Overjoyed was not the word.

No… Ecstatic was far more suitable to sum up how he felt about the piece of news he had just heard.

For the Headmaster was hiring a teacher to fill the new opening of Deputy Headmaster.

The Prefects had expressed their displeasure at this new role, as none of them were allowed to go for the position. Instead, it had to be filled by a 'useless', (in their eyes), teacher.

The interviews were taking place after school, and he couldn't wait to prove to the marvellous Headmaster that he was the man for the job.

It was minutes before the last lesson of the day when a note was delivered to him. He snatched it from the expressionless pupil, eyes widening in dismay upon reading the words scrawled across the paper.

He had to oversee Detention, after school… With a troublemaker.

Slumping into his chair, he put his head into his hands, thinking miserably: 'Today of all days… Why me?'

"Hey, Mr V!"

The cheery tone made Mr Venables want to shoot himself in the face, but he reluctantly provided the troublesome pupil with a reply.

"Mr Robinson, sit down and my name is Mr Venables."

Smile fading, Ian sat down in the front row. His usual cheekiness had faded along with his smile, as he realised that his risk of joking around certainly would not fly under Mr Venables's radar, whereas sometimes it did if he was subtle and the teacher in charge had chosen to ignore him for the entire lesson.

Mr Venables smirked as the troublemaker quietened, evidently having realised that he was pushing things too far.

He waited until Ian had stopped shifting in his chair, then addressed the boy sharply.

"Throwing paper airplanes in the corridor? Not the brightest idea you ever had, Robinson."

Ian winced. "Yeah… Harvey said that he couldn't make them, so I showed him how to make one… And I guess I got carried away…"

"Indeed." Mr Venables snorted. "On the other hand, you have just listed something else that Harvey Hunter cannot accomplish. I may have to inform Jeff of this."

Ian swallowed, aware that he was on tenterhooks with every word he uttered. "Please, don't do that… Harvey gets enough from that gi…. Jeff, as it is… I am sorry about throwing the paper airplane. I do know the rules." He quickly clarified.

Mr Venables narrowed his eyes, one of the Headmaster's mantras dying on his lips. Ian ducked his head, whispering softly: "Should I get on with some work?"

"Yes." Mr Venables clicked his tongue. "And because you ruined my chance of securing the Deputy Headmaster position, you can have another Detention, this time with a Prefect."

"Oh, Christ…" Ian groaned.

"What did you just say?"

"I said, 'Oh, Christmas will be soon!'"

Mr Venables narrowed his eyes. "Trivial information spouting out of your mouth, per usual. Now, get on with your work."

"Yes, Sir." said Ian, bending his head down and resigning himself to pages upon pages of work.

"You may go, Robinson."

Ian snapped his head up, confusion wrinkling his face. "But Sir, it's only been ten-"

"Go. Go home."

"But wouldn't the Headm-"

"If you don't tell him, then I won't either."

A wiry grin spread onto Ian's face, and as the tall boy stuffed his belongings into his schoolbag, he cried: "Cheers, Mr V!"

Mr Venables sighed in irritation, before straightening his bowtie and leading the way out of the classroom. It was risky yes, but he needed that Deputy Headmaster role. That way, he could prove to the Prefects that he was useful.

He hurried towards the Headmaster's office, barely noticing how Ian sneaked after him. For the SPLAT member, the scene of the Headmaster interviewing Mr Venables was too tempting to pass up, so he waited until Mr Venables had entered the Headmaster's office, before creeping up to the door and putting his ear against the wood.

"So, Mr V, how does it feel being Deputy Headmaster?"

Mr Venables, for once not caring that the irritating troublemaker was breaching his personal space, smiled smugly.

"Excellent, Robinson, it feels excellent."

"Mr Venables. I need to speak to you."

Both individuals froze at the sound of the Headmaster's voice, Mr Venables squeaking as the tall man stopped in front of him.

"Y-Yes, Headmaster?"

Gracing Ian with a concealed glare, the Headmaster said: "I have come to inform you that you are being stripped of your Deputy Headmaster title. The Prefects came to me this morning and pledged their case against you. They believe that you are not up for the role, and neither do I."

Mr Venables's heart shattered into a million pieces. He blinked rapidly, fighting back oncoming tears. From beside him, Ian snorted with laughter. He felt bad for Mr V, but it was too hilarious! The guy looked like a sad puppy!

Immediately, Ian fell silent as the Headmaster loomed over him, hissing:

"I suggest you silence yourself, Mr Robinson, and get to your classroom."

Hand flying to his head, Ian saluted the Headmaster, barking; "Sir, yes, Sir!"


Ian gulped and sidled past the Headmaster, throwing Mr Venables a sympathetic look. "Bad luck, Mr V. I thought you would have made a wicked Deputy Head."

As he scuttled off, Mr Venables stared after the tall boy in shock.

Maybe someone believed in him after all.