A/N: This is a kink meme de-anon. Yep, I went here, and nope, you do not need prior knowledge of the source material to understand the jokes. Also, I am not British, but I did do research into their schooling system, so please forgive any mistakes.
So please read, review and most importantly enjoy :3
My father and I drove onto the main street of a rather small town around noon. It was cloudy out, but with having driven in from London that was hardly a deterrent to my mood. My father was doing his best to remain optimistic, the poor dear, which made sense considering he'd lived with his brothers since they were born and he was finally embarking on his own. "Aziraphale dear," he murmured after we'd stopped at a red light, "I do hope you're not upset? Please don't be, I couldn't bear it if you were."
I chuckled a little. He'd been asking me that question since we'd left London. "Yes, I'm fine, I assure you. Lower Tadfield can't be that terrible, I'm sure, and regardless, it was only a matter of time before Uncle Uriel accidentally killed one of us."
He laughed a little at the good-natured jab towards his younger brother. "The house we're getting is nice," he said, still smiling even as he steered the topic away from my uncles, "but it's not as big as the one we had. I hope you don't mind. I really don't." He babbles when he's anxious, so I reached out and squeezed his hand, hoping to assuage his nerves at least a little. Normally he's not quite so fluttery, but I suppose we all get like that occasionally.
"There's only the two of us now, so we don't need a large house. Don't worry about me, please. As long as there's room for my books, then I'm fine." I knew he felt guilty that he'd bought the house without even asking for my input, but he'd been in a hurry at the time and it was hard to hold anything against him. He was just so sweet. He was also a bit of a doormat, but defending him was part of my job.
He coloured tellingly. "There is room for your books," he admitted, "but, ah… do you mind sleeping on the couch?"
The house was on the outskirts of Lower Tadfield, a decent size and on a large lot with far-away neighbours. Despite his worries about us fitting in it, it did have a den which held about a third of my collection – rare Bibles, primarily, but I did dabble in some 17th century literature, although not being able to grow money on trees made acquisition difficult – and the rest got piled into my bedroom as orderly as I could manage. He tried to help me, bless his heart, and while he had plenty of experience with Bibles, I have my ways of organisation and he has his and they don't always mesh well.
As I put them away, though, it occurred to me how little I knew about my own father. He'd actually been a priest before I came along, although he refused to tell me if I was biologically his, or if he'd adopted me, and he never mentioned a female partner that could have theoretically conceived me. I didn't even know what religion my father had practiced in; he was insistent to raise me as free from organized religion as possible, although obviously I'd adopted a Christian leaning if only because it's hard to read as many Bibles as I have without one. I'd heard him refer to himself as a priest, yes, but that meant very little considering how many religions have priests. I supposed it made sense, though, considering how my father was rather quiet compared to his three brothers, especially his eldest, and he and I didn't get to bond terribly much.
It gave me a bit more excitement to be here, honestly. Yes, we'd moved rather quickly from a large city to what could almost be called a village, and I was going to have to start at a brand new school where theoretically everyone knew each other and thus I would be either gawked at or isolated and ignored, but I was going to get to know my father better. This could be an adventure, if I could look at it like that!
Little did I know that it was going to be an adventure whether I wanted it to be or not.
Lower Tadfield High had one hundred attending students, ages five to seventeen. As both the primary and secondary school with training for A-levels and pre-University, it was fairly large, but the fact that it was the only school in the area made it seem rather small, as I knew that back in London such a class size would have been just primary school, or secondary, etcetera. I, being sixteen, was enrolled in Year 12, to prepare for my A-levels.
I think. I'd actually been home-schooled back in London – my uncle Gabriel was a professor at UCL – and the whole education system was a bit baffling to me. I decided to cross my fingers and hope for the best.
My father had lent me his 1940 Austin as my mode of transportation to and from the school, which I considered a great honour. He never told me where he got it – I made a mental note to ask him – but he treasured it, and it was the only car I'd ever seen him drive. That I got to use it meant he trusted me to not destroy it, and I was determined to not break that trust. So I drove to school going exactly the speed limit, parked away from the other vehicles, and hoped that it would be all right in the parking lot.
The main office of Lower Tadfield High was terribly kitschy – the door to the principal's office was actually strings of beads, which I didn't think existed outside of 1960s America – while every surface in the front office had either photos of women in nun habits or finger paintings from children. I nearly went blind. "Hello dear, how can I help you? Oh wait, I know, you simply must be the new girl, Aziraphale Swan, and oh it is so nice to meet you! Your father is doing such a wonderful thing for us, you know, finally giving our hospital a full-time surgeon!" The woman behind the desk – friendly and obviously rather chatty – was beaming at me as she stood up. "I mean, I'm a nurse as well, I worked in the hospital for a long time, and I can tell you that it's just so cumbersome to have to send people all the way to London for something that it would be just so nice to fix here, you know?"
"Yes," I said, although I didn't, not really.
