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Story Notes:
No prior romantic relationship. May move to mature depending on how the story progresses.
"It's been a long term" said Hilda, running a hand over her forehead, and looking with distaste at her pile of unanswered letters. She was clearly weighing up whether to get started on the correspondence now or not, and Nell stepped in firmly before she could settle on work rather than rest. 

"Oh no, you don't" she said, steering her friend out of the room. "The letters will be here when you get back, and Rosalie was very clear that she had done everything that was vital before next term. No, my dear, you are going to have a rest, this Christmas. You're looking far too pale.  

Hilda gave up her planned argument, and accepted the truth of Nell's words. It had been a difficult year, and with the war carrying on, and some shortages in various supplies, things were not likely to be much simpler next term. She did feel 'all in', and needed a break badly. Madge had invited her to stay with them, and she was due to go there the next day.

Hilda slightly wondered how restful a Christmas at The Round House would be, with all of the children around. She was glad of the invitation, and would enjoy it, but just momentarily she wished for a quiet, peaceful holiday. The last few breaks had been filled with moving the school from Guernsey, and dealing with all of the various issues involved with keeping the school going in wartime. 

She frowned as she realised that Nell had taken them past the staff room, past her own quarters, and was showing no signs of slowing down. 

"Just where are you going, may I ask?" she said, beginning to smile, despite herself, at Nell's purposeful look. 

She didn't reply, merely kept on going, finally stopping only when they reached one of the unused rooms on an upper floor. Hilda was most intrigued. What was Nell up to? 

They went in, and Hilda looked curiously around her. The room was cosily appointed with soft chairs, and she was surprised to see a fire in the grate and some tea making equipment in one corner. She turned to Nell with a questioning look, but her friend simply pointed towards a chair in front of the fire and sat down herself in a nearby one. She still said nothing about why they were there, but made it clear that she wasn't going to explain unless Hilda played along and sat down. 

As Hilda sat down, the comfort of the seat and warmth of the fire made her almost feel worse for a moment. She realised that she had been keeping going through sheer determined effort, and the prospect of stopping, of relaxing, was quite difficult to cope with. It felt as if she risked never being able to get her energy back if she stopped or slowed her pace at all. 

But the quiet of the room, the sounds from Nell getting up and then making a cup of tea, and the warmth of the fire were all starting to act on her, and she felt as if she just couldn't move, as if she could just stay there forever. 

Her friend made her way back, and gave Hilda her drink before settling down and relaxing back into the soft chair. 

"Thank you," said Hilda. "This is very nice, but what are we doing up here?"

Nell sipped her own cup and then put it down. 

"You are running yourself ragged, my dear, and you are not allowing yourself time to recover. I have made it my mission to stop you from being your own worst enemy."

Hilda started to open her mouth to ask how, but Nell put up a hand and continued. "This is the first step on my plan. The rest shall be revealed on a 'need to know basis'. Now just sit here quietly for a bit, and I will explain later."

Hilda laughed at the mock seriousness of Nell and decided that she had time to play along with this game, after all she could still go back to her correspondance later. 



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