Arthur grumbled under his breath, half-formed curses which he weren'ttechnically allowed to say in class, but dammit, everyone knew that everyone knew all the swear words that there were by age twelve in this day and age anyway. The background of teenage murmuring rose to drown out Arthur's thoughts, let alone his own mumbles.
Pushing a vaguely sweaty lock of hair off his forehead, Arthur frowned down at the tangle of wires in the compartment of the teacher's desk. The school justhad to choose to implement the new visual-somethings in the humanities classrooms first. In his class. Arthur tugged unhelpfully at a stray cable (which seemed to be connected to the new gadget, but honestly, he wasn't too sure), before flopping back into the chair, eyeing his happily buzzing class.
Freshmen, he thought to himself, semi-disdainfully, watching a group of girls squeal at a paper ball the boys had thrown over into their side of the room.The seniors know their place already, he thought to himself, fumbling around his messenger bag for his cell phone. At least the seniors had already thinned out to a crowd that actually had some vague inkling of what literature was, he thought, scrolling through the contacts to Tech Support.
He listened to the dial tone, idly wondering why he had decided to trust the email sent to him, insisting that all of the humanities staff give their 'awesome' (and Arthur was still wondering about the appropriateness of that adjective) new visual-something-or-anothers a go.
He could hear some tapping on the other line, but no reply. Arthur frowned. "Hello? Is anyone—"
"—AHA! Ha! Oh! Haha yes, hi! Sorry about that I was just… Doing stuff here. With the computer. Anyway, yes, this is Alfred Jones."
Arthur frowned again. "So this is tech support," he asked, confirming. He'd always stuck to the more traditional methods of chalk and handouts, and the old desktop at the teacher's desk had never given him any problems, so he had to be sure. He had his doubts, considering how this guy answered the phone.
"Yep, sure is! So what's up?" Definitely doubting, as Arthur's frown deepened. He really didn't need this on the first day of school.
"Uh, this is Arthur Kirkland in room 271, and I can't get the new thing to work. Visu-something. Visuali—"
"Visualizer?" The voice asked. "Huh, really? You're the only one who's called in having a problem with it though. So late in the day too. Did it work earlier?"
Arthur shifted in his chair, pushing at the corners of the papers on his desk. He had avoided using the thing in the morning, with his senior class, and earlier, with the juniors as well. "W-Well, I haven't actually tried it till now."
He could hear the other man laugh. "Really? Held off till the second-last class? Well no problem, I'll be down in a flash!" Click.
Arthur sighed, fighting at the urge to rub his temples, before standing up to look pointedly at his class. They eventually got the hint, settling down.
Time to instill some, ah, fear, I suppose.
"It's done!" Alfred grinned proudly, surfacing from the mess of gadgetry and wires.
Arthur frowned down at it again. It didn't look much different. "… Really?" He asked, suspicious. "What did you— Does it—"
"Yep!" And on cue, the image of Arthur's single handout of the syllabus flickered to life on the projector screen. All the students chattered and mock-clapped appreciatively.
Arthur scowled. "Are you sure it'll last?"
"Pretty sure," Alfred shrugged, before turning to face the class, smiling again. "Hey, so you guys are freshmen, right? Remember that the computer labs are in the far end of this block, above the library okay? You guys can come in to print stuff, do work, use the internet, whatever! I mean, within reason. There's a no gaming policy but," Alfred chucked, winking. "You don't tell if I don't?"
The classroom tittered, and the boys high-fived each other appreciatively.
"Alfred!" He insisted, turning back to face Arthur.
"Mr Jones," Arthur repeated, stonily. "I am conducting a class here, and I would appreciate if you and your new-fangled gadgetry would not hold us up anymore."
Alfred raised his hands in mock-surrender, grinning and backing out of the class. "Heh yeah, alright, alright." He turned back to the class. "You guys know where to find me if you need tech help!"
Ten minutes later, right on cue, the screen blacked out again right after Arthur had very purposefully tried to direct the students' attention towards the projection. He tried to suppress his groan, opening the compartment door again to stare disdainfully at the offending wires. He didn't even know what the technician (Alfred?) had done to make the thing work earlier, and he sure as hell wouldn't be able to do it now.
