America pushed his glasses up his nose, glancing up at the door number. He then looked back down at his schedule, frowning slightly. This was the right room alright, 221B. But why did it look rather odd? After transferring to the new high school for the fifth time this year, this was the weirdest school he had been to yet. He struggled around his thoughts of what was making it such a peculiar placement. He realized he had stopped in front of the door, and looked at the brass-colored handle. He tucked the piece of paper into his pocket before grasping the door handle, and turning it ever so slightly.
He peeked into the room, unsure if a class was already in there. To his surprise, only one person was in there. He observed the figure, the man, probably in early twenties, as he sat at a desk typing rapidly on his computer. He had unruly blonde hair that made him look like he had just rolled out of bed, thick eyebrows that were due for a trim, and piercing green eyes that stayed glued to the screen.
The American raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to say something but the blonde beat him to it. “Yes I can see you perfectly fine Mr. Jones, sit down,” he said with a light, but clearly evident, British accent. Alfred jumped back slightly, surprised not only by the accent but by the teacher's knowledge of him and his presence. Not only was this school outright weird, but so were the teachers.
Knowing it was too late to back out now, he slipped into the room and glanced around to find a seat. Only one other desk sat in the small room, and it was right in front of the teacher’s work spot. He glanced at the teacher, watching as he did a little dance with his thumbs. Great, he was going to have to sit right in front of this oddball for the rest of the year. He failed to remember that there should have been more students in this class, and didn't question it. Maybe if he was lucky enough he could get transferred again.
He sat down in his seat, looking around to get a better look at the room. There was a British flag that hung on one wall (he needed no explanation) along with various other posters from what he guessed was British television. Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Torchwood, and so on. On another wall were posters still, but very much different. There was a signed Green Day one, Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Iron Maiden. Not something you would expect from the average high school teacher. The third wall had a Smart Board along with two white boards that flanked the sides. But the fourth was completely empty except for a piece of paper taped to it.
What kind of psycho was sitting behind that desk?
Abruptly, the Brit shut his laptop and spun towards the student. Alfred just about flung back in his seat, being scared rather easily, but sat up straighter. The chair being attached to the desk made him feel bulky and huge, which he was. His height was getting closer to over six foot four and played football in his free time. Or he used to anyway.
“Sorry to keep you waiting Mr. Jones,” he picked up a stack of papers and tapped it on the desk to straighten them into a neat pile, “I was filling out an e-mail. I hope you didn’t mind.” The blue-eyed dirty blonde shook his head and leaned back in his seat the best he could as his “teacher” set the papers aside.
“Don’t mind at all-” he quickly pulled his schedule and squinted at the small printed name, “…Mr. Kirkland?”
“That is what I am called, yes,” Mr. Kirkland folded his arms over his chest, “And you are Alfred. And that is a chair. And that is a schedule you are holding. You are rather observant Mr. Jones.” Alfred’s face flushed and he shrunk down a little.
“I-I was just clarifying. I didn’t want to be wrong or insult you,” he glanced around, trying to find something to change the subject, “You’ve gotta interesting set up here sir.”
“Well what did you expect? Some unicorns? A few rainbows to brighten up your day perhaps? Well sorry to break it to you sweetheart but this is my classroom, not the counselor’s office.” As he talked, the Englishman kept the same static expression on his face. All that managed to do was make the American get madder, rather annoyed with the teacher’s attitude.
“Dude are you just going to sit there and try to mess with everything that comes out of my mouth?!” he snapped, leaving in with his blue eyes narrowed. But as he got angry finally, Mr. Kirkland laughed.
“Finally! Oh my I thought it was going to take forever to crack you out of that fake shell of yours! Mr. Jones I have read your files from previous teacher, politeness was not once mentioned. All I got was, ‘anger issues’, ‘talkative’, and my favorite, ‘ignorant to the importance of an intellectual environment’. Well when you have teachers describing school like that,” he leaned back in his chair with a smirk, “I don’t blame you for being a little difficult.” The man was no longer the monotone smart alek, now he was a full-blown smart ass.
Alfred stared at him for a few moments, trying to process what had just happened. Was this guy insane?! “Excuse me?” he asked carefully, trying to keep anger out of his voice.
“You’re excused,” he sat up straighter as the student’s jaw dropped, “Now let’s get through all of those fun introductions, shall we? I’ll go first since you seem a little shocked at the moment. I am Arthur Kirkland, as it says on your schedule. You can call me Mr. Kirkland or Arthur if you aren’t the formal type. Now you are Alfred Jones, correct? What should I call you?”
The poor kid was still stuttering, not knowing how to respond to this teacher. No one he had ever met in the schools he had been had been like this. A teacher he had always talked to him like he was five, this one talked to him like he was one of his drinking buddies or something. Either that or he was just toying with him. Both of the options startled him. “U-um-”
“Um?” Arthur tilted his head to the side then shrugged, “Well if that’s what you go by I won’t question. Now that all formalities are set aside, Um, we can now discuss your education history. Past grades, assignments that bring up concerns, discipline such as suspension, referrals, and so on.”
“Hey,” Alfred crossed his arms and gave him a glare, “One, don’t call me um. Two, I prefer Alfred or Al if you don’t mind ‘sir’. Three, I’m really not in the mood to deal with all of this shit. What kind of teacher are you anyway?” He knew that cursing was against the student handbook and such, but he really didn’t care. Hopefully it would get him out of this school. He didn’t care if it was just three days away from this nutjob having ISS instead.
