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[personal profile] thesoulofchaos
Fandom: Malory Towers/Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Rating: 15

Word Count: 5978 (in total)

Summary: Everyone has questions and sometimes the answers are not the ones you want.

Alicia

Alicia could barely drag herself out of bed. Patrol with Rupert had been -for lack of a more accurate word - interesting. They had spoken little, despite Alicia efforts, and Rupert was clearly bothered by something as he kept pushing for them to patrol for longer and longer. He had suggested they patrol up in the woods, telling Alicia how he had seen something out there that he wanted to investigate, but by that point it was nearly three o’clock in the morning and Alicia had been forced to say something. Clearly she hadn’t stopped their patrol soon enough if she felt like this. She let her forehead drop against the cool of the pillow and then pushed herself onto her knees to get up.

“Old age catching up to you?”, Irene grinned as she made her bed. It had only taken until the fifth form for her to finally make a bed well enough that the form wouldn't get at least a handful of marks over each term.

“Something like that”, Alicia got up to have a quick wash - cold water would do the trick. The door opened before she could push it and she nearly collided with Sally. Alicia was quite used to being on the receiving end of some withering looks from Sally, but this look was downright hostile.

She held Sally's gaze and after a moment, Sally walked past her. Alicia stepped into the bathrooms and raised one eyebrow at Darrell who was leaning with her back against the sink.

“You two quarreling again?”, Alicia took the sink next to Darrell.

“No, it's fine”

“You are a spectacularly awful liar Darrell Rivers”, Alicia doused her face in cold water and shuddered.

“I know”, but Darrell didn't offer anymore details and Alicia was not inclined to push for them. So she let Darrell wash her face and brush her teeth in peace and she did the same as other girls from the form trudged in to complete their morning routines.

Walking to breakfast was a peculiar ordeal these days. Normally Alicia would have snuck away from her form to talk to Betty, but they hadn’t spoken since that day in the gardens. The others in the form had noticed - there was no way they couldn’t after all - but Alicia was quite relieved that they were decent enough not to mention anything.

Alicia still wasn’t sure she wouldn’t get upset if someone asked questions.

Alicia didn’t have much of an appetite so settled on toast and watching the rest of her form. She hadn’t expected to feel so separated from her form so quickly - even though Marie had warned her that she would start to feel like she was no longer the same as them. Perhaps that was why she had been spending so much time with Darrell, she knew who Alicia was now and that helped bridge the divide. Would it have been better if it had been Betty that had found out the truth? Alicia dropped her toast onto her plate and waited for the bell for class.

If breakfast was awkward then classes were even more so since Betty still sat next to Alicia for all of them. Alicia had thought - only about a hundred times or so - about ways she might start up a conversation with Betty, explain herself somehow without talking about monsters.

She had even considered telling Betty the truth but somewhere between realising that Marie would be furious, that Betty would probably think her insane, and knowing that adding another person to her list of people to look after, she decided that it wasn’t a good idea.

So they sat in silence.

***

Marie

It was rather undignified for a teacher to be pulled into a room by someone who was meant to be pretending to be the groundskeeper, and if Rupert hadn’t looked quite so stricken then Marie might have said as much.

“I have class in five minutes Rupert, so quickly”

“Someone died last night…”, Rupert said, “Someone from the town”. Marie took a deep breath and settled herself,

“Vampire?”

“No”, Rupert shoved his hands into his pockets, “Poor git was torn up pretty badly, definitely not vampire. I’m heading out to see if I can find anything that the police miss.”

“Let me know what you find”, Marie hesitated, “and Rupert? Let me tell Alicia - later”.

Marie’s head was filled with lore and the supernatural as she made her way to teach the first formers - rowdy as always on a Monday morning - and she had to put considerable effort into stopping her mind from wandering.

The lessons went according to plan, although she did at one point catch herself staring out the window for a moment longer than she had meant to when she thought she saw movement. She had then almost laughed at herself when a bird flew from the bushes outside the window.

When they broke for lunch Marie went to look for Rupert, and upon finding that he had not yet returned considered finding Alicia. She stopped herself. It would start to become increasingly obvious that she were spending too much time with one student if she continued like this, and given her frequent chastisement of both Rupert and Alicia for their lack of discretion it would not do for her to behave so carelessly.

So instead she found Mademoiselle Dupont in the gardens and walked in the cool autumn mid-day with her,

“How were the third formers this morning?”, she asked.

“Ah! They were - comment dit-on - they had lights on but were not home”, Mademoiselle almost seemed to ruffle like an angry bird as she spoke, and Marie shook her head as she smiled.

“Perhaps the fifth will be better for you”, Marie said.

“The fifth? Now they have been good girls this term. Yes, even Alicia!”, and Mademoiselle immediately went from irritated to proud, “They have listened so well! Alicia and Betty, they cause no trouble anymore”. Marie raised one eyebrow as she listened to Mademoiselle regaling her with tales of how good they all were for her.

“They don’t even talk!”, Mademoiselle finished with a flourish, “So focused are they on their French”.

“Betty and Alicia don’t talk at all?”, and Marie wished - not for the first time that term - that she had at least one class teaching the fifth formers.

“No - this is what I have been saying, they are all very good this term”, and the bell for the next session rang so Mademoiselle scurried off to her class.

The rest of the day passed without incident - although the second formers were clearly planning something with how giggly they were - and Marie felt a little guilty about being relieved to hear the final bell. As she was tidying her desk, the door to her classroom was thrown open and Rupert came in, face flushed,

“I know what killed that man”

***

Darrell

Darrell gently massaged her forearm and winced at the pain. She could practically hear her father’s voice in the back of her head giving her instructions ‘Don’t massage it if it hurts’, ‘Put something cold on it’. She knew Matron kept ice in the San but she could hardly go down and ask for some.

Not knowing what else to do she snuck away to the bathrooms and ran the cold tap. She rubbed away the beginnings of tears with the palm of her hand and then rolled up her sleeve. It was bruising already - a deep red - and Darrell could make out the individual finger marks. The tears returned and she put her arm under the cold tap.

It didn’t make any sense. Sally had never hurt her. Not physically anyway; she was prone to some sharp comments when one of her cold, jealous moods took ahold but she had never hurt Darrell like this before. And all Darrell had done was check whether the wound on Sally’s arm.

Then lost her composure when she saw the completely unmarked skin that had just the previous day had deep gouges in it. Sally had torn her arm away from Darrell with this look - and Darrell sworn her eyes went dark as she did - and tried to walk away. Darrell had tried to stop her and that’s when Sally had grabbed her arm.

Darrell didn’t know how Sally managed to squeeze so hard. It had felt - for just a moment - like she might break Darrell’s arm. Then it was like something changed instantly; Sally’s whole face transformed and her eyes were back to normal. Her grips loosened and it was like she suddenly realised what she had done.

Before Darrell could say anything she was gone.

The water wasn’t helping.

It wasn’t normal - none of it was. Darrell had first wondered whether she was seeing things that weren’t there, turning shadows into monsters and demonising human traits, whether her mind was taking what she had learnt and applying it to all she saw.
Except she knew Sally - better than anyone in fact - and she knew that this wasn’t normal. That this wasn’t her friend. She turned off the tap and set off to find Miss Potts. She would know what to do.
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