Summary: An Immortal attends the Chalet School, for reasons of her own.
Categories: St Scholastika's House Characters: Minor character(s)
School Period: Tyrol
School Name: Chalet School
Chapters: 13 Completed: Yes
Word count: 6079 Read: 36707
Published: 14 Oct 2011 Updated: 30 Oct 2011
1. Chapter 1: Flight by whitequeen
2. Chapter 2: Meeting a Doctor by whitequeen
3. Chapter 3: First Day at School by whitequeen
4. Chapter 4: Sticking to the Truth by whitequeen
5. Chapter 5: Visit from "Uncle" by whitequeen
6. Chapter 6: Looking for Fun by whitequeen
7. Chapter 7: Schoolgirl Pranks by whitequeen
8. Chapter 8: Warning by whitequeen
9. Chapter 9: Slow Day by whitequeen
10. Chapter 10: Waiting by whitequeen
11. Chapter : Swords by whitequeen
12. Chapter 12: Quickening by whitequeen
13. Chapter 13: True Chalet Girl by whitequeen
Chapter 1: Flight by whitequeen
I am immortal and I am not alone. Now is the time of the Gathering, when the stroke of a sword will release the power of the Quickening. In the end, there can be only one.
When I died for the first time, almost two hundred years ago, I was seventeen. At that point, my ageing stopped, and so I will always look seventeen. I could dress to add or subtract a year or two, if I wanted to, but I will never change. Sometimes that can be a problem. Enemies often think my head will be easy pickings, and challenge me more readily than they otherwise might. Friends, even when they know better, have a hard time seeing me as capable of taking those fights. They try to interfere - which puts them in danger too.
It was one of those enemies, one of those fights, that had brought me here. I’d come halfway across the world to evade him, and now I’d arrived in Austria, where I hoped to hide out for a while, at least until he’d lost interest in me and stopped looking. The area was so peaceful and beautiful; it seemed hard to believe that anything bad could happen here. It felt safe. I could almost convince myself that it was.
I had decided to make use of my apparent age. It would enable me to blend in in the girls’ school I had found out about. It seemed like a good solution, and I hoped I was right – surrounding myself with people, especially if they were mortals, should make him back off and think again.
I stayed in a small hotel near the lake, since school would not open for another couple of days. I was on the alert for the tell-tale sensation that would announce the presence of another like me. For my first day there at least, I felt nothing. Maybe I’d been successful. And maybe he was just taking his time to find me. In the privacy of my room, I gripped the hilt of my sword and went through some practice exercises to calm myself down.
When I finished, I tucked the sword away in my trunk and wondered how I was going to conceal it at the school. There was no choice on that matter; mortals could not be allowed to know about us, so I couldn’t explain why I needed it. I would find a way.
Chapter 2: Meeting a Doctor by whitequeen
In the morning, the last day before I went to ground at the Chalet School, I explored the area. I walked by the edge of the lake, and spent some time just looking into the blue water and losing my thoughts in it. The first thing I needed to do was find out where the churches in the area were; you never knew when you’d need to take refuge on holy ground, the one place where Immortals couldn’t fight. Once I knew that, I went further afield.
I had taken a packed lunch, and ate it sitting on the grass on a gentle slope. The fresh air had certainly given me an appetite. Walking on, I came upon the San; I’d read about this and the work its doctors did for tuberculosis sufferers. I was curious, and walked closer, but stopped dead when I felt the presence of another Immortal.
Of course my first thought was: It was him – he’d found me! I backed off and took hold of my sword, hidden in the long coat I wore – unfashionable, but practical for one of us. Did this place still count as too near mortals to have a fight? The door opened, but it was not my enemy who emerged. It was a tall, dark-haired man in a doctor’s white coat, scanning warily for what he sensed. For me. When he saw me, his eyebrows went up.
“Oh, put that away,” he said with more than a touch of irritability. “There are people around.” His accent was British. He appeared to be in his thirties, but I knew that was no indication.
I did put the sword back, but I kept my hand near it, just in case. He sighed and came towards me.
“Who are you, and what are you doing here?”
“My name is Rose Kennedy.” It wasn’t the name I’d been born with. It very rarely was, with us.
