[Master Post – Glass]
Title: Distilled Damnation
Fandom: Viridian Legacy: Glass
Characters: Arkady, some chick
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D0)
Warnings: Violence, futility, teen angst
Notes: Trying for a 7/7 this week, just to get this book going. Need to get the characters back, after all that work on Magelight, last year. We all know that Arkady’s never really had any luck with chicks, but sometimes, it’s not the girl that’s the problem…
Evan Newkirk was busy. It didn’t really matter what he was doing, because he was so obviously doing something that interrupting him should have been unthinkable. Three books sat open on the library table, and he was writing in an open notebook, when the hand settled onto his shoulder.
"Get your hand off me, while you still have fingers," he warned, not looking up. There were two ways this would go: either it was someone he really didn’t know, and they’d be scared off, or he’d just get hauled out of the chair and knocked around a bit. Either way, at least he’d have made a show of his distaste and potential brutality, so maybe it wouldn’t happen again.
"I—I’m sorry, