TITLE: Kindergarten Blues

AUTHOR: Lex, with help from Mala

EMAIL: [email protected]

RATING: PG

DISCLAIMER: All Witchblade characters belong to someone other than
me. This work is not-for-profit fanfiction, and no infringement is
intended.

SYNOPSIS: A kindergarten teacher recalls a particularly *trying*
school year.

DEDICATION/BLAME: Who else? Mala. There are so many injokes in
this, I couldn't even begin to describe them all.

NOTES: This was started (and abandoned) last year, but after the
re-airing of the movie tonight, I unearthed it. Also, please be aware
that this is BADFIC. It's stupid and has no redeeming qualities
whatsoever other than to make you laugh. It has not been beta-read,
so all mistakes are mine and do not reflect upon my betas.


=================================================


The school bell rang and my stomach clenched.

Every year, as the horde of children rushed towards me, I wondered why
exactly it was that I did this. Was I just a glutton for punishment?
Was this my masochistic side coming out? I really wasn't all that
fond of children, yet I was a kindergarten teacher. There was
something seriously, seriously wrong with that picture.

Exactly one minute after the bell rang, a group of five year olds,
terror written on their faces, was herded into my classroom. I put on
my biggest, happiest teacher face and walked over to them.

"Hi kids! Welcome to kindergarten! I'm your teacher, Ms. Chasez."
The annoyingly cheerful tone to my voice made me want to puke, but if
it stopped that little girl with the quivering lip from bursting into
tears, it was all worth it. I was tired of snot.

"Everyone, please take a seat."

Like it was their death march, they all sat down at tiny little desks,
staring at me with somber faces. I took out my roll book. "When I
say your name, please raise your hand, okay?"

24 little heads nodded.

"Chris Cooper?"

A redheaded boy stuck his hand up.

"Lisa Lee?"

A startlingly blonde girl raised her hand, but I shook my head. This
was New York City, the melting pot. I continued through the roll
until I came to a really long name. People were just mean when they
named their kids.

"Daniel Pezzini-Nottingham?"

I looked up, expecting to see a tiny hand. Nothing. I repeated
myself, but still no answer. I was annoyed.

One of the little girls spoke up. "He went in the coat room."

I sighed. Wonderful. Just what I wanted to deal with. A kid so
terrified at the prospect of school that he hid in the coat room. I
got up and walked back slowly, careful not to make any loud noises
that would further startle the already frightened child.

"Daniel," I called out softly, "Daniel, are you back here?"

"Yes, Ms. Chasez," a five year old voice said.

I turned the corner, getting ready to wipe away his inevitable tears,
when I noticed two things.

First, Daniel Pezzini-Nottingham was an absolutely adorable child,
with huge dark eyes and thick curly black hair that women would KILL
for pulled back in a ponytail. He was also dressed entirely in black,
a black short sleeved shirt, black cargo pants, and black boots that
had a zillion straps and zippers on them.

Second, the school janitor, Mike Hill, was lying on the ground next to
Daniel, bound and gagged. I gasped and ran to Mike. "Are you okay?"
I asked, hurriedly removing the gag from his mouth. "What happened?
Who did this?"

"Him!" Mike's eyes were huge, and I whirled around to see who he was
staring at, but the only person behind me was Daniel. He was claiming
a five year old tied and gagged him?

"Mike, I thought you promised me you were going to lay off the sauce."

"I DID!"

I shook my head sadly as I untied him. "You should probably take a
break, Mike. Go on."

"JC, I'm serious, that kid...there's something wrong with that kid."

I looked back at Daniel. He was standing still, in the corner of the
room, with his head bowed and his hands clasped. That in and of
itself was weird, but...

Naaaaah.

*****

Three weeks into the school year, I didn't think Mike Hill was so
crazy after all. Daniel Pezzini-Nottingham was cute as a button,
smart as a whip, and nuttier than a fruitcake.

After a particularly trying Show and Tell incident involving Daniel
and a hand grenade, I decided that his mother had to come in for a
parent-teacher conference. So I filled out the form and sent it home
in his backpack. The next day after class, I looked up from grading
papers to see a woman striding towards me. She had a no-nonsense look
on her face, and for a moment, I contemplated hiding under my desk.
Fortunately, sanity prevailed.

"Ms. Chasez?"

"Yes?" I stared up at her. She was gorgeous, if a little too butch
in her jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket.

She stuck her hand out. "I'm Detective Sara Pezzini, NYPD. Daniel's
mother."

A cop? My little burgeoning sociopath had a cop for a mother?

"A pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Pezzini."

"Ms. Pezzini."

"Oookay, Ms. Pezzini, I'm not sure you're aware..." I trailed off,
uncertain how to broach the topic.

"Of?"

