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

Deeds of Maidenly Unkindness

Here's the latest part of my BtVS / St. Trinian's crossover.


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

VIII

Agnes began "We were just trying to..." then faltered, unable to think of a plausible excuse.

"Rescue Malcolm, I suppose," said Willow

"You're killing him!" blurted Cathy.

"Yes. As quickly as I can."

"What?"

"What exactly did Malcolm tell you? That he was a boy your age, and that I'd somehow trapped him in your computer?"

"Something like that," said Agnes. "You know him?"

"When I was a little older than you I did the same thing. He's very persuasive."

"Who is he, then?" asked Cathy, edging towards one of the computers.

"Don't get any closer," said Willow, "You really won't like the consequences. For the moment Malcolm is a computer program. If you like you can think of him as a virus, and one that's very infectious." She said "Aderiscasi!" and her eyes darkened. Cathy tried to move, and found her feet were somehow stuck to the floor. Agnes made the same discovery.

"What are you?" asked Cathy.

"You remember those jokes about me being a witch?"

"But that's rubbish," said Agnes, "it's all... crystals and broomsticks and Harry bloody Potter."

"And me." There was a pause. "Magic's real, but it's nothing like Harry Potter." Willow's eyes darkened again, and two chairs slid across the floor and rammed into the back of the girls' legs. "Sit down." There was something in her voice that made them both obey. "It's more dangerous than you can imagine. Malcolm is one of the more extreme examples of that."

"He's a magical program?" asked Agnes, trying to slip a foot out of a shoe and discovering that it was just as firmly stuck as the shoe.

"He's a demon."

"A what?"

"He's a demon," Willow said calmly. "You may have heard of him. Moloch, very big in Biblical times. He was trapped in a book until someone released him. Was that you, by the way?"

"Mm..." began Cathy.

"You broke into my office and tried to hack the server. Nice try, by the way, but if you do it again your laptop will spontaneously combust. What I don't understand is why you were messing about with that book. Where did you find it, anyway?" There was another long silence, and Willow added. "You don't have to answer. But I'm not letting you go until you do, and sooner or later I think you might want to go to the bathroom."

There was another long pause then Agnes said "It was on the shelf by your desk."

"We thought there might be passwords in it," said Cathy. "So we started to scan it."

"Okay," said Willow. "Weird. When did you first see it?"

"What?" said Agnes, confused.

"I really don't care why you were trying to hack the computer," said Willow, "my guess is you wanted credit card information from the commercial server, but that isn't important. What's important is Moloch, and how he got there."

"But why?" said Cathy. "He was nice!"

"He's about as nice as leprosy," said Willow. "Someone left that book there, expecting me to read it, and I need to know who."

"It was the first day of term," said Agnes. "During the morning."

"That's better," said Willow. "Rules out most of the teachers and upper school kids. See anyone hanging around?"

"No. We waited until everyone was busy outside."

"How did you get in?"

"Picked the lock, of course."

"Thought so. Okay. Just a second...." Willow went to one of the computers and tapped a few keys. A snarling horned face appeared on the screen, roaring with pain. "Hmm... still got a way to go." The screen went dark again.

"What was that?" asked Cathy, cringing back from the screen.

"That," said Willow, "was Malcolm. Kinda fugly now I've shut down his glamour spell. Still want to help him?"

"Um... no," said Agnes, Cathy just shook her head.

"Wise choice," said Willow. "Okay, now the question is, what am I gonna do with you two. Any suggestions?"

"Detention?" said Cathy.

"Why would I want to punish myself by having to look after you? I was thinking more in terms of a plague of boils, something to keep your minds off hacking. Like the sound of that?"

"Not really," said Agnes.

"Okay.... how about I wipe your memories of the last week or so, back to the day I arrived? You'd feel kinda disoriented and out of things, but I think you'd be able to catch up in a week or two."

"Um... Would it hurt?"

"Only your grades and my conscience. I kinda swore off messing with people's minds. Let's get serious. How about you give me your words that you won't try this again? With a guarantee that something really nasty will happen if you break your words, of course..."

"How nasty?" asked Cathy.

"Worst than boils. But only if you try to mess with the network. Or tell anyone about Malcolm or this conversation, of course."

"Okay," said Agnes.

"All right," said Cathy, after thinking it over. "But will you tell us how to do this stuff?"

"Magic?" asked Willow. "No."

"Why not?"

"First, it takes years to learn to do much, and I'm only here until July. Second, it really is dangerous. And third, if you messed up I'd get into trouble with your parents. Right now you're.. what, fifteen?"

