Author's Note: I am going back and revising, editing mistakes and adding more, to my old stories. Will I write again? I have my doubts but you never know.
I remember that I wrote this because I had seen a few stories of everyone in high school but one (BB or Raven) was always a teacher. Despite its theme, I tried to make this a more… mature version of the "TT in high school" cliché ;).
Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
Chivalry Isn't Dead
"What's another cliché? Come on, I know you know lots. You're bombarded with them everyday."
"The bad guy is the hero's father?"
"The little benchwarmer scoring the winning basket?"
"The abusive husband and loving wife?"
"The knight in shining armour?"
"Yes," the enigmatic teacher pointed to the student, "let's talk about that one. How for often have you seen that? Heard about it, not just in novels or fairytales, but in the lives of these celebrities you watch?"
Rachel Roth directed the conversation at front of the class. Her students all awaited what she had to say, they always found her lectures very real and practical. The girls loved her for being not only strong and independent but beautiful too. The boys, more for the second reason and not so quite the first one. She was a tough teacher and fair marker. People could say she seemed unapproachable and in a way she was. She wasn't a friend of the students, she was their teacher. She taught them to open their eyes to the world around them, and to the novels. Literature that can teach them more than any news broadcast and entertain them more than any movie. She often told her students that she grew up with a novel in her hand, that Jane Eyre sang her to sleep and Robinson Crusoe rocked her crib. But as seemingly terrifying as she was, her students loved her for that knowledge and insight they gained.
Of course a few didn't like her no-nonsense ways, her strict punctuality policies and assignment workload, actually a lot of students didn't like her. Most of whom never actually stayed in her English class longer than a few weeks, dismissing the class as 'bull' and her as being 'hot, but a bitch'. But she was a teacher that demanded respect; boys said whatever they wanted about her looks and girls whatever about her attitude, but no one could deny that she was a good teacher. Her students felt that she was preparing them for the real world, that by not sugar-coating the content she set them for real life disappointment. One student called her cynical but she was wasn't surprised, she merely replied, "Well, when you finally wanna take your head out of your ass, Mr. Malkey, then come see me."
"Cliches are the cure and curse of the literary world and that one is the sweet allure of it. Okay girls, how many of have dreamed of this?" Most of the girls raised their hands, "Now how many has it actually happened to?"
Hands slowly started receding and only 3 remained, "Oh, then better yet, how many of the young 'gentlemen' in here have always, always dreamed of coming to the rescue of a girl. Don't get me twisted boys, I mean in reality, how many of you would stand against a big ol' bully for the protection of one of these girls. These girls alright? I don't mean Jessica Alba or Tyra Banks."
Five boys raised their hands; she smirked at then and continued, "So you would actually go out of your way, to stand up to a bully for girl you may not really know, who's not necessarily gorgeous, no offense ladies, and may not even appreciate it?"
Three boys lowered their hands, "You are willing to do this for a girl with out even perhaps a thank you? What if you were shot down, what if she didn't need your help?" One boy slowly brought his hand down, but one left his hand still proudly in the air.
"Mr. Stone, you would still be that knight in shining armour?" He nodded, "Victor, has anyone told you chivalry is dead?"
He lowered his hand and crossed his arms firmly against his chest, "Yes miss, I've been told."
"And yet, I would miss." There was no sarcasm in his voice. No attitude on his face. Just a sincere and misguided young man.
"Do elaborate, Mr. Stone," she sat down on her desk, one leg planted on the ground the other hanging off the edge.
"I still think that women sometimes need to be saved. Be it from a third party or from something else, maybe themselves. And if they didn't want to, I'll feel better for doing something. Mr. Logan said-"
Ms Roth scoffed, "Of course, you boys never fail to bring up Mr. Logan. What is it Mr. Logan said this time?"
