A/N: In which Eric 'teaches', Dani and Buck make their first appearances, a compromise is not met, and my writing is the worst it's ever been, including my HP fic. I think it's severely obvious which parts I decided to glaze over quickly, and when I had Eric babble for a bit for my word count...
Eric made it to his first lab with minutes to spare. There were already at least six nervous-looking freshman milling about. He grinned to himself.
This is gonna be great.
By his last lab of the day, Eric was ready to quit the Bio program and become an English major.
Three two hour sections and a lunch break later, he was standing in front of his last lab, counting down the seconds until six o’clock, when he could officially start. The faster he started, the faster he’d finish, the faster he could send them all on their way.
The clock in the middle of campus started to sound, and he spun on the stool to face the students, who were all seated at the lab tables already.
“Hello, and welcome to Biology 10: Life Science. My name is Eric Woodlin, that’s E-R-I-C Eric, W-O-O-D-L-I-N, Woodlin. Know it, love it, above all remember my name because it is how you will get your bio lecture exams back. It’ll also be helpful because you can call me Eric when you get stuck on stuff in the labs. Now, first things first: how many of you are Bio majors or planning on it?”
One girl in the back row raised her hand. Eric waved up at her.
“You are in the wrong class, and your lecture professor should have told you that already. This is for non-majors, you will not get credit for it,” he pointed at the door. “Nice meeting you, go drop, and read the catalog a bit closer next time. Now-how many of you are freshman?”
The first two tables raised their hands.
“Scared yet?” Eric grinned maniacally at them. The effect was lessened as the Bio major walked out the door, letting it slam behind her. One girl in the front looked slightly scared, but most of them looked unimpressed. “Yeah, yeah, just wait until finals…sophomores?”
All but four of the remaining students raised their hands.
“Just a little,” someone called. Eric grinned in the general direction of the voice.
“That’s what I like to hear. Juniors?”
Three people raised their hands.
“Bet you regret putting this class off until your third year, huh?” One girl grinned, and Eric decided to count that as a success. “Seniors?”
One guy at the back table, on the left, raised his hand halfway.
“Damn man, you had to be actively trying to avoid this class until now. Well-“ he slapped a hand on the stack of folders he’d piled on the desk. “You’re all here now, and for the next two hours, for every Thursday, for the next fifteen weeks, you’re mine-excluding major holidays and days when the campus is closed. If you don’t have class any day of the week, you don’t have lab that week either. One of the perks. Another perk: roll!”
Everyone groaned in unison.
“Yeah, I think it’s stupid too, but if you guys miss a certain amount of lab, you get knocked down grades. If you miss two, you get knocked down a grade, you miss three or four, another grade, you miss five, you lose a grade, and you gotta come talk to me and your lecture professor. Six, I have to automatically fail you because you’ve missed over half the class, but at least you don’t have to come to class for the rest of the semester. Now,” he flipped open the top folder, pulling a pencil from his bag. “Arnelle, Danielle?”
“Here,” one of the juniors raised her hand. “I go by Dani, because my parents were sadistical.”
“Good call,” Eric nodded, making a check mark next to her name and penciling in Dani. “Awl, Jason?”
“Here,” one of the freshmen in the front row said. “I go by John.”
“Noted,” Eric crossed off –athon from his name. “Cornell, Tory?”
“It’s Buck,” the senior in the back nodded once, raising and dropping his hand quickly.
“…kay,” Eric nodded, scribbling another note on the role sheet. Buck. “Like the dog or the dollar?”
The guy frowned as snickers broke out across the room.
“Like the football player,” he corrected. The giggling trailed off abruptly, and it was Eric’s turn to frown.
“What football player?” he said.
“The me football player,” Tory/Buck leaned forward on his elbows. “I’m the starting center for the Lions.”
“Good for you,” Eric grinned. “You guys are the reason the marching band is always practicing out on the field next to Science Two when I’m in the lab. Coronado, Emile?”
When he finally finished roll, he was missing six students. Swearing quietly, he set the roll sheet aside, and pulled his computer out of his bag.
“Alright, so,” he said, untangling the power cord and reaching for one of the wires sticking out from the bottom of the front table. “I know it’s the first week of class and you all just want to take the syllabus and go, but since we’re just a once a week class, we kinda have to get going like, now. SO, grab a microscope out of the case back there. I’m counting on you all having at least seen a microscope before, so you know how to carry them and not break them. If you don’t, ask or watch someone who does, because else you will end up owing me about three thousand dollars, because I will owe the bio department three thousand dollars, and heck, this school already gets most of my money, I’d really rather not owe them more. Especially when I get like, a buck fifty over minimum wage for busting my ass and teaching you munchkins, and that’s even with being one of the highest-paid majors on campus and-”
When he looked up, no one had moved. With a sigh, he got up and walked back to the case, pulling it open and withdrawing a microscope.