“Adam Pearson,” he responded, and I was sure his wasn’t, either.
“I didn’t expect to find others here. I came to get away, and be somewhere secluded.”
“Yes, well, that was my idea too,” he said. “Hasn’t quite worked out, has it?”
“I didn’t come looking for a fight,” I said quietly.
He looked at me for a while. “Are you avoiding one?”
I didn’t want to tell the whole story to a stranger, but he seemed to be able to tell anyway. He groaned.
“And whoever it is you’re avoiding will probably follow you up here. Wonderful.”
Defensive, I said, “I wasn’t to know I was leading him to you. As I said, I didn’t think there’d be any others up here. I’m starting at the Chalet School tomorrow so even if he does find me, he won’t have the chance to challenge me.”
I had the feeling Adam wanted to laugh. He said, “Look, come inside. If you’ve brought trouble to my door, you should at least tell me who it is.”
I couldn’t argue with that, but I was still wary as I followed him inside. We passed two doctors, who looked up from a discussion over papers. Adam greeted them briefly and told them I was his niece, which seemed to surprise them, and named them as Doctors Maynard and Russell. We didn’t pause to chat. Adam led me to a small canteen.
A couple of nurses were drinking coffee in one corner, looking exhausted. We took seats at the other end of the room.
“So, the Chalet School?” he began.
I nodded. “Seemed like a good idea.”
“Theoretically.” Adam gave me a long look. “You look to be in your teens, but you certainly don’t act that way. Are you sure you’ll be able to blend in in a school?”
“Well, it has been a couple of centuries since I was actually seventeen, but how hard can it be?”
Adam rolled his eyes. “Possibly harder than taking someone’s head,” was his opinion.
I shrugged and looked away. It reminded me of the Immortal on my trail, and I didn’t want to think about him. It seemed to me that anything would be better and easier than facing him again.
“You know you can’t hide forever,” said Adam, guessing my thoughts.
“I can hide until he forgets about me,” I told him. “With luck he doesn’t even know where I’ve gone. He won’t come here and he won’t find you.”
“I don’t believe in luck. Who is he?”
“Depends where he is,” I said dryly. “He called himself Simon when I met him but he keeps changing his name.”
Adam just waited, and since I had been the one to invade his sanctuary, I decided I had to tell him what he wanted to know. So I shortened the story as much as I could – fights, the first interrupted, the second fled, a couple of near avoidances, finally the decision to find a hiding place, and finding out about this one.
“Well, I hope you’re right and you have lost him,” he said finally.
“Doctor!” A nurse called from the door. “Dr. Pearson, we need you.”
Adam stood up. “Duty calls. Come along.”
I followed him. “Why do you do it?” I asked. “Work with mortals?”
He shrugged. “It’s something to do, isn’t it?” He steered me to one of the doctors we’d passed earlier. “Dr. Russell’s wife actually owns your new school. Seems like this would be a good opportunity for any questions you may have. Russell, take care of my niece, please, and see that she knows the way back.” He winked at me as he whisked away after the nurse.
I looked at Dr. Russell, sizing him up. I supposed it might be useful to gather some inside information about the school. Act teenaged, I reminded myself as he smiled encouragingly at me.
Chapter 3: First Day at School by whitequeen
The next day, I put on my uniform and made my way to the Chalet School. I arrived without incident. There were no Immortals in the vicinity. There were plenty of children, though, thronging towards the doors, laughing and chatting and greeting each other after their holiday. As it was my first day, I expected to have to find the headmistress’ office, so I stood back a little and waited for the crowd to pass.
The girls, though, had other ideas. I saw them notice me and immediately a fair girl came towards me with a big smile.
“Say, you’re new, aren’t you?” she asked. “My name’s Cornelia. Come along with me and I’ll show you where to go.”
I was a little taken aback. I hadn’t expected this kind of friendliness right at the start. Cornelia put her hand through my arm and took me towards the door, chatting away, and introduced me to the mistress who stood there welcoming people, even though all I’d had a chance to say to her was my name.
