Albert Messer had a problem.
A problem that, for the first time in his life, lead him to question every single choice that brought him there, sitting behind a desk or standing in front of the large blackboard, under the eyes of the entire class of high-schoolers he'd been teaching to for five years.
It wasn't that he hated his job. He'd wanted to be a teacher since he first could remember himself thinking about his future job. Even as a student, he'd always admired those men and women who took passion in sharing their knowledge with them - admittedly, some were more passionate than others, but those who did really put their all into making sure their lessons were as entertaining and understandable as possible, and Albert always imagined himself as one of those teachers.
Sure, he'd been a lot more naïve and idealistic at first, when he was younger and fresh out of university, but even if his patience was often tested and there had been a few students that he was low-key happy not to have the displeasure to see again, overall it was still incredibly rewarding. His students seemed to like him well enough, although he did know he had a reputation for being uptight and strict, but he always made sure to be fair and available to help those who struggled to keep up with the rest of the class.
Yeah, they did like him alright... and that was exactly the problem.
He didn't know how it happened, or why.
The only thing he knew was that one day he was talking to Stevens after class, the student who always turned up to class a bit late but who also always had the best marks in all of his tests. He'd just finished telling him about how he did a really good job in the last one, when suddenly he was overcome with a rush of excitement, followed by a single, most unexpected thought.
/Aaah, I love it when he praises me like that.../
He froze on the spot.
What... what had just happened? Where did that come from?
It took him a moment to realize he hadn't been the one thinking that.
/His voice is so sexy, I wish I could stay here all day/
His face flushed immediately. What the hell was that? Was Stevens playing some sort of trick on him? His lips weren't moving but he could have sworn-
"Mr. Messer, is everything ok?", his student asked in the most innocent tone, far more innocent than the one that Albert had heard a mere few seconds before.
"Ah, I'm- of course! I've got to get back to class now, make sure to study this well for the next test too, as it's going to be particularly tricky", he replied, forcing himself to smile and ignore his embarrassment.
Stevens smiled back.
"I can't wait! I'll give it everything that I've got!", he assured him before Albert walked away as fast as he could.
But not so fast as to not hear the student's immediate next thought.
/Wish I could give that ass everything I've got too/.
The only reason he didn't run to his classroom was that it would be most unproper of him to do so.
He didn't know what had just happened, but he could only wish that would be the end of it.
Little did he know, that was nothing but the beginning.
If Albert had thought that was the most embarrassing thing he'd ever heard, that was only because he hadn't had the chance to hear what the rest of the class had to say - or rather, think - about him yet.
/He took off his jacket today... must be too warm. Wish he'd take off his shirt too next, ehehe.../
Albert swallowed hard, forcing himself to stay focused on the chapter that Marshals was reading out loud.
It had started with only Stevens at first, and that had been bad enough, yet slowly but surely the... whatever it was that was happening, well it had spread to more and more of his students, and so now he was overhearing the thoughts of about half a dozen of them.
Not all the time thankfully, only when they were close enough to him, and many of them were rather mundane. It was a lot easier to ignore when Trevors thought about what he was going to eat later or if he should skip P.E. class with some excuse and go back home early - although Albert had made a mental note to tip off his colleague about that later - or about how hard it was not to fall asleep when "Danny" was reading in such a boring monotone.
It was not so easy when he'd brought his pen to his lips, a tic he always had when he was evaluating something and was usually not even aware of doing, and immediately the boy responded with:
/God I wish that pen was my dick/
Which immediately made him drop it on the floor, prompting an even more perverse:
/Man I'm so glad I'm in the first desk, that ass is looking fine as hell/
This time coming from Evans, the resident troublemaker, as soon as Albert bent over to pick it up.
Note to self, Albert thought as his face burned and turned a deep red colour, next time ask I'll someone else to pick it for me.
It was hard for him not to come to dread his next lesson, especially as it was starting to become impossible to avoid getting too close to his students. He'd already tried to subtly move his own desk closer to it but the results had not been as good as he had hoped.
Not only was he now able to perceive the thoughts of pretty much his entire class, but the range had also been amplified. Even just standing by his desk meant he could hear the middle row with crystal clarity, and as the weeks passed by even the last row was fully within his scope.