“Okay, see how I’m holding this?” he held it up and turned so they could see the back. “One hand underneath, supporting the base of the microscope, one hand holding this part, which is called the neck. Then-scoot over dude.”
The Buck guy, sitting closest to the back cabinet, shuffled his stool over a bit so that Eric could place the microscope on the table in front of him.
“You unwrap the cord from here-“ as he spoke he unwrapped it from the back of the microscope, plugging it into the outlet along the edge of the table. “You plug it in, and the power switch is back here, underneath the wires, because they wanted to make it complicated and hard to find and as un-user friendly as they could, just to scare you guys. You flip the switch, the light goes on, voila: science. Now, everyone needs one today, but usually you’ll be working in groups of three based on where you’re sitting.”
He walked back up to the front of the room as everyone crowded around the back cabinets.
“The first table will be A, the second B, the third C, and the back D. You guys on my right will be the Doors, and you on my left, hmm, we’ll continue the theme and you can be the Eagles.”
No one laughed. Eric felt his will to shape the minds of future generations slipping away, and hoped Adam wouldn’t rub it in too much over dinner that night.
He went into autopilot, describing the features and facets of the microscopes, before letting them loose on the lab, which was basically regurgitating what he’d just explained, with a diagram right on the first page of the lab book. Even so, it took the students ridiculously long, and it was almost a quarter past seven before the last of them left.
Eric sighed, letting his head drop onto the table. He was midway through deploring the state of higher education in the country before he realized someone had come back into the room, and was now standing next to him, clearing their throat loudly.
“Eh?” Eric muttered, before sitting up straight again. Crap, would these students never leave? “What’s up Buck?”
“Yeah, I needed to talk to you about the schedule.”
“Which one?” Eric asked, turning to the board and starting to erase everything he’d written. The sooner it was clean, the sooner he could-
Glad he was facing the board, Eric made a face, taking a moment to finish erasing the sentence he’d been working on before turning to face Buck. “What exactly about it is displeasing to you, and where do I come in?”
“Well see, we’re playing a bunch of away games this season, like five I think, and Coach Sly wants us to head out Thursday afternoon so we’re rested for the games which are Friday afternoon.”
“Uh-huh,” Eric nodded.
“So, um, what do you suggest?”
He frowned. “What?”
“Benadryl,” Eric shrugged. “That shit knocks me out at least. It’ll help you sleep on the plane or bus or whatever you guys take Thursdays after class when you head out for your games.”
“Aw Jesus man, come on.”
“Oh I’m not Jesus, now you’re just giving me too much credit. Come to think of it, nor am I really even a Jesus-man, I mean, my grandmother was a religious woman, but my parents-“
“Can’t you do anything?” Buck asked. “Help me out dude.”
“I can remind you that you have something like four weeks with no lab because of holidays and stuff. Fifteen weeks total, we’ve got eleven labs, and you can miss one with no penalty, so that’s ten labs you have to be at. How many away games do you have?”
Buck pondered the information for a moment.
“How many can I miss and still get a D again?”
Eric bit his tongue. “Assuming you get As on everything else, you can miss five and get a D, but you’ll need a C to fulfill the requirements for graduation.”
“You can only miss four, or else you’ll get credit for the units but you’ll still have to retake the class.”
“Dude, that’s bullshit.”
“Believe me, I agree, but I can’t let you slide. Why are you taking lab now if you knew you’d have to leave early on Thursdays?”
“This is the only time I can take it,” Buck shrugged. “All the others were full, or during my other classes that I really need to take.”
“Well, you still really need to take this class if you want to graduate this year,” Eric shrugged, glancing at the clock. Seven thirty. Jesus. “Is another semester an option?”
“I wouldn’t mind, but my parents won’t pay for anything more than four years.”
“Well, I suggest you study hard, do your best, and miss as few labs as possible. Either that or start saving your money. You could try dropping in on another class, see if the professor could make an exception and add you, but-”
“Nah,” Buck muttered. “I already tried, but there’s like, thirty-person wait list on each lab.”
“Sorry dude, that’s all I got,” Eric shrugged, hefting his bag onto his shoulder. “Now, anything else? I’ve sorta got dinner plans, but if you find a class, I can talk to the professor on your behalf and maybe-”
“Nah,” Buck sighed, shrugging. “I’ll figure something out I guess. Thanks anyway.”
“No problem. Now really though. I’m hungry. Shoo.”