Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland
ffutures

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And here's the next chapter!

Okay, the usual stuff - BtVS / St. Trinian's blah blah blah. Probably the last chapter of anything I post for a while, RPG writing is calling me again.



This is a crossover between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the St. Trinian's films and books inspired by the cartoons of Ronald Searle. Minor spoilers up to season 7 of Buffy. Set after Season 7 BtVS, after Season 4 Angel. Since there is no real St. Trinian's continuity a mixture of characters from the films, books, etc. has been used. For a good web reference to the St. Trinians stories see users.netmatters.co.uk/ju90/ron.htm

All characters belong to their respective creators / film companies / etc. and are used without permission, and without any intention of damaging their owners copyright. This story may only be distributed on a non-profit-making basis.

Work in Progress. If you like this story, check out my other stories on the Fanfiction Net, Twisting the Hellmouth, and Fonts of Wisdom websites.

I'm British, so's my spelling. Live with it.



Deeds of Maidenly Unkindness

by Marcus L. Rowland

VII

"Is bloody Rosenberg still around?" asked Agnes.

"She's gone off with that other new teacher," said Cathy. "Left the computer lab locked. Got your picks handy?"

"Never leave the dorm without them. How long have we got?" They ran downstairs to the lab, where the door was closed. There was a sign saying 'Closed for system maintenance, open 7 AM' on the door.

"All evening, I think, I heard Summers say something about visiting Flash Harry."

"Bit old for them, isn't he?" said Agnes, trying a pick. "Keep watch... That's funny, I can't get the pick in."

"Someone super-glued the lock again?"

"It looks clear. I'll try something thinner... no, that isn't working either."

"How come?"

"I dunno, maybe it's stuck or something." She hit the door with the heel of her hand, then tried the pick again. It seemed to skid across the surface of the lock without going into the keyhole. "That's bloody odd."

"What is?"

"I should have scratched the lock just then, but the pick seemed to skid across it. Like there was something protecting it."

"What?"

She probed again, and tried to scratch the lock deliberately. "It's like a force field or something, things just slide off it without going in."

"Keep watch, I'll have a go." Cathy took her place at the door and tried with a screwdriver, then the blade of a penknife. "You're right, I can't even scratch the wood. It's like everything stops a millimetre from the door."

"I knew there was something weird about Rosenberg," said Agnes. "She's a bloody alien or something. Try the hinges."

"Can't, they're on the inside."

"Leave it, someone's coming." They pretended to be reading the sign as Miss Fritton came upstairs towards them.

"Miss Rosenberg tells me the network won't be usable tonight, girls."

"Right, Miss Fritton." said Agnes "We'll just have to do something else then."

"Get some fresh air, it's a lovely evening."

"Okay, Miss," said Cathy.

Miss Fritton swept on majestically.

"Fresh air?" said Agnes, disgustedly.

"We might as well go out."

"How come?"

"Because we're going to need a ladder to get in, and I'm pretty sure they're stored outside."

* * * * *

"Are you sure this is the right address?" asked Willow, "It looks kinda... well, kinda respectable for Harry."

They stared at the large house, which stood in an acre of neatly mowed lawn. "I think that's his van," said Buffy, pointing to a battered white Ford Transit.

"Okay, let's try the doorbell then."

Buffy pushed the button, and they heard a muffled series of chimes. "Theme from Doctor Zhivago," said Willow.

A man in his sixties appeared at the door. He looked like an older version of Harry, and even wore the same style of clothing. "Even'. You the ladies from the school?"

"That's right," said Buffy. "You must be Harry's father, I guess."

"That's right," he said, grinning and revealing unnaturally perfect but tobacco-stained false teeth. "Call me 'Arry. Come in, 'Arry's expecting you. So's Old 'Arry, my dad."

They followed him into a brightly-lit hallway, then into a room dominated by a large plasma TV. Harry and an old man they guessed was his grandfather were watching the evening news. "Even', ladies," said Harry. "Nice of you to drop in." The old man turned to look at them and nodded politely.

"We bought this," said Buffy, handing him a gift-wrapped bottle of gin.

"Lovely jubbly," said Harry, unwrapping it. "You ladies want some?"

"Not right now," said Willow, "Kinda need to keep my head clear if I'm gonna be looking at your computer."

"Tea then, or coffee?" said Harry.

"Coffee please."

Harry's father went out and came back a few minutes later with a tray loaded with cups, pots of tea and coffee, a large walnut cake, and jugs of milk and hot water.

"Tell them," demanded Old Harry, once they were drinking their coffee.

"Tell us what?"

"Well..." said Harry, switching off the TV, "we've invited you here under false pretences. There's nothing wrong with granddad's computer."

