Smells like danger (Teacher!Olivia x Student!F!Reader)
You slung the bag over your shoulder as you plodded on down the cold hallway that seemed to grow longer and darker with each step. You hated being there, not the hallway, but the school itself. You hadn't wanted to move from the small town you grew up in, but that damn scholarship had turned your whole world upside down.
You were supposed to be grateful for the opportunity, and you were! But having to leave everything you knew behind, the safety of your small group of friends, your family, everything that kept you going, was too overwhelming.
Add to that that no one at school seemed to really accept you and you were in for hell. You didn't really know what you'd done to everyone besides, well, exist, but your classmates seemed to run away from you like the plague (although if you were being honest, it wasn't like you were trying to get too close to them either).
The only ones who seemed to respect you a little were the professors, and that was only because of the scientific reports they had read when they accepted you into the university. Well, everyone except Octavius. It seemed that nothing you did could be moderately acceptable to the woman, her class was the only one you had failed and if you didn't improve soon, you would lose the scholarship.
So you were going straight to the Kraken's lair, hoping you could do something about your grades, maybe some extra work or something, even though you knew the woman wasn't known for giving second chances and you doubted she'd make an exception for you.
"Well, here goes nothing" you thought
You timidly knocked on the door and inwardly cursed at the way your knees were shaking and the suffocating feeling you had, you could almost tell you wanted to cry but you forced yourself to keep a neutral face as the woman called you from inside.
"Good afternoon, Doctor Octavius" you said as soon as you entered
The office somehow seemed creepier and colder than the hallway and your insides churned with the desire to run out of there. You were aware that your voice was barely a whisper, but you couldn't do anything about it, there was something about the woman that always made you nervous.
"Can I help you, Miss Y/L/N?"
"I-" you stammered "Mrs. Parker sent me"
Olivia raised an eyebrow. What was May up to now? It wasn't strange that the other woman sent students to her office, with a note asking her to be nicer to them or to correct a note, but she had been clear that her criteria would be maintained, there were no places for second chances. She didn't understand why her colleague kept trying.
"I guess she gave you a note" she said, not looking impressed.
"Y-yes" you said, swallowing a bit as you took a piece of paper out of your pocket and handed it to her.
Liv couldn't help but notice how much your hand was shaking. Actually, everything in you seemed to want to run out of there, as if you were having difficulty breathing, and your eyes looked more and more glassy.
"Are you okay?" she asked without thinking
"Y-yes!" you lied "I-I'm fine"
She didn't seem to believe you, but at least she had the decency not to press the matter. She simply pointed you to the chair across from her desk before reading the note. You tried not to make too much noise as you moved it to sit down, wishing you would just disappear.
Liv, I know you hate it when I ask you to be more permissive with the students, but this is a special case. Y/L/N is here for a scholarship, which, I must remind you, is more oriented to your subject than any other, and yet your class is the only one she has failed. This leads me to think that either you have something against her personally (which I really hope isn't the case), or something is going on with her. I am not asking you to modify the note, just to help her find out what is happening because otherwise, she will lose her scholarship.
Liv resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Of course, May would find even the slightest reason to accuse her of something, but this was too much. What could she have against you specifically? You were one more student that failed in her class, nothing new with that.
It wasn't the first time she'd run into teary-eyed people trying to appeal to her softer side, and that never worked. Although for some reason, she really doubted that you were trying to pull that trick on her, there was something in your eyes, in the way you kept shaking, that told her that instead, you seemed to want to keep the tears from coming.
That was new.
"It seems that my colleague is worried about your performance in my class, Miss Y/L/N" she said after a few seconds of observing you "is it true that it is the only subject in which you have had a low grade?"
"Y-yes ma'am" you answered, without lifting your eyes from the ground
God, you sounded so fragile. Like a child listening to her parents say that her effort was not enough. And for some reason, that felt like an inexcusable thing to her. She didn't know what was going on with her, but from one moment to the next, she felt the need to comfort you, and help you as much as possible. Weird.
"And do you have any idea why?" she asked, staring at you
You just shook your head. Again, you were lying...sort of. You had a pretty seared memory in your mind of your first class with her. The Dr. had asked you something and you had been too intimidated by her gaze that you hadn't even heard the question properly.
You managed to get it right once she repeated it, but since then you haven't been able to fully focus on her class. In your defense, she seemed to always be watching you, because every time you looked up, her eyes were on you, making you feel too small. But you couldn't tell her that, you couldn't just admit that you were afraid of her.
"Well, you'd better find out" she said "Miss Y/L/N, your scholarship is on the line here, and there's no reason you should be failing the class you came here for in the first place."
"I-I know" you whispered "I-I'm sorry ma'am, I...I-I'll try to improve, I promise"
She thought she was being firm, but not cruel. She wasn't talking to you any different than how she would talk to any other student, but the moment she looked into your eyes and could see the tears welling up in them, her stomach turned.
She had no idea why she was reacting to you like this, why the thought of making you cry hurt so much even though many students had tearfully walked out of her office before. What kind of power did you have over her? She didn't know it, but she was sure that there was something in you.
