Probably the most refined version of this story can be found on fanfiction.net/s/9552580/1/More-Than-OK
Pixarplanet here is kinda of a place for me to test the waters for this story
Chapter 1: The Mature Student
Wearing his best salesman grin, Don Carlton did not bother with his usual greeting to Professor Knight as he stepped up to the Scare stimulation before the eyes of his fellow (younger) Scare students, that is, if they were not so immersed in their textbooks as they waited their turn on the stimulation. With all the Fall semester Scare knowledge jogging through his head, he answered Professor Knight’s first question with ease.
“Demonstrate the technique,” ordered Prof. Knight.
Don rubbed his tentacles arms on his blue shirt to minimize the stickiness of his darn suction pads and straightened his glasses. Then he creaked open the simulator door, pulled his tentacle off the door knob, crouched down, and crawled across the floor, with his darn suction pads popping noise on the wood floor, into the child bedroom simulator. He towered over the scare-dummy, bent over… Then his back suddenly cracked and Don’s cry of anguish startled the dummy, which sprung up with its obligatory artificial scream, causing scream energy measurer to beam feebly.
“Don- I mean, Mr. Carlton, are you well enough to take this Exam?” Concern rang in Professor Knight’s gruff voice.
“I’m fine, sir!” Don reassured him.
Professor Knight shot a look toward the high balcony of the classroom where Dean Hardscrabble stood to preside over every student’s progress. Don dared to look up at her and thought he could discern a nod of her head, which consented to a rare act of academic mercy. With that, Prof. Knight returned his attention to the scream simulator. “Mr. Carlton, please re-demonstrate the technique.”
His back still aching, Don exited the child’s bedroom, reentered, crept near the bed (with the tentacles still producing unnecessary noise), rose over the dummy, and belted out another roar at the dummy, which jolted up with a scream. The sound of the scream-score rang in Don’s ears.
Following the one demonstration, the Exam proceeded as Prof. Knight shot up more questions, all that Don answered with ease, and the pain tore through Don’s shoulder every time Don performed into the bedroom stimulation.
That evening, Professor Knight slapped the morning Exam results on the wall outside his office.
Don J. Carlton – Oral Questions: Passed—Scare Energy Average: “46/100”—Demonstration: Failed
His back still throbbing from the morning exam, Don kept the grin on his face, as a salesman did, moving from customer to customer after unsuccessful sale to the next potential client. Don slipped through the crowd of rowdy Scare students, gathered around to see their Exam results.
He saw Professor Knight making his way through the crowd and nodding at him, as if to acknowledge his gratefulness for having one semester with one nice student, who spoke to the faculty staff like old friends and equals, unlike the young students who vented about deadlines and intensive work.
Whistling a tune to alleviate the disappointment, Don stepped outside the School of Scaring. He had to rest again, so he settled himself on the stone steps of the School, and scooted to the side to give space for the students skipping down the steps, boasting of a new Scare semester to look forward to.
Then, a peach-colored glob-like monster in a blue sweater trotted down the steps, when his foot slipped at the edge, and he would have tumbled down if weren’t for Don, who disregarded his aching back and snatched the kid’s back-collar. By jerking of the neck-collar, the kid’s cap flew off and tumbled down the steps, revealing a tuff of brown hair between his two white horns.
“Thanks,” the kid mumbled as Don pried tentacles off the kid’s collar, allowing the kid to turn and face him. The kid had five-eyes and a doltish face too benign to fire up the scream simulator even with a roar. Don vaguely remembered this student, passing by him in class. He probably was the sort of student who tucked himself in the back and corners of the classrooms, not to commit classroom mischief, but to hide from the eyes and vulnerability to the Professor’s questions.
The kid wobbled, his lips quivering, muttered another thanks, and then turned away and down the stairs.
“You ok sonny?”
With his head facing the gravel of the stairs, the kid kept descending down the steps toward his fallen hat like a pebble sinking in a pond. “I’m fine, just a hiccup.” More like the choke of a sob. At the bottom of the steps, a female monster in a flowery-dress, similar in appearance to the kid, but the size larger and golden curls draping her forehead, ran toward the steps and scooped up the kid’s hat.
“Sweeettie! LEetttt celeeeebrrateee.” She bellowed as she stuck the hat back on the kid’s head.
“Moooom, I didn’t make it. Stop it.” So it was not the fall that hurt the student.
The kid’s grief provoked an even tighter squeeze from his mother. “Oh I’m so sorry, sweetie.” With the kid’s head sunk on the side of his mother, they strolled off together. It was rare to see young college folks blessed with parental warmth.
Then, Don’s back shot up another pain on his shoulder blades and right through his train of thought as he threw his hand to his shoulder. He would have to walk off the pain sooner or later. So he staggered through and pass Scare students, chatting about the upcoming winter break.
He wandered the campus until he found a university café and decided to grab a bite. Entering the café, he heard the cajoling of young monsters, and fraternities, gathered around small tables with chairs they snatched from vacant tables, sharing gossip and conspiring their future victories in upcoming competitions.
After making his purchase, he set down a plate with a little tart and a cup of hot chocolate and seated himself at the table in front of the glass window. His eye caught a Blue Poster—“Propose Your Own Fraternity/Sorority”—tacked to the window next to him. Don adjusted his glasses to look closer to the smaller text below the bold text: “visit Office of Greek Life and see Claire Wheeler or Brock Pearson for procedures.” Interesting. In his college, well, earlier college days, he had a curiosity about fraternity culture, but he found it redundant when he already hung around his own circle of college friends. Say, speaking of old friends…
While buried in his Scare studies last week, Don had received phone messages from old co-workers, wishing him happy birthday, which was a day with secondary importance to the Scare Finales. Don stared down at his tart, his overdue birthday treat for the five decades and two years he lived. He should probably make time to get in touch with his old friends tonight. So he bit into the tart, gulped down his drink to wash the crumbs down, and wiped the chocolate from his fin-like mustache and picked up his remaining tart with a napkin. Tossing the paper cup in the garbage bin, he exited the café.
On his way toward the University library, he passed by two familiar figures sitting near the curve of a campus driveway. It was the fallen Scare student again, sitting near the curb of a road and licking half-melted chocolate ice cream cone with his mother next to him.
“Mom, what am I supposed to do next?” Don heard the kid mumble.
“It’s allllll right,” she answered with her voice like a tune, “take your time love. You’ll find a new major in no time.”
“But mom, that was the only major I wanted, what am I really gonna do next? And will I even like my new major?”
Chewing on the last of his tart, Don Carlton asked himself those same questions.