Mr. Garfield Logan of the bio department always had something to say, and it usually contradicted her own opinions. He was without a doubt, the most popular teacher at the high school. He was the funny guy who taught with a passion. He talked about biology like one would talk about their favourite sports teams. He was incredibly patient with all his students and let them discover the wonders of science with his guidance. He was a great guy, kind, caring, funny, sweet, handsome and fit. It wasn't a surprise as to why he was so popular with all the girls. And the guys? They loved that he was so popular with the girls and that he played video games and read comic books. So it was huge that the two clashed. The two 'hip young' teachers of the school butting heads all the time. Never to their faces of course, it was only through the students. It was always, "Mr. Logan said" this or, "Ms. Roth told us" that. No one really knew if they hated each other personally, but their classroom personalities certainly clashed.
And it read, boy did it. Ms Roth would have them read Lord of the Flies knowing full well that Mr. Logan was a vegetarian. Mr. Logan would tell them jokes which they in turn would tell the class knowing full well Ms. Roth hated jokes. If Mr. Logan was organizing the athletic banquet, Ms. Roth would open the play on the same night. The students even began to take sides, the girls siding with the strong, independent Ms Roth and the boys with the funny, laid-back Mr. Logan. She often overheard her students arguing in the halls after class, "Mr. Logan is a self-absorbed idiot, Dick, he wouldn't know left from right." "He's better way than Ms. 'Wrath', Kor, she needs to get laid, Mr. Logan just knows how to have fun and that makes him an idiot?"
"Well Mr. Logan said that every woman secretly wants to be swept off her feet," Victor Stone was Mr. Logan's loudest advocate in her class, "'They can't help it, he says', it's in their nature. And he says you-"
Her eyes opened wide, so did Victor at his little slip. They had never addressed each other in their debacles. It was always an impersonal stab at their principles. Names made it personal.
Ms. Roth squinted her eyes at Vic, "Go on Victor, what did Mr. Logan say?"
Vic tensed under her stare as well as the curious eyes of the rest of his class. He gulped loudly and said, "We-well he said that a strong, beautiful woman like you just needs to meet the right guy, a-and you may change your mind…"
The class went silent and Victor turned red. Rachel did too, only slightly, so she turned away and shook her head. The class suddenly broke out in whispers.
She turned back, recomposed, "Okay class, back on topic. The point is cliché is that little virus in the world of literature. Given, there is no such thing as an 'original' idea and that story is just that story is just that story. But, what makes it your story is how you execute it. The steps may be cliché, it may seem like it's leading to a cliché ending, but don't ever fall down that trap unless it's to satirize that very fact."
The class was staring at her now, she prayed they hadn't seen her blush but by the looks on their faces they had seen. Rumours fled that day, the evil kind. The words 'couple' and 'cute' floated around the school quickly and Rachel found herself dodging giggles whenever she passed clusters of girls and looks from groups of boys. The issue festered for 2 weeks. Word of Victor's slip-up must have gotten to Gary as his classes became more somber and less casual. Ms. Roth never again allowed for the mention of Mr. Logan in her class and vice versa. This only fuelled the rumours and suggestions further.
One day walking to the staffroom during her work period she passed a group of girls by the cafeteria. Her walking slowed as she heard her name in the conversation.
"Oh, come on, she totally likes him back. Who wouldn't he's sexaaay." A flutter of giggles erupted.
"Yea I know, and he clearly has the hots for her. Beautiful? He called her beautiful!"
"You know what? I bet they're secretly dating on the side. That would be sooo cool, they're so cute!"
"I knew it! Why else are they at each other's throats so much? I knew the moment I walked in this school."
"Do you think they're hiding it 'cause they can get in trouble?"
"I better be invited to the wedding, man, but I don't think I could ever call her Mrs. Logan. That feels weird."
Rachel blushed profusely and dashed to the staffroom. Later that week she passed him in the halls.
"Rachel! I mean, Ms. Roth!" he called to her; she turned and raised her eyebrows questioningly. He was down the hall blocked by loitering students at their lockers, "I, uh, I gotta talk to you, but I gotta run to a department meeting. Can I talk to you tomorrow?" Rachel fiddled with her attendance sheets and refused to look him in the face, feigning impatience.