Having seen the dormitory and had coffee, which was called by the German word, I had to take exam papers. The headmistress explained that this would determine which form I’d be in. I did my best. I thought I was quite good at history – after all, I’d lived through some of it, and spoken to people who’d seen more – but that didn’t really help me with all of the questions. And the maths paper was probably the worst thing I’d ever had to do. By the end of it I was thinking that, enemy aside, it might be a good thing I’d come here. Maybe I’d learn something.
When I was called to unpack, I somehow managed to hide my sword under the bed while the Matron’s back was turned. We went to bed at what seemed like a ridiculously early time, but when everyone was asleep I was able to find a loose floorboard, which provided a safer hiding place. I got back into bed then, wondering what kind of day tomorrow would be.
Chapter 4: Sticking to the Truth by whitequeen
Over the days that followed, I settled into school life and got used to doing things in a group – getting up and going to bed at set times, scrambling for the bathroom, taking meals with everyone else. I learned some French and some German, and found that school kept me so occupied that I had little time to think about other things.
“Have you been to school before?” Cornelia asked me one morning at Fruhstuck. “Or did you have a governess?”
“Neither, my mother taught me at home,” I replied.
“That must have been lonely,” said Cornelia.
“Not really, I had a big family,” I said. I carried on eating, and then realised that she’d fallen silent and was staring at me. Reviewing the conversation, I caught the past tense that I’d used, and cursed inwardly; now Corney thought there’d been a tragedy and looked stricken.
Stick to the truth as far as possible, it saves you having to remember your story – my mentor had said. Usually it worked... I tried to change the subject and hoped Corney would just accept that I didn’t want to talk about whatever she thought had happened. And it wasn’t that it hadn’t happened – it was just a couple of centuries ago, and of totally natural causes.
“Could you do the maths prep last night?” I asked. “I’m sure I got every single one wrong.”
She made a face, and just as I’d hoped, started complaining about maths instead. And as it turned out, I’d been sticking to the truth there as well, as my prep came back with plenty of crimson decorations. I felt like saying well, I haven’t needed to know how to work this stuff out in the last 200 years so to hell with you... But of course, I didn’t.
Chapter 5: Visit from "Uncle" by whitequeen
It was still dark when my “uncle” Adam dropped by the school for a visit. The sense of an Immortal woke me, and I went to the window, hoping it was him and not... him. When the moonlight proved me right, I slipped out onto the balcony and down to join him.
“Should you be walking around in your nightdress?” he asked reprovingly.
“I’m hardly going to catch my death of cold,” I pointed out.
We walked a little way from the school, so as to avoid waking anyone. I had no wish to be caught out of bed and out of bounds. I was trying to be a model schoolgirl, after all.
“Has... anyone visited you?” I asked.
He shook his head. “No, still as quiet as ever. I think you picked a good hideout after all. But that’s not why I came.”
“Oh, you had a reason beyond saying hello?”
“I thought you’d be interested to know what kind of reports you’re getting. I am your uncle after all, so Dr. Russell feels I should be told when the head is worried about you.”
“Worried? About me? Because I can’t do maths?” I was outraged.
He chuckled. “It’s not about the maths. But I’m sure they’ll give you extra coaching if it’s that difficult.”
I gave him my deadliest glare.
“No, they’re concerned because you’re so serious all the time. You don’t seem to be able to have fun.”
“You’re supposed to be – what, seventeen?”
“Fifteen,” I confessed, having subtracted a little just in case I ended up liking it here and wanting to stay longer.
“Well, work on it,” he advised. “Even I have fun sometimes, and I’m a lot older than you.”
“How do you know? Just because you look it –“
“I’ve yet to meet someone older than I am,” he confessed. He leaned close and whispered a four-digit number in my ear, one that made me gasp.
We had turned as we strolled, and now arrived back below the balcony.
“I’ll do my best,” I promised. “Thanks.”
He boosted me back up and I climbed inside, glad to get back into a warm bed. I didn’t fall asleep, but instead thought about what Adam had said and about not being too serious, until the rising bell went.
