deird1: Dawn looking at Spike, with text "badder than you" (Dawn badder than you)
[personal profile] deird1
(It's only taken me a month…)

This was written for [personal profile] curiouswombat, who requested Dawn and Andrew in a library: "either they have been magically sneaked in, or sneakily left behind, so there is only them, many thousands of books, a locked door, and midnight…"

This is what happened. I'm still not sure what it is.

Title Ex Librum
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1436

Summary: Finding the right book can be a challenge.



Ex Librum

The library was silent. Night-time had come and swept away noise, clamour, clutter, and light.

In its place was simply… library.

Hundreds of books on hundreds of shelves, looming off into distant shadows of stillness. Tables, now cleared; lamps, now unlit; counters, now empty. Nothing to disturb the quiet.

Dawn sighed, bored. “What do you think he’ll look like?”




There was noise in the library. And bright light, piercing the night with its sharp glow.

Against the rules.

If, indeed, the library had specific regulations concerning bright green balls of light on the tables after hours. If not, new rules could be arranged.

She watched, thoughtfully.

The young man was well dressed, but nervous. He was sitting on the table, feet positioned uncertainly on a nearby chair (filthy!), attempting to look relaxed and confident. And he was talking to himself.

“I think he’ll wear tweed, and have glasses.”

Then a pause, in which he shuffled his feet.

“Not exactly like him. I didn’t say British accent, did I?”

Another pause.

“But it’s classic librarian! Even look at Ghostbusters! All librarians–”

A pause.

“I’m just extrapolating from the traditional ideas, and as an anthropomorphic personification, he’d be really traditional. Anyway, that’s orangutan, not monkey.”




Andrew was so full of it.

“Orangutan, yeah. But you’re talking about a personification of a librarian – this is a personification of a library.” She shrugged. “Maybe he’ll have shelves.”

He stopped, looking intrigued. “And a filing system?”

“Sure.” She grinned. “Maybe he talks alphabetically, and has magic boots for retrieving books faster than lightning.”

There was a pointed cough, and a softly stern voice said, “Excuse me.”

They looked over. Dawn raised her eyebrows.

“Then again,” she said, “you could be right about the tweed and glasses.”




He looked at her, startled. “You’re a girl!”

Rather impertinent.

“Well, obviously – but you thought so too. You said–”

And curious how he could interrupt his own sentences.

“Yeah, but look at her.”

“My name,” she said calmly, “is Miss Glass.”

He frowned. “Really? I thought Miss Biblia, or… maybe Library Woman. You could have a theme song…”

He was wasting her time. “It is after hours,” she reminded him. “May I ask what you are still doing here?”

“We’re here to see you. I mean–” he paused. “You are the Locuima, right?”

Miss Glass frowned. “I am the librarian.”




Okay…

“Are you sure you’re not both?” Dawn asked.

Andrew wrinkled his forehead. “Both? If she’s just a librarian–”

“She can’t be. Look at her.”

He looked.

“No, seriously – look. She’s a hot librarian, right down to the sexy horn-rimmed glasses. You don’t see that, ever. She’s a walking stereotype!” She frowned. “Err… no offense.”

Miss Glass was still looking at Andrew. “Were you looking for a particular book?” she asked. “Search requests should really be put through during the day, but I can help you find it – if, that is, you will get down from there and cease bespoiling the furniture.”

She raised an eyebrow, pointedly. They blushed, and got off the table.

“Thank you. Now, what can I help you with?”

“Um, well, we need to go into L-Space to retrieve a mystical tome of epic power, and apparently we brave warriors should give the Locuima Libra the essence of the Key to access a portal into the deepest depths of uncertain night… and actually, Dawn’s better at explaining this than I am.”

She looked at him cautiously. “I’m sorry?”

“Um. Sorry. I get very – um. Dawn can explain.”

“Certainly. Who is Dawn?”

Dawn raised her hand. “That’s me. Andrew covered the main bits, though.”

Miss Glass was… looking at Andrew. Still. Dawn shifted uncomfortably.




The boy wasn’t answering. She waited, an expectant look on her face.

Still no reply.

At last, he frowned and said, “Um… you can hear her, right?”

“Hear whom?”

“…Dawn?” He gestured awkwardly to the green ball floating beside him. Its light rippled slightly, colours shifting.

“This light?” Miss Glass looked at it curiously. “What is it?”

“Oh. Um.”

The ball of light was rather pretty, in its way. Its greenish-blue flushed quickly pink and then back to greens, continually changing itself.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Vampires can see you – why wouldn’t sprites?”




“No idea.” Dawn crossed her arms. “Any chance we can figure this out when we’re not trying to stop an apocalypse?”

“Sure, but if you can’t talk to her–”

You can. Just… go light on the Middle-Earth references, okay?”

“Okay.” Andrew nodded, and turned to Miss Glass. “You’ve heard of the Tooth Fairy, haven’t you?”




Miss Glass sat and listened while the boy explained the history of anthropomorphic personifications, and the concept of winter having a soul, and theories of space-time and cracks therein, and how a single crack in the wrong place could disintegrate the whole thing, just like exhaust ports in the Death Star, no, forget the Death Star, the point was that someone needed to protect the world, even if in the analogy the world would be the Death Star, which would be bad, and anyway, epic quests were all very well and good, but you needed to know where you were going, and right now they were going to a book that had been lost in ancient Egypt, and who better to help them find a book than a library? or, well, a librarian, but anyway, didn’t she sometimes feel that maybe she was more than just a librarian, that maybe she had the mystical essence of the library building her soul – and even if she didn’t, they still needed the book, so could she help them?