Liv sighed and stood up, walking around her desk so she could stand next to you. There really wasn't much of a height difference between you, not that she would have noticed it when she saw you in the halls, but right now you looked so small and broken, and for the first time in all her years as a teacher, she decided to help a student a little more. If only to make you feel better.
"Look, I've read your essays, the ones you submitted for the scholarship" she said "they're brilliant, and I can understand why you're here. You have a bright future, Y/N, and I don't know what's going on, but we have to fix this, I would hate to lose a student as bright as you."
Your eyes widened slightly, but you didn't look up. You could feel your cheeks flush furiously and you were sure you looked ridiculous, but your mind was too busy to worry about it. Olivia Octavius just called you brilliant.
Coming from a renowned scientist like her, that was a huge compliment! One of the greatest privileges you would ever have. And for some reason, more than comforting you, it made the urge to cry even more unbearable. It's not that you weren't grateful, but knowing that she thought that way about you only made you feel more pressure, and you didn't know how much more you could take before you broke.
Liv seemed to realize this, or at least sense that you were too close to the edge, because she put a hand on your shoulder, caressing you gently in an attempt to comfort you a little, and her voice was softer when she spoke again.
"I'm serious, Y/N" she said "you have an extraordinary mind, don't lose this. This scholarship is a great opportunity for you"
"I don't even know if I care to keep it anymore" you muttered without thinking
The older woman was surprised and she felt you tense under her touch as you realized what you had said. You quickly tried to apologize for your rudeness or ungratefulness, but she wasn't paying attention to your rambles.
Her mind was racing, trying to understand how anyone could think such a thing of a great opportunity like the one you had, and more importantly, why did she care? Why did the idea of you leaving weigh so heavily on her?
"You want to leave?" she asked, stopping your tirade
You swallowed a bit and concentrated on your hands, not knowing how you could look at her after saying that. Surely she was already thinking that you were sabotaging your own school performance to get back home.
"Y/N, do you want to leave?" Liv asked again, a little firmer but not raising her voice.
"No" you said quickly "I just…I miss home…my friends…I miss not being alone" you confessed
You had no idea why you were telling that to the teacher that scared you the most, but a part of you felt better saying it out loud, to share with someone the burden you had been carrying for months, even if that someone was Dr. Octavius.
"You came to the city alone right?" she asked softly.
You just nodded, and even though you tried not to, you couldn't hold back your tears anymore. You felt pathetic for crying in front of her, but you couldn't help it. You felt so bad, so alone. Olivia didn't know what to do with you at that moment. Sure, she'd seen your tears and knew it was a matter of time before you finally broke down, but she hadn't expected you to do it in front of her, she thought maybe you'd wait until you were out of her office to break down.
What should she do now? She was never good at comforting anyone, especially a student, that was always May's job, but she couldn't just send you to her, she didn't want you to think she didn't care about you. But why did she do? This was all new to her, the idea of wanting to protect someone other than herself was strange and she had no idea how to proceed. She just knew that she didn't want to see you like that.
Acting on instinct (one that was rusty to her, if she was being honest), she squatted down next to you, wrapping one arm around you in an awkward but well-intentioned half-hug. She didn't want to think about the way her pulse quickened a little when you pressed lightly against her.
Silently, she took a handkerchief from the pocket of her robe and offered it to you without saying anything, watching you fight to stop what would surely be intense crying if you weren't with her. Her hand acted on its own and she began to play with your hair, thankful that the gesture seemed to calm you down a bit.
"I'll tell you what" she said after a moment "I'll help you"
You sniffed a bit and looked at her out of the corner of your eye. The older woman internally cursed you for looking so adorable, and she had to get up to put distance between you because she didn't want to get lost in your intoxicating scent, then she berated herself for thinking like that of a student. She could already feel that this was a bad idea, but she couldn't back down.
"Come to my office every day after class" she continued "we'll go over everything and make sure you don't lose that scholarship. I know it can be hard being alone in a new city, Miss Y/L/N, but we can't pass up the opportunities that are presented to us just because we are afraid, can we?"
You thought about it for a moment and finally felt brave enough to look at her. Her face was the same as always, serious and expressionless, but her green eyes seemed warmer. For some reason, that did make you feel better. You didn't know how well you could do, but it wouldn't hurt to try, right?
"I-I would really appreciate it, Dr. Octavius" you said quietly "...thank you"
The woman simply nodded and returned to her chair, taking May's note and shoving it carelessly into a drawer. She was struggling to appear professional and not let you see how much she wanted to hold you close to her again. You seemed to take that as your cue to leave and got up awkwardly, not knowing what else to say.
"Rest for the weekend, Miss Y/L/N" she said, not really wanting you to leave "we start Monday"
You nodded and wiped away the few tears that were still falling down your cheeks before walking towards the door.
"Thank you Dr. Octavius" you said again "see you later"
Liv looked at you as you opened the door and she was glad to be sitting down because her knees went weak at the small, coy smile you gave her and she felt her cheeks warm. What the hell had she gotten herself into?