Chapter 6: Looking for Fun by whitequeen
The following day it rained, and the day after that as well. The girls grumbled about not being able to go outside. I didn’t mind so much. When we had free time, I sat in the common room with a book, but it was only so that I could catch a moment to think. The previous night had brought a series of interesting dreams that I wanted to run through some more; completely inappropriate, of course, but they weren’t exactly available for censorship...
“Put that away and listen!” Cornelia snatched the book out of my hand. She was pacing the common room, attended by her usual loyal band. “Sorry, I can see it’s a good book from that smile on your face, but this is important.”
I listened and didn’t correct her. She put the book down and glanced around.
“We need to do something to liven things up around here,” she proclaimed. “Everyone’s bored and miserable because of this rain.”
“What did you have in mind?” I asked cautiously. Was this the kind of fun Adam meant?
Corney sighed impatiently. “I don’t know yet.”
“A midnight?” Ilonka suggested, but was shouted down.
Apparently the only thing that would achieve would be to have everyone dosed vilely by Matron.
“I guess we’d all better give it some thought,” said Corney at last, as the bell rang. “Just you have something to suggest when we get back here.”
I tried to obey her command as we went out, summoned to Hall for dancing. But just what did schoolgirls do to liven things up? I couldn’t think of anything that I thought Corney and the others would pass.
A lively tune began on the piano and we started to organise ourselves into partners. I could see Cornelia still frowning, deep in thought. I danced the first with Ilonka, and the next time I caught sight of Corney, she’d stopped frowning and was smiling wickedly instead.
“Corney has an idea,” murmured Ilonka, who saw the same thing.
“I wonder what it is?”
“We shall have to wait to find out.”
Cornelia gave both of us a meaningful look as she whirled past. I was curious to know what was going through her mind. Whatever it was, it was probably what I needed to allay people’s concerns about me.
Chapter 7: Schoolgirl Pranks by whitequeen
When we heard Corney’s idea, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was crazy. The others shook their heads doubtfully and made all sorts of dire predictions about the trouble she’d be likely to get into if she went ahead with it. She didn’t listen – even if they wanted nothing to do with it, she wanted some fun, and would deal with the consequences later. So I volunteered to help her.
In the dead of night, we snuck around together carrying out her plan. I thought it was stupid and pointless, but normal schoolgirls played pranks and got into trouble and had fun. Corney was impressed by the way I could move noiselessly in the night, not to mention be wide awake while everyone was sleeping.
The following morning, the daily routine was disrupted by cries of surprise coming from the cubicles, and one by one the curtains went back to display girls having trouble with their uniforms...
“This is not my tunic!” someone cried, brandishing the item in question by the neck where the name tag was sewn.
A tall girl struggling into a small tunic looked at a petite girl swamped in a skirt down to her ankles. I looked at Cornelia, who was wearing my uniform, while I was wearing hers. It was very short on her. She looked ridiculous. I started laughing. So did she. By now, girls from the dormitory next door were arriving, having discovered the name tags on their clothes. The fit of giggles started to spread.
“Hurry up, you people! We’re going to be late,” came a cry from next door, to no avail.
Clothes were exchanged, but slowly, as everyone was still giggling, as well as berating Cornelia. Nobody doubted for a moment that it had been her doing. And then disaster struck – a prefect arrived, looking into our late arrival at Fruhstuck.
“What’s going on up...” She stopped, seeing everyone in various states of undress and mostly laughing too much to do anything about it. “But what has happened?” she gasped.
“Sorry, Frieda,” Cornelia spoke up at once. “It was a joke.”
Frieda took control of the situation immediately. “Quickly – sort yourselves, and hurry downstairs. I will speak to you after Fruhstuck, Cornelia.” As she spoke, she started seizing tunics from random girls and checking the name tags on them.
“I helped,” I said, because I couldn’t leave Cornelia to be told off alone.
“Then you may report to me also,” said Frieda without looking round.
Cornelia mouthed thanks to me, and we hastily put on our own clothes.
People were still inclined to giggle over Cornelia’s trick while we breakfasted, but Cornelia herself was quiet, wondering what Frieda would do. I didn’t worry about that so much. I wondered instead if a report on this would make its way to my “uncle”, and what he would think of it.