"Just about," said Cathy.

"Okay. What I'll give you is the addresses of some web sites that'll tell you a little about wicca and the technopagans, see if any of that interests you. I'll warn you now that a lot of it is deadly dull, and some of the stuff you'll find on line is just plain wrong, but it's a starting point. I'll leave my contact details with Miss Fritton when I finish here. If you're still interested when you leave school send me an e-mail, and I'll put you in touch with people who can train you if you have talent. It isn't easy, and it may turn out that you just aren't gifted that way, but if you want to try that's how I got started. First I want you to promise me one thing."

"We won't talk!" said Agnes.

"You'd better not," Willow said, putting as much menace into her voice as she could, "but that's not what I want you to promise. I want you to agree that you'll put your school-work first, otherwise this stuff takes over your life and ruins your grades. Take an interest, but don't let it be more than that for now. Okay?"

"But..."

"No buts. Do you promise?"

"Yes."

"And you, Cathy?"

"Yes miss."

"Okay then. Good." Willow turned back to the computer and began to run a diagnostic program.

"Miss..."

"Oh, right, sorry. Release. Don't bang the door on your way..."

There was a loud thud and a clatter of shoes as the girls fled upstairs. Willow locked the door again and went back to work.

* * * * *

"So Malcolm's toast," said Willow, "and I shredded the remains of the book and burned it before I went to bed."

"Talking of toast..." said Buffy, helping herself to another slice and looking around the dining hall to make sure that nobody was misbehaving, "I'm gonna have to watch my waistline with these English breakfasts. Pass the honey."

"You say that every meal, and I don't think you've put on an ounce."

"I guess I'm getting a lot of exercise in the gym. Before you got rid of the book, did you think of any way we could trace whoever put it there?"

"Trace it? Not magically, that's for sure, the residue from Malcolm would have blocked that."

"I was thinking more of fingerprints, DNA, that sort of thing. You've got that nifty lab..."

"It's primitive compared to the kinda setup you need to trace DNA. What do you think this is, CSI? And the only fingerprints on it were mine and the kids."

Miss Fritton joined them at the table and said "Fingerprints, Miss Rosenberg? I hope there hasn't been a problem."

"Oh... no, no problem, I just had a.. a disk that I couldn't read, thought there might have been grease on it or something. But there wasn't anything apart from a few fingerprints...." She tailed off into an awkward silence.

"Could it have been caused by the virus you were treating last night?"

"Maybe. Yeah, come to think of it, I did look at it around the time I noticed there was a problem..."

"There you are then," Miss Fritton said, beaming, "there's your answer. I hope it wasn't anything too important."

"No, it's kinda... obsolete data now."

"I must say I'm impressed by your dedication, and the enthusiasm of the girls. I saw Agnes Spink and Cathy Spiggot waiting for you last night while you were visiting Harry, they seemed very put out that you weren't there."

"That's okay," said Willow, "They caught up with me later, and I kinda solved their problem."

"Excellent. And how was Harry's dear grandfather? Were you able to help him with his computer?"

"Yes, it wasn't too bad really, just needed to kinda fix a couple of connections."

"Splendid. How about you, Miss Summers, did you enjoy your visit?"

"Umm.. yeah... it was kinda interesting really. Especially when they were explaining how they were all descended from King Harold."

"It's total balls, of course," said Dora MacLeod, the history teacher, returning to the table with a plate of fried eggs, bacon, baked beans and fried bread that made Buffy wince for her arteries. "If they're descended from Harold I'm Joan of Arc. I looked into it once, you can trace the family back to 1632 or so, before that it's sheer speculation.

"1632? Wow! I'm not sure you could trace mine back a hundred years. My folks came from Los Angeles, before that it's anyone's guess, and we lost a lot of our records with Sunnydale."

"Really? I thought you were evacuated from the town, didn't you take them with you?"

"More like fled," said Buffy, launching a well-rehearsed cover story. "There was some rioting and the power went out, and the principal of the high school got worried that the school records might be in danger. We were just starting to move them when the place started falling apart and we had to run for it. It was the last bus out of there, my sister was watching from the back window and she could see the road caving in behind us."

"What were you doing?" asked Miss Fritton.

"I was kinda trying to stay alive. I was trapped behind some rubble, had to run round the outside. The bus was pulling out by the time I got to it, I just jumped on the back and clung on until it stopped, didn't really have time to watch what was happening behind me."

"You're lucky you survived."

"Darn right," said Willow.

"What about you?"

"I must have been hit by something when the roof started to cave in. My friends helped me onto the bus, wasn't really paying much attention until it was all over."

