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Author's Chapter Notes:
This is the last post, but I have a feeling that Lucy is a character who may insist upon returning at some stage, so we will have to see ! Thank you all for such a lot of encouragement and clearly enjoying this AU / Future Universeas much as I enjoyed creating it. The CS Encyclopedia says she was crisp in her movements, and I thought they lived near. Taverton, but I could be wrong, in which case apologies for red herrings !

Len frowned, then her expression cleared. "Peggy! Peggy Burnett! Now I can see it I don't know why it wasn't obvious from the start!"

"Talk sense, Len." Con retorted "We haven't seen her for nearly 40 years after all. We all lost touch when she left. If you remember, it was just after Mamma died."

Lucy was now starting to wonder if she was dreaming. These people knew her Great Aunt Peggy? She often heard the phrase that it was a small world, but now she understood it first hand. She didn't quite know what to say, other than to nod when asked outright whether she was related to Peggy Burnett.

"Yes, she was Grandma Mary's sister..." She began, before being almost pounced on again.

"Mary ! Mary Burnett's granddaughter! Oh Rosalie would have been so pleased ! She said so often to me that she was sad she lost track of her cousins over the years. We all did... Oh this is wonderful! I can't believe that a Burnett has just wandered back all of a sudden!"

They grinned at her even more widely, and Lucy smiled nervously back especially after they mentioned possibly having their nappies changed by her grandmother. Lucy was only just coming to terms with her Grandma Mary's death, and it was confusing to have these strangers tell her things like that.

"How is she... Oh no wait, you said she WAS your grandma's sister. Has Peggy passed on?"

Lucy shook her head. "No, I meant Grandma - Grandma Mary died a couple of years ago. Aunty Peg is still alive, though she lives in Canada now, so we don't see her much."

Len looked at the girl and realised that in their enthusiasm they were overwhelming the child a bit. The discovery had just been such a surprise, and the Burnett sisters such a part of their family and school history, they hadn't been able to resist trying to find out all that they could.

"You must forgive us, my dear, we are just overexcited to hear about an old friend. Are you here to visit someone? Or maybe join the school?"

Lucy wasn't quite sure whether this counted as talking to strangers, but she decided that they clearly did know her family, so seemed harmless enough.

"My father is at the Sanatorium." She said, and they nodded, faces more serious all of a sudden.

"Well we must make sure that we catch up with your family, and get contact details for Peggy... Ooooh - and Kitty ? Kitty Burnett. I almost forgot. Is Kitty still alive?"

Lucy nodded, wondering quite what her father would think of all this enthusiasm. He wasn't hugely interested in family history, although he had mentioned that his eldest brothers were twins once, she remembered that. They were much much older than him, and he'd always described them as more like uncles than siblings really.

"Yes, it was her idea that we came out here when... when dad got his diagnosis." She replied politely. "Only she isn't Burnett any more, she's Kitty Ackroyd"

This sent them into a flurry of questions about whether a Jean Ackroyd was any relation of Kitty's husband, and Lucy was unable to help, although she did her best to think of any details she could.

She answered as well as she could, and plucked up courage to ask about some of the memorials she had seen, guessing that the Headmistress of the school must be likely to know at least a few of the names. In an unguarded moment she must have shown her concerns about having to go home while her father stayed here, since they looked significantly at each other and asked a few questions about how long he was expected to stay, and what their plans were.

Finally Lucy looked at her watch and made her excuses, saying that it was nearly the end of the visiting period, and her mother would be looking for her. They let her go most reluctantly, and only with promises that she pass their details on to her parents or her Aunts.

She wandered back along the road to the Sanatorium, lost in thought. She had only been looking for distraction, but it had ended up being a very interesting afternoon. This seemed to be a very interlocked, tightly woven community, much more so than the rather anonymous town they lived in back in England.

She looked at the houses she passed along the way, and wondered how many of the inhabitants knew and loved the people she had just been reading about. As she passed the garage with it's lone petrol pump, Jack Lambert looked up and grinned at her, and Lucy grinned back. She had found the answer to her him/her question, for Jacynth "Jack" Lambert was listed in one of the chapel fundraising panels as a former Chalet girl. Beside Jack a large St Bernard dog sat surveying the road. Lucy had seen the dog around, along with several other similarly marked St Bernards owned by various of the Platz inhabitants.

She saw the Sanatorium buildings coming up, put her headphones in and changed her track list to something a bit more upbeat. She was tired now, after nearly a full day exploring, but nicely so, feeling somehow encouraged by her afternoon. Although there were some real tragedies in the information she had seen, most of the people seemed to have been loved and remembered, and lived their lives to the full, even those cut shorter than average.

A few weeks later, she found that she had been suggested for a scholarship to the school, given to those with relatives in the San. Her parents were most bemused, since they couldn't think who could have put her forward for it, glad though they were for the opportunity. Lucy had her suspicions, and she often thought back to that afternoon wandering, especially once she settled into the school and learnt more of it's history.

She would always remember that day, walking among headstones, remembering strangers, and making up stories. Some of them had turned out to be correct, others miles from the truth, but each of those people lived on now in her memory, just as their descendants lived on in the chalets nearby, with offshoots of the Chalet School family all around the world.

A family even she was apparently a part of, which made her feel quite proud and somehow...safe.

The End

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