The only way he would be able to keep enough distance at that point would be to stand against the wall, which would have looked rather odd and would also have prevented him to be able to do his job, even more so than having to deal with the overactive imagination of a bunch of hormonal young adults.
"Pay attention to this passage, please. It will be of fundamental importance in the upcoming test", he told Johnson, forcing himself to keep his tone as reassuring and polite as possible. Not only because he felt bad about snapping at him just because he was nervous and uneasy, and definitely not as much as-
/Ahh, I wish he would scold me more. I love it when he gets all riled up, it's so sexy/
-for other reasons.
Dear God, what is with today's youth?!
Albert didn't know who to turn to. Had he been younger and less disillusioned, he might have tried to confide in someone, but he knew that was the sort of thing that could get him sent straight up into the nearest psychiatrist hospital.
And it wasn't like he hadn't considered the chance that he was indeed developing some sort of delusion. It was after all the most rational conclusion to come to, and the only logical explanation to that whole ordeal.
Except... if it was all in his head, figuratively speaking - technically speaking that was already the case after all - then how would he know things that he couldn't possibly have learned otherwise? Things like how some of his students had been cheating during his tests all that time, allowing him to catch them red-handed, or how some of them were struggling with issues that they'd never confided anyone else.
So he knew he wasn't crazy, which meant he actually could read his student's thoughts whether he wanted it or not, which meant that a good part of his class was in fact lusting over him.
Him. A middle-aged, glasses-wearing, introverted and kind of antisocial guy. That had been teaching in that class since they were, what, fourteen at the oldest? Just how long had they been thinking of him in that way? And why? Not to mention they were an all-male-school.
He could have understood it if he'd been some sort of blonde bombshell or even a homely but still very much female teacher. Or hell, at least a younger and somewhat feminine guy, of the sort that made you question if you would be so opposed to swinging the other way if you had the chance. But him?! Were they all blind? He knew that adolescence could turn any boy into a hormonal mess, but by all means it didn't make sense.
It didn't help that he'd always been very reserved and never knew how to respond to someone else showing sexual attraction to him even when it was subtler and not so invasive. Not that it happened all that often, especially at his age.
To find out that almost an entire class of young men were thinking of him like that was both unsettling and unexpected. How was he even supposed to react to such a thing?
The worst thing was, even if he'd known what to do he still could not do anything about it. It would be one thing if those were open sexual advances, at least then there were proper measures that could be taken and, in the worst case, he would have had something concrete to complain about. As much as the thought of telling the parents of any of his students that their kid had tried to make a pass at him made him want to hide his face in a hole forever, at least he knew he would have been in the right.
But this? What could he even say about something like that? First of all he would sound crazy and if anything he would end up being accused of misconduct. But even if that weren't the case, it wasn't like he could expect them to control their thoughts.
Plus, technically speaking he was the one who shouldn't be snooping inside their heads, how would he like it if someone else were to listen to his every thought whenever they were around him?
But I don't want to!, he tried to object to himself, yet that didn't change the fact that it was his problem rather than theirs. So wasn't it his responsibility to find a solution?
He'd read a few comics back in the day, and he'd seen some of the major superhero movies even if they weren't his thing. In some of them, the protagonist was initially overwhelmed and unable to properly control his power, but over time learned to manage it and use it to his advantage.
Maybe the problem was simply that he hadn't learned to control it yet. He just needed to give it time, and think of a way to harness it.
He would find a way to wrap his head around it.
He had to.
For all his attempts to control his newfound abilities or at least to make sense of them, Albert didn't really feel like he was making much progress.
He did find that, no matter how close he was, his radius seemed to be restricted to one closed space at a time. He could not hear his students' thoughts across rooms, maybe because they weren't within his sights, but he also couldn't hear them if he saw them in the school backyard from outside the window. Maybe they were too far, or maybe they both had to be potentially able to see each other. Closing his eyes did not seem to have any effect, so it wasn't solely about sight.
/Look how much he's sweating... why isn't he taking off his jacket in this heat?/
He sighed and wiped some of it from his forehead, before it could drip all over the tests he was marking. It really was too warm to keep his jacket on but the last time he'd showed up to class without it and passed by a brightly lit window, he'd immediatey felt the weight of everyone's stares on him before being bombarded with a barrage of lustful thoughts.