Then he paused for breath.




Dawn raised an eyebrow. “That was pretty good.”

“Thanks.”

“Except you forgot the whole combining-our-essences thing. How is that supposed to work, anyway?”

“Oh… and my friend Dawn is this helpful magic light for… finding things. So you need to merge with her, and that’s supposed to help.”

The librarian looked confused.




Miss Glass felt uncertain. More uncertain than she’d felt since the Great Catalogue Re-sorting of ’86. This was ridiculous.

But…

“This lost book,” she said. “I assume it is not in our files?”

“It’s supposed to be from the Lost Library of Alexandria – so, no.”

“Ah.”

“But my friend Dawn can–”

“No,” she said firmly. “I cannot ‘combine my essence’ with a ball of light, floating notwithstanding. I am a human – not a chemical compound.”

“Actually, you’re technically the spiritual manifestation of the library’s very–”

No.” Her hands were shaking. “I am a librarian, plain and simple.”

The light flickered. The boy frowned at it. “That’s not really a polite question, is it?”

It glowed blue.

He turned back to her. “Dawn wants to know how old you are.”

“I am–”

Years.

So many years.

So many collections, so many exhibits, so many public readings, so many junior librarians…

So much that…

What…

But she…

The Great Re-Sorting of…

Of 1886.

How old was she?

She stared into the ball of light, which gazed back into her.




Light surged, shrank, flickered, filled the room.

The Library stood, and smiled. “Hey, Andrew.”




He blinked. “Dawn?”

“I am Library. I live in books and reading and beautiful silence of thought.” She raised an eyebrow, looking at him over her hot librarian glasses. “Didn’t you need a book?”

“Where’s Dawn gone?”

“The book, moron. Dawn can’t do this forever.”

He nodded, and turned. There was the library, shelves of scrolls between pillars, sun streaming in from across the river, scholars paused – standing still in glowing green.

Andrew looked thrilled. “Wow,” he whispered. “Better than a holodeck.”

He really was kinda cute.

The Library stood and watched as he scuttled across to the shelves, pondering the strangeness of time, the essence of being, the unity of realities, and the cuteness of Andrew. After world-saveage, they so had to watch dumb movies together again.

He walked back to her. “This is the one.”

“You are sure?”

“Well, Dawn would know better, but I’m pretty sure.”

“Great. Let’s go back.” She bowed. “Thank you, Andrew. This has been interesting to learn.”

He bowed back, as the light shuddered back into itself, dissolving Alexandria. “Thank you, O Library.”




The boy smiled at her, and held up the scroll. “Um… thanks. Again.”

She nodded. “You are welcome. I am always happy to help an eager reader locate a book. But please – make your future visits during our open hours.”

“Sure. Err… bye.” He left, the ball of light floating out with him.

Miss Glass frowned, puzzled. Then they closed the door behind them.

The library slept.


Date: 2011-03-09 12:38 am (UTC)
curiouswombat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] curiouswombat
Oh - I like it! Especially with the references to L Space!


Aaargh! I need my Key Icon but it is on LJ....

Date: 2011-03-09 12:56 am (UTC)
velvetwhip: (OTP)
From: [personal profile] velvetwhip
This is a super little tale!


Gabrielle

Date: 2011-03-09 01:42 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Dawn)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
This is bizarre but really neat. It took me a moment to figure out the shifting perspective. All the Discworld references cracked me up - I recognize them now! And the library personified as a hot young librarian who's maybe not as self-aware as she thinks is just perfect.

Also, the Dawn/Andrew shippy vibes amuse me.

Carry on!

Date: 2011-03-09 02:52 am (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I'm pretty sure I don't share this fandom, but the story made a fun read on its own. :D Thanks for posting it!

Date: 2011-03-09 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] dr_carrot
*bouncing with enthusiastic and totally geeky love of your fic*

Really good work, the voices in this are better than your previous one (not that they were not also good, but this is better). Particularly liked Miss Glass' voice, not only does she look like a stereotypical librarian, she also thinks and sounds like one. <3 the Great Catalogue Re-sorting of ’86.

Brilliant both in what you said (Miss Glass' thoughts, "Against the rules" & "If not, new rules could be arranged") and what you didn't say...all of those conversations without Dawn's side, where we can totally fill in the gaps regardless.

Honey you are one talented writer! Many hugs

Date: 2011-03-09 06:05 pm (UTC)
verity: spike and dawn: careful what you read (spike + dawn (careful what you read))
From: [personal profile] verity
Oh, I loved this! I can never get enough of Andrew&Dawn, and of course, libraries...

I really like how you write Dawn's Keyness, too.

Date: 2011-03-09 09:55 pm (UTC)
bruttimabuoni: (this is the life)
From: [personal profile] bruttimabuoni
So cute! And clever too, with the shifting perspectives.

Date: 2011-03-09 11:39 pm (UTC)
moscow_watcher: (Default)
From: [personal profile] moscow_watcher
Beautifully done and very unusual.

Date: 2011-03-10 07:32 am (UTC)
rebcake: Spike with "kiss the librarian" mug (btvs spike kiss the librarian)
From: [personal profile] rebcake
I got a bit of Doctor Who, as well as the Discworldliness. The floating Dawn!light is reminiscent of the floating security camera, and being whisked away to Alexandria is almost like suddenly arriving in Dr. Moon's facility. But even cooler. Nifty librarian, who is focused on the world of books, not if not created realities of another monk-generated sort.

She raised an eyebrow, looking at him over her hot librarian glasses.

Perfect melding of Dawn/Miss Glass(es). So fun!

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