"Cause it's the heat of the moment
Heat of the moment
The heat of the moment showed in your eyes
And when your looks are gone and you're alone
How many nights you sit beside the phone
What were the things you wanted for yourself?
Teenage ambitions you remember well"
A sad and muffled moan could be heard from inside the bedroom.
"Not. Funny." Sam said, still lying face down, speaking into the pillow, his hands clutching both sides in futile attempts to block out the sound.
"Ih wassa hea ah da momen, thellin me wha yoh har meand," Dean Winchester popped his head into the room and continued singing, mid-toothbrush stroke.
Sam begrudgingly rolled onto his back. "It wasn't funny the first time. It's never been funny, Dean. You know how much I hate Tuesdays."
Dean stepped back into the bathroom to spit into the sink, clearing his mouth of toothpaste. "Ah, but this Tuesday is different!" he said, speaking clearly for the first time.
The younger brother released a small sigh in response. This Tuesday in particular was filled with mixed emotions. Part of him, granted, a small part this early in the morning, was excited to transition from Sam Winchester: Demon Hunter to his new identity, Samson Daniels: Professor of the Supernatural. However, this title currently remained one for his fantasies – the University had scaled back his title to simply Professor of History. Lame. Considering the University was in fact a liberal arts school, it was a bit lacking on the liberal front. Board members were worried a class entitled Supernatural Studies would stir up controversy, so, instead, Professor Samson Daniels would be instructing HIST 351: Mythology of the Modern Era, with a very closely monitored curriculum.
On the other, visibly unexcited hand, Sam was, well, nervous. He didn't have a teaching degree. He never did exceptionally well in high-school speech class... which was a good 12 years ago. He'd only gotten this job because his dad was an old friend to one of the board members and he'd fudged some paperwork and a teaching license.
What the hell made me think I was qualified for this? The thought tempted Sam into rolling over once more, re-entering his sleep cycle, and forgetting all about the Asia mojo Dean had gotten all over his first day of teaching. Hunting demons, a fake identity, he could handle. But the amount of normalcy in his life lately was beginning to absolutely terrify him. Public speaking? If given the choice, he'd much rather sustain a severe paper cut and face a coven of vampires.
I wasn't always this unafraid. I can learn to channel these feelings just as well. If Dean can practice the fine art of 'fake it 'til you make it' and 'bullshitlery,' so can I. With Positive Sam at the forefront of his mind, he found the courage and willpower to rise from the down feathery depths of his bed.
"Atta boy," Dean praised his brother upon his change in position. "Professor Sammy. It's got such a ring to it," he laughed lightly, clearly imagining all the potential professor related humor to come. This wasn't only a big day for Sam. Dean, too, was going back to school.
In spite of himself, Sam smiled, too. This was the happiest he'd seen Dean in some time. Making the decision to slow down on hunting was a tough one to make, and was more Sam's idea than his brother's – it took quite a bit of convincing and pie on his part, but Dean finally agreed. The two conceded they weren't giving up hunting for good – they just weren't actively seeking anything out. Although when it came to the supernatural... things usually had a way of finding them first.
"Alright now, no fighting on the first day, Sammy. I'll be here, in this very spot to pick you up when school's out. Have a good day, kid." Dean smiled the trademark goofy grin and leaned across the seat to ruffle Sam's freshly combed and coifed hair.
Sam couldn't help but indulge his inner monologue. And today, playing the role of Mom Dropping Off Son On First Day Of School: Dean Winchester. Somehow, it just didn't match up to his fantasies of their mother dropping the boys off to school. Far, far from his imaginings – in them, she definitely wasn't wearing a leather jacket and combat boots.
"Another thing... go easy on the hair gel next time," Dean's eyes became wide in slight horror at the sight of the clear residue now clinging to his palm.
"Alright, um," Sam cleared his throat loudly, in a half nervous, half exasperated attempt to exit the car. "See you," it was much too early and Sam much too nervous to make time for sentimentalities. Stepping out of the car, he took a deep breath and closed the door behind him. This is it. The start of your new career... just... don't screw this up. Don't let him down again. He heard the Impala pull away from the curb, then screech to a halt a few yards away and quickly reverse to where Sam was still standing on the sidewalk. The professor huffed and turned around slowly, continually wondering what the hell his brother was thinking.
Dean stretched across the Impala to roll down the window. "Sammy! You forgot your lunch!"
Sam had been too preoccupied this morning for the thought of lunch to even cross his mind. Right now, he was just hoping he'd make it to 10 a.m. Maybe Dean's more like my mom than I thought...