He gave the wires a token tug, and nothing. "I can't do this," he mumbled irritatedly, prodding what seemed to be the main socket-thing but he honestly had no idea about. This is ridiculous, I signed on to be a high-school teacher, not a bloody technician or—
Arthur looked at a meek student over the edge of his teacher's desk. "Yes?"
"Uh, maybe you could call for the technician again? I mean, he seemed to know what he was doing with—"
Huffing a sigh to mask another groan, Arthur hefted himself onto his chair, waving a hand at the student. "Alright, yes, why not," he mumbled to himself a little sarcastically, pulling out his phone again. He knew it didn't make sense to dislike the tech guy when they'd just met, but something about him rubbed Arthur the wrong way.
Three rings later, and Arthur could hear barely concealed laughter over the line. "Hello, this is—"
"Yeah, Arthur Kirkland, room 271, visualizer cable problem, I got it. I'll be right down!"
Arthur grunted a reply into the already-dead line.
This time, Alfred came with a replacement cable, and began replacing and fiddling with the wires again, as Arthur tried to continue the lesson without the visual aids.
He couldn't decide if the students were confused due to the lack of a solid reference, or if this was their default expression.
"AHA!" Alfred suddenly cried, and everyone's attention diverted.
"Yes?" Asked Arthur drily. "What discovery had you made in the space of—"
"The power somehow switched itself off, that's all." Alfred explained, dusting his hands off on the seat of his jeans. "I thought it was a cable problem, 'cause, you know, with manufacturing defects and all it can happen, even with new ones, but it wasn't that!" He grinned, leaning against the edge of the desk. "The power flicked off somehow. Jeez, couldn't you see that when you tried to fix it yourself? I thought it was pretty obvious, I mean, green light and red light? Sound familiar to you?" Alfred joked, grinning.
The class tried to smother their giggles unsuccessfully, and Arthur could feel his face reddening.
"I must've missed it," replied Arthur, voice cold. He tried to project his best image of Teacher Not Pleased By Being Mocked In Front Of Class. Alfred didn't seem to get it.
Alfred shrugged, still half-grinning out of the corner of his mouth at Arthur. "Well, whatever, it's fixed now anyway. Or as fixed as a flicked switch can get," he joked. "Enjoy!" Alfred waved at the class, and left the room, leaving Arthur seething once more.
The third time it happened, Arthur wanted to bang his head repeatedly against the warmed metal body of the damn visualizer till it worked again.
The projected image flickered out of view again, forty minutes into the lesson. Arthur gave the lone laugh which echoed out of the class a glare.
He hated technology. Printed handouts would never have the audacity to spontaneously fail on him like this.
He checked the power light this time (green, which meant 'on', thank you very much), before wriggling the cables about, trying to shove them even further into their sockets, if that was even possible. A few minutes passed, with Arthur growing increasingly frustrated, before someone spoke up.
"Don't even suggest it," Arthur growled, first-day impressions be damned, but it was already too late.
"HEY!" A boy near the hallway windows was waving at a figure walking past. "Mr Alfred!" He shouted, grinning. "Mr Kirkland needs more help with the visualizer!"
Arthur held back his groan as Alfred strode in, grinning for all he was worth.
"Missed me already?" He laughed, walking past Arthur to poke at the console again.
"Like you would not believe," dead-panned Arthur.
"Aww, if you liked me you could've just—"
"The visualizer, Mr Jones."
The students chatted happily (a few girls giggled gleefully at Alfred bending over the opposite side of the console, what has happened to the youth of today) as Alfred replaced the cable.
"So it really was the cable this time," he said, tugging the old one out and installing the new one, which he drew out from his pocket. "I guess you didn't have any problem checking the power this time?"
"None at all," Arthur bit out. "Are you done yet?"
"Almost just—" Alfred pulled a screwdriver out of his pocket, tightening one of the apparently loose screws before flicking on the switch again. The suspended projector above the class lit up, along with the screen. Alfred gave a dramatic, flourishing bow, as the class whooped in appreciation (at the working visualizer or Alfred himself, Arthur was beginning to put money on the latter).