I gestured to the chair in front of me. "Let me start by saying that
Daniel is an exceptionally bright child. He's reading at a much
higher level then all the other kids...high school level...and I
believe that he's ready for something much more challenging than basic
math. However, your son has this problem..."

"My son does NOT have problems."

"I understand that you are hesitant, Ms. Pezzini, but --"

"Lady, I don't have all day."

"He kneels!"

"What?"

"Well, when your son is confronted by a woman who is annoyed, he,
well, he...he kneels down with his head bowed. That is of course when
he's not lurking in a corner."

Her face reddened and her lips flattened into an angry line. "I'm
gonna fucking KILL his father!!!"

"Well, I --"

"Can you wait here for a few minutes? I want to get his father here
so he can hear this."

"Sure, sure." Quite frankly, I was terrified of what she would do to
me if I disagreed with her.

"Thanks," she said as she strode out the door.

I crossed myself and began to pray.

Ten minutes later, she was back with an adult-sized Daniel in tow.
This had to be Nottingham.

"Ms. Chasez, this is Ian Nottingham. He's Daniel's father."

"I can see that. May I say, Mr. Nottingham, that your resemblance to
your son is quite striking?"

He stood with his hands clasped behind his back. "Thank you, Ms.
Chasez."

"As I told your...wife?...Daniel's been having some problems. For
instance, we caught him following a third grade girl around the
playground at a discreet distance. We tried to discourage him, but he
seems quite determined."

"Oh, that just means he likes her."

"It's how his mother and I met."

Their responses were simultaneous, and I resisted the urge to shake my
head. These people were so weird! "Yes, but it's starting to alarm
the girl."

"It's just puppy love," his mother said. "Unless...she's not wearing
a bracelet of any kind, is she?"

I thought for a moment. "I believe she wears a medical alert tag due
to her diabetes."

"Well, there you go," his father said, nodding. "That explains it
all."

Was I speaking a different language? Were they deaf? Dumb? I tried
another tactic. "Mr. Nottingham, you're a stay-at-home dad, aren't
you?"

He nodded. Barely.

"I can see that Daniel...looks up to you as a, well, a role model. He
obviously tries to emulate you, both in dress and behavior. It's very
common that boys his age idolize their fathers, but I think that in
this instance, well, in this case..." I was at a loss for words to
tell Ian Nottingham that he was unintentionally scarring his son for
life.

Detective Pezzini broke in to lay it on the line. "You're a freak,
Ian. Danny is trying to be just like you. This isn't good."

He sighed. "Sara, he's not a freak. He's just...different."

Her eyes narrowed and I stepped back. I did not want to be standing
near him when she exploded. "Ian, I want Danny to be NORMAL! I want
him to dress in COLORS. And to stand up STRAIGHT."

"But if he dresses in colors, people might notice him!".

"He's FIVE YEARS OLD! People are SUPPOSED to notice him. People are
supposed to stop and coo over how cute he is, how precocious, and
you're not supposed to shoot them for saying so!!"

"They try to touch him!"

"Ian, it's not ALWAYS a bad touch. Those people are nice."

Watching these two go at it was better than watching a live-action
episode of Jerry Springer.

"How do you know that all of them are nice? All people are not nice."

She let out a strangled scream. "I knew it. I knew we weren't cut
out for this. Who were we fooling, thinking we could raise a kid?"

"Sara..."

"Don't you 'Sara' me. What kind of person is Danny going to grow up
to be with Lurch for a father and Xena for a mother?"

He sighed again, the long suffering sigh of a man well-used to his
woman's mood swings. "Daniel will be fine, my love. I promise. He's
just so much more intelligent than the other children, he's having a
bit of a time adjusting -- "

"Ian, he kneels when they yell at him."

Ian blanched.

"And another thing, he keeps talking to an 'Uncle Danny." I tried to
look at the both of them at the same time, but the height difference
defeated me.

"Oh, that...that's normal. I speak to Uncle Danny all the time."

The poor kid never stood a chance, not with these two. "Has he always
had an imaginary friend?"

"Danny's not imaginary. He's a ghost."

I started to chuckle before I realized they were completely serious.

Then I fainted.

"Ms. Chasez, Ms. Chasez, are you all right?" Sara Pezzini was shaking
my arm.

"Chris...is that you?" I murmured. "Is this a big joke?"

"Who's Chris?" I heard Ian mumble.

"No clue."

"Wanna get the hell out of here?"

"You know it."

"Cover her up or something."

"Let's pick up the baby from Jake's and go out for Chinese, okay?
Danny has a few recommendations."

"Danny always does."

"He says he heard that."

"Why wouldn't he hear it? He lurks more than *I* do."

The sound of their foreplay disguised as conversation faded as they
left the room. Slowly, I opened my eyes, trying to focus on the
crazily spinning ceiling. This was it. It was a sign.

I never should have left my band.

Or gotten the sex change.


THE END