After Fruhstuck we reported as ordered. Frieda was alone. Cornelia had said that she didn’t think the prefect would hand the matter to a mistress to deal with, but that the mistresses probably knew what had happened, as they would certainly have asked why so many people were late to Fruhstuck. She asked for an explanation.
“Well, I guess I just wanted to make people laugh,” Corney began. “The weather’s been so foul – I mean awful, and everyone’s miserable, so I just thought...”
That was all I heard. Outside, there was an Immortal. I could feel it. It’s probably just Adam, I tried to tell myself, but my heart started pounding all the same.
I tried to concentrate on Frieda’s lecture. I learned that we were to take meals and prep in solitude that day, and that we had to mend some small tears that had resulted from girls trying to squeeze into clothes several sizes too small for them. All I wanted was for her to stop talking and let us leave so that I could look outside and see who was there. At last we were able to leave.
Corney took hold of my hand. “You’ve gone awful pale,” she said, staring at me with concern on her face. “Frieda’s not that bad, really. She’ll forget about it now that she’s had her say. You’ll see.”
The sensation faded away; whoever was there was leaving.
“Come on,” said Corney, “we’d better do our dorm duties.”
Chapter 8: Warning by whitequeen
Adam might seem to be behaving ungallantly here, but since I've taken him directly out of the TV show I thought I'd better not change his history. I hope you can forgive him :)
I didn’t mind eating alone, or working alone, although it did cross my mind that I should probably look a little more grumpy about it when the prefects were watching. Nor was mending a problem – I could do it easily enough without thinking, even if I wasn’t as perfect as some of the French girls I’d seen. While I worked on the split seam of a tunic, I thought about the Immortal presence.
The most likely explanation was that it had been Adam out for a walk. He didn’t always have to be looking for me every time he passed the school, after all. Believing otherwise was just wishful thinking – and considering he was meant to be my uncle, and looked old enough to be so, it was an entirely ridiculous wish. Or it could have been anyone else that I hadn’t met yet, and not necessarily someone who wanted a fight. And then there was Murphy’s Law, meaning it probably was exactly who I didn’t want it to be.
At the end of our punishment, Cornelia and I rejoined our friends, who were all very sympathetic.
“Was it worth it?” asked Margia.
“It sure was!” asserted Cornelia. “The looks on their faces when they realised their uniforms didn’t fit...”
She began to giggle again.
“Well, next time, think of something less crazy,” Margia said.
Ilonka shook her head. “She would not be Corney if she did that.”
“Hey!” Corney protested.
Later, after lights out, when the sounds of people
sighing and turning and trying to fall asleep had gone silent, I felt the presence of an Immortal. I reached under the bed, under the loose floorboard, and took my sword with me when I went to the balcony.
“It’s me,” came the whisper. “For God’s sake put that thing away before anyone sees you.”
I held it close to my side. “Were you here this morning?”
“No,” Adam answered, confirming my fears. “That’s what I came to tell you. We’ve got a new doctor at the San – Dr. McCarthy. Ring a bell?”
It didn’t, but I had told Adam before that my enemy changed his name frequently. “Is he tall, red-haired...?”
“It is him, then. So I’ll be taking a leave of absence and heading to the church for a while. I haven’t had a fight in almost two hundred years, and I don’t intend to start now.”
“I’m sorry I led him here,” I whispered.
I couldn’t decipher the look he gave me – regret, concern? He turned and left, and as much as I wanted to call out after him, I would have woken the entire dormitory if I had. I considered climbing down.
“Rose?” A hushed voice behind me made me turn, holding the sword firmly behind my back. Cornelia stood there in her nightdress, staring at me. “Were you talking to someone?”
“No... I just felt stuffy, and I needed some fresh air.”
“You’re not supposed to be out of bed,” she chided.
I managed a smile. “You’re preaching the rules now?”
She smiled too. “Go back to bed before you wake anyone else.”
“All right. I’ll be there in a moment – I’ll just close the window.”
I lingered over it, making sure she was gone and her curtains were drawn before I slipped back to bed and hid my sword again.
Chapter 9: Slow Day by whitequeen
“What under the canopy is wrong with you today?” Cornelia demanded, leaning across from her desk to me.