"Uh, sure Mr Logan. Is this about next year's orientation committee?" She really hoped he would say yes. Next year they were both teaching grade 9 homerooms and therefore had to be on the orientation committee. Orientation involved a 3 night stay at a camp before school started and the preparations had to be made a year early.
"Well… no, its-uh… it's about-" He was cut off by a fellow teacher calling him into the meeting, "Sorry, I can't. I'm late already. I'll tell you tomorrow." And with that he rushed into the room. Rachel quickly turned and rushed away ignoring the looks from students who overheard the whole thing.
He didn't talk to her the next day. As a matter of fact he didn't see her all day; she seemed to be avoiding him for some reason.
She waited days for the issue to die down until she began to wander the halls openly again. She returned to her old self and would make her way to the teacher work room during her work period with the casualty she used to, often stopping at the display cases to look at the new awards won by her students or the bulletin board to read about the upcoming events. That was how he finally caught her, staring at the Easter display.
"Rachel," a deep voiced called from behind her, "You've been avoiding me." She looked at his reflection in the glass and put on a confused face.
"I don't know what you're talking about Gary, I've been here all week."
He nodded and moved beside her, "But never where I am."
"It's a big school," she scoffed, "and it's not as though our subjects are related." He nodded as though to somewhat agree and began to massage his left shoulder, looking in her eyes.
"Listen, what I said to my students before-"
"I get it," she interrupted, "It was a mistake and you're sorry. It's fine; you just know how students are…"
He looked in her eyes, shrugged his shoulders and shook his head, "That's just it. I'm not sorry."
She gave a faint blush, "Wh-what do you mean."
"I mean, Rach, that I fully intended to say you were beautiful. Because you are."
A silence passed between them, "And?"
"And… you're strong, even a, what was it? Pig-headed idiot? Like me can tell that." He smiled at her that charming smile he always wore.
"I believe the word clumsy was in there too," she pointed out speechlessly. She thanked God that it was second period and the students were all in class.
He laughed, never taking his eyes off her, "Of course, I knew I was missing something." They stood in silence before Gary turned to the display and began again, "My students told me about your lecture on the knight in shining armour. So I'm guessing no fairytales for you, Ms. Roth?"
She shook her head. He turned and motioned with his hands, "Not even a little one?"
She rolled her eyes and nodded, "Not even little ones Mrs Logan, they don't exist."
"Okay, so humour me; join me in a fairytale ending." She felt her heart skip a beat and her eyes open wide at his suggestion, she turned slowly to him.
"Excuse me?" He smiled and pointed behind her head. There on the wall was a poster for the Spring Formal; the theme was "A Fairytale Ending." She blushed profusely at the fact that her thoughts immediately went where they did. He watched her fluster and laughed. She shook her head and glared at him.
"Are you asking me to go to the dance with you, Gary?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. He laughed at how childish it seemed and scratched his eyebrow with a finger.
"Yea, we-well… I'm chaperoning, and I thought it might be more interesting if I…" he trailed off and blushed, looking away, "Uhm, y'know, brought a date."
"You're not in high school anymore. You do know you only teach high school," she said teasingly. He laughed and scratched the back of his neck. She began to walk and he followed in silence.
"You know, it's not that bad to be rescued by a knight in shining armour," he said out of the blue, "So I don't think its fair that you shot me down so quickly."
She smirked, "And I don't think it's fair you're putting words in my mouth," he stopped and looked at her, "I never said no."
He smiled widely and she rolled her eyes at his excitement. "You know, this doesn't mean our little feud is ending," she said, continuing to walk away from him.
He laughed and caught up to her, "Of course not! I wouldn't have it any other way." They reached the door into the staffroom and Mr Logan opened the door for her, ushering her in.
She looked at him and asked, "Did you know that chivalry is dead?"
He leaned in and whispered, like it was a big secret, "And did you know that some frogs can freeze their bodies for months and revive themselves with the spring thaw, like rising from the grave? Chivalry isn't dead, m'lady, it was just hibernating."