A/N: Thanks to scarletfireblaze for the review! :)

Brooke tried. She worked as hard as she could to catch up in Pyromancy, and she did everything possible to get rid of her fire fear. With everything she did, nothing seemed to completely quell her terror, but she would no longer run screaming from the Fire School when someone cast a spell.

The ability to control the fire seemed to help with the fear, Brooke realized. Once she could tell the fire cat where to go and what to do, the Diviner wasn't so scared of it. It was the knowledge that the cat wouldn't suddenly turn on her, she supposed.

Donna and Evan helped, of course. Donna would cheer her on and stay in after- class study sessions with her. The two best friends would also study together whenever necessary. Evan met with Brooke during free periods to help her catch up in the class, and he would defend her from the bullies who made fun of her burn.

Although most people were cruel because of the disfigurement, there were more good people in Ravenwood than Brooke had expected. After a few days, Evan introduced Brooke and Donna to his other friends. There was Alexandra Firesong, a Necromancer who everyone called Alex. She was the adopted daughter of the Life and Death professors, Malistaire and Sylvia Drake. She and Evan behaved like brother and sister, often arguing like siblings, too.

Erica Bluestone was a Thaumaturge with blue hair that stuck out in two puffy pigtails. She wore a pair of round, owley glasses and was always carrying around a book- or many. She was the star student of the group, and she always had top marks in Thaumaturgy and Sorcery, her secondary school.

Heather Rosegem was the shy Conjurer who stuttered when she spoke- except when she talked about her younger sister, Sadie. Heather loved her sister more than anything else in the world, although she never spoke much about her other family.

Destiny Greenblossom, a quiet, gentle Theurgist, was Alex's best friend. Brooke wondered how two such different girls could be such good friends, but the Necromancer and the Theurgist shared a friendship much like Brooke's relationship with Donna.

The Diviner became fast friends with the group. Sitting with them at lunch became an every- day event; there would be no more sitting alone in the corner for Brooke Swiftriver. Each day at one o'clock, Brooke would put away whatever she was doing, grab her lunch from beside her bed, and meet Donna just outside the School of Fire. The best friends would slowly make their way to the cafeteria, laughing and talking the whole way there. Donna would do most of the talking, of course, but Brooke was content to just listen and enjoy the company of her friend.

She was happier than she had been in a very, very long time- the happiest she had been since the fire. Brooke had written home before, but the letters had been short descriptions of her classes, and of what homework she had that night, and the kind of thing a mother and father wanted to hear: "Yes, I've been eating well, yes, I've been getting along with the others, and yes, I remember to wash behind my ears."

Now, though, the Diviner's letters home were filled with Donna. She talked about the recent adventures the two had been in. She talked about whatever funny things the Pyromancer had said, and about how she was helping Brooke overcome her fear of fire. The Swiftrivers weren't very happy about Brooke's enrollment in the School of Fire- except for Cassie. Cassie was proud of her older sister for trying to overcome the fear, and the young girl would often send her letters of encouragement.

For a seven year old, Cassie was a fantastic confidante; after all, there were some things that Brooke just couldn't talk to Donna about. Her parents, for one, and Calder. Her little brother was one topic that was just too painful to talk about with someone who didn't know how to sympathize. The Pyromancer was a wonderful friend, but she had never known death. Cassie had. Where Donna didn't know what it was like, having parents that were scared to leave their own house, Cassie knew. The seven year old girl was Brooke's other best friend.

Time continued to pass. Years went by, and soon enough, Cassie was on her way to Ravenwood. Brooke was waiting for her little sister as she wheeled out of Headmaster Ambrose's office, dressed in the robes of a Diviner and wearing one of the brightest smiles Brooke had ever seen. The younger Swiftriver girl chose Sorcery as her secondary school, and she quickly excelled in both schools.

Apparently, Cassie was the only wheelchair-bound wizard in Ravenwood, which unfortunately led to bullying. However, anyone who dared to make a nasty comment towards Cassie immediately found themselves in a visit with Brooke, Donna, and their other Master friends. The bullying didn't last long.

Part of her defense, however, was Cassie's own skill. As the Headmaster had predicted, her magical powers were increased tenfold as a result of her handicap, and she quickly became one of the best wizards in Ravenwood. Her positive attitude made her popular among many of the other students- one of whom was Sadie Rosegem, Heather's younger sister.

Several more years passed, and by the time Brooke was a Legendary Diviner, she and her group of friends had traveled all across the Spiral and back again. They had hundreds of stories to tell the younger wizards, all of which were eager to hear about the other worlds. Brooke especially loved to talk about Celestia, the underwater world that worshiped the sun, moon and stars. She'd resolved to learn everything about the mystical world, and she devoted much of her spare time to research- only books on tape, of course, since reading and math hadn't gotten any easier for the Diviner. She often thanked Bartleby that the two skills weren't required in order to be a wizard.

Brooke didn't think that it was legal to be as happy as she was. She constantly expected some kind of tragedy to strike, something to happen that would punish her thoroughly for the happiness. It never did- and then Sylvia Drake fell ill.

A/N: Meh. Not my best chapter. I hope to make up for that boring rambley type stuff in chapter ten, in which le action begins! xD