“Nothing,” I replied, a bit more sharply than I intended. I’d been lost in thought and planning, and hadn’t properly caught half the things she’d said to me all day. I couldn’t really blame her for being annoyed. School things had faded into something less than important, but I realised that it wouldn’t do to let people know that, so I took a breath. “Sorry. Didn’t sleep very well.”
“I noticed,” Cornelia responded dryly, but relented. “You know,” she said, with a wicked glint in her eye, “if you’re suffering from insomnia, you should probably go and see Matey. She’ll sort you out.”
I shook my head vigorously, and she laughed. She was thinking, no doubt, of Matron’s noxious potions. Those I could take – but right now I could do without being imprisoned in San under the nose of a woman who never slept, according to what the girls had told me.
We straightened in our seats and stopped talking as the Maths mistress entered the room, her arms full of papers, which she put down on the desk and sorted. She picked some of them back up and began to distribute them. Our last Prep exercises. Perfect, just what I needed, another rant about my lack of mathematical skills – but instead, as she approached me and handed back my work, she smiled.
“Good work, Rose. You’ve improved.”
As I looked, shocked, at a paper that contained ticks instead of scrawls, Corney winked at me from her place.
The rest of the day seemed slow. Lessons, a short walk since the rain had – briefly – stopped, meals, prep, dancing in Hall. Bed. I would have gone then, but it occurred to me that one needed some kind of light in order to fight effectively, and I needed any advantage I could get. So I waited, timing it between too early for light and too late to get out before anyone woke up, and made ready to sneak out.
Chapter 10: Waiting by whitequeen
I made the bed and replaced the floorboard exactly before I left, and wore the long coat that was not exactly uniform. It was, of course, raining again.
I looked in the direction of the church as I walked, but didn’t go there. One way or another, this had to end. I had decided to go to the San. If he wasn’t there, this early, I would wait. No doubt he would turn up eventually. I wondered what had prompted him to take the identity of a doctor. Adam did it to help mortals, futile as that sounded to those like us. I knew this “Dr. McCarthy” didn’t care about mortals at all, so it seemed an odd choice.
As I neared the San I wondered what they at the school would think when they discovered I had gone. How long would it take them to realise I was nowhere on the school grounds, not playing some kind of prank or stealing away for time alone? They would probably look for me, and then consult my “uncle” before trying to contact the parents I had invented. The parents would prove impossible to find, and if I lost here, so would the uncle, I guessed. I wondered just how far they would take the search before giving up.
My teacher, Duncan MacLeod, always told me not to go into a fight thinking about losing. If you did that, he said, you’d already lost. So I tried to dismiss that line of thinking, and instead considered – if I won – just how furious they’d be with me when and if I went back. And how I would explain it.
It was typical that I had started actually learning something of maths just before I ended up leaving.
I looked at the San through the haze of early morning light and rain, and when I was close enough, I sensed Immortal presence. I knew it wasn’t Adam, so this was it. No waiting. It didn’t take long before he came out.
We retreated some distance from the San, where we wouldn’t be seen or disturbed. He took off his white coat and tossed it aside, swinging his blade in both hands.
Chapter : Swords by whitequeen
When you look like a teenager, other Immortals usually have one of two reactions. They think you need to be protected and try to take on your battles, or they think you must be weak and try to take your head. This has its advantages, although neither is quite correct. I may look seventeen, but I have killed.
I wondered what Cornelia would think if she knew that.
McCarthy grinned at me across our impromptu battlefield. “You kept me waiting long enough.”
“I’m here now. Are you going to fight, or blather?”
Without another word, he charged, and the next few moments were lost in a blaze of clashing swords and sparks. McCarthy was strong, I knew that from our last encounters. I was just trying to avoid being killed, and barely getting any strikes in myself. He slashed, and I broke away and behind a tree to catch my breath. My heart pounded.
“Running away again?” he yelled.
If I did that, this would never end, and he’d be following me forever. I took a moment, and pushed myself back out for round two.
How long we fought for this time, I couldn’t tell, but somehow I found the strength to keep going, and McCarthy had stopped his jibes and was quiet apart from the occasional grunt. It was a deadly dance, where the slightest misstep would have fatal consequences.
