The Marking Blues

A/N- Originally written for a ficathon on LJ, and the product of three months worth of angst. Luckily, not at all angsty. Enjoy (and much thanks to Scorpicus for the very much last second beta job)!


There were only ever two things that Scott ever tried to shirk. Period.

The first was having to go on missions with Logan. The professor had recently implemented this overly optimistic scheme in order to hold Wolverine/Cyclops bonding sessions. Sadly, these missions were actually causing the so-called 'friendly fire' to become worse.

He wished that Logan would just shut up and be mildly professional, but no. Taking a sip of coffee, he flipped over the page of the notepad, and put it back down on the desk to read it properly. It was the previous month's log, and he was sifting through to read all the comments pertaining to him, his sex life (or apparent lack of it, as Logan put it), and what was under fire at that moment, their uniforms. He'd been recording them for later, so to enjoy them without dealing with flying at the same time.

i 10:34- Logan inquires as to whether black leather really is practical for missions, or whether 'Charlie-boy' just has a leather fetish. Proceeds to ask whether uniform was actually my idea, and it's my sick mind that's causing him pain. /i

Laughing, he grabbed a piece of paper from inside his desk and scribbled a note to himself to the effect of letting Logan suffer in the Danger Room and blaming his lack of aid on 'his sick mind'.

i Oh, ha ha. Very funny. You're procrastinating again, Scott. /i

i Come to play conscience, Dr. Grey? /i He thought, and scanned the rest of the page for any other unintentional gems of humour.

i However amusing planning petty revenge on a team mate might be, I believe that there's a pile of marking sitting right in front of you calling your name, Mr Summers. Come on, we're supposed to be going out this evening. /i

The other thing Scott tried to shirk was marking. He didn't mind doing it; although sometimes mind bogglingly tedious, he was often pleasantly surprised by someone or other. What he hated was seeing the inevitable look on someone's face when they thought they'd nailed a topic, and then found their books covered in red pen when it got returned. Seeing that look made him feel absolutely awful, and was probably worse than having to sit in a small space with Logan for long amounts of time. As far as he saw it, the only way to avoid that seemingly inevitable situation was not to mark the books at all, and so he tended to skirt around the task until he absolutely had to (but, with three classes, he always seemed to have a stack of notebooks on his desk).

Glancing out of the window in vain hope that something might just fly through and distract him, he turned back and stared at the towering pile in front of him, reached in a drawer for his mark book, then swiped the top book closer.

Well, you had to start somewhere, after all.

An hour later, and the heap seemed to be getting bigger rather than decreasing. It was probably also a good thing Scott had been previously informed that the only thing some of the girls paid attention to in lessons was his ass, when turning around to scribble something on the blackboard. Otherwise, he would have been wondering why Jubilee had barely any theory in her book, and only the parts that had been written lower on the board. Great. He printed a note in her book to mention it, drawing an arrow to the appropriate section (which was nearly illegible anyway), and turned over, only to have to separate the next two pages with difficulty. Apparently, she'd needed a bubblegum store. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Why her Maths book, though?

Under the glob of half chewed gum, though, was probably the reason that she'd seen fit to stick the pages together. There was a date, a title, and a number 1 scrawled in the margin, but otherwise the page was covered in what seemed to be an hour long session of note exchanging with Paige Gunthrie that he'd studiously ignored the previous lesson.

Grabbing his coffee cup, he took a large sip before gagging slightly and swallowing with difficulty. He'd got distracted, and neglected his coffee, and the drink had got cold in revenge. Just what he needed. Deciding he needed a break, Scott got up, and went in search of a caffeine fix.

Of course, he had to come back to the job afterwards, but gave himself the time to get distracted before returning to the office on the first floor, sitting back down, and making a final comment on Jubilee's book pertaining to her lack of presentation. He did this every time, and every time it got ignored, but one could hope.

Discarding the notepad on another pile, he reached for the next one, and opened it to find small, neat cursive script. Kitty's book was the complete opposite to Jubilee's and easily readable, which saved time trying to decipher the handwriting. Also, she tended to remember that there were answers in the back of the textbook, and would mark her own work whilst she went along. This saved him time and meant she could correct herself, which was imminently preferable to having to cover her work with red biro. Pausing briefly on each page to look over it and make sure everything was fine, Scott left a comment, threw the book on the top of the other pile (where, surprisingly, it stayed without toppling the lot), and continued.

