come up with suitable words to describe how attractive the blonde in front of her looks. 

“See this is how I know I look better in suits than that stupid skirt.” Jess grins. 

“How?”

“Your face.” Jess says. 

“When are you back again?” Yaz asks to shake herself out of the trance Jess’ body puts on her. 

“Late Tuesday night.” 

Still unhappy with that timing, Yaz pulls Jess into a hug. Hugging each other feels normal now and Yaz is keen to do it whenever she can. Over Jess’ shoulder she sees her parents looking but trying not to look, but definitely looking. Yaz realises they might be coming across a bit stronger than just ‘dating’ and that in itself scares her into thinking about what they actually are. Not the time, Khan Yaz tells herself. She pushes Jess away. 

Jess digs into the inner chest pocket of her blazer. “Here’s my flight number.” 

“You’re only going to France.” Yaz says, taking the little slip of card. 

“So track me. Make sure I get there safely.”

“Jess are you scared of flying?” Yaz whispers. 

“Not scared necessarily. I know the facts but… I just want you to know where I am.” Jess leans in. “And that I’m not running away with the French hotel maid.” She whispers.

“You’re ridiculous.” Yaz shakes her head as she smiles. 

“You thought of it.” Jess accuses her but before Yaz can answer she kisses her. Yaz kisses her back- still very aware that her parents are watching- and calls it off when it feels right to. “See you later.”

“Text me when you land.” 

“I will.” Jess agrees. “Bye Mr and Mrs Khan.” She calls behind her. 

“Bye sweetheart.” 

“Good meeting you Jess.” 

Yaz sees Jess out of the door then returns to her parents, needing to know what they were talking to Jess about before Yaz woke up. 

“You seem very comfortable with her.” Najia says. 

“I know mum, that’s why I brought her here.” Yaz smiles sarcastically at her. “What were you talking about?”

“She was discussing the 1969 moon landing with me.” Hakim says.

“God- dad you didn’t try to convince her the moon landing was a conspiracy did you?” Yaz cringes. 

“He did.” Najia sips at her coffee. 

“Oi, I learnt a few things from her actually.” Hakim says. “I think she’s very agreeable.” 

“As a scientist or as someone I’m choosing to go out with?” Yaz asks. Her parents smile at her. 

“Both.”