You know Wally West as Kid Flash, partner to the Flash and a hero of Central City. Yet Wally's day-to-day life is very different from his time in the Cave with the Team, and an awkward, ginger, perpetually-hungry, scientific genius who works sleepless nights as a speeding hero is bound to stand out in the student body.
The school faculty, of course, notices this, and as Wally struggles more and more to balance his hero gig and his school life, his secret may just come out...
Chapter One: The Bell Curve
Chemistry teacher Tish Hasbrouck sighed in faint boredom as she finished grading the last test in her pile. As she typed it into the online gradebook, she thought back on the class's performance on this unit. It was a fairly complex topic, focusing on the concepts of acid-base equilibrium and proton concentration. This was one of the most difficult units of the year for every class Tish had taught in the past nine years. So as the last grade was entered into the system, she commanded the program to map a bell curve to help the students' grades improve a bit to compensate.
The curve was very consistent, showing that there were three or four kids who simply didn't care to do any of their work on time. This included Josh Nogra, who never did his work at all. (The counselors were working with him to see if he could even graduate next semester.) These students made up the bottom end of the bell curve almost every time.
Then there was the majority of the class that made up the center bulge in the bell curve, which had averaged out to a C+ range. These students were hard workers, but the topic was difficult to grasp, and that was to be expected. Tish planned to bring up the curve to a solid B to adjust for that.
As usual, at the high end of the spectrum, there were the three students who were the most studious and most gifted in her class. Tish couldn't help but feel a bit of favoritism towards these kids. As a teacher, she knew her job was to remain impartial and equally appreciative to all of her students, but she had to admit that these three students were determined to go above and beyond every day in her class. And their strong As on the test reflected their dedication.
And then there was the outlier.
The one misstep in the bell curve.
Wallace Rudolph West.
Tish pulled up Wally's full grade report to fill her screen and just stared for a minute, shaking her head. She would think he was cheating, but teachers had been monitoring him for any academic dishonesty since the fourth grade. He was clean.
So how could it be that Wally was the only one to ace her test? Every. Single. Time. This. Year. How was it possible?
It didn't make any logical sense. Wally was tardy every day, he always had to "go to the bathroom" in the middle of class, and he fell asleep mid-lecture at least twice a week. Perhaps he spent all night studying, and that could explain the bags under his eyes… But if that were the case, Wally would at least take notes, which he never did. He never checked out a textbook for the class at the beginning of the year, according to the librarians, so how could he be studying at all without materials?
Tish had dealt with talented and gifted students who were so far advanced in the coursework that they felt they didn't need to pay attention in class. She usually found some upper-college level work that they could do to supplement the class lessons and challenge themselves, and that would normally satisfy them.
But Wally was, again, an outlier. Besides the fact that he was a sophomore in a senior-level AP chemistry course, no matter how difficult or high-level the material she offered to him was, he slept through what she taught until exam time, and then aced it to prove he knew his stuff. He was never cocky, simply matter-of-fact and genuine.
The only explanation, however improbable it seemed, was that Wally had already learned all of the material before.
He was aggravating. And more importantly, he was screwing up her bell curve.
So just as with every test she had passed out this year, Tish painstakingly typed in his perfect test score with the bonus points from the curve added, then manually deleted his grade from the class bell curve. There we go.
She couldn't have one freak-of-nature, scientific genius, child prodigy ruining her remedy for the other students. That would be… unjust.
Tish closed her computer down for the night with a note of finality, gathering the tests into a file to be handed back the next day.
She frowned at the thought of the outlier in her classroom, and she decided that Wally would turn out to be the next Einstein. And all of the grief he'd caused her and her grading system would be worth it when he attributed his Nobel Prize to her hard work.
After all, outliers are destined for greatness.
A.N. So! I have a collection of related one-shots ready to go. If you want more, leave a review!