Dean hurled the brown paper sack through the car at a speed and force unnecessary in proportion to where Sam was standing. Then again, maybe not. He caught the sack weirdly with his forearms against his chest, mostly because it had been torpedoed against his upper body and his reflexes said it was really his only choice.
Sam only had a second to glare at his brother before softening. "Thanks, Dean. I completely forgot. Seriously, without you, I don't think I'd ever eat." He smiled a genuine and grateful smile. "Now, shouldn't you be getting to class? You're embarrassing me in front of my friends," he gave a slight nod to the minor crowd that had stopped to watch in amusement on their way across campus.
Dean just shook his head and chuckled as he put the car back in gear. "I'll be here at three."
Sam brought up his hand in a wave and watched the Impala make its way down the rest of the block, this time for good. Adjusting the messenger bag's strap across his shoulder, he began the journey to his office building, lunch gripped tightly in hand.
It was easy for Dean to put on a happy and hopeful front for Sam, but now that he was alone, he struggled to remain sufficiently excited for what lie ahead... a class dedicated to everything he'd tried so hard to avoid in high school: English Literature. The required class had almost been the catalyst to Dean backing out on the whole college idea altogether. He simply couldn't believe there was absolutely no way to get out of taking it. He'd suffered through high school English with passing grades only due to Cliffsnotes and Sam's pity. This time around, Dean was determined not to bother him with Shakespearean sonnets and book reports. He's got enough on his mind. He's got actual students now – it's not just me and my academically challenged self anymore.
Still not used to this idea, Dean had arrived outside the classroom door. Here goes nothing. He pulled open the door. The first sight of his English class was a man who looked to have gotten lost on his way to Woodstock 1969. With khaki linen pants and a flowing, patterned button-up that gave an ironic nod to the faculty dress code, the young, long-haired man sitting on the desk acknowledged Dean as he stepped inside the room.
"Namaste," the man said with eyes closed, a far-away smile on his face.
"Namas... te." Dean couldn't help but let out the breath he'd been holding into a soft chuckle. Of course, that's my professor. Of course. He continued past the old wooden desk holding his English professor, and in true fashion of most major decisions made in Dean's life, he took the seat next to a pretty girl in the second row.
"I guess I don't really have to ask if I'm in the right room," he turned to the girl and smiled. "Although I had hoped the whole 'college lit professors are hippies' thing was just a stereotype."
Her laugh was loud and wonderful. "I guess there are just some stereotypes that can't be overcome," she glanced at their professor, still sitting cross-legged on the desk. "I do feel a bit rude, though, interrupting his Zen time."
Dean grinned. "He certainly seems offended."He stuck out a hand. "I'm Jack."
She reached out and shook his hand with a dainty but sure grip. "Hi, Jack. I'm Elle." she broke free and tucked a loose strand of wavy dark hair behind her ear. "So, are you a transfer?" she asked, clearly noticing he seemed a bit different from the parade of freshman boys she'd met earlier that day.
"Ah, no. I'm technically a freshman – a business major – just took a few years off," Dean said with a small shrug.
"How'd you spend your time, if you don't mind me asking? Traveling the world? Finding yourself? Backpacking across Europe?" her eyes widened in playful excitement.
"Oh, no, I don't mind at all." he flashed her a charming smile. "Short version, I took a road trip. With my brother. He's actually a professor here now – so that helps lighten the injustice of tuition."
More students were filtering into the classroom and filling the desks. Their professor made no indication of starting class anytime soon, so Dean furthered the conversation. "How about you? What's the story?"
"I'm a sophomore. I went straight from high school to college. But I really wish I had taken some time off when I had the chance..."
"Trust me, it's not quite what you'd expect," he jumped in. "I think you made the wise decision, here." Dean held her eye for a brief moment before hearing his professor's distinct yet quiet voice above the scattered chatter across the space.
The classroom had been filled save for a few desks near the front where students were a bit apprehensive about sitting in on the first day... within good reason, it seemed. Their professor didn't look like he'd moved at all; only his eyes were open and clear, becoming impossibly wide to take in the entire class.
"We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal," the professor spoke to a dead silent room.
The students remained silent as he let his words sink in for a moment. He stared through the room once more before clasping his hands together and bouncing from his desk to the floor in one spry little leap.
"Just my attempt to persuade you via literary quotation that this class will be deep and thought provoking and insightful, since I have the feeling many of you think it's a waste of time," he scanned the room, seeming to look at a few students a bit more pertinently. "Those lines are from Steinbeck's East of Eden, one of the books we'll be reading in this class," their professor held up a finger in thought, moved to the chalkboard and began writing in a loose, slanted style.
