The next morning Elisabeth seemed, at least to Richard, exhausted. She was slouching in her chair, book unopened before her. At least he now knew why she seemed to know most of the stuff he taught in advance. She’d already done it before.
There was a lull in action when Richard turned to write something on the board behind him. He heard the creak of a desk and a moment later, John, quarterback and not much else, spoke in a whisper.
“You look tired, Summers. Tell me, are you doing all of those losers you hang out with?”
He was about to turn around and lay into his student when he heard Elisabeth sigh, “Don’t you have a geek to flush down the toilet, Miller?”
“That an offer, sugar?”
“Tell me,” she demanded without moving, as far as the werewolf could tell, “Have you told your cheerdummy yet that you’re cheating on her with her best friend?”
There was an outraged hiss at the back of the class and Richard decided that it was time to break up the fight. Even though it was amusing. At least from his perspective. John looked furious and uncomfortable and his girlfriend was glaring daggers at him as she tried not to cry.
“That’s enough,” he informed them. “I do have ears, you know? Miller, this is your last warning. Now take your girlfriend and solve your problems. Summers, stay after.”
It was actually the perfect opportunity to get the blonde to stay behind without drawing attention. Although he had pretty much come to the same conclusions as Jean-Claude, he still wasn’t done with her. Five minutes later the bell rang and everyone rushed out, intent on watching John’s girlfriend publicly humiliate him.
Elisabeth strolled to the front of the classroom once everyone was gone. Richard leaned back in his chair and offered, “It’s not fair to use people’s secrets against them. Even if the smell is
John smelled like at least half a dozen different girls most Mondays. She shrugged and explained. “He’s been trying to get into my pants since Homecoming last year. He’s had it coming.”
She dropped her bag at her feet and crossed her arms in front of her, “So,” she asked, “Why’d you really keep me after?”
He had, Richard realized with a start, never seen her so relaxed. She almost looked comfortable in her own skin. “You seem relaxed.”
Another shrug. “I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now that it has….”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You do realize that he’s not finished with you, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” she waved him off, “But I’ve never been good at the whole cloak and dagger thing. The cards are on the table now.”
He had to admit she was right. The cards were definitely on the table. The mere thought of the power that had washed over him the night before was giving him a headache. It was hard to believe so much power could be contained in such a tiny body. But there was a rule among the supernatural. What was more than human, stayed among the more than human. This was neither the time nor the place to discuss her powers.
Still, “If I asked nicely, would you tell me about your….home?”
Her body language changed immediately, her hands tightening around her biceps. She didn’t look him in the eye as she said, “There’s nothing to tell about. They’re all gone. Although,” she speculated, lifting her gaze, “they probably had been for years.”
“My friends liked to run my life. I let them for a while but then I fought back and afterwards….I lost them long before I came here. They wanted a general and I gave them one and then they said I was being too harsh. They wanted war without fighting and without victims. I was stupid enough to try and give it to them and the results…”
She started suddenly, realizing just what she was telling him and bent to grab her bag. The Ulfric was pretty sure he had just ruined her day by making her remember. But then he’d also just learned more about her than in the entire past few months.
“I’m sorry,” he offered.
She shook her head, “Don’t be. I just don’t like…” she waved a hand, “You know.”
He nodded and watched as she turned to leave. Suddenly he remembered something. “Hey, you do know that I had nothing to do with what happened yesterday, right? I had no idea what they planned until it was too late.”
“I know. You’re too boy scout to do something so underhanded.”
He didn’t know whether to be glad or take offense to that. He settled for a simple, “If you want to talk, about anything, I’d be happy to listen.”
She nodded in acknowledgement or thanks, he wasn’t sure, and slipped out into the hall soundlessly.