Deb's eyebrows lowered once he began to elaborate on why he'd asked about her students' current coursework. He was trying, wasn't he. One corner of her mouth slowly, so slowly that it would have been possible to miss it for the first couple of seconds, lifted into a small curve of amusement.
"Obedience to authority," she said, the smile vanishing as soon as she spoke again. "1984, Ender's Game, and The Truman Show."
Sure, it somewhat sabotaged the other teachers' occasional efforts to be the unchallenged monarchs of their own classrooms, but if they couldn't defend their authority then maybe they didn't deserve it. Anyway, the students always liked it. Gave them something to chew on over the summer and throw in their parents' faces.
"Okay, you are officially the coolest English teacher ever. Ender's Game and The Truman Show? What year do you teach?"
Boreas was now very, very jealous of Deb's students. He'd had to read the Ender books and watch The Truman Show on his own, and 1984 had been taught to him in a bland and uninspired fashion. Very jealous, indeed.
She would have liked to corrupt her students a little earlier, but freshman English courses were all about explaining the concept of a paragraph and Deborah just couldn't be bothered. She had no idea what junior high school was for if the students weren't going to come out of it with that kind of basic literacy.
Deborah grinned, the sudden expression faintly wolfish for all its pleasant contrast from her usual stoicism. She flicked a glance to Taryn to make sure that the sweet child with her simple morality wasn't listening.
"National Organization for Marriage doesn't get a cent from my classroom copies."
Of course most of them had been fairly and honorably purchased second-hand and if anyone asked, that's where they'd all come from. Deborah was old and bitter and damn well did as she pleased. If Card had a problem with Deborah's wife, he could hang or die alone in poverty for all she cared.
Actually, she cared a great deal. It wouldn't have been at all accurate to claim indifference as to how much misery that brainwashed old fanatic was experiencing because of his own inordinate obedience to authority.
He was his own object lesson. Deborah liked using his writing to train some small portion of the new generation to make more compassionate decisions than Card had chosen to dedicate his life to. It damn well served him right.
And anyway, Wal-Mart didn't prosecute for shoplifting offenses under twenty-five dollars. Served them right, too.
Boreas laughed. "Excellent. It's a shame he's such a good writer. Have you read the later books in the series? Not the weird post-earth ones, the ones where Bean and Petra shack up. Great writing, creepy assumption of procreation as the principle drive for super-geniuses."
"Sounds like a Mormon. The worthier you are, the harder you'll be working to spawn."
Sure, Deborah was a parent herself, but she'd adopted a child like a reasonable person. Sure, the whole homosexuality thing was a factor, but these days they wouldn't have needed to be limited by that if they hadn't wanted to be.
Also adopting Veronica had sort of been her job. A good one, but an obligation nonetheless.
Deb could have said, irritating neighbor child or even friend of the family, but both of those would make it explicit that she more or less liked him (at least as an individual, if not as a concept), and frankly she didn't approve of saying such things. Either he could figure it out, or he was dense enough that she didn't like him after all. Anybody worth liking would get her gist, and anybody who wasn't could be easily enough replaced with someone better.
Threatening everything fundamentalist Christians stood for with bizarre and unnatural superpowers was a good start. Who knew, maybe someday he'd graduate up into Tahirah's league and really ruin their day.
"Sure thing," Boreas said, whipping out his Droid. "I still have the number from when you called me from it." That had been a day of mixed character. On the one hand, hot sex. On the other hand, funeral. On a third hand (or perhaps a foot), insane pre-funeral duel with the very woman he was calling on the phone.
He pressed a few buttons and put the phone to his ear.
There she is, Deb thought, once Taryn had stirred. "That's my cue." Boreas was handling it, though. That was good. She really didn't have the patience to bother Taryn's boyfriends in addition to Nick's. If she could leave him to his own devices without him acting a goddamn fool, she'd just go ahead and do that.
Deb pushed her palms against her knees, gave the two kids an appraising look, and levered herself up to stand.
Boreas was on the phone, so she spoke quietly. "Staff lounge down the hall. Send the boy if you need something," she added, jerking her head in the Wind-Wielder's direction to indicate that he was the boy in question.