Piotr's book had lots of pages ripped out. It was definitely much thinner than it should have been. Scott supposed that he'd run out of paper to draw on, and had been doodling in the book. Well, it was considerate to take them out, but still, he could have got himself a sketchbook from somewhere. However, the work in there was reasonable (Colossus had never been good with numbers, and always managed to apologise before giving his book in, for one reason or another), and he left his trail of red biro before looking up, and realising that he only had one more book to go.

The feeling of hope and joy was dashed in a matter of seconds when he grabbed it, only to find that it was John's book left. If there was anyone who hated math with a passion and did basically nothing in class, it was John. John was the only one who could make him want to lose it completely. John happened to be the one who never did any work if he could help it.

Sighing, he opened the book, and flicked to the first unmarked page. Well, accompanying the numerous doodles, blank spaces and the date written somewhat forlornly in the top corner, there was a half filled table of product moment correlation co-efficient, as they'd been finishing a unit of statistics recently. However, scrawled in the bottom half of the page, in large handwriting, had been written two short, precise sentences, proclaiming his hate for the subject in general.

Rolling his eyes, Scott simply took his red pen, and circled the second statement, drawing a line from it to write a note to complete the work, and not to doodle.

Three pages later, on which doodles had been scribbled, more comments had been printed, and not much work had been done, there was a full page of text. No sums, just lines of writing. What was this, an English book?

i Standard deviation is not fun. It will not be the simplest piece of stats we've done yet. It will not enrich my standard of life, and I will not examine that statement in a scatter graph for my own amusement. /i And so it continued. For another fifteen lines or so. Teenage angst, indeed.

It took all the self restraint Scott possessed not to comment back that it would enrich his own standard of life to make him do it, and then calculate the PMCC of the graph afterwards, to add insult to injury. He instead put a large red cross through the text, writing over the top that doodling wasn't acceptable in his lessons. Again. What would it take to get it through his head?

Turning over the page, Scott somehow managed to find it possible to simultaneously choke on his mouthful of coffee, nearly fall off his chair, and send the neat pile of marked books flying all over the place. Praying to a deity he definitely didn't believe in for patience, he stared at the double page spread in horror. That certainly wasn't appropriate for a maths book, and he knew for a fact that he wasn't putting those kinds of pictures in to appreciate their artistic value. Jesus wept. Of all the things he'd ever found in an exercise book, a collage of that ilk was new, frankly disturbing, and explained why John was always flicking back and forth through the pages when he thought he wasn't looking.

Scott decided that coffee definitely wasn't strong enough, and wondered whether it would be possible to find something alcoholic in the place. Maybe Logan had a beer he could steal…

i No, brain, shut up. Nearly done now. No need for alcohol, you'll get that later. /i

i Whose book; John's or Jubilee's? /i Trust Jean to know.

i John's, /i he thought in reply, and went hunting in his drawers for a piece of paper and a glue stick.

i What's he done now? /i The exasperation in her tone, even when it was thought, rang through just as clearly.

i If I told you, you wouldn't believe me. Trust me on this. /i Quite frankly, Scott didn't want to tell her.

i Oh, I know. This was the porn collage that John made to distract himself in lessons, isn't it? He was telling Bobby last week. /i

i Thanks for telling me, hon. /i

i No problem. Any time. Now, hurry up. You've only got an hour and a half before we lose our reservation. /i

Scott sighed, rooted in his desk drawer for a pair of scissors, cut the double page spread out of the book and fed it gleefully through the shredder. Putting a prominent comment on the next page pointing out that that kind of thing definitely wasn't appropriate, he flicked through to see if there was anything else risqué and unwanted in the rest of the book, then turned back.

In all truth, the most constant thing in the whole book was homework. John, as a 'sensible' young man, knew that he would have to do more if he didn't bother, and so there was at least some effort put in. Thank the lord.

Deciding to hell with it, he turned through the pages marking as quickly as he could, left a quick final sum up asking for more work, more presentation, more effort (generally more of everything), and then less distraction methods to make a contrast.

Slamming the book shut, he gathered the pile back together, slammed it on top, and left the room as if there was something inside going to eat him. Halfway up the stairs, he stopped suddenly, realising the awful, awful truth.

He was going to have to do that all over again next week, just for a wildly different (but still idiosyncratic) group. Why on earth did he tell Xavier that, yes, he'd teach Maths as well as Mechanics?