The last few moments of the fight happened as if time was moving through treacle. McCarthy lunged at me. I threw myself out of the way. He stumbled. I took my chance – and his head.
The world stood still. I stared at him lying on the wet ground. I hadn’t noticed, but the rain had stopped.
I knew what was coming, and although I had no desire to take the essence of McCarthy into myself, I had no choice but to let it happen. Thunder rolled in the sky, and the first bolt of lightning flashed.
Chapter 12: Quickening by whitequeen
The Quickening – the power that some of us craved, and that sent others crazy. To anyone else, it looked like the mother of all storms, but each flash of lightning slammed directly into my body, bringing with it all of McCarthy’s knowledge and experience, and that of everyone he had killed.
In the end, there can be only one. One Immortal with the power and knowledge of us all.
When it ended I was lying on the ground too, totally drained. I pulled in a breath that felt like my first, and opened my eyes. I became aware that there was another Immortal near. Adam was standing there.
“If you’re looking for a fight, you’ll have to wait,” I gasped.
He didn’t even smile, but he did come and help me up.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have left it to you.”
I shook my head. “It was my fight.” I was starting to recover and stand without wavering. “I’m just glad it’s over at last.”
“You know...” Adam said quietly, looking at me, “I’m almost sorry I pretended to be your uncle.”
I wasn’t sure what to say to that, but I was saved from having to answer by the distant barking of a dog.
“Oh, hell,” he said, “the search party. What’s your excuse?”
“For running away from school, of course.”
“Um... I hadn’t exactly thought that far ahead,” I admitted.
“Come on!” He grabbed my hand and ran with me, stopping only long enough for me to pick up my coat from where I’d thrown it during the fight. We dodged trees and puddles, ending up back at the San.
“You obviously came to visit me,” he informed me, “and got caught in the storm. So I put you to bed. In any case, you’ll have to change.”
I looked down at myself. He was right. Aside from being drenched and muddy, there was blood on my clothes from wounds that had already healed. That was another explanation I didn’t fancy. Luckily, we didn’t pass anyone; he scanned the corridor and hurried us into an empty room.
He would have to leave, to intercept whoever was searching for me from the school and give them our story – and I hoped they’d believe it, although they’d certainly never believe the truth – but, well, we had a little time before that...
Chapter 13: True Chalet Girl by whitequeen
“How are you feeling?” Cornelia looked the picture of concern as she crept into San under Matron’s watchful eye.
“Much better,” I told her. In fact I was bored to tears, having had to pretend to be sick as a result of being out in the storm. They had let me back to the Chalet School, but only this far, and I still had at least another day of this to come. I’d even prefer maths to this.
“I’ve brought you the latest Lavender book,” said Corney, sitting down on the chair by my bed.
“Lavender?” I asked.
“Oh, where have you been? They’re mighty good books. I can’t believe you’ve never read one.” Then she looked at me, considering. “Actually, since it’s you, I kind of can.”
“Thanks,” I laughed. I took the book and flicked through it. Well, why not. It was better than staring at the ceiling.
“Rose, why did you run away?” she asked, more serious. “Was it because of the uniform thing and having to do mending and all that? If so, I’m awful sorry to have got you into it. I wish I’d never thought of the idea.”
“Oh, no! It wasn’t that at all.” I cast around for some kind of excuse. “I was... I suppose I was a bit homesick and I just wanted to see someone who was family. Corney, you haven’t been blaming yourself all this time, have you?”
“Well, you’d better stop it right now. It wasn’t your fault at all. It was silly of me to go. I thought the rain had stopped.” She looked unconvinced, and I repeated, “It wasn’t anything to do with you, and that was pretty crazy, but it was funny seeing everyone in the wrong clothes.”
Cornelia relaxed, and grinned. “Well, I guess you’ve paid for it all right. You do look better, though. So you really weren’t trying to leave the school for good?”
I shook my head and smiled back at her, as Matron walked over to tell her that her visit had been long enough.
“I’d never do that,” I told her. “I’m glad I came to the Chalet School.”
And – which surprised me – I really was.
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