"Thank god you thought of this. I really needed it." Savannah said, taking a big gulp of beer.
"Bad day?" Mal asked.
"I always forget how much the new ones complain."
"Well I'm sure I'd be complaining if I had to do the stuff you guys do. I mean the training sounds like torture!" Mal admitted.
"It's not the best. But it made me stronger, and you need that in combat. Obviously."
Mal laughed and nodded.
"So what've you been up to?"
"Mainly recovering from last night." Mal admitted. After Aurora had left her in the kitchen she'd stayed away from her, and when she'd gone to take a drowsy Phillip to bed, led by Stephan, Mal and Di had hit the hard stuff. Bella had gone too and Di wanted to talk about her. Mal had drank and listened until Di fell asleep on the sofa and she had gone to bed.
"That bad huh?"
"I may have hit the whiskey. I don't often."
"Fun." Savannah rolled her eyes. "Where have those two gone?"
"Fresh air. Or so they said. I'm thinking they're sharing air." Mal laughed, looking for Di and Bella. They'd decided to enjoy their Saturday night in a less civilised way than the previous night. Not that Mal and Di's end had been civilised at all.
"A young love." Savannah laughed.
"I can see some of my students."
"And judging by your reaction, not the nice ones?"
"No." Mal saw David, Zak and Kyle at a table with some girls, drinking and laughing.
"Should we leave? There are plenty of other bars."
"They're the students I look at and ask, really? You and University? You and English? You passed? Is that horrible?"
"I mean I wouldn't normally say it, but we get a couple of those every year. So I get it." Savannah shrugged.
"Great. Thank goodness for the ones that make it worth while." Mal raised her bottle.
"I'll drink to that." Savannah laughed, and they clinked their glasses together. "But just so you know, the're looking at you."
"Is it too late to run?"
"Yup. You've been seen."
"Great." Mal rolled her eyes. "As long as they don't try and talk to me."
"Nope. They're talking about you though."
"How do you know?"
"Because the ugly mug in the middle is pointing at you."
"We're leaving." Mal decided. Savannah laughed and followed her as she grabbed her jacket and bag and went outside to find the love birds.
"So, Mr. Hyde. He represents the fear in humanity at the time about their animalistic selves. Think about Freud's ID, and Darwin's theory of evolution. People are aware that they have developed from animals, and that there is the idea that some part of them still runs on base instincts. Why would humanity be so terrified by this?"
Mal looked around the room, waiting for someone to speak. She saw Aurora open her mouth and smiled.
"Yes Miss Rose?"
"I think they'd be scared for a number of reasons. Science versus religion was quite an important subject of discussion, and having this seem like it was based in science, through a story, would provide a wider distribution of the ideas of Freud and Darwin to the public. It could be shared in a way in which everyone could get a glimpse of those theories. Religion set a lot of store in the idea that humans were made in God's form, and that we were put here to rule over everything." She paused and shrugged. "I think they were probably terrified that their world was changing and that they would never be the same again."
"Very good Miss Rose." David muttered something at the back and Zak and Kyle snorted and tried not to laugh. "Something funny back there?"
"Just wondering when she got that answer." David replied, smirking.
"I assume she did it during her reading." Mal frowned at him. "Shall we see if you had a similar experience?"
"Aw see that's not fair," David smirked, "None of us have the upper hand that Rory does."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Well, she gets the answers straight from you, during your cosy little sessions in your office."
"I'm sure you remember, Mr. Smith, that Miss Rose has to spend this time as my assistant as a punishment for... damaging you. I can assure you I am not giving her any answers."
"Maybe you're giving her something else." He replied and his friends lost any self control they had been clinging on to, and roared with laughter. Mal looked at Aurora, frowning. The younger woman looked just as confused.
"I don't think either of us understand what you're implying Mr. Smith, but you are disrupting my session. So if I could get back to doing my job-"
"Oh I'm so sorry Professor Moore. Please do continue telling us about base animal instincts. I'm sure you've done plenty of research on the subject. Saturday night perhaps?"
