"Sure...Yeah, I'm just gonna have to check the schedule."
Robert Wisdom mouths thank you at Samantha, his secretary, as she pushes some blank paper in front of him. This woman must read minds or something. If you do, Sam, thank you so much.
"Let me write that down" he says to the person on the other side of the phone.
Just as he does, a soft knock comes at his door, and lifting his eyes he can see the school’s history teacher, Chad Michael Murray, grinning at him like a lunatic. "How's my favorite vice principal doing?" Chad asks, and Robert rolls his eyes.
"Flattery will only take you so far, Murray. What do you want?" He asks back, covering the receiver with a hand.
"My friend Jensen Ackles is here to see you," Chad says.
Robert's eyes widen. "Is that today?! Oh, God, Chad, I-it's not a good time..."
"But he flew in all the way from Texas for this interview, Rob!" Chad whines and Robert knows Chad well enough to be sure the guy's not going to leave him alone until he talks to his friend.
"Alright," he answers, defeated, and watches as Chad fist pumps the air. "Uh, I'm gonna have to call you back. Thank you. Bye." He ends his phone conversation and sits back down behind his desk.
Chad enters his office holding a young man's arm. The man is probably older than Chad, not by much though and has short, honey-colored spiky hair, big green eyes and a shy smile on his lips.
He's wearing a brown jacket and an equally brown long sleeved t-shirt underneath. "Jensen, I'd like you to meet Robert Wisdom, our assistant principal. Robert, Jensen Ackles."
Jensen extends his hand towards Robert and he shakes it, smiling friendly at him. The guy seems on the verge of bolting, and Robert knows his appearance can be-intimidating, so he tries to greet Jensen with his most harmless expression.
"I'll wait outside" Chad adds, closing the door behind him.
"Thank you for seeing me" Jensen says as he sits down, and Robert shrugs.
"Oh well, Mr. Murray-Chad hasn't stopped talking about you for a second, so I feel like I know you already."
Jensen chuckles. "I'm sorry for that."
Robert waves a hand dismissively as he checks out Jensen's curriculum then he looks at him, a little puzzled. "I must say, it isn't often that we have an applicant of your-maturity and varied experience. B.A. in English Lit, public relations, telemarketing-Marine?" He stares at Jensen, who nods.
"But you don't look like a Marine. At all."
Jensen blushes slightly. "The tattoos are hidden under my long sleeves."
It takes a moment for Robert to understand Jensen is joking and laugh. The guy has a surprisingly strong presence for being so shy. "You stopped really close of being certified," Robert notices, "Why?"
Jensen's eyes shift and he licks his lips nervously. "I met my wife and her father didn't approve of me being a teacher. He said I wasn't going to be able to support a family with that kind of job, so he kinda forced me to start working for his company." Robert expects him to elaborate, but after a short silence Jensen just coughs and adds, "we're divorcing."
Robert blinks. Maybe...no. Come on, this guy? He won't stand a chance. And still...
He studies Jensen for a few seconds and decides to risk it. "It wouldn’t be a problem to get you emergency certification; when could you start?"
Jensen arches an eyebrow. "Start?!"
Robert takes off his glasses. "Mr. Ackles, I'll cut to the chase. One of our, er, academy teachers, Mrs. Cortese, left, and we've had three substitute teachers since then; the last one, Mrs. McNiven, fell ill just this morning." He sighs before continuing, "So, we have a full-time position and we need to fill it now."
Jensen looks confused. "I thought this was an interview for a student teacher. What's an academy teacher, exactly?"
Robert fidgets. "The academy is sort of a school within the school" he explains, looking everywhere but straight at, "Special kids. Passionate, energetic, challenging." Since Jensen is still not answering, Robert quickly adds, "The salary is 24,700 dollars a year. Are you interested?"
As soon as he hears the amount, Jensen seems to forget any worry he might have had, just as Robert hoped. "Yes, of course I'm interested," he answers, and Robert breathes again, relieved.
"That's wonderful," He says, giving Jensen a curriculum, a copy of the schedule and a few more papers he labeled whatnot. As soon as he opens the door, Chad is there.
"So?" Chad asks expectantly.
"We have a new teacher," Robert announces, and Jensen beams at Chad. "Full time," He adds, and Chad, who was about to congratulate him, blinks.