"Did anyone ever work out what happened?" asked Dora.

"You ask ten geologists," said Willow, "you'll get a dozen different theories. Mostly they agree that some kinda cave system collapsed, but nobody can figure out how something like that could be there in the middle of earthquake country without having given way centuries ago. We knew there were a lot of caves in the hills around the edges of town, but nobody had any idea they went that deep. It's all under water and the remains of the town now, doubt anyone will ever know for sure."

There was a loud shriek, and they looked around to see one of the fifth-year girls trying to drown another in a ten-gallon tub of porridge at the serving table. "Your turn, Dora," Miss Fritton said calmly.

"Does that kinda thing happen a lot?" asked Willow, as Dora separated the girls and poured a jug of water over the spluttering victim.

"Let's see," said Miss Fritton, "it's the third day of term, isn't it?"

"That's right."

"About average then. Just enough time to rekindle old rivalries." In a louder voice she added "Miss MacLeod, please make sure that cook disposes of the porridge, I really don't want anyone choking on a hair grip again. And Erica dear, do please stop screaming, porridge is very good for your complexion."

"You sure there's no Hellmouth?" muttered Buffy.

"Positive," said Willow, "just youthful high spirits."

"Mmm, yes," said Miss Fritton, turning her attention back to the table. "that or another tiresome gang war, I believe their parents are... ahem... friendly rivals in the pharmaceutical trade."

"Drug dealers?" asked Buffy

"I understand the term 'entrepreneur' is preferred."

"Riiight."

"Don't worry, it'll probably blow over by the weekend, these things usually do."

"That reminds me," said Willow, "are we still okay to take the weekend off?"

"Provided you're back for breakfast on Monday," said Miss Fritton. "Normally we'd expect you to work on one of the weekend days, but since you've both promised to work both days the following weekend that won't be a problem. When will you be leaving?"

"Our friend ought to pick us up around seven on Friday evening," said Buffy.

"Good. Have you arranged for someone to look after the computers over the weekend?"

Willow looked blank, and said "I hadn't really thought about it. Who usually does it?"

"Miss Perkins used to leave one of the prefects in charge, but I'm not entirely sure that's a good idea."

"Why not?"

"The second weekend she was away seven computers went missing, along with the prefect. She and her boyfriend sold them and spent the money on a fortnight in Majorca."

"Ouch. Well, I've kinda beefed up the security, don't think we'll have that problem, and I think I can find a couple of trustworthy kids to handle any routine stuff. Ought to be okay provided nothing goes wrong with the servers."

"Well, if you're sure..." Miss Fritton sounded dubious.

"I know just the kids to ask," said Willow, "can I give them some house points or something for doing it?"

"House points? I know some schools use them, but I'm afraid we've never found them very effective. I think Miss Perkins used financial incentives."

"She bribed the kid?"

"Not enough, on the face of it."

"Okay... let me think about this, I'm sure I can come up with something."

"Good. Let me know what you decide."

* * * * *

"So what's the real plan for the weekend?" asked Willow, as they walked to the staff room after breakfast.

"Kennedy picks us up," said Buffy, "we head back to London and crash out for the evening, you two make mad passionate love all night while I hide my head under the pillow so the noise doesn't keep me awake, then sooner or later we head out, get some shopping, and go clubbing and take out the nest Saturday evening. Then we do the touristy stuff on Sunday, get an early night, and Kennedy drives us back early Monday morning."

"Okay, sounds good to me."

"First we've gotta get through tomorrow and Friday." Buffy took a look at the notice board and added "Doesn't look like anything too unusual's gonna happen."

"Yeah, like nothing unusual happened at breakfast. Okay, I've got an A-level chemistry practical periods three and four, I'd better go set things out, then computers after lunch. What about you?"

"Couple of gym classes in the morning, netball practice after lunch."

"Isn't the first one now?"

"Damn, you're right. Okay, catch you later."

* * * * *

"I'm sorry," said Miss Fritton, "I would have thought someone would have warned you about Jennifer's vertigo."

"Well yeah," said Buffy, watching the ambulance drive off, "preferably before she climbed the rope ladder and fell off the top..."

* * * * *

"Right," said Willow, "everyone got safety glasses on? Hair tied back? Okay, slowly add a few drops of the silver nitrate solution, and watch out for the glass to look like a mirror. Whatever you do, don't shake the tube more than you have to, and keep the tubes well away from your faces. Good... good..." There was a "fttttpop!" noise and one of the girls lurched back, coughing and spluttering. "Okay, Eunice, wash your face and hands quickly or your skin'll turn blue. Make sure you don't get any ammonia in your eyes...."

