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The Potts Girls

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2:40 PM]



“Alright!” Tony exclaims once he finishes running attendance. “Let’s review for the very first exam on Monday, shall we? We have two options… a Jeopardy-style group game where you… you know, break up into groups to compete for extra credit points... or we can review old-school style and I only give away points to the five kids who know the most. Raise your hand for Jeopardy, keep it down for old-school.”


Out of the twenty kids in his class, 9 raise their hands. 


Tony peers around the room before saying, “Oof… pretty split. Introverts of the class, keep in mind that the old-school game may be easier for you.”


Two hands drop back down. 


“Wow, a lot of my classes are shy today. Old-school, it is!” he says and claps his hands. He sits down at his desk and wakes his monitor prior to pulling up a PowerPoint titled ‘Physical Science 2A/8C Exam 1 Review’. “I’ll read out each question aloud and you’ll have a minute to think it through… to do the math if there is any, write out the answer… I’ll keep score over here, but to be safe, you should personally keep score for your own answers as well. No cheating!” He briefly points over to the back corner of the classroom. “Go get a whiteboard, Expo marker, and either a paper towel or a tiny eraser from over there. When you come back, write your first and last name up at the top and a spot for score in either corner. The rest of the board is utilized to write out your answer and do the work. If and when you finish your answer before the buzzer sounds and are confident with what you’ve found, raise your hand so I know how everyone’s doing. There are thirty-five questions on my review, but if we finish early and do well, you may either leave early or convince me to come up with more.”


When all of the students return to their seats with their whiteboards, markers, and erasers, and have prepped for the game, he says: “Question one.” He clicks over to the first question. “One car travels 40m due east in 5.0 seconds. What is the car’s velocity?” He clicks on the timer and looks at his students. Each student is scribbling down formulas, equations, and some are even starting to write down an answer already. One girl—Morgan, he notices, is using her pencil in her non-writing hand as a fidgeting tool to focus as she writes out with her other... just like he does when he’s grading work. He notices, too, that she’s wearing an old MIT sweatshirt… like the ones he and Rhodey used to have. Morgan raises her hand a moment later, the first one to do so, with twenty-nine seconds to spare. Shortly thereafter, more hands pop up. 


The clock comes to a stop quickly. He says, “Show me your answers.”


Each kid turns their boards so Tony can see them, and he walks around with a clipboard and a pen to write down tally marks. 


“Very good, Miss Potts, Miss Banner, Miss Young, Mr. Callaghan, Mr. Hormel… every single person who wrote down any variant of ‘8 meters per second going east.’ That is the correct answer. If you were one of the students to write that down, make sure to count it on your board,” he congratulates, before walking back over to his desk. Tony sets down his clipboard briefly. “Next question?”


A murmur of confirmations bounce around the room as each student clears off their boards.


He clicks over to the second question. “Which term from our vocabulary is defined as an object's tendency to continue its current state of motion?” He starts the timer again. 


Morgan is the first one to finish the question again and raises her hand. She reminded him of himself when he was her age. 


After confirming that the answer was inertia, thirty-two more questions go on. 


“Okay, last one!” Tony exclaims as he clicks over to the last slide. He glances at the clock on the wall. “I’ll even let you out early if the majority of you all get this one correct because I have a faculty meeting right after this and would like a decent seat.” He snickers. “True or false, the force of gravity between you and the Earth depends on your mass, the Earth's mass and the distance between you and the center of the Earth.” He clicks the timer. 


Morgan raises her hand second this time, but only trailing behind the first kid by a second or two. Due to a seeming misspelling of some sort… with forty seconds to spare. All hands are raised with ten seconds left. 


Out of twenty students, nineteen get the answer correct. Tony beams at the understanding. “I’ve got some pretty smart kids in this class. If you said true, you would be correct. Let me finish these tallies and call out who gets extra credit on Monday before I let you stampede out of my classroom.” He marks extra marks by the nineteen that got the last answer correct. “Mr. Abbot, Miss Banner, Mr. Jamison, Miss Potts, and Miss Sanchez, you will each have five extra points on Monday’s exam. Study the Quizlets and study guides over the weekend, all of you! You are dismissed, and see you Monday.”


Each student packs up their things and leaves. 