"Thank you," said Arthur curtly, placing a hand on Alfred's back, physically pushing him out of the class before he could do any more harm to Arthur's image.
"See you later?" Alfred cracked, grinning over his shoulder at Arthur.
"Well," mused Arthur mock-consideringly, "Since there's only another five minutes of class time, I would think not, Mr Jones. And any time in the next school year would be far too soon."
Alfred laughed, taking Arthur's words to be a joke, and gave him a mock salute before bounding out of class himself.
Arthur didn't use the visualizer in his next class.
Thank god for seniors and essay assignments, he'd thought.
The school day was (finally) over, and Arthur was left in the empty classroom, fiddling around with some paperwork which needed to be tied up. Lesson plans and timetables which needed to be re-submitted to the heads of the department, such was the inevitable paperwork of a teacher.
One good thing about first days, he thought to himself, was the lack of assignments to be marked. The whole first week of school was an exercise in easing the students into the academic routine again, which meant for a lightened workload. So tomorrow would be introduction to the first text and that would be—
"Come in," Arthur said reflexively, eyebrows furrowing as he looked up at the door. It was already an hour after school had let out, and even the most eager of students would hardly stay back on the first day of school. The door opened to reveal one Alfred Jones.
Arthur's brow crinkled in even further confusion. What on earth is he doing here? I didn't even call for him this time and—
"Hey," Alfred started, walking in to stop before Arthur's desk, resting against the first row of tables.
"… Hello?" Arthur ventured, before looking back down at his work, stacking the sheets together. "What are you doing here?"
"If you're here to do maintainance on the system or whatever it is, I'll be out of your hair in a moment, just give me a—"
"No!" Arthur startled at the sudden loud response, papers jostling and falling to the floor.
He blinked up at Alfred, who seemed a little embarrassed at his volume as well. "Well alright then, whatever it is I'm leaving in a moment anyway." His bent form, chasing skittering papers was joined by Alfred's, who handed him a few sheets which had somehow escaped to the other side of the desk.
"Actually, I'm not here for work," Alfred admitted.
Arthur looked up, forehead wrinkling again. "You're not?" He asked, standing up to hear the familiar crack of his back. "What is it then?"
He watched Alfred get up as well, dusting his hands off on his jeans, smiling a little sheepishly.
"Well, I was kinda wondering if you'd like to go out for coffee some time?"
Arthur's mind screeched to a halt. That had been the last thing he'd been expecting.
"Um. Coffee. You know, like… In the evening? Or maybe lunch instead or something?"
"Y-Yes I got that but—" Arthur blinked at him. "Why?"
Alfred grinned, a little more easily, scratching the back of his head. "Well I did say 'see you later', yeah? And I just thought… It'd be fun, maybe? Also, I felt kinda bad for making fun of you in front of your class, 's wasn't very nice of me, I know," He admitted. "And you seem nice, interesting. Kinda uptight but," Alfred laughed, catching Arthur's gaze. "Maybe we could see if you're still like that out of class?" He offered, tentatively smiling.
Arthur's brain was still failing to reboot.
"Alright," he heard himself say, distantly, as if watching someone else. (Because Arthur couldn't possibly imagine himself consciously agreeing to a date with this guy who came into his class and mocked him and irked him and yet there was just something about Alfred which made him curious and perhaps a little interested and—)
Alfred brightened considerably, grinning. "Really? Whew! 'Cause I was a little worried for a second there," he admitted, laughing a little at himself. "'Cause you did say that you didn't want to see me in the next school year, but I thought you were kidding and— Well. Yeah. So, um, Wednesday evening maybe? Coffee after school? I know this really nice place town and…" Alfred rambled on, flushed a little pink in the cheeks, and Arthur found himself nodding along, fingers mindlessly carding through the papers.
When Alfred left (he wasn't skipping, was he?), Arthur fell back into his chair, still vaguely wide-eyed and more than a bit shocked at the turn of events, and wondered how on earth this would work.
So. There might be more of this. Or there might not. We'll see. Do you want more of this? Thanks for reading :D