The Art of Losing
Written by: Daisy and Regan
Created by: Daisy, Regan, and Merle
"Longer than anyone can remember, girls have been our enemy. Ever since the boy called Numbuh Four failed to defeat the girly tyrant Madame Margaret, girls have ruled the world." This is an account of the 75 year war and those it affected.
A/N: Prepare for insanity. And many chapters, cameos, guns, and hats.
Before we get started with this epic of angsty proportions, we'd like to say a few "thank yous" and shout out to practically everyone in the KND community. First and foremost comes Scone... for not only being a fabulous beta, but for s whining for more /s inspiring us to finally sit down and write this thing after nearly a year of stalling. Val of course for loving the plot no matter how lame it was (and for thinking up a good title when the best that the rest of us could do was "AnGstFEst: tHE BND sTOry"). Finally, Rotodisk and Momo were big BND-junkies and motivators as well, so thank you all!
We of course do not own KND. We simply borrow it and spin it like a top.
The bedroom looked irresistibly sweet, its hushed lights barely illuminating the stuffed Rainbow Monkeys that stood watch over a tiny bed. The beams just touched the exquisite china set with a real working teapot as it sat daintily in a corner underneath a tier of dolls dressed in pink and white, their smiles perfect and eyes blank. And she was alone again. Seated on the floor, Margaret Rita leaned her small frame against the foot of her bed and folded her arms tightly, hate and resentment radiating from her nine-year-old eyes. She hated Them so much. She hated her brothers. She hated the other boys that they brought home to play. She hated how they were so big and stupid and mean to her: telling her to go to her room, forcing her to bring them sodas and cookies, making fun of her glasses, the mole on her left cheek, her pretty dresses.
Why couldn't they be like her classmates at Miss Elizabeth's School for Girls? she wondered bitterly for the gazillionth time. Eric and Bobby had been that way for forever and ever, and she knew, knew, knew that it was because they were dirty stinky boys. All boys were like that. Margaret crawled on her hands and knees over to her china set and set the teapot on its plastic stove top. Her parents didn't understand. They were just dumb adults who used words like 'sibling rivalry' and 'boys will be boys.'
"Boys are STUPID," she bit out angrily, fighting back tears and telling herself over and over again that she would not cry because she was a nice, pretty girl and girls weren't supposed to cry. Instead, she sniffed haughtily and removed the teapot, carefully pouring out the imaginary Victorian Spiced tea into white four cups. "I wish they'd all just go away forever!"
Without warning a blinding light exploded in the far corner of the room. Leaping back with a start, Margaret swallowed a shriek and nearly dropped the teapot, saved only by the Grace and Poise classes she had received from Cherry Love Rainbow Monkey last week. The light receded and she was left clutching the china, glasses quivering on the edge of her long nose as she stared at the adult that had somehow appeared near her tier of dolls. The woman was massive, wide shoulders held high and proud. Margaret couldn't help but wonder at how she seemed to fill the entire room, invading the space not only with her enormous girth but also with the unwavering air of authority that seemed to hang about her like the cape that fell smoothly from her shoulders.
"Why hello, Margaret." The broad face wrinkled into a smile, and Margaret felt her muscles tense. She wondered where the lady came from and how she'd gotten there. She hadn't seen her come through the door. For a moment she considered running for help, but remembered that Bobby and Eric were the only ones in the house and they would never come to her rescue.
So instead she bit her lip and stood her ground. "What do you want?"
"Just to see you, my dear."
Margaret wrinkled her nose in confusion. Why would the lady want to see her? Only her?
"Are you the only one here?" The woman's very pink dress trailed behind her as she took a step forward. She glanced around the tidy room and gestured toward the abandoned tea set with the funny staff that she held. "Is there nobody else to join your tea party?"
"No." Margaret began to shake her head before she thought better of it and nodded instead. "Well, I mean yes. There's my brothers." The little girl pulled a face and pouted slightly. "But they'll never come."
