Title: Tears Dry On Their Own
Pairing/Characters: Willow, Giles (friendship)
Word Count: 1,615
Summary: Is Willow ready to take over Ms. Calendar's class?
Timeline: missing scenes from Passion
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Betas: Gabrielle and Angel's Kuuipo
Author's Note 1: Written for the Which Witch Ficathon. My prompt: What are Willow's thoughts as she goes through Jenny's files?
Author's Note 2: Title from song by same name by Amy Winehouse.
See Awards this story has won.
Tears Dry On Their Own
It wasn't like Willow to not pay attention in class, but today wasn't like most days. She felt like she'd been running on auto-pilot ever since Angelus had killed Ms. Calendar.
Jenny Calendar had been her favorite teacher. (Giles was definitely her favorite staff member, but Ms. Calendar was her favorite teacher .) Not only because she was way cooler than any other teacher she'd ever had, but she knew computers and magic. She could have taught Willow so much, but now she never would.
"Willow Rosenberg," Mr. Whitmore called, pulling Willow from her thoughts.
Unable to keep the guilty expression from her face, Willow sat up straight. "Um, yes? I'm sorry, can you repeat the question?"
"I didn't ask a question. Principal Snyder would like to speak with you." Mr. Whitmore turned to the student standing awkwardly by the door. "Gather your belongings and go with Jonathan."
"O-okay," Willow stuttered. She shared a confused look with Buffy before following Jonathan out of the room.
"Do you know why he wants to see me?" Willow asked as they walked down through the hallways.
"No idea. I just run messages for the main office. They don't tell me why." Jonathan glanced nervously at Willow. "Sorry."
"It's okay," she said. "Not your fault. I just hate not knowing why Snyder wants to talk to me."
"You and everybody else." Leaning closer, Jonathan whispered, "He's a bit scary."
"You're telling me," Willow agreed.
Much too soon for Willow's liking, they arrived outside Principal Snyder's office.
"Good luck," Jonathan said before leaving her to knock on the partially open door.
She couldn't help jumping a bit when Snyder responded with a brusque, "Come in," to her knock.
"Y-you wanted to see me?" Willow asked, creeping into the room.
Snyder looked up. "Ah, yes, Ms. Rosenberg. Close the door and have a seat."
Willow did as instructed, fingers twisting in the hem of her skirt once she was seated.
"D-did I do something wrong?" she meekly asked.
"Aside from the company you keep? No, I'm not aware of anything like that. Even if you had, I'm sure it would be that Summers girl's fault."
"Buffy's not..." Willow started to defend her friend, but was cut off.
"No doubt you've heard about the death of Ms. Calendar," Snyder said, jumping straight to his intended topic.
"Yes, of course I have."
"Good, good." Snyder picked up a piece of paper from his desk. "You have a fair proficiency with computers, correct?"
"I guess you could say that," she admitted, with a single-shoulder shrug.
"According to Ms. Calendar's notes, your skills nearly matched her own. Was she lying?" He dropped the paper he'd been reading from to stare at Willow.
"No?" she uncertainly replied.
"Good. Then until we are able to hire a new computer teacher, I would like you to take over Ms. Calendar's classes."
"Excuse me?" Willow squeaked.
"I already have some calls out, but as hard as it may be for you to believe, computer teachers - or any teachers, for that matter - are not overly enthusiastic about teaching at this school. I can hardly imagine why." He paused to let the sarcasm sink in. "In the meantime, we have students enrolled in a computer class that must be taught."
"Why can't the other teachers take turns teaching it?"
"Frankly, none of them would know what to do with the material. This is an incredible honor. I don't see why you haven't said yes yet."
Unable to tell him that the very thought of standing up in front of her peers and making them listen to her scared her more than facing a dozen vampires by herself, Willow said, "What about my regular classes?"
"Oh, that." Snyder waved off her concern. "I've already spoken with all of your teachers. They all agree that you are at the top of every class. They have agreed to release you from their classes while you are acting as the computer teacher. No make-up assignments will be needed."
With a sigh of resignation, Willow said, "Then how can I say no?"
"Excellent! Here are Ms. Calendar's lesson plans that we printed from her computer. I suggest you familiarize yourself with them quickly. Your first class is in two hours."
Willow numbly took the folders from Snyder, staring at them in shock.
When she didn't immediately leave, Snyder added, "You're dismissed."