"What's this about then?" Buffy asked warily.

"You ever 'ear the expression 'Chosen One'?"

"What?"

"Chosen One," said the old man. "One girl in every generation. Or Slayer, if that's what you prefer."

"What's this got to do with us?" Willow asked, just as warily.

"If you're goin' to pretend to be a normal girl," said Harry, "you shouldn't go crushin' rocks with your 'ands. Bit of a give-away, that is. So's travelling with a bag full of swords and crossbows." He picked up the cake knife, and without warning threw it at Buffy's heart. She realised that it would hit her handle-first, caught it easily, and threw it back, deliberately missing his ear by a fraction of an inch. The knife went into the wall behind him with a loud 'thud' and stuck there, the blade nearly an inch deep in the plaster. To anyone else it was a blur of motion, too fast to follow.

"Yes," said Harry, twitching slightly. "You're the Slayer. An' that means there needs to be a reckonin'."

"Reckoning?" asked Buffy, somehow knowing that this wasn't a combat situation.

"It's all here," said Harry's father, slapping some papers onto the table. Willow cautiously picked them up and read them, while Buffy stood, ready to fight if her instincts were wrong.

"It's an itemised bill," said Willow, "for eighteen thousand, two hundred and eleven pounds."

"An' eighty-four pence," Harry's grandfather said helpfully. "An' don't forget ter add on a couple of quid for fixin' the wall."

* * * * *

"Hold it still," hissed Agnes, climbing the ladder towards the window of Willow's office, about twenty feet above a flower bed.

"I am holding it still," Cathy said crossly. "You're the one that's shaking it."

"Well, put some weight on it or something, it's wobbling like a jelly."

Cathy climbed on to the first rung. One of the uprights began to sink into the ground, the other was resting on a stone and stayed on the surface. Neither girl noticed. Agnes reached the top and examined the window. It was closed, and she carefully checked it for signs of a burglar alarm. Nothing, apart from a little sticker reading "Data Protected". She could see that the window was latched closed and reached into her pocket for a suitably-sized screwdriver to lift the latch, couldn't find it, and remembered that Cathy had used it to scratch at the door. "Hsst," she whispered, "bring up that screwdriver."

Cathy climbed up and handed it to her, and she carefully poked it into the gap. There was a "zap!" noise and Agnes jerked back violently, her arm tingling from an electric shock. For a second most of the weight on the ladder was pulled away from the wall, and it began to slide sideways. There was a rattling crash as it went over, dumping both girls into the rose bushes. Swearing, they began to disentangle themselves from the thorns.

"Playing hide and seek, girls?"

They looked up to see Miss Fritton walking in the garden. "That's right, Miss Fritton," said Cathy, hoping that her scratches weren't too obvious.

"Hmm... if I were you I'd try somewhere that doesn't have thorns, like the potting shed."

"Yes miss," said Agnes.

"And while you're there put away that ladder, if you would, I can't think what it's doing there."

"Yes Miss Fritton."

* * * * *

"So let me get this straight," said Buffy, "Your family has been working for the Watchers Council since the end of the first world war?"

"Thereabouts," said Harry. "my great-grandad served with an orficer called Travers on the Somme, saved his life and got offered the job after the war."

"But you're not actually Watchers?" asked Willow.

"Not as such, no. Not out of the top drawer like that lot. We're more like what you might call odd-job men, subcontractors."

"The last time I met people like that they were trying to kill someone," said Buffy, remembering the Council's wet-works squad.

"I'd 'eard that they 'ave a few mercenaries, but that's not our game. We're like.. like caretakers, keep an eye on the school for them."

"But why St. Trinian's?"

"Cos' it's where all the bad girls end up, the troublemakers and the ones that fight and set fire to things, if their parents can pay the fees." Buffy stirred her coffee guiltily, remembering her own schooldays. "Not just from Britain, you've got kids from all over the world, want their kids to have an English education but can't get them into one of the posh schools like Roedean. Every now an' then they'd tell us to keep an extra-careful eye on someone, until they could get a real Watcher assigned to 'er. We've 'ad four or five 'tentials through 'ere, don't think there's ever been an actual Slayer though. Great-Grandad even spotted one 'tential they'd missed, gawd knows how. Apart from that we make sure that the place stays in business, lend an 'elpin' 'and, that sorta thing."

"So you were last paid in 2002," said Willow, looking at the papers, "and you've kept on doing it anyway?"

"We saw the Council was in trouble, hard to miss the news when there's an explosion that size. We tried to track down Travers' family, anyone that might still be in touch, but everyone was dead. So we 'ad a family meeting and decided to keep going on credit, like. Seemed the right thing to do. Sooner or later we knew they'd get back in touch. An' 'ere you both are."