"Yeah, he starts tomorrow," Robert says, moving towards the Teachers Lounge. "Mr. Ackles is going to be teaching one of our academy classes."
"Acad-Robert!" Chad shouts, but Robert's already gone. He turns at Jensen. "Did he tell you about the, uh, academy program?" He asks tentatively and Jensen nods enthusiastically.
"Yeah, he told me all about it! Bright, special kids, and-"
Chad rolls his eyes and stares back at Jensen's face. He looks so hopeful and happy, way more than he has seen him during the last few months, and he doesn't have the heart to tell him what exactly he's going to face. "My classroom will be right next door to yours," is all he says in the end. "If you have any questions, you know who to ask, right?"
Jensen punches his shoulder playfully. "I'll be counting on it."
A deafening noise becomes louder and louder, as he and Chad climb the stairs and Jensen turns to his friend. "What's that?"
Chad just shrugs and looks embarrassed. "It's coming from your classroom," he says. Jensen looks through the glass in the door and sees students standing around, rapping, talking animatedly and generally acting as if they own the school. Chad offers him a nervous smile. "If you stand there long enough, they'll usually quiet down. Don't try shouting over them, though." He adds as an afterthought and then walks to his own classroom, leaving Jensen alone in front of the door. Jensen swallows noisily and as he's about to turn the knob Chad calls him back. "I'm right next door," he reminds him.
"White bread!" A kid shouts, followed by a series of giggles from a couple of girls sitting behind him.
Jensen does his best to ignore them; he was expecting verbal abuse, since he's well aware that the kids in East Palo Alto aren't usually all that-classy.
"Look at that!" Another girl whistles appreciatively, but the one next to her just shrugs.
"Have you seen how he's dressed? He's so obviously a fag."
Jensen briefly looks at his light blue shirt and the suspenders, and wonders if he's overdressed.
Everyone else doesn't pay any attention to him, though, as they go on rapping and shouting.
"May I have your attention, please?" Jensen tries, his voice carrying above the noise, but without results. He sighs and walks up to a redheaded girl sitting in the first row and takes the ear bud of her I-Pod out of her ear. "What happened to Miss Cortese?" He asks, and the redhead narrows her eyes.
"Oh, no, you ain't askin' about Miss Vaginevieve Cortese?" She exclaims, then stands up on her chair and shouts out. "Yo, yo, yo! Listen up! White bread wanna know what happened to Miss Cortese!"
A boisterous laugh resounds.
A couple of guys who are clearly twins walk past Jensen and state, "We killed that bitch."
Jensen smiles nervously.
"Kick it," a black guy says. "I was beginning to like the puta..." he accompanies his words with a few crude gestures that just make his classmates laugh harder.
"No, no, no! Everybody, come on," a lithe, blonde guy exclaims, standing up and nodding towards the back of the room. "Jared ate her."
He arches an eyebrow at Jensen, who doesn't have a clue about what's going on. That's until the tallest guy he has ever seen stands up too and slowly struts towards him. Cat calls and lusty gazes follow his passage and Jensen has to grip his desk very hard to hide that his hands are trembling.
The guy-Jared apparently, is wearing a red flannel shirt, which is unbuttoned and shows the grey wife beater he has on underneath. His cargo pants hang low on narrowed hips and Jensen's mouth goes dry when his eyes fall on the sharp cheekbones and the hazel, mischievous eyes.
"Bullshit," the guy says, letting the word roll in his mouth, "that bitch was too ugly to eat."
Everyone laughs at it, and with every step he takes towards Jensen the more the teacher wants to step back. He can't show any weakness, though, or he'll be done for, so he stands still, his gaze locked with Jared's.
When he's basically in Jensen's face, he adds, "I fed her to my dogs." Jensen snorts, but apart from that he thinks he's doing pretty well in showing no interest in the kid so up close and personal.
Jared gets so close Jensen can breathe in his spicy aftershave with every breath he takes and once he brushes Jensen's clothed arm with the tip of his finger, Jensen can't help flinching. In Jared's gaze a predatory gleam shines when he bends towards Jensen's ear and whispers against his neck.
"I'll be happy to eat you, though."
Jensen is afraid the guy can hear his heart thumping loud when he finally manages to ask with a slightly wavering voice what his name is.