Nodding, Willow stood, picked up her backpack and headed for Ms. Calendar's - now her - classroom.
Willow was so engrossed in the document she was reading that the light rap on the classroom door caused her to jump.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you," Giles said from the doorway.
"Oh, it's okay," Willow said, turning to face him. When he remained in the doorway, fidgeting, she asked, "Did you need me for something?"
"Hmm? Oh, ah, no. Just the opposite, actually."
"I don't follow."
"I came to see if you needed any assistance." Giles squared his shoulders and stepped into the room. "I only just heard about your meeting with Snyder. I had no idea he planned on asking this of you. Do you need any help preparing?"
Willow's face softened. "Are you sure you're up for that? Not that I don't appreciate the offer."
Giles gave the room a nervous once-over, assuring himself no ghosts were going to pop out at him before nodding. "It's no trouble at all," he said with a grimace.
"Great," Willow said with little enthusiasm. "Snyder gave me a copy of Ms. Calendar's lesson plans, but it looks like I also need to grade these tests she gave shortly before..."
"She was murdered," Giles finished, when Willow trailed off.
"I was going to say 'disappeared'."
"I'm a grown man, Willow. No need to sugarcoat it."
"I wasn't doing it for you," she said, her face turned away from him.
Giles pulled the lone freestanding chair over to sit beside Willow. His hand on her arm startled her almost as much as his presence in the doorway a few minutes ago.
"I'm sorry, Willow. That was perhaps a tad harsh. As hard as this is for me, I'm sure it's not easy for you either."
It was Giles' turn to be startled when Willow spun around and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I don't know if I can do this, Giles," she whispered.
"C-Can't do what?"
"Teach!" Willow gestured with one arm towards the classroom, while keeping the other around Giles.
"I thought you enjoyed tutoring that boy - What's his name? - Parsley."
Willow giggled, pulling back a bit so she could look at Giles. "Percy. And yeah, I did. But that was one-on-one tutoring sessions. Not me standing in a front of a whole classroom with everyone looking at me and judging me. Who's going to listen to nerdy little Willow Rosenberg?"
"Thanks, but you're not going to be in my class."
"Maybe I should be," Giles said, a shiver of fear and excitement racing down his spine.
"You can't do that. Can you?"
"I don't see why not. It's not as if there is a steady flow of students coming to the library on a daily basis. And, as you often point out, it's high time I learned to get along with those infernal machines. Besides, I'm sure that Snyder would agree that it would be a good idea if there was a staff member in here to supervise your classes, just in case things did happen to get out of hand."
"But, what if there's an apocalypse or prophecy? You can't neglect your Watcher duties to sit in my classroom."
"That is one of the wonderful things about books. They are quite portable. Should any research arise, I can always bring it in here."
Willow excitedly clutched his hands. "Do you really think you can make that happen?"
"I'm sure that I can convince Snyder that it would be a good idea."
"I think it's a fantastic idea. As long as it won't be too hard on you being here every day."
Giles grimaced. "Well, I'm here now, aren't I?"
"Will you be able to be in here day after day for who knows how long?"
"I can manage it for as long as you need me to," he assured her.
"I can only hope that it's not for too long. Giles, I don't want to be a teacher," Willow confided.
"Nor did I want to be a high school librarian in California. But we do what we must when it is asked of us."
The bell rang, startling them both. Willow stiffened with fear. "M-my first class starts this period."
"You'll do a wonderful job, Willow. I have faith in you. You know this material better than anyone else I know."
"That's really not saying much," Willow teased, feeling her mood lighten a bit.
"True, nevertheless." Standing, Giles said, "I will go and speak with Snyder about monitoring your classes."
"Can't you do that after?" Willow pleaded.
"I think in this case it would be better to ask beforehand. I'll try to be quick about it."
Giles slipped out of the room as students started to enter.
"Giles," Willow chased after him. "I really don't think I can do this."
"You'll do brilliantly." The bell rang, again. "Now go. Your students are waiting."
Willow took a deep, steadying breath. Then another. "You can do this," she told herself. "For Jenny Calendar."
Stepping inside the classroom, Willow greeted her class, "Hi. Principal Snyder asked me to fill in for Ms. Calendar... u-until the new computer science teacher arrives. So I'm just gonna stick to the lesson plan she left."
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Copyright© November 2011