To TanyaPotter- Thank you.
To KamiKaze no Kage- A Sender is a mindspeaker, a telepath, a thoughtsenser. There are tons of different names for it.
To Mikol- I'm trying to update, really, I am! But if I can't think of anything to write, I can't update… I feel like I'm letting you down now… I'm not worthy of you guys, I'm really not.
Rebbekha joined the students at their table, since she was pretty damned positive that they'd have questions about Maxwell. That and the table for teachers was all the way on the other side of a Great Hall that certainly lived up to its name. She wasn't sure if she could actually walk that far.
Besides, she was genuinely fond of little Quatre, and she'd missed him.
"I'm dying for some meat," Rebbekha stated, collapsing into an empty seat. "That," She pointed at a nearby platter. "I don't care what animal it was. Gimme,"
Quatre obliged, piling a mountain of used-to-be-an-animal on her plate, and she attacked it with single-minded intensity, oblivious to the stares of nearby students. Healing always made her ravenous.
She slowed down considerably halfway through the pile; enough to make conversation possible, at least.
"Okay, kiddies, before you ask- Maxwell's gonna be fine. Another session'll have him back on his feet in no time." She paused to heap more meat on her plate under Hermione's horrified gaze. "He was suffering a serious case of psionic backlash, and his Gift channel was burnt to a crisp. In laymen's terms, he got so much of other people's suffering and tragedy that it knocked him out, and he won't wake up until the damage is completely Healed. Princeling, do these British heathens have any soda?"
"I'm afraid not," Quatre said apologetically, a split second before a can of Pepsi appeared in Trowa's hand, dripping condensation.
"Here," Trowa said, handing the soda to Rebbekha, who accepted it with a grateful sigh.
"The only thing with more kick to it than carbonated caffeine is unsweetened black coffee," She informed them. "If there's Healing to be done, have soda handy,"
Hermione actually pulled a quill, inkpot, and piece of parchment out of her bag and wrote that down.
"Now that I'm not about to faint, who's got questions?"
"Why do you keep calling Quatre princeling?" Ron asked quickly, before anybody else could even open their mouth.
Rebbekha turned to look at Quatre with an exasperated sigh. "Sometimes, boy," She told him, "your modesty quite overwhelms me. Why is it you refuse to tell people you're the crown prince of Arabia?"
Everybody in the Great Hall was keeping at least one eye on the odd group at Gryffindor's table, up to and including the teachers. Professor Snape had both eyes pointed in that direction, in fact, and was completely ignoring his lunch. Odd enough that all the exchange students save Maxwell were clustered around Harry Potter and his friends. Odder still that the kyree and the Treekin were obviously part of the conversation. Oddest yet, there was a strange red-haired woman, clearly not a student, right in the middle of the group. She looked familiar to Severus, but he couldn't quite place where he'd seen her before, or when.
The strange woman said something to Winner, and the whole group started with surprise. She smiled and turned away, towards the High Table, and her eyes caught his.
Her smile disappeared as her lips shaped his name, and the memories he'd been trying to uncover came flooding to the surface.
"Do you know Miss Elfbane, Severus?" Dumbledore asked curiously, startling Snape. "How intriguing,"
"Headmaster, I beg your pardon, but I must leave," Severus said, standing and making a beeline for the nearest door.
"Well, I'll be damned," Rebbekha breathed. "He actually did it,"
"Who did what?" Quatre asked, no doubt trying to stem the rapid-fire third degree he was getting from his friends.
"Severus," She said, suddenly grinning. "He swore up and down he'd be a teacher one day, but I had my doubts. The old snake actually did it. Good for him! What does he teach?"
"Potions," Trowa said.
"Serves him right," Rebbekha said with a decisive nod. "Now, something supremely interesting is going on, and everybody here but you two-" She jabbed her fork on Ron and Hermione, "-is involved in it. Somebody wanna explain the psy links making a spider web out of this place?"
Heero, the brunette with the bad manners, immediately seized the opening.
"Danger," He said shortly. "We're all in danger, and all from the same person. I just can't figure out whom."
"Why not trace the threads back?" Rebbekha asked, sighing at the bewildered looks she received. "Let me guess; none of you can see the threads, can you?"
Headshakes all around.
"I can sort of feel something attached to me," Quatre spoke up. "But I can't follow it at all. It's too tenuous,"
"Same here," Wufei said. "I know it's there, but I can't find it,"
"Must be frustrating," Rebbekha said sympathetically. "Maxwell could probably do it, but I can't handle another session until tomorrow afternoon at the very earliest." She growled under her breath, running one hand through her thick red hair. "I hate it when a member of the team is down for the count. Hey, kid, you got another soda hidden on you?" She demanded, and Trowa obediently produced another can of Pepsi. "Thanks,
"You guys have class tomorrow, don't you?" She continued after draining half the can. "Well, once you've finished your last class, meet me in the infirmary, will you? And bring some food with you; I won't be quite as hungry as I was today, but Maxwell's gonna need solid food in him."