The guy smirks. "Jared Padalecki," he answers.
His friends cheer, and Jensen thinks he even hears someone saying Jared, you're the man.
"Jared! Jared! Jared! Jared!" They call, and Jared lifts both of his arms, basking in the glory.
Jensen understands that there is no way, no how, he can get through to these kids, so he takes his messenger bag and stomps out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
Inside the classroom, the students go back to rapping.
He walks up to Chad's room and knocks violently on it. He hears Chad asking one of his students to take over the class and then his footsteps approach, as Jensen paces up and down the hallway, his fists clenched and the vein in his neck pulsing with rage.
And still, even through the red curtain of anger which is covering his mind, he can't stop picturing Jared's sculpted torso straining to fit into that tight wife beater.
"Fuck," he mutters, banging his head against the wall a couple of times before Chad gets there and pulls him away.
"Whoa, Jen, easy," he starts, but Jensen lifts a hand.
"What happened to Miss Cortese?" He asks.
Chad fidgets, "She, uh, she quit."
Chad scratches at the back of his neck. "Well, let's just say that she was a very-high-strung individual."
Jensen glares at him. "What, did she have a breakdown?" He asks then, snarling.
"No, she quit before that," Chad corrects him. "One of the substitutes, Lauren, now she had a breakdown, a spectacular one, I might add." Chad shrugs. "That's how they weed them out," he concludes, pointing at Jensen's classroom.
Jensen's eyes widen. "Who are these kids, rejects from hell?!" He exclaims, frustrated.
"No, Jen." Chad says, as he squeezes his shoulder. "They're bright kids, with little or no educational skills and a lot of what we politely call social problems."
Jensen narrows his eyes. "Dammit, Murray, you could have at least warned me!" He objects, looking pissed.
Chad gets mad too. "Hey, Jensen, you said you wanted to teach. Was that a lot of bull or what?"
"No!" Jensen exclaims, shaking his head vigorously. He wants to teach, he's dying to teach, but-
"I can't teach them! Jesus Christ, Chad, look at me!" He points at his clothes and then holds his arms open.
However, Chad won't let him off the hook that easily. "Sure you can, pal. All you gotta do is get their attention."
Chad winks at him. "That's for you to find out."
"Easy for you to say," Jensen hisses, as Chad marches triumphantly back to his students.
After a night spent on all the books he had been given, when Jensen wakes up he simply stares at his closet. Assertive discipline is not going to work with these guys, he thinks, the only chance he has at reaching them is trying to get at their level. He's not sure he'll be any good at it, but he's not going to give up without even trying. "Okay, you little bastards," he mutters, as he throws all his clothes away.
When the students enter the classroom, they all stare in shock at the guy sitting behind the desk.
He's wearing tight fitting jeans, black combat boots and an evidently non-ironed dark shirt. Over his clothes, a black leather jacket underlines his narrowed hips.
His feet are crossed on the desk, and he's reading the program, sneaking a glance from over the top of his glasses at the kids as they take their seats. They wouldn't probably realize he's Jensen if his name wasn't written on the blackboard.
"Here he is," one of the girl says, entering. Her friend, behind her, snickers. "Man, didn't you get enough yesterday?" She adds.
Jensen just shrugs and keeps on reading.
A guy arches an eyebrow at him, but apart from muttering something that may be how you doin' he doesn't seem willing to pick up a fight.
As soon as they are all inside, Jensen stands up and picks up the chalk. I'm a US Marine, he writes under his name, eliciting an audible gasp from his class. Does anyone know karate?
A petite brunette just looks at him and snorts. "You are a Marine?" She asks. "A for real Marine?" She sounds mocking, but Jensen doesn't follow, choosing to grin instead.
"Discharged, but yeah."
Jared kicks his bench as he slowly sits back up, just to attract Jensen's attention, then he provocatively licks his lips. "I'll try some karate with you, Mr. Ackles," he says as the class cheers, his cat-like eyes running appreciatively along Jensen's body.