"Oh, bless me for being an idiot, where are my manners?" She held out one gloved hand, which I shook. No sense in being terrified just yet, surely this woman was the craziest that this town had to offer. "I'm Si – Ms Hodges; I almost said Sister, although I haven't been a Sister in decades! I'm now the secretary here at the school in the morning and the nurse in the afternoons, so if you have any questions, you'll come to ask me. Regardless, dear, here's your schedule – you'll find that the rooms are clearly marked, so you oughtn't to have any trouble getting around. There's also a list of faculty members, even the ones you don't have. Have a wonderful first day of school, and try not to get eschewed!"
I ran, clutching the piece of paper. I admit it, I was a coward, but Ms Hodges' lack of shutting up freaked me out.
I took a better look at my schedule: Literature, Maths, Biology, Citizenship, lunch, Communications, physical education, and Latin. I sighed in relief; quite a few of my Bibles were in Latin, and my grasp of the language was likely beyond anything the school taught. Literature would be easy too, maths less so. My uncle Gabriel may be a history professor, but he loves literature almost as much as my father does. Uncle Uriel was surprisingly good at maths, but he also hadn't been the one teaching me anything. I had no idea what Citizenship and Communications were really all about. Physical education, er, was not going to be so pleasant. But I'd live.
I sighed and walked to my first class, ignoring all the stares of the people now bustling about the hallways. Even the little ones recognized me as the outsider I was, which made me feel even more anxious than I had before. Charming, really. I avoided looking at them by glancing over the faculty list – principal Madame Tracey Potts-Shadwell was apparently the wife, or a relative, of Sergeant Shadwell (or, actually, no other name was given, so was Shadwell his first name or his surname? Was Sergeant a title or his first name? Peculiar), who taught physical education. Mr Tyler taught Citizenship, Ms Device taught Literature, Mr Pulsifer taught Communications, Mr Hastur taught maths, Mr Ligur taught biology, and Ms Nutter taught Latin.
Ms Device was, thankfully, markedly more sane-appearing than Ms Hodges had been, which prompted me to give a sigh of relief. Since I was right on time, she introduced me to the class and bade me sit next to Adam. Adam thankfully waved his hand so I knew who he was. He was sitting at the end of the row, an empty seat to his right and a young woman with bright red hair and freckles to his left. Next to her was a nice-looking brunette boy who clearly needed a bath, and beside him was another nice-looking nerdy-appearing blond boy.
I leave Adam for last because he was by far the most striking. His hair was fair and curled, much like my uncle Michael's except even lighter, and his eyes were clear and large, skin perfect; he was utterly the most gorgeous man – boy, he was my age, not a man yet - I'd ever seen. I, blushing profusely, sat next to him. Oh goodness, I'd never acted this way around boys before! But there was something about him that made me want to fling myself at him.
It also turned out that Adam was incredibly friendly. He introduced me to his friends – Pepper, Brian and Wensleydale – and he didn't stop talking from there, even during class, which was all right with me because we were reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and I hate James Joyce with a passion. By the end of the class, I knew who everyone in our grade was, a bit of gossip about their pastimes, and that I had a new group of friends.
All in all, my first day of school was excellent.
Discord showed up in the form of a rather handsome young man with an attitude problem and an automotive fetish. We met in a gas station, actually. I was filling up my father's Austin -
"1940. An actual 1940."
I startled, nearly dropping the gas nozzle, and looked at the one who had spoken. He was wearing sunglasses during this cloudy midday, but he was most assuredly staring at the car. His own car, an older black model (what is with this boy and black? He's head-to-toe in black and even his car…) was parked improperly, as if he'd hastily done so. He was prowling around my father's Austin, eyebrows furrowed.
"You're being awfully rude," I informed him flatly, not amused and feeling slightly violated.
"How'd you keep her so healthy?" the boy asked, not looking up at me. "She's a bit worn out but most of her peers have been scrapped by now."
This was by far the oddest conversation I'd had in a long time… or at least barring the one with Ms Hodges this morning. "The car was a gift to my father. He's always very meticulous with everything he does." I had to add: "But the car is an Austin, so he's a male."
Finally we made eye contact – or, at least I think we did, given that he was wearing those tinted glasses. "How much do you want for her?"
"He is not for sale."
His scowl deepened. "You don't understand. I collect these kinds of cars. She'd be in good hands. Name your price."
"He is not for sale," I repeated, trying to remember any and all self-defence lessons I'd learned over the years.
We stared at each other for a good couple of seconds before he hastily sauntered back to his own car and sped off. I watched him drive away, wondering about how twisted his knickers were, but didn't think much more of it.
That is, until the next morning when I woke up to a bouquet of (rather terrified) roses on my doorstep with a business card from Anthony J. Crowley, once again requesting the purchase of my car. I threw the roses into the garbage and went to school.
The next morning there was a large box of chocolates and another request. I ate the chocolates and threw the request in the garbage.