When Tony finishes picking up the markers, boards, and erasers, he grabs his things from his desk and leaves. He quickly locks the door, practically runs down the stairs, and exits the main academic building. He’s about halfway toward the administrative office, when he gets distracted by the same set of voices he heard a few weeks ago. His student, Morgan, was greeting her mother in the Ambrose Hall parking lot. He still couldn’t logically place why he recognized them. There’s no possible way that’s Pepper. There’s just no way. There’s no way that kid is mine.


He snaps out of his thoughts when their car door comes to an unintentional loud close. 


“You okay over there?” A security guard on campus, who Tony affectionately refers to as Happy, says as he walks often to him.


Tony looks at Happy as the two walk. “Oh, um… yeah. There's just a kid in one of my classes whose mother reminds me of an ex of mine and it freaks me out.”


“I thought I heard you say you’ve only dated one girl? Wouldn’t that be her if it was?”


Tony just nods.


“Sheesh,” Happy sympathizes. “I’m sorry.”


“Just my luck,” Tony shrugs. “It wasn’t even my fault that I left, either. Not like she knows it or would even believe me if I ever got the chance to explain the ‘effed up way my father forbade me to contact her ever again.”


“If it’s meant to be, she’ll find her way back to you in one way or another,” Happy says before veering off to another pathway.


Tony hums in agreement before finding his way to the doorway of administration. 




“Stop ogling at your coworkers, Miss Romanoff,” Coulson snarks quietly after catching the Russian ballet teacher stare at Maria Hill during the opening statement for the meeting. 


Natasha’s eyebrows raise and a light blush rushes to her cheeks as she covers up the cheek visible by Maria with her left hand. 


“Let’s segue straight into the subject of next month’s Parents Day, shall we?” Thor continues. “Before someone inevitably interrupts and corrects me… yes, I know it is on the third of November. But the wonderful month of September is over next week.” 


Tony scribbles in his meeting notes ‘parents day prep’ and looks back up. 


“This year, we are asking all teachers to finish your lesson plans for the third of November by the eighteenth of October at 11:59, along with a comprehensive guide so the parents that will be attending may follow along and read up on previous lesson concepts. Parental guided notes, as you will. We want them to feel as involved as they can be, even though they are not your students, yes?”


Tony murmurs a ‘yes’ amongst his peers as he writes down a paraphrasal of his boss’ requests. He draws out a star next to the October 18th date.


“And again, I know it is early, but the parent/teacher conference window begins the Monday that we return from Thanksgiving break,” Thor says. “Please start planning to send out emails to your students’ parents regarding scheduling before too long. Preferably before the end of October, at the latest early November. Make sure the student may attend the conference at any point during the meeting as well.”


Tony scribbles down a note regarding the conferences.


“Everyone has or will have first exam grades in by the end of the month?”





“You got any homework?” Pepper asks as she drives into their driveway. 


“Just studying for two exams on Monday,” Morgan says with a shrug. “Science and then history. But I’m still up for a movie tonight after dinner.”


“Would you like some help studying when you get around to it?” the eldest woman asks while she parks. 


“I think I’ve got it.” Morgan unbuckles her seatbelt. “Thank you, though.”





Morgan’s knee deep into her studying at her desk when Pepper walks into the room. 


“Morgan, honey,” Pepper says, trying to get her attention. Morgan’s bouncing her leg in an attempt to keep her focus.


There’s no answer as she sits on the edge of Morgan’s bed.




Morgan jumps just slightly before looking at her mother. “H-Hi, Mama. What’s up?”


“Are you going to be okay?” 


Morgan tilts her head quizzically at her mother. “What do you mean?”


“In those exams on Monday,” Pepper clarifies. “If you need to be pulled out to take them, you just need to say the word. You shouldn’t have to struggle.”


Morgan grimaces. “Oh. I don’t need to.”


“I’m serious,” she says. 


“Everyone there who has ADHD doesn’t need to be pulled out,” Morgan disagrees. “I’m fine.”


“Well you’re not them,” Pepper says with a frown. “You’re you, your own person. You’re Morgan. And the Morgan I know gets better test scores when she has space to focus and go through the questions at her own pace.”


“I’m fine,” Morgan repeats through grit teeth. “If I need help, I’ll get it. But I don’t yet, so I haven’t gotten any.”


“It’s not a bad thing to ask for help, kid,” Pepper reminds as she walks back toward the entryway of her daughter’s room. “It doesn’t make you weak or stupid to notice where you need assistance to better your work.”


Morgan rolls her eyes just before Pepper walks back out of the room.