The university world is a small world and the arrival of new professors is always expected. Aziraphale arrived at the meeting of the professoes excited to meet his new colleagues and see some of the old ones. He had taken advantage of the summer breaj to relax, read some of the books that had accumulated on his bedside table and, above all, he had devoted time to his own writing. His research work had not been his priority, but he didn't blame himself. He had been able to write a lot of his story and was coming back fresh and available for a new year.
Aziraphale Fell or rather Ezra or rather Professor Fell was a renowned English literature professor in the university. He was loved by his students for the most part. Literature studies were only of interest to particular profiles anyway. He knew the names of all the students in all his classes. He had the reputation to give severe but fair marks. Bets were open on his age among the students. Between his face, his hair and his look, it was difficult to know. He had a soft, round face, blond hair that was almost white and always wore a light suit, most often beige with tartan bow ties. Most of them were gifts from his students. Each of his promotions (or almost, the year 2010 had not gone very well) had offered him one which had led him to have a beautiful collection.
On that day of meeting with all the professors of the university in the university's largest place, Aziraphale was anxious. His promotion was to be announced in front of all his colleagues. He didn’t like this exhibition, to show his success. Anathema often said that he was far too humble. Certainly, he had excellent results, published articles, manuals etc but he did not like to be put forward. It wasn't his nature. He greatly preferred the comfort of his apartment with tea and a book, or even the subdued atmosphere of his small classroom, and, of course, above all, the university library.
He arrived in the amphitheater and was not surprised to find the professors separated by department. An ancient war existed between the literature department and the scientific department led respectively by Gabriel Arcan and Belle Thebub. All the professors thought that there had to be more than just disagreements about budget to have such a war between departments. No one had dared to question them. The professors in the science department were always kind of assholes towards the professors of the literature sections. The budgets allocated to their research were disproportionate. They had better rooms for their classes, offices and advantages in general. Aziraphale felt very far from all this but, more out of obligation to his colleagues than for any other reason, he defended his department as soon as he could before the university authorities.
He spotted Anathema and went to sit beside her. Anathema Device was one of her former students. She was a brilliant woman who was passionate about various subjects but specialized in feminist literature. Her work was focused in particular on gender studies in Anglo-Saxon literature. They had become friends after years of collaboration on her thesis. He had been pleased when he learned that she had obtained a position in the university three years earlier.
"Aziraphale, I'm so glad to see you! »
They had met a few days earlier to have tea and discuss their future year. Well, that's what was originally planned. Anathema had arrived late and her eyes were puffy. She and Newt had broken up. There were no particular reasons other than the fact that it no longer worked between them. They had met at the end of high school and since then they had each taken different paths. Newton had decided to go to an engineering school. Computer science was his only real passion and Anathema needed more. She talked a lot to Aziraphale about them. She also cried a lot. Aziraphale had listened and comforted her as much as possible. He had called her every day since then, but they hadn't had time to see each other until today.
"Anathema, how are you, my dear?”
"Better, thank you. So, nervous? “
"No, not particularly. I'm just changing my status and having a little more responsibility. In the end, Gabriel will always have the last word. I just hope the President doesn't make me stand on the stage. As much as being in front of my classes doesn't bother me at all, I'm not really comfortable with our colleagues. »
"She brings up only the new colleagues. We don't have any new professors in our department. I heard there was a new arrival among the scientists, however. »
Anathema stopped there because the President had just arrived on the stage. The meeting was held in the most beautiful class of the university. Behind the President, a huge painting took over the upper part of the wall. The round structure of the room made it majestic. The President's arrival stopped all conversations. She was the god on earth or rather the god of the university. Her nickname was due to her name, a French one, Dieu, but also because she knew absolutely everything that was going on in her university. She knew the names of the students she met in the corridors, all the professors. No one knew her secret. She must have been omnipotent.
"Dear colleagues, dear professors, dear members of the administration, I thank you all for coming today for our back-to-school meeting. First of all, I would like to wish you all the best for this new year. I am confident that this year will once again be rich both in your personal and joint work and in the success of our students, whom we all care about.”
The President continued her speech on the new features of the university, the projects on the campus and in particular the work on the second building. The professors' room had also apparently been refurbished during the holidays. Everyone applauded. Then came the moment that Aziraphale feared above all, the changes in status and newcomers.
"As President of the University, I would like to congratulate our colleagues on their various promotions. I am delighted to inform you that Mrs Tracy, some of whom you know as Secretary of the Literature Department, will now be in the Presidency as Head of the Administration of the Presidency. " The president continued to promote all the professors and administrators who had been promoted. Each one was greeted by applause from all colleagues. "Professor Fell will now head the Anglophone literature section of the Literature and Humanities Department following Professor James' retirement."
The colleagues applauded and Aziraphale could not help but blush. Anathema winked at him. The teacher listened with only one ear until the end of the list of the various promotions.
"Finally, I would like to end by asking you to welcome our latest addition to the university. We are very proud that he has chosen to join our institution: Professor Anthony Crowley. Professor, if you would join me in introducing yourself to our colleagues.”
Aziraphale jumped when he heard the name. Anathema turned to him and was surprised to see his friend with his mouth open with an expression of shock in his eyes. The professor arrived on the stage and shook the President's hand. The first thing she noticed was his sunglasses, which he even wore inside and especially in front of the President. The second thing was his hair. His hair was red hair with curls coming under his shoulders. He wore black jeans and a shirt of the same color unbuttoned on three buttons. She elbowed Aziraphale slightly and looked at him. He quickly turned but ignored her.
"Thank you, Madam President. Dear colleagues, dear professors, dear members of the administration, I am Anthony Crowley, PhD, I am specialized physics and astronomy. Thank you for your welcome.
He nodded quickly and returned the microphone to the President. The whole room applauded him. Aziraphale did not react during the applause but also when the President thanked them all in order to finish the meeting. He followed with his eyes the professor who had just introduced himself and who had returned to sit down with his department. He didn't even realize that people around him were starting to leave because he was so focused.
"Aziraphale, the meeting is over. It's time to move on. " She followed her friend's gaze and understood that he had not taken his eyes off the new teacher. "Ezra, do you know the new handsome astrophysicist? »
He finally turned to her, pink cheeks.
"Anathema, do you remember the time I told you about my high school crush that I never heard from again. It's him..."
"Ooohhhhh" was all Anathema replied. The year promised to be interesting!