The young lady's eyes widened, letting the grey-limned orbs show off the fact that she wore contacts. This moment of detail vanished quickly, though, as she blinked and resumed her composure.
"A... boon? You must excuse me, Professor, but I don't know what you mean." She spoke, her words sounding carefully ingratiating. A crackling, grinding sound, somewhat like the sound of coffee being ground, began emanating from the professor. Suddenly, it occurred to me that this was the sound of the professor laughing.
"Oh, you know, Ms. Harris." The professor turned to the class, the wrinkles in his face sliding away for a moment as he smiled. "You'll all know each other very well in the coming days, so I doubt that any secrets should be kept..." He sniffed. "All right!" The professor clapped his hands together, matter-of-fact-ly. The old man lifted himself slowly out of the desk he had been sitting in, old joints audibly popping. He began strolling leisurely up to the board mounted on the front bookshelf. His old, rusty voice echoed in the clearing between the bookshelves, and I found myself slipping into the normal trance; the mind-numbing haze of a college student listening to some old professor droning on about his subject began to creep upon me.
"So, Ms. Harris!" The professor's voice boomed sonorously as he made a quick about-face. "Sharing time!" Harris jumped at this, her expression conveying a sense of extreme confusion. Abode sighed. "I'll spell it out for you. What might be a reason you could enjoy having such a small class? Perhaps a certain phobia you have? An education style that you are used to...?"
Obviously jarred by this, Ms. Harris began to speak, her voice shaking slightly. "I'm not sure how this bears upon this class in any way, Professor. Whatever problems I might have with large crowds or past experience with solitary learning doesn't concern you, or the students here. I was under the impression that you intended to judge this class on personal merits, not on personal history." As she spoke, the professor began shaking his head.
"Oh, Ms. Harris, but this does indeed have quite a bit to do with the class. We show our weaknesses to one another so we may work around them. We share secrets so we can gain trust. This is how we humans interact, yes?" He began to lean back onto the board, chin lifted up a bit. "What you will be doing in this class will require the whole lot of you to learn to work together. I cannot have a group of sheltered introverts who shy away from giving the smallest part of themselves away."
A loud, barking laugh came from the back of the class, and I turned to see the student who had spoken up when told to leave grinning widely. His blonde hair, streaked with small lines of black, was spiked, giving him the overall look of an oddly colored, grinning hedgehog.
"Is this it, then?" He said, a hint of a southern drawl mixing in with his tone. "Scare us all by making half the class leave, and now impress us with knowledge about our personal lives and hints to some huge future undertaking?"