"Meanwhile you've added compound interest and kept track of all your expenses?"

"A good workman is worthy of his hire," said Old Harry.

"Try telling the old Council that if you're a Slayer and see how far it got you," said Buffy.

Willow knew this particular rant all too well, and hastily said "The old Council isn't around any more, but we're rebuilding it. We can forward this stuff to Giles, I'm sure that he'll organise payment. Might take a while, but he won't let you down. If you've got it as an Excel file or something I can e-mail it to him tonight."

"E-mail?" said Harry, "You wouldn't 'ave seen the old Council using e-mail." He sounded a little disapproving.

"It'll take a lot longer if I have to send it by snail mail. He's in Cleveland."

"Okay, I'll get the disk."

"Before you bring it down, you might want to think about deleting one item. I'm pretty sure that a plasma TV set doesn't count as essential surveillance equipment, and if you leave it in he'll probably take a very close look at the rest."

"Bollocks," said Old Harry. "Oh well, it was worth a shot. Better cut it."

"Right you are." Harry went upstairs.

"So," said Harry's father, "Been a Slayer long?"

"Ten years now," said Buffy.

"Blimey. No wonder we 'aven't seen many 'tentials lately."

"You won't," said Willow. "Things have changed. There isn't just one Slayer and a load of Potentials any more, just Slayers, some more experienced than others. What you might see is a kid who suddenly starts getting strong, really strong. Slayer strong."

"Hell's teeth," said Old Harry, "if the girls are bad now..."

"We can have someone there to handle the situation as soon as we know about it," said Buffy, "before anyone gets too badly hurt. Once Giles has checked out your story and expenses we'll explain how it works, get you into the system."

"How do you mean?" asked Harry's father.

"You might not have been the sort of people the old Watchers Council wanted, but we're a lot less exclusive. If you want to be Watchers, I'm pretty sure we're gonna want you on the team."

"Not for me," said Harry, who had come back in as she was talking, "if it's all the same to you I'll go on being a subcontractor. But the lad might be interested."

"The lad?"

"My boy 'Arry. E's nineteen."

"I don't think we've met him."

"You 'aven't, it's 'is gap year before 'e starts college, 'e's 'itch-'ikin' 'is way across Australia."

"Well, maybe when he gets back you can put him in touch," said Willow. "We might even be able to help with his college fees."

"Right, we'll do that."

"One question," said Buffy, "I hope you don't mind me asking, but... why are you all called Harry?"

"Old family tradition," said Harry. "Legend 'as it we're all descended from King 'Arold. You Yanks do the same thing, only you put a number on the end."

"I guess."

"We'd better get going," said Willow, "it's a little late and I'll need to get on line to send this off to Cleveland."

"Want a lift back?" asked Harry.

"Thanks," said Buffy, "but it isn't that far and I don't think all three of us will fit in the front of your van."

"Don't be daft, I'll get the Jag out."

* * * * *

"Not far now," said Agnes, as she and Cathy lowered themselves down the wide mock-Tudor chimney. Both were already filthy, despite overalls they'd 'borrowed' from the cleaner's stores. Agnes was in the lead, Cathy above her, swinging on a rope ladder "borrowed" from the gym.

"Better not be," said Cathy. "Are you sure the fireplace isn't blocked in the computer room?"

"Positive. When Mad Morag set fire to the chairs last term the smoke just went straight up the chimney."

"Okay, let's hope you're right."

"I'm pretty sure."

"Great..."

They reached the fireplace, and Agnes said "okay, there's some chicken wire across the chimney, must be there to keep out pigeons, apart from that we're clear. Let me just get the cutters out.... okay, here we go." There were several metallic twangs. "Right, that's got it. Doesn't look like she thought of booby-trapping the fireplace. We're in. She's even left the lights on."

They switched off their torches and climbed down into the old hearth, shook off as much soot as they could, then ducked under the mantle-piece and into the computer lab.

"Everything's still running," said Cathy, "and with a bit of luck she's still logged on to all of the machines as the top-level Installer. Couldn't be better."

"What's she running?"

"Looks like some sort of anti-virus program, never seen one like it before. Do you think she's trying to get rid of Malcolm?"

"Must be. Murderous bitch..."

"Hope it isn't too late."

As they talked a pop-up window appeared on every screen, a message saying "Help me".

"Maybe we can download him again," said Agnes. "Put him back on the laptop or something."

"I'll try it," said Cathy, getting out a blank CD.

"I really wouldn't do that," said a voice from behind them. They turned, slowly.

"I think we need to talk," said Willow.

TBC

Now I can get outdoors and get a bit of sun for an hour or two!

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