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Dorian Montoir and Librarian Fox-Reynolds
For him
Sun Jun 10, 2018 07:17

Dorian had sat watching the library desk for a while. Technically, for several days, although not continuously, obviously. But for a few days, he’d been trying both to gather his courage to go and speak to the librarian, and to find a good quiet moment to do so, so that other people didn’t notice him going to speak to the librarian, because it was both private and secret. Right now, the library was very quiet, and the only thing stopping him was his own anxiety and embarrassment. He knew the librarian was nice, and they had had a little chat every now and then about what he was reading, but this was so much deeper and more personal... But now looked to be like the best chance he was going to get, and he had to do this so, insides squirming rather violently, he made his way up to the desk.

“Good afternoon,” he began, rather stiffly. “Can I talk with you… uh, in your office please?” he requested.

It was a slow day in the library. Tarquin was reading at his desk, enjoying the peace and quiet. He looked up as Dorian approached his desk and smiled at him. Dorian could be reserved in his manner, but he usually smiled with Tarquin. Today he didn’t, and the librarian’s own smile tucked itself away again, a look of concern replacing it. He was about to ask whether everything was alright, when Dorian blurted out a request to speak to him in his office, and Tarquin felt his insides freeze. Of course, technically, Dorian might want to speak to him about absolutely anything. But there was one specific type of advice that Tarquin was advertised as dispensing… And, well, he supposed, in a sense, he wasn’t exactly surprised… Dorian reminded him rather a lot of himself. Although that was more the reading habits than anything, and that didn’t necessarily mean that Dorian was like him in other ways. Although, Tarquin sort of felt there was more to it than just the books. A certain… something about Dorian, and his manner. And his closeness with Jehan Callahan was definitely… different than the way boys their age were usually close. But even if he’d sort of seen it coming, even if Dorian reminded him of himself, that didn’t make him feel any better able to deal with whatever Dorian was about to ask him. Because, even after all these years, he had no idea what he would have said to his thirteen year old self to make him really believe it would all be alright. Especially, as a lot of the time, it involved a large phase of things definitely not being alright first.

“Of course,” he replied gently, standing up to lead him through into his office, and trying not to panic. It had sounded simple enough when Kir had asked him to be someone people could talk to, but it seemed a lot more daunting when it was actually happening. Especially when it was a student he cared about. There was a lot of pressure to not screw this up and say the wrong sort of thing.

Dorian followed the librarian into his office, trying not to feel like he was intruding on a personal space. Staff members’ offices weren’t private, per se. They were there for exactly this sort of thing. For students to be able to talk to them… But he’d only ever interacted with the librarian in the library, and now here he was in his office, and he felt self-conscious...

“It’s… it’s about Jehan,” he began, perching nervously on the seat that the librarian offered him. “About him, and the ball.” He paused, trying to think how to say what he wanted to say.

“I see,” Tarquin nodded. Oh Merlin. What was he supposed to say? Dorian seemed to be struggling to pull his thoughts together. Should he wait and let him say it in his own time, in his own way, or should he try to help him? Tarquin didn’t want Dorian to be struggling in silence, to be wondering whether this was a bad idea, or what Tarquin’s reaction was going to be. But he didn’t want to put words in his mouth either. “You can tell me,” he encouraged, hoping that some general reassurance might be of use.

Dorian bit his lip. He knew that the librarian was gentle and kind. He liked him. But the problem was that he wasn’t here to tell him anything, he needed to ask him something - a favour - and he was pretty sure, even though English got the better of him sometimes, that that made it rather different.

“At the bonfire, we read a poem about fires,” he explained, “And so, for the ball, I find a poem with the ball in it. I… I think maybe this is a nice tradition we can have? But it is very long. And quite oldly writtened. Some of the words… I don’t know. Sometimes I don’t know the meaning, and sometimes not know how to say. And I want to be getting it right when I read it together with Jehan. Can you… can you help me with this?”

Tarquin tried to breathe normally as Dorian began explaining. He and Jehan sounded like they’d had rather a romantic time at the fire. And now there was the ball coming up, which was obviously much more date-oriented. And… and Dorian was still talking about poems. And asking for his help with one.

“You… you want my help with reading and understanding a poem?” he clarified.

“Yes,” Dorian confirmed, a little uncomfortable when the librarian repeated his request back. He did not think he had been unclear in his use of words, which suggested that the librarian was questioning it because it was a… a not-good request for him to make from him. “This is a problem?” he asked apologetically.

“No. No, not at all,” Tarquin replied, trying to look relaxed and friendly, as he realised from the way Dorian was looking at him that he might have sounded a tad blunt there. He supposed they might be getting to coming out, or asking questions about what it meant for boys to like other boys, and whether that was ok, by a very very long route but he was starting to think that actually they really weren’t having or about to have the conversation he had thought they were going to.

“What’s the poem?” he asked, deciding to focus on what Dorian appeared to want to talk about.

“‘The Lady of the Tower,’” Dorian replied, relieved that the librarian was willing to help with his project. “I know… I know is not fully about a ball, but the description of the ball is very nice. And then there is a tragic death, so Jehan will like that very much. I have here, the library copy and my notes…” he rummaged in his bag, pulling out a slim library book and several pieces of parchment. Down the left were scribbled extracts from the poem. Next to each of these was a verse and line reference. On the right hand side of the page was a note in either blue or red.

“Blue is for pronunciation, red for vocabulary or meaning,” he explained, “Although for the pronunciation, you will also need to correct me throughout - these are just the words that I do feel very unsure about. I did try to look up all of the vocabulary words in the dictionary,” a few items were already annotated in French or Chinese, “but some were not there. And sometimes… I can take the individual words but still feel I miss the whole meaning.”

“Right,” the librarian nodded. “I see. Are you sure you’re not supposed to be in Aladren?” he asked with a smile, as Dorian pulled out the impressively detailed preparation he had done thus far.

“I think it is probably… nearly here, nearly there? But self-improvement is also a Teppenpaw value. Although… that I improve myself by doing this, that is good. It is the… happy accident? Mostly I do because I think it will make Jehan happy. Not because I love to learn, or because I want to be independent. But for him.”

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