"Good versus evil," he spoke aloud what he had written on the board and set the chalk down in a mildly dramatic gesture. He turned to face his class again. "This is something we'll be talking about a lot – with the novels and short stories we read, I'll be bringing up this theme."
He took a few steps to lean on the front of his desk. "We often think that good and evil are comparable to black and white. But I think you'll find by the end of this course, the line is not so clearly defined."
Their professor stared at the students for a moment before a brief shock of realization crossed his features. With a dramatic smack of the forehead he said, "I forgot to tell you my name! I was so busy trying to be insightful, I forgot the most fundamental principle for the first day of class and, well, a lot of things." He bounced back to the chalkboard. "My name is Paul Delaney. You can call me Professor Delaney, Professor Paul, Professor D, Mr. Delaney, Big D, Paulaney, or you can call me Paul. But take into consideration I have spent a lot of time brainstorming those nicknames. Really, I'm not too concerned with titles." Paul scrawled his full name underneath the words 'good vs. evil.'
"And while we're on the subject of names, I'd like to get to know yours as well." He retrieved a leather-bound notebook from one of his desk drawers. Flipping through to a list of names, Paul looked up with kind eyes and a slightly mischievous smile. "Oh, yeah. Time for attendance."
The mention of attendance tripped some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder in Dean and he swallowed back some bad memories. Notorious for skipping class during his high school glory days, he was accustomed to being called into the principal's office for truancies. Attendance policies, it seemed, weren't exactly Dean Winchester's greatest allies.
To the concerned student's relief, Paul softened and added, "It's probably the only time I'll take attendance in this class."
A major sigh of relief fluttered down from the second row.
"I just need to make sure I start this year on the faculty board's good side." Yanking at his collar, Paul sucked his teeth in a charade of concern for the opinions of the College Board.
"I'll get started, then. I want to get to know you all this semester, so when I call your name, raise your hand and tell me your sign."
Seeming to say, 'are you serious?' the students shared bemused looks with each other.
"Alright. Allman, Angela?"
One of the few brave students to sit in the front row, a petite blonde girl raised a delicate hand a few inches from her desk. A bit apprehensively, a breathless voice responded, "Pisces."
"Ah, a water sign. Fantastic to meet you, Angela." He glanced up from the list to make a quick connection with a smile and nod.
Paul continued down the list with Brothers, Gregory; Clearwater, Samuel; Creedence, Michelle; then, Daniels, Jack.
Dean's arm moved stiffly into the air, his index finger instinctively held up. Damn. It's been a while since I had to raise my hand for something other than a beer. "Hey there. I'm ah.. I'm an Aquarius."
"Very nice to meet you, Jack."
Next to him, Elle was unsuccessful at covering a giggle. Terribly amused, Dean turned to his classmate, a look of questioning on his face. "Okay, let me in on the joke, here. Just what is so funny?"
Their professor was continuing down the list, paying no mind to their sidebar conversation.
"It's just… really? Your name is Jack Daniels?" The giggle turned into an endearing snort.
Dean closed his eyes and slowly shook his head. "If I had a dime for every time someone asked if that was my real name…. I'd uh, I'd have a lot of dimes. I could just go to town on a vending machine, you know?" Technically speaking, Dean could probably only afford a tenth of a bag of Funyuns. This was Dean's first time breaking in the new identity, so Elle was the first, presumably of many, to call him out on the ridiculous name he'd chosen for himself.
She grinned. "It's a lovely name."
Caught a bit off guard by the mention of her name, her hand sprung up with a start, her pale skin turning a faint shade of pink. "Sagitarius!"
It was Dean's turn to stifle a laugh. From the look on his face, Elle knew full well what her classmate was going to say.
"Rigby, huh? And suddenly, Jack Daniels is seeming pretty normal." He had to admit, though, it is a cool name. And here I am, named after my grandmother.
Paul finished calling names and began passing a sheet of paper to the students while murmuring, "I swear, it's not a syllabus."
"I know, I totally shouldn't be the one to talk about names," Elle replied. "Our parents… they really didn't want us to be normal, did they?"
"Normal?" he chuckled. "That would be boring. No, no. It's our destiny – we're simply meant for something out of the ordinary, something bigger than any of this. You, Elle… I get the feeling that you were never intended to be 'normal.'"
He couldn't help but laugh to himself. Especially with a name like that.