"My dear, sweet girl," the lady cooed, extending her arm and lightly brushing the side of Margaret's cheek. "How sad and lonely you must be with all of these boys around you." With that simple gesture, Margaret felt the lump of fear begin to melt away, the tight knot of uncertainty starting to unravel. No one had ever talked to her like that before. No one had ever cared. But this lady… could this lady actually understand? Awed, she blinked up at the large woman from behind her thick glasses.
Brown eyes trailed over her large, heavy hands as the little girl studied her newfound confidant: large dark moles, deep wrinkles, rows of gold-plated rings and pink stones sunk in around the meaty folds of her fingers as though they had been greedily swallowed up whole by the hungry flesh. She was such a strange lady. So purposeful yet so proper and wonderful at the same time. And she understood. "Who are you?" Margaret ventured to ask.
"Ah. Yes, that is one thing I didn't mention. You see, I am you seventy six years from now."
Margaret was suddenly and unmistakably reminded of the time when she had been merrily riding her Huffy three speed through the grass, only to discover that the gravel road was not in fact a bike route, but a path that lead straight into the park pool. "What?"
"There will be plenty of time for me to help you build an army and prepare for the upcoming war, but that will be unimportant for several years to come. For now, you are to concentrate your efforts on running St. Rita's Boarding School for Girls. It will be the front for the main operation until you are ready to move forward on a global scale."
It had been very wet. The boys doing back flips into the deep end had laughed at her. "What?"
"'What?' Margaret, I do wish you wouldn't say that. If you are to become an icon for girls everywhere, you should learn some manners." If she noticed the young girl's vacant expression, she ignored it and instead reached into the smart pink valise that rested just a few feet away near the forgotten tea table.
Margaret tried to grasp for some vague understanding of the woman's strange instructions, failed, and instead settled for merely peering at the two items that she pulled from the suitcase. One was a fairly uninteresting metal box of dull grey. Several knobs and a large speaker jutted out from its top, and it must have been fairly heavy since the lady seemed to have such trouble setting it on the floor. The other thing was far more interesting: it looked like a pogo stick that the makers of My Little Pony had gotten their hands on. A long white stick the size of her arm seemed to have been rammed through a large pink heart and topped off with a long, silky pony tail at its end.
"This-" To her delight, Margaret found the device placed into her small hands. "-Is a Girlifier Rifle. In the future you will reproduce and improve upon this primitive version, but until that day, guard it, use it, and remember what it stands for."
Distracted momentarily by the gun's shiny smooth plastic body, she ran her hands along its sides before realizing that she seemed to be missing something Very Very important again. "What does it do?"
"It transforms dirty, smelly boys into lovely little girls."
"Margaret, what have we said about saying 'what?" the woman asked, her deep, throaty voice taking on a slightly hostile edge. "Is any of this getting through to you?"
Grasping the riffle to her chest, she derived some comfort from its solidity and wished that the lady would go back to making her feel better rather than babbling over her head about things she couldn't comprehend. Her future? An army? War? She didn't doubt that the lady was telling the truth, but it all seemed so dark and complicated; perhaps she would let her go back to her tea and dolls and things she knew. "No…" She shook her head slightly tightened her grip on the gun. "Do I… have to do it? I don't know if I should."
A moment of silence past between them, broken only by quiet creaks and Margaret shifted her weight uncomfortably and by the lady's heavy breathing. Finally she took a deep breath and Margaret felt her eyes staring directly into hers, squinting and narrowed behind the lady's own extravagant glasses. "Do you want a boy-free world?"
The rifle dropped to the floor with loud clatter. "Yes," she whispered.
"Good, my dear. Then it's settled."
She tried desperately to remember all of the directions that the lady had given her, but all she could recall were confusing bits and pieces. Starting a boarding school. Girlifying boys. "What should I do?"