The next day – Monday – passed much too slowly for those involved in Rebbekha's scheme. Classes seemed to drag on forever, and they were all distracted for most of them, the exception for everyone being History of Magic.
Poor, departed Professor Binns had taken advantage of Hogwarts's unusual guest. Since Rebbekha Elfbane didn't dare attempt another Healing session before noon at the very earliest, her morning was completely free, and lecturing a few classes wouldn't tax her strength at all. It promised to be as exciting a lesson as the one last year, when Professor Binns had shared the legend of the Chamber of Secrets.
The Gryffindors and Slytherins filed into the classroom, most of them glancing curiously at Rebbekha, who was sitting cross-legged on Professor Binns's desk with her eyes closed. They took their seats and got out their things, waiting for her to move.
"D'you think she's asleep?" Someone whispered from the Slytherin side of the room.
"It's called meditating," Rebbekha said, opening her eyes. "If I'm going to try and pound some useful knowledge into your incredibly thick skulls, I need to be at my calmest."
She uncurled her legs and slid off the desk, eying the assembled students.
"Professor Binns has asked me to give you a sample of America's magical history, as a kind of break from your usual lessons. Pay attention, because you'll have a quiz at the end of class."
Hermione was giving Rebbekha her full and undivided attention, quill poised to take any notes necessary.
"Today, you're going to learn about the formation of the American Wizarding Council, America's equivalent of the Ministry of Magic. It's pretty damned recent, as it was officially formed in 1962."
Wufei glared fiercely out of the corner of his eye at Draco Malfoy, weighing the satisfaction of punching Malfoy's lights out against the consequences of said action.
For the first ten minutes of the lesson, Malfoy and his cohorts had been quiet and somewhat attentive, but that hadn't lasted. Wufei couldn't quite make out what they were whispering, but from the looks they were casting in Miss Elfbane's direction, he could guess. They weren't paying attention, and the constant drone of their conversation was making it hard for Wufei to concentrate.
Miss Elfbane walked towards Malfoy, and Wufei wondered how she would handle it. She stood in front of Malfoy for a moment, waiting for him to notice her, then slammed her hand down on his desk, making half the class jump.
"Are you enjoying your conversation, Blondie?" She asked. "Because the lesson is obviously boring you."
Malfoy opened his mouth, apparently decided against talking back, and closed it.
"I don't think your rich daddy will appreciate it very much if you meet an influential American wizard and insult him by calling him a pure-blood. And do you know why he would find that insulting, Mister Malfoy?" She paused, then flashed a smile that reminded Wufei of a dragon. "The rest of the class knows. Why, Mister, Longbottom?"
"B-because 'pure-blood' is what Americans call wizards who think that their family background is more important than their magical abilities," Neville Longbottom answered, looking pleased that he'd gotten it out with only a single stutter.
"Pay attention from now on, Mister Malfoy; you wouldn't want Mister Longbottom to score better on the quiz than you, right?" She walked away, absently patting Longbottom's head as she passed, and Malfoy remained silent and attentive for the rest of the lesson.
As soon as classes ended, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Heero, Trowa, Wufei, and Quatre trooped up to the infirmary, not even bothering to drop their bags off in their respective common rooms.
Songwind and Kero were waiting for them, having taken the responsibility of getting food from the kitchens before arriving. They waited as a group in the back of the long room, outside an unobtrusive door.
The door opened after roughly half an hour, discharging a tired, battered-looking Rebbekha Elfbane. The redhead blinked at them, as if wondering what they were doing there. Then she spotted the food, and they ceased to exist to her. She grabbed the laden platter from Songwind with mumbled thanks and immediately went back inside.
"There's food, Maxwell," She said wearily as the group exchanged glances, then followed her. "Oh, good gracious God, there's soda! Somebody loves me!"
Duo smiled wanly, struggling into a sitting position.
"I'm starved," He said plaintively, pouting until Rebbekha deposited the tray on his lap.
There was a few minutes' silence as the two concentrated on eating to the exclusion of all else, then Duo glanced up at his fellow students.
"How come you all look like somebody just came back from the dead?"
Wow! Chapter 8 is finished! I got that done relatively fast, didn't I?
To all Draco fans, I know I'm picking on him a lot, but he deserves to be picked on. I promise, though, I'm gonna be real nice to him later on, I swear.
And last but not least… Review!