The third morning there was another box of chocolates, some gourmet teas, and another request. I took the tea, ate the chocolates, and threw out the request.
The fourth morning there was nothing. Relieved, I drove to school slowly, hoping that Anthony had gotten the hint. When he walked into my Literature class with a smirk on his face, and the teacher introduced him as the newest student, I realized that he really, really hadn't.
Great. I had a stalker.
"Oh this is complete bollocks," I informed him, irritated. "You have your own business card, and you were clearly not in school beforehand. You're not a teenager. What are you doing here?"
He was still wearing those bloody sunglasses, and I vaguely wondered if he had some sort of eye impairment. He smirked, and I could feel the blood boiling in me. "Whatever are you talking about? I transferred here just this week. I'm sixteen years old."
Adam leaned over from the other side of me, and I was too irritated at Anthony to even blush. "Hey, another new person, huh? We don't get a lot of new people here. For a while I thought it was kind of cool but now I think that I like the place small, so don't keep bringing people here with you!" He grinned. "But you can stay. I'm Adam, by the way, Adam Young."
Anthony merely nodded to him. "Crowley."
"Ooooo he's too cool for his first name," Pepper drawled. I honestly liked her, even if she was a bit high energy for my tastes. I believe in equality, yes, but I also don't assume everyone is talking down to me. At least I'd like to think I don't. But maybe that makes me not a feminist? It's all quite complicated, and for obvious reasons we didn't really discuss feminism in my house. Still, Pepper was nice to me even if she did encourage me to be more assertive.
Wensleydale, whose actual name is apparently Jeremy, merely huffed. Although I don't know if Wensleydale is even any part of his name, let alone his last one. It shall remain a mystery, methinks.
At that point Ms Device chided us for chatting, and I stopped talking but continued seething. Just what was going on here? Was this Anthony Crowley completely insane? How did he manage to get enrolled in a school when he was fairly obviously older than us? And why even bother, when he knew where I lived and - wait, that was a good point, how did he know where I lived? Should I inform the police - was he dangerous? My father was incredibly trusting and I did not want him hurt because some psychotic boy wanted an old car.
I didn't pay attention to the rest of class as I was pondering what to do. I ultimately decided that I would discuss the issue with my father - maybe he knew the Crowley family and could better pinpoint exactly what, if anything, this man was capable of. I would not irritate Anthony, just in case he was dangerous. I would not, I would not, I would not…
"So, did you know that the full-gathered skirt went out of fashion fifty years ago?" he asked after class, smirking.
I kicked him in the kneecap and walked out.
Lunch time turned into a gossip session, which was the case for most lunch times, but more so today. Adam, Pepper, Wensley, Brian and I ate lunches together - honestly, I don't know what I would have done without the four of them! - and Brian and Adam were two boys big into conspiracy theories. The prior day the two of them had continued on, despite multiple attempts to change the topic, about the idea that Ms Device might be a witch. Today they were much more interested in the presence of Anthony.
"A mysterious transfer student? He's probably a mutant," said Adam brightly. "Usually they are."
"Or a robot," Brian agreed. "But the sunglasses make me think he might be a Cyclops."
Adam scoffed at that. "If he were a Cyclops his glasses would have only one lens," he said, and I didn't have the heart to point out how counterproductive that would be. "Robot's more likely. Or an Esper, or a time-traveller." He looked at me. "Haruhi?"
"Bless you," I said.
He turned back to the others. "It'd be like that. I'm Haruhi, obviously."
It was Brian's turn to scoff. "Are not. I'm the one who said this bloke wasn't human. You're Mikuru."
"Pepper's clearly Mikuru just like Wensley's obviously Itsuki…"
And they continued on in this vein for about half of lunch, until finally they agreed that Adam was Haruhi and Brian was Kyon. I ended up being Mikuru because my breasts are larger than Pepper's. And if you understood any of that, I'm not sure if I envy you or pity you.
Thus the topic returned to the new boy. Wensleydale was most concerned with Anthony's sunglasses being allowed during the school day despite being rejected by the dress code. Pepper thought he was sexy but too cocky for her tastes.
I asked if they thought he was dangerous, and they all thought I was joking. That did make me feel better about the entire situation.
That night I woke up to use the loo and happened to glance out my window. Prowling around my poor auto was a lithe man in black, wearing sunglasses. Scowling, I grabbed the closest blunt object to me – a Bible – and marched outside, yes in my pyjamas.
"You poor thing," he was cooing, "you don't know what you're misssssing. Your petrol is subpar, your bumper is sssscratched and you have a chip in your windshield! You don't really want to stay here, do you? I'll take good care of you-"
He didn't notice me approaching, and I didn't take the time to announce my presence before slamming that book into the back of his head. Now, I am by no stretch of the imagination very strong. That being said, he went down like a sack of bricks, ironically denting the door. I was about to point this out to his unconscious form when I noticed that the back of his head was bleeding and sizzling.