* * * * *

"Okay," Buffy said, "I want all of you to practice breathing. You'll have a lot more stamina if you really fill and empty your lungs. In.... and out... and in... and out... very good. Big breaths, Amelia!"

"Yeth," lisped Amelia, looking proudly at her bosom, "and I'm only twelve..."

* * * * *

"How's it going?" Willow asked at lunch.

"Another kid in hospital," said Buffy, "it's like there's a curse. God knows what Miss Fritton's report will say about me."

"Oh... well, I had one kid blow herself up a little."

"Did she end up in hospital."

"No... but it was kinda looking that way for a while."

"I'm not sure that counts."

"This isn't a contest, Buffy. It's our future careers. I'm not sure what I'll do if I flunk this teaching practice."

"Don't worry," said Evadne White, "A few accidents are expected. You're both doing better than your predecessors."

"Considering my predecessor blew up the labs that isn't reassuring," said Willow.

"Well, Perkins always did have a thing for explosives. She made some wonderful fireworks last year. Of course there was that girl who got third degree burns from one of her sparklers..."

"I'll bet Miss Ballard never sent three kids to hospital in two days," said Buffy.

"I think her record was seven. And most of the opposing team in the last lacrosse game, but we don't really count them."

"Doesn't anyone ever complain?" asked Willow.

"Oh, constantly, but who can be bothered to pay attention? If the parents really cared they wouldn't dream of sending them here. Eight out of ten just want them out of their lives for a few months, the rest are deluded enough to think that we're turning their precious little thugs into young ladies."

"Um... right."

"If that sounds callous, try teaching here for ten years and see how you feel."

"I just wanna make it through to July," said Buffy.

"Don't worry about it. Fritton wouldn't dream of firing either of you. Where would she find replacements?"

"Yeah, but she could give us bad reports."

"She won't. Believe me, you're not nearly as bad as you think you are."

"But..."

"Have you turned up to a class drunk? Stolen money from the children? Sold any of them to white slave traders?"

"When you put it that way..." said Willow.

"I won't say that the worst is over, because I don't want to tempt fate, but at least you know what to expect now. Don't worry, you'll both be fine."

* * * * *

"Any questions?" asked Willow.

"What's in it for us?" asked Cathy.

"The satisfaction of knowing that you'll be keeping the computers running for the entire school?"

"Get real," said Agnes.

"Okay... you two fancy yourselves as hackers, right?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"I'll give you unrestricted access to everything below Administrator level, and five pounds for every security problem you can find."

"You're on."

* * * * *

"Well, I dare say I can get all this stuff," Flash Harry said that evening, "what do you want it for?"

"It's our art project," lied Cathy. "We're going to make some furniture."

"Okay, but why the rush?"

"We're supposed to have it finished by Monday," said Agnes.

"Okay. I'll phone round a couple of friends, ought to have it here Friday night. That do you?"

"Just about."

"Give me twenty quid up front, we'll settle up proper when I've done the business."

Cathy dug into a sock and pulled out a bundle of creased notes, and paid him with a sigh.

"Lovely jubbly, pleasure doing business with you." He went off whistling.

"You sure this is going to work?" asked Agnes.

"Positive. If Rosenberg things we're going to wait years to get some power she's got a surprise coming..."

* * * * *

"How was I supposed to know mom was going to turn up for a surprise visit?" said Kennedy, driving the convertible through dark country lanes towards St. Trinian's on Sunday evening.

"I know, sweetie," said Willow, "it isn't anyone's fault. It's just that I feel kinda... uncomfortable about things when she's in the next bedroom."

"It's not like she doesn't know we're gay. You could still have stayed until the morning. Both of you could."

"No way am I going to make your mom sleep on the couch or go to a hotel," said Buffy, "and you two need to have some family time."

"Anyway," said Willow, "we've done everything we'd planned for the weekend, what with the clubbing and the slaying and the shopping. It's a shame about tonight, but we'll make up for it in a couple of weeks."

"I know."

Somewhere up ahead was a flickering red light. "Isn't that in the school grounds?" asked Willow.

"Looks like it."

Kennedy drove through the gates and slammed the brakes on. In the gardens beside the school an enormous fire was burning, surrounded by cheering children. Buffy and Willow stared, then Kennedy said "Any reason they're burning a wicker man, Willow?"

TBC

Apologies to any pagans reading this - I know that Wicca and the Wicker Man aren't really connected, but it seemed the kind of mistake that the St. Trinian's girls might make...

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