Title: The Times They Are A-Changin'
Universe: Pre-Batman Begins, Nolanverse with some occasional references to DCAU thrown in.
Characters/Pairings: Bruce Wayne, Joker, Harvey Dent, Jonathan Crane, Rachel Dawes, Alfred Pennyworth
Word Count: 7,672
Summary: Four characters, in turn, make some choices and experience the results.
Chapter 1: Confounding Variable
"No, I'm sorry but there's nothing to be done about it now." Jonathan Crane was packing up his materials and preparing to head home for the semester. He certainly didn't have time for a student who suddenly was concerned about his class. "Final grades have already been submitted."
"But that's not fair!" The girl had tears in her eyes, but they were angry tears. He could feel the silence in the faculty lounge as everyone stayed quiet yet eavesdropped. The tension in his head was taut enough to snap. Hopefully his hands wouldn't begin to shake. "I showed up for most of your class! I have five kids and I can't make it every day at 8 in the morning, not with my husband's work schedule."
"You should have thought of that before signing up for my class, Katherine. University work is a commitment."
"But I earned a B in your class without the absences!"
"It was a low C, actually." He sighed, "Katherine, you must understand that attendance is important. This is one of the ideas we must all buy into when we collectively embark on a semester together. You missed ten days of class, Katherine. Why do you suppose that would be excusable in any university?"
"My other professors didn't fail me for it."
"Then your other professors obviously expect less of you, and get it." He snapped his briefcase closed. "Good day, Katherine. If you like, you may submit an appeal but I doubt anything will come of it."
If he had only known then that it was the beginning of the end, that Katherine's appeal would begin the investigation into his methods which provided his higher ranking colleagues the long-hoped for opportunity to fire him, he might have submitted a change of grade form for the girl right then. Instead, he'd hurried out of the Social Sciences building, not feeling safe until he was belted in his car and on the road.