"Prepare yourself to become the leader of the female race!" This wasn't quite the answer Margeret was expecting, but she didn't have time to argue. The lady unexpectedly turned away from her, raised her staff, and jabbed a button on the grey box with it. A haze of pinks and lavenders rushed out to completely surround the older woman, distorting her wide figure. Margaret gasped and danced back, nearly tripping over the discarded rifle. "I'm leaving you this time machine," she called out from the brightness. "I shall be in touch with you through it. Don't worry, Margaret, I will send you new instructions and more help soon enough. Remember: a boy-free world."
The older Margaret watched as her younger self bobbed her head slightly, paused, and then nodded once more with newfound determination. "A boy-free world. A boy-free world." The muttered chant drifted to her ears, and as a smile stretched across the little girl's face, she met it with a matching one of her own. It was set.
The wall of mist had become completely solid by this point, blocking out all light and sound save for the steady buzz coming from the surrounding haze. She began to hum "It's a Small World After All" quietly, tapping her long nails impatiently on her ceremonial staff. The wait between time transfers was so long and tedious. It was a pity that none of her girls had ever worked out how to improve upon the time machine. Its creator was unknown: Margaret had always assumed that she herself had built the device. Yet she had never actually had the need to construct one, having kept the original gift ever since her future self had bequeathed it to her seventy-six years earlier. The time machine was just another piece of cosmic jetsam, an unexplainable time paradox captured between two points in history.
And the cycle had finally been completed now that she'd passed the machine back to her long-forgotten child counterpart. She frowned thoughtfully and graciously smoothed back a loose strand of silver hair. The child seemed too submissive. Too frustrated and confused to build a vast army. She might have to send back a few of her own girls and weapons to help her with the foundations. "It's a Small World" blended roughly into "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and Margaret tried to remember a time long, long ago when she had been so meek and mild-mannered.
Margaret stirred slightly, surprised to find the time trip over already. Her nearsighted eyes were greeted with the familiar sight of high castle walls, spotless white marble that half-contrasted, half-blended with the wide counters of white control panels that stretched across the walls. Her girls were hard at work: luscious blondes, wistful brunettes, and bright redheads sat in their pink leather chairs, spread evenly along the consoles as they diligently manipulated the sensitive equipment in a way that only girls could do.
"Madame Margaret?" the voice asked again, and she found herself looking down at a tanned and freckled young girl, her deep red hair curled under her pink headset. The older woman smiled, pale pink lips pressed together. The Fullbrights had always served the cause well. "Madame, the tracker you placed on Sally Sanban is on line and operational. We should be at her coordinates in a few moments."
"Very good, dear. Prepare the Super Gilifier Canon and wait for my command." The girl's eyes gleamed with pride and she curtsied, sharp elbows bent awkwardly out and soft hands grasping fistfuls of her sleek dress. Margaret merely nodded in return. How long ago had it been when she could curtsy that well? When she could hold tea parties and flash white smiles without having to worry about cracked dentures or loose fillings?
Time was not something that she could recall easily; the years seemed to blend together, congealing neatly into one age that could be set aside and labeled as "The War." The world's history was a jumbled mess that she'd had to sort out. Traveling back sixty years to tug on a string here. Jumping back thirty five to tidy up a problem there. Soldiers and technology may have changed, but girls were still as victorious as ever, and boys just as stupid as they had been back when she would hide from them behind locked bedroom doors.
They refused to accept their fate and surrender to the superior side. Well, all of their efforts would soon be drawn to a close. Wallabee Beetles' ragtag army of ingrates and rebels would join the glorious female race, and any evidence that there had once been boys on this planet would be stamped out for good. Through wide glass windows she could see a solitary cardboard box marking the entrance to the enemy's underground base, a ragged and dirt-stained flag reading "BND" hanging sadly beneath a sullen sky.
Margaret straightened her shoulders and raised her chin, feeling her life's work finally gathering to its climax. Around her, the hoards of obedient girls watched with eager expressions and perfect posture, their matching uniforms gleaming in the soft light, their hands poised and ready above the controls linked to the gun turrets. All eyes were on her as she took a deep breath and reached for the AV Unit.
"Oh boys?" Her magnified voice sliced across deserted fields and abandoned, broken toys. "Come out and play!"