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Tarquin Fox-Reynolds
How do you feel about interlibrary loan forms?
Sat Jan 27, 2018 20:51

Tarquin smiled as Professor O'Malley joked with him and accepted the wine. He knew all the staff by sight and name, and knew that she had been distinctly pregnant last year, so presumably they had the whole 'being parents' thing in common, which was usually good – having kids had been such a social lubricant, they were so easy to talk and talk about – though presumably hers was (were? Did she have others?) a vastly different age to his. Going through a whole phase of life that he had actually missed out on. He never knew how to feel about that... On the one hand, he was sad he hadn't been there for every single moment of their lives. On the other, babies sounded like hard work, and he sometimes – although he felt very guilty about it – was glad he'd been able to take a shortcut, unsure that he would have been able to cope with the stress of it all, but that made him feel like a very bad parent. Usually, he just drew a line under these thoughts with the fact that it was what it was. They had the life they had had, and not only was it impossible to change anything but, given how happy they all were, why wish it had been any different? He just supposed he would have liked to know, for certain, that he wouldn't have made a mess of it if he'd had to do the whole baby thing, and it frustrated him that there was a question that he would never have the answer to.

“I'm surprisingly fond of summer. Y'know, for someone who doesn't exactly like the sun,” he smiled, figuring Sophie might not know his reclusive librarian ways well enough to understand that first comment without context. Maybe it was because summer meant Pride events. He always thought he didn't really want to do those until he actually got there. He thought he was getting too old, and he'd never been a fan of huge crowds, but they picked events to suit – quieter things, they'd done more family friendly events as the kids grew up, although now Charlie – for all that he definitely liked girls – was keen to get into the louder more riotous ones. He would leave him to discover that side by himself, or with Danny. It was always an uplifting experience though. He'd long got past all the teenage demons about who he was, but it never hurt to have it affirmed. The mug in his office, the one that promised him freedom, books, flowers and the moon had been the birthday after he and Danny went to their first ever Pride event together. His first ever ever Pride event. That where was item one on the list came in... “We had a nice break in San Francisco,” he told her, deciding that their family holiday was maybe a more accessible dinner table subject. They had not timed the vacation to coincide with San Francisco Pride, which pretty much sounded like rainbow hell on earth, if you asked him. “Well, just outside it, by the beach,” San Francisco was a good compromise between all the things the liked – it had museums and culture, and Tarquin was more than happy to look at nice beaches whilst reading his book at a safe distance from the sun, it also had a great restaurant scene and those who liked the sun, the sand and the waves could venture further than the porch of the house they'd rented. They still found themselves taking the kids, and now Niall – Henny's boyfriend – too, because the three of them were all perpetual students so they were still sort of free in the holidays (Niall and Henny were doing PhDs, which technically meant they didn't have summer holidays but was flexible and definitely meant they were too broke to take their own vacations). He enjoyed their company and the family time, and having Charlie was very useful, as another more sun-and-beach inclined person to keep Danny company. Just because they chose a place with something for everyone didn't mean that – even after twenty odd years of marriage – Everyone understood leaving the other person alone, or enjoyed doing things by himself...

“But I do like getting back to work too,” he added, feeling a little thrill at being able to admit this. Danny sulked so much about him going back, about how he'd be gone for hours every day, that it wasn't exactly politic at home to talk about how much he was looking forward to seeing all his books again. About spending hours in peace and solitude. About interlibrary loan forms, and how exciting he found them. Actually, that probably wasn't a wise thing to admit to anyone, because he knew that it was quite frankly a bit weird. But he liked them. You put in all the information, making sure to get it just right, and sent it away, and books came back. It was the best kind of magic. Or like playing a lottery where you won every time.

“Did you do anything in particular over the vacation, or is the little one still too little?” he asked, wracking his brain to try to think whether he should know any more information about Sophie's child than 'incredibly small.' He was pretty sure there had been a card, and that he had signed it. He may have been told details such as the small human's name and gender, or the card might have been some kind of indication, but he doubted he'd looked at the front of it or read the pre-printed sappy shop sentiments. He reassured himself that a) Sophie probably didn't expect him to know anything about her and b) gender was an evil social construct anyway and he was not, in fact, a misanthropic loner who spent too long in his office and didn't pay enough attention to the lives of other humans but was actually fighting the damn system. Or something.

  • *Enthusiastically raises hand*Professor Sophie O'Malley, Sat Jan 27 11:32
    All staff required meetings were never a promising start to a new school year, but Sophie had not expected to arrive and immediately be stressed out. It was a rough situation that both the school and ... more
    • How do you feel about interlibrary loan forms? — Tarquin Fox-Reynolds, Sat Jan 27 20:51
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