/I can almost see his nipples...aah!/
/His shirt... it's totally see through!/
/I wanna lick them!/
/It's so erotic.../
/Mr. Messer's nipples...I can see them/
/I wonder if they're sensitive/
And a sudden flash of one of their hands sneaking under the fabric, or ripping it open and letting the buttons fly everywhere, before their fingers found and played with his nipples.
It had been a split second, but it had been enough to cause him to excuse himself and quickly dart out of the class and into the nearest bathroom, splashing his face with cold water to try and cool it down before waiting for his heartbeat to calm down.
One of these days, he thought, they're gonna give me a damn heart attack!
Needless to say, he was not planning to have a repeat of that anytime soon, so his jacket was staying exactly where it was.
/His flushed face is quite cute.../
/I'd know how to make him sweat, ehehehe!/
/Wish he would make that sort of face while riding my cock/
/Aah, I wanna lick the sweat from his neck!/
-it seemed like, no matter what, that bunch of horndogs would find any excuse to let their minds drift away from the topic his lessons and into far less innocent territory.
Another thing that Albert found out was that, regardless how much his abilities progressed, he was unable to hear anyone else's thoughts but those of the students in his school.
It also only seemed to work on the last-year ones. Which was really a relief, because it was uncomfortable enough to have to hear all sorts of thoughts and occasionally get short glimpses of scenarios involving him and boys less than half of his age, and he didn't know what he would do if had to be plagued with the same kind of thing coming from anyone in their first years.
Especially when he wasn't exactly remaining... indifferent, to put it mildly.
Closing himself in the bathroom to jerk one off before class was not the kind of thing Albert would ever imagine himself doing, but he'd already had to sit down at his desk while making sure not to let his lower half within sight of any of his students as his body responded - against his wishes - to a particularly intense fantasy. He knew he'd never hear the end of it then, so if he could do anything to prevent it he would, even if it made him feel kind of dirty. Especially when he found himself incorporating some of his students' wishes into his own fantasies.
He was not proud of it but he supposed it was kind of unavoidable. Being desired like that wasn't entirely unpleasant. In a way it was humiliating but... to think that out of everyone they could want, they would pick him. He would have thought it was a joke if he hadn't had to hear about it in ample detail, over and over again, and if he hadn't perceived their desire, their sheer adoration together with their musings.
It wasn't just thoughts, he could also perceive their feelings towards him, and at times even glimpse into the various scenarios that they pictured in their head, all of which involved him in various states of undress and in all kinds of positions.
Some of them liked to imagine him as a domineering lover, as strict in the bedroom as he was in class... though a lot of those fantasies did take place in that same class, or sometimes in his office, as he ordered the student in question - usually Johnson, but much to Albert's surprise it seemed that the buff jock of the class, Yang, also shared the same type of inclination - to bend over his desk as he took off his belt and got ready to administer "a proper punishment" to his bared bottom.
Some others thought of him as much less strict-laced and reserved once the clothes came off, with a penchant for being very vocal and for using an extremely vulgar vocabolary, which they probably took straight out of some sort of pornographic video or magazine (were porn magazines even still a thing? Albert wasn't sure. Maybe it was all on a phone nowadays, after all kids always seemed to be glued to the damn things. There probably already was "an app" for that sort of thing already).
Some instead imagined themselves in the act of ravishing him like some sort of blushing virgin, holding him down and having their way with him whether he liked it or not, until he ended up giving in to them and even crying out for more. That always made him feel a bit anxious, but he was sure that all in all it was a harmless fantasy. He knew it certainly was not uncommon, it was just that it felt a bit alarming to be the subject of it.
Then there were a few occasional variations, but more or less they all fell under those three categories. With the notable exception of Petrovitch, who instead had a very specific and elaborate fetish involving latex, and Simmons, who seemingly wished to lavish him with praise and shower every part of his body with adoration.
As for him, he'd mostly come to question his sexuality a lot, but he supposed given the situation that was not exactly unexpected.
He would never put any of that into practice, of course, if nothing else because he still really liked his job and would also like to avoid getting fired. It would also be incredibly irresponsible, and at the end of the day fantasies were just that, and did not actually mean any of those boys would actually want to bed him.
Over all, of one thing Albert Messer was certain. And that was, that he still really liked teaching.
But maybe, just maybe, now it was not quite for the same reasons.