I'm such a terrible fanfic author. I sorry it's been almost two years since I've last posted. As I've said before, between school, work, and extracurriculars, I barely have time for unimportant things like eating, sleeping, and doing homework, much less writing. Also, I lost most of the writing in a house fire that caused my computer and my back-up floppys to melt. Since then, I've never really gotten back to my fanfiction. This is a pretty short chapter, and no promises that I'll post anything else in the near future, but it's better than nothing, right?

By the time Nita's parents returned home, Nita and Louis had moved to the living room. Their French textbooks lay open before them, but no devoir1 had been completed. Louis was talking energetically about the climbing weekend. He chattered on about the various things he'd learned and the rocks he'd climbed.

"There is no doubt which is better," he told Nita, "The walls are fun, the real rocks are so much better. Some of them were easier than the more advanced walls, but it was still more... more of a challenge, and less of a 'Look, there's a rubber handhold.' type of thing."

"I'm really sorry I missed it," Nita said honestly. Wizardry was more important, however. She took her Oath seriously; there was really no other way to take it.

"Oh!" Louis said suddenly, "Something George was taking about... he wants to have a week-long camping/climbing trip somewhere over spring break. He said if he was doing it, he needed to set it up soon, because of travel arrangements, training, etc. that had to be taken care of. He wondered if he could generate any interest. Most of us were interested, and he said he would look into it in depth and get back to us shortly. Wouldn't that be just awesome?"

"Yeah," Nita nodded, hoping that wizardry wouldn't interfere with that trip if it ever happened. "What kind of training?"

"More classes on climbing safety, belaying for someone, climbing tips, plus a couple weekends to prepare," Louis informed her.

"It's sound like a lot of fun. I really want to go on a weekend sometime soon, also."

"We're home!" Nita's parents called from the doorway.

"In here!" Nita returned from her perch on the couch next to Louis.

Her mother walked in the living room, "What do you want for dinner tonigh..." She trailed off, looking from Nita to Louis, then shooting a look at Nita's father, who was following her.

Nita rolled her eyes, "Dairine's upstairs, Mom." Translation: We're not unsupervised and anyway, nothing happened.

"Oh.. okay, then, dear." her mother asked.

"We're just working on our French homework," Nita added.

"Fine, then," Nita mother started to leave the living room. "Dinner will be ready in about forty minutes." She paused. "You're welcome to stay, if you want to, Louis."

"No, thank you," Louis answered, "My mother and William will be home tonight." For once, he added mentally.

Nita jerked her head up. Had she just... No. It was just written all over his face. She had picked up on his home-life situation over the past weeks. She hadn't just heard his thoughts. She hadn't. The manual...

"What's wrong?" asked Louis, startled but her abrupt movement.

"Nn..nothing," Nita said.

However, as Nita and Louis finally committed to completing their Lecture et Culture2 assignment, she couldn't quite convince herself that it was true.

"I just don't know," Nita sighed.

"There's several reasons you could be overhearing his thoughts," said Tom, "This first is that he actually is a wizard—"

"The manual didn't have him listed," Nita interrupted. She had come to discuss the Louis situation with her resident Seniors, Carl and Tom.

"Maybe there are special circumstances surrounding him. Your aunt wasn't in your manual because the Powers felt you shouldn't yet know that she was a wizard."

"Maybe, but I doubt it." Nita thought for a moment, before adding slowly, "There's another reason I don't think he's a wizard..."

"Why?" Tom prodded.

Nita shifted uncomfortably, causing the two Seniors to raise their eyebrows.

Nita mumbled, "He doesn't kiss like a wizard."

"Well, then," Tom said after a moment of silence, biting back a smile.

"In that case, there are other reasons," Carl put in, "Wizardry heightens your perception of the world around you. Perhaps you are picking up on any strong emotions he's experiencing and inferring thoughts from it."

"That was my first thought, too," Nita said.

"Has it happened before?" Tom asked.

Nita paused. "Maybe. I'm really not sure.  I think I have, but each time I wonder whether I really heard it, or if I felt it and put in the words myself. It seems to be getting more evident, though."

"Even non-wizards who are close begin to pick up on things that are thought, but never voiced." Carl shut the book he was riffling through. "It should be fine. If it starts getting worse, or if it worries you more, let us know. Otherwise, it should be fine."

"Also, don't pry," added Tom. "In a relationship, sometimes, thoughts should not be voices. You may end up hearing something better left unheard."

1'devior'- is French for homework.

2 'Lecture et Culture' -Reading and Culture