The Dog Days are Over

Emerlan Harbor was glistening in the early morning sun. Partly due to the late nigh mists that had rolled in, but in William's mind it was the town's way to welcome him back home. In truth it was a perfectly normal day for the end of summer on the east coast, but after a hot summer in the field, anything below ninety degrees and so sunny the sun was sick of you was a welcome change. His bike wheels clicked softly along the road as he waved off to a local making their morning run by the school's main gate.

The trees overhead formed a small canopy and brought his head out of the sun. He scanned the green spaces of the campus for any signs of life, some old colleagues or fresh faces, but it was clearly either too early in the day or the year for such interactions as the entirety of campus seemed more fit to be a painting than a university.

He couldn't deny the silence gave him some more time to think over his next moves. Should he lead in with a "Great to see you?" Was that too casual? Maybe a "I hope you had a nice summer?" But suppose they hadn't, then it might be an entirely awkward experience.

His internal monologue carried him to the outside of the administrative building, and finally the silence on campus was broken with the sound of paperwork and bureaucracy grinding away within from the open windows.

A few stairs and he appeared to be outside the right door. He rolled a shoulder and prepped himself, Okay okay, you got this, go right in, very nice to see you again sir, how are you today, it's casual he exhaled again, very casual One last check into a small pocket mirror for his teeth and swiping a stray hair back into place, he was ready.

He softly knocked and the door opened seemingly on it's own aside from a form behind it. William had his head down to feign a more casual move for eye contact as he spoke, "Sir it is great to-" an older woman's voice cut him off, "Sir? Oh young man I believe you might have the wrong office." A small woman with pink rounded glasses greeted him as his face fell into a dumb look of confusion. He stammered out an attempt at a response, "I uhh, well, I was looking for the....Are you in charge of the TA's?"

She gave a sweet, almost sickeningly so, smile at him, "Oh dear, you must be Mr. Kelley, I got a note from my predecessor that you might come around sooner or later." Well that was certainly encouraging he thought, special notes rarely reflected well on him. "I'm Mrs. Wig, please, do come in though. And take a seat." she offered, pulling the door back to reveal an office of dark lacquered wood and enough binders of loose papers to cut a golem. He took a moment to take in the room before beginning an apology, "I am sorry for being surprised it was just-" She again cut him off, fitting given the room he though, "You didn't expect a woman. I understand of course, though I would encourage you to embrace some more modern ideas of women, we may practice magic here, but we don't live in the Dark Ages anymore."

Interesting you say that yet have clearly failed to grasp the conjuration of electronic mail, William joked to himself, sure to keep his face as polite as possible, "Oh no, I was just not aware that there had been a replacement. When I was last here your predecessor seemed quite intent on sticking around, but I am sure he had good reason."
"Heart Attack"
Shit "Well that is a shame, but I am very glad to be starting on a strong footing in my relationship with you. I came to discuss my applications?"

"Oh of course." She moved over to a folio of papers and pulled a much thinner volume that William would have liked with his name stapled to them. "Now I noticed the large amount of classes you applied to TA for..." she trailed off as she asked a question without really asking it.

"Well yes," William responded, shifting a bit in his chair, which he figured must have been designed to be just too small for any normal human to function in, "I realize my studies abroad have put me a touch behind and I'd like to stay on track and knock out as many credits as possible in a given year." In truth as much as he might love and enjoy teaching, he had been pulled back from abroad at a truly terrible moment. At the moment it was too long of a story to recall, but he'd get around to it.

"I see...and are you aware that this course load would complete the credit requirements in a single year?" she glanced up from the papers, clearly uncertain if she was seated across from an ambitious idiot or just a regular one.

"I am, but I also realize I'd have to be approved by each professor so I figured it was best to cast a wide net." Take that Mrs. Wig, he thought, there's a brain in here after all.

"Indeed," she started as she thumbed to the end, "And it's a good thing you did." She handed over two smaller folders from within the first. "You have been accepted as TA for two classes."

His mind froze again, only not from embarrassment...well a bit from that as well. "I...there must be a mistake...only two?" He had this all planned out, he'd get everything he needed to get done here and be back out into the field completing his thesis in no time. This...this was a bad start.

"I'm afraid not Mr. Kelley, it seems only Dr. Redd and Dr. Schliemann have requested your presence in their classes." William tried to get a read if she was enjoying this or not, but her maternal gaze was an impenetrable barrier to his attempts.

He couldn't really focus for the remainder of the conversation, but he received a number of other folders, book lists, new guidelines from the school on magical practices, a small map of campus since he was clearly lost here, and the keys to his room for the foreseeable future.

Outside, the sun beamed down at him and illuminated campus before him as if to say, "Take your shoes off, you'll be here a while."

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