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Class Dismissed

D&December, 2017

He hates the scritch-scratchy sound of fresh chalk upon the slate and cringes as every familiar stroke draws a stiff edge against his board of formulas. The distinct drone of annoyed children echoes from the farthest corners of the lecture hall but he does his very best to set his teeth and suffer the squeaks and squeals in silence. Just one more line…

"Prooooofessssoooooor," was the whine from among the rows, vowels drawn and whistling between missing teeth and some awkward---but charming---breaks in slightly older voices.

A wide grin cast over the shoulder and a deep belly laugh that shakes and shudders his shoulders. He sets the felt eraser down and impatiently waves away a cloud of white film that bursts from beneath his closed fist. The children laugh at that and he thinks, for a moment, how like a chorus of bright bells they are, chiming for him and his lessons.

"No complaining, this is the last one," he tells them, though the cheery beat of his voice betrays him: there is no bite. "After this we'll do some…practical application."

A merry mixture of mirth and misery---the students rustle sheafs of smooth parchment and set the fluffy ends of feathered quills into a flurry of motion.

In the meantime, he paces, restlessly polishing the mirrored lenses of his spectacles. Every third and ninth step, he sets a knowing hand to his side and pushes upon the seat of a hovering chair until its sturdy legs click-clack against the floor. Robinson on the third row is drumming his heel against his desk and the Professor makes a mental note to talk with him before the entire classroom takes to levitating. Browning left her own spectacles in her dorm again (he can see her squinting at the swirling script on the black board). Now why on earth would she think that Jeffries two seats down would think she was prettier without---

A series of gentle raps against the glossy surface of his door.

The children are cooing---all high-pitched ooh's and ah's---but he can't hear them over the thrum of blood thumping in the space between his ears and the thudding that batters the inside of his ribcage like a bat. She's got sunshine in her hair, wrapped around her temples, all wispy and wistful and wishes have nothing on the woman that awaits him in the doorway. He smiles back and cross the room in long strides.

"Free reading for fifteen minutes," he cautions them with a flourish of his hands and a flicker of white fae lights. "Wands stay down until I'm back."

He takes the sun in his open hand and steps outside of the hall.

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