But instead of getting mad at him, Mr. Kirkland smiled. “You are really that oblivious? Oh well, I guess I’ll spell it out for you,” he folded his hands on the desk, “I am your last resort. You have been to thirty-six different schools Alfred, and that must be a record as far as my knowledge goes. You are seventeen, correct?”
“I’m turning eighteen in eight months!” he argued immediately, just out of automatic reflex. The Brit waved him off with his right hand, sighing.
“Oh my don’t get your panties in a wad,” he glanced up, “I am simply asking your current age. And by the information you had just given me out of spite, I now know that my hypothesis is correct. I am twenty-one, we are only four years apart. I know you are used to teachers who are practically dinosaurs and only focus on trying to make you a perfect student. I on the other hand, do not want to do that. You can’t change a person Alfred. I graduated from high-school early, at the age you are now. I went to college, got my degree, and now here I am. I’m not going to sugar coat it Al, you’re here because no one wants you in their classroom. I was the only one who would be able to stand having you as a student. I teach what people call, ‘troubled kids’. You sir, are one of those students according to the department of education.”
This hit the American like a ton of bricks, eyes wide with shock. A... troubled student? Sure he wasn’t the brightest and he could be rather troublesome but did that really make him a trouble kid? He didn’t mean to cause what they classified as a mentally troubled child. He wasn’t stupid, and he wasn’t a bad kid. Or at least he tried not to be.
“M-Mr. Kirkland…” he swallowed hard, “You don’t understand. I’m not a horrible person! All those fights-!”
“Had nothing to do with you,” Arthur finished for him, “And I know that. I am here to show those principals and directors that you are a smart person. Alfred, if you fail my class you have no more options. They can’t let you go on. You’ll be stuck with me every single year until you finally pass the class, or they expel you. And if that’s the rout you plan on, you will never be accepted back into a school. They won’t want you ruining their perfect picture school. But there is no such thing. So, instead of us bickering back and forth constantly, let’s get you where you want to go. Tell me about yourself.”
“M-me?” he choked out, pointing to himself rather limply. The Brit gave a sharp nod and rested his chin on his folded hands as he propped his elbows up on the table.
“Yes, you. There is no one else in this classroom after all. Now tell me about yourself. Do you have siblings? Pets? Hobbies? I’m guessing you have to be in some sort of sport. Do you have a favorite subject in school?”
“U-um…” he rubbed the back of his neck, “Well I have a twin brother. His name is Matthew but people don’t always know we are related. We look alike but he’s really quiet and I’m not according to everyone else. I have a cat… he has white fur and brown fur that makes him look ten times bigger than he actually is. Hobbies… I like video games and I enjoy going to McDonald’s with my brother. He doesn’t like the food but I do so he goes with me anyway. I used to be on the football team but I gave up on trying out because I knew I would just be shipped off to the next school. Other than that…” he shrugged, “I’m your average teenager.”
While he talked, Arthur actually nodded and didn’t make any comments. He was listening for once. “What about your birthday?”
“B-birthday?” he was a little surprised, “Can’t you just look that up on that computer of yours?”
“Yes, but I want to hear it from your own mouth. What’s your birthday?”
“Anything from McDonald’s dude!”
“Favorite genre of music?”
“What’s your favorite type of music?”
“Oh! Whatever I guess. As long as it isn’t that classical stuff.”
“Book preference- I mean what is your favorite book.”
“Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien,” he said immediately, sitting up straighter when mentioning it. For once, Alfred had left Mr. Kirkland speechless.
“No offense, but you don’t seem like the boy who would be reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ in their free time. Now I love the book, but you just don’t strike me as a person who likes that kind of story. It is rather long and can get boring at parts.” Al responded with a simple shrug, relaxing into his chair once again.
“I don’t find it boring. The story has my idol in it,” he smiled slightly, “Frodo was the least likely person to have such a terrible task. He knew the ring would drive him to insanity, yet he still took it to Mordor. And he still had the heart of a hero to not kill Gollum, or Sméagol in the further chapters. People say that Sam did all the work, but no. He was too rash to realize the important things like saving an innocent life. It is not our job to decide who has the right to live and who dies in this world. When we have that power, it turns us into a God. And no one can hold that power without going insane.” Alfred was a little shocked at himself, nothing he had ever said had been so complex and complicated.
And even better, Arthur was looking at him with a pleased expression. “See? Your old teachers were wrong. You are a genius. Not stupid, ignorant, thoughtless, or whatever else they tried to tell you. Alfred, you have a brain in that head of yours. A rather brilliant one at that when you try. Now here is what I am asking you to do, it won’t take much,” he held his hand out, “Trust me with your education. I just want to help you get through high school and graduate. Are you willing to deal with me for the rest of the year? Then you can walk across that stage, diploma in hand, and head held high. Well, Mr. Jones? Are you up to it?”
Alfred stared at the pale hand that was in front of him. Small and dainty, like a woman’s. Could he really trust this psycho with his future? But, what choice did he have? After fighting with his conscious he took the hand and shook it carefully.
“Deal, Mr. Kirkland.”
To Be Continued... Maybe...