Mal raised an eyebrow. Saturday night? She'd been having drinks with Savannah when they'd seen her... what were they talking about?
"Mr. Smith please spit out whatever it is you want to say and then get out of my room. I have people to teach who actually want to learn. Oh and take your friends with you. I have no place for hyenas in my class either."
The rest of the class chuckled. They seemed to be enjoying whatever was going on, and their heads were bouncing from side to side like they were at a tennis match.
"Just wondering whether you give her the answers before or after you give her head."
"Out of my class!" Mal stood up sharply, glaring at the boys. "Now!"
David grinned and raised his eyebrow.
"Hit a nerve?"
"Out!" She thundered.
"Come on guys. I don't want to get taught by a dyke anyway." David stood. The boys followed and they all paused at the desk. "Guess I shouldn't be surprised. Dad always said they're freaks."
With that they left. Mal sat down and glared at the desk for a minute.
"Are... are you alright?" Someone asked. She looked up.
"Fine. Thank you." All her other students looked half scared, half concerned. She caught Aurora's eye who was looking at her with what looked like pity. Pity. She hated being pitied.
"Lesbian, lesbian, lesbian..." The chant came from outside the door. Mal's hands curled in to fists as she felt her anger rising. She stood up, jaw set, fists clenched, and marched to the door, flinging it open so hard that it crashed against the wall.
"You three! Dr. Pollock's office, now!"
Diaval appeared in the corridor, having heard the crash.
"What's going on?"
"Moore's a lesbo Prof. She's just having a break down about it." David chimed in.
"Right, I'm taking you to Pollock's office." Di said, looking at Mal.
"What? We only outed her!"
Mal would've punched a wall if she wasn't so used to controlling her anger. Di took one look at her and decided to get the boys out of there, if only for their own safety.
"March." He ordered, and they unwillingly started walking. Di turned to Mal. "Are you alright."
Her jaw was clenched so tight, tighter than her fists, that she couldn't answer. She shook her head.
"Go. Class is almost over anyway. Let them go and calm down in your office. I'm sure Pollock will be along in a bit. You need to be calm."
Mal nodded and turned on her heel, striding in to her room.
"Dismissed." She muttered as she marched through the students to her office. She shut the door and slid down to the floor, back against the wall. She heard the sounds of everyone packing up while she cried. Normally she would have laughed off something like that and let the memories hit her when she'd gotten home, but Aurora being dragged in to it was too much.
"You're disgusting, get out of my sight!"
"I will not have a disgusting... I can't even say it... it's unnatural!"
"Mummy please..." Mal sobbed.
"Get out and never come back!"
There was a knock on the door and it opened. Mal didn't lift her head from her arms, which rested on her knees.
"Mal. Oh honey." Di sat next to her and put his arm around her. She leant in to his shoulder and cried. "Don't listen to them. Seriously. They're idiots with backward views and they don't deserve your tears. All of them. Even your mother."
Mal sobbed again.
"Rory's outside. She wanted to check on you but I didn't want to let her see you like this. I didn't think you'd want that."
"She... pities... me."
"And I know that you hate that. But she cares. I can tell that. And while I might think it's a bad idea you should know that she cares, because you need to know that not everyone will up and leave you for who you are."
"No, you're not a freak. Come on we've spent years getting you to accept yourself. You've had girlfriends for goodness sake. You're not a freak and everyone who has a conscience and a heart can see that."
"Ugh, I hate this. I was fine... and then he said Aurora and I were..."
"Yes, he mentioned that on the way. Don't worry. It's just familiarity. You've spent time with her because of all the work you're doing together, and you live next door. Don't deny that. I know you've done nothing."
"Thank you." She murmured, and wiped her eyes.
"Let's get your face sorted before Pollock turns up, okay?"