Jensen shivers, but paces a little, hoping no one noticed. That kid is unnerving and he still isn't sure how to treat him. Then, a sudden thought. He can't keep running from him, he can't give Jared such power or he will end up crushing Jensen under his boot, so he lifts his chin and smirks at Jared. "I'm sorry, Jared, but I'm not allowed to touch a student," he replies in the same low, flirty tone, crossing his arms on his chest. Then he winks at him. "But hey, if you really think you know what you're doin', come up here!"
Jared grins and shakes his head, as one of the other guys shouts at him that it sounds like a challenge and Jared can't step back. "Oh, I know what I'm doing," he says, slouching back in his chair, "but there's no sense doin' it if you can't touch me."
Jensen vaguely wonders when exactly the rest of the room disappeared and his mind became solely focused on Jared, but the faint thought is enough to bring him back to earth. He clears his throat, scratching at his neck, and breaks the eye contact, looking around the room. "Anybody else know any karate?" He asks, ignoring the way Jared's still staring at him. "What about you?" He points towards one of the twins, who stands up immediately strutting towards the front of the class.
"Ryan Kowarsky, and yeah, I know some motherfuckin' karate," the kid answers.
Jensen chuckles as the guy attempts a move on him. "Easy, tiger!" He exclaims. "Who else? Hey, what about you?" He looks at a smaller guy, blond and with big blue eyes, who's wearing a hand me down shirt and a dirty wife beater.
"Jake Abel. I know enough," he says, standing up as well. The guys look quite mismatched, but that's exactly what Jensen was aiming for. "I'm gonna take you down, motherfucker," Jake states, staring at Ryan, but there's no actual fire behind the words.
They probably get along well.
Ryan and Jake start moving around the classroom, clumsily attempting a couple of flying kicks while the rest of the class laughs.
"Wait, wait, wait, whoa!" Jensen exclaims, stopping them. Then he sneers at them. "You guys don't know shit," he states, and the class goes completely silent.
"I heard that a Marine can kill a man with his bare hands. Is that true?" Ryan’s twin asks, approaching Jensen.
Jensen looks at his hands and clenches and unclenches them a couple of times. "Absolutely," he answers.
The twin looks at him, pondering, for a second. Then, without any warning, he attempts to punch him. Jensen sees his arm coming, grabs it and holds it while he turns the guy and slams him against the wall. "Never do that to a Marine," he hisses. The guy nods fervently, and Jensen lets him go. "What's your name?"
The guy salutes him. "Dan Kowarsky, Ryan's brother."
Jensen nods at him. "Good arm, Dan."
The guy beams and sits back down.
Jensen turns back towards Ryan and Jake. "Okay, here's how it starts," he explains, showing them. "Ryan, move into Jake like you're gonna hit him." As Ryan gets into position, Jensen nods. "Jake, move back into Ryan and grab his wrist. Then turn your body away from him so that your butt is against his stomach. Okay?" Once Jake is exactly as Jensen told him to, Ryan tightens his hold on him and playfully humps him.
"Get off me, you homo!" Jake squeaks, jumping back.
The classroom's laughing again, and Jensen's trying really hard not to follow their example. "No, guys, it's not like I would encourage...that during my hours, what do you think? It's supposed to be a hip throw." Jake blinks and stares suspiciously at Ryan, whose smug expression talks louder than any words. "Come on, let's try it again," Jensen says, turning towards Jake. "This time, as you move in, you're gonna take your other hand and grab onto his shoulder. Try it."
Jake follows Jensen's instructions and, almost miraculously, Ryan goes down with a oof.
"Great!" Jensen exclaims, and the class applauds as Jake takes a little bow before going back to his seat.
Ryan stands back up, shaking his head. "Man, he'll never shut up now," he mutters.
Jensen smiles at him and then takes a deep breath, steadying himself for the following phase of his plan. "That was A work, guys, you'd make good Marines," he starts. "Listen, if you wanna pass, all you have to do is try." He walks in between the benches, then suddenly stops. "Because at this point, in my class, everyone has an A." A loud chorus of what? and is he for real? raises. Jensen nods, and continues. "It's up to you to keep it though," he adds, and Dan narrows his eyes at him.
Jensen opens his mouth to answer, but his brother, Ryan, slaps Dan's neck. "Why don't you shut up, man?! What if it ain't bullshit? Ain't never had no fuckin' A before, and neither have you."
Dan's eyes shift and Jensen knows he's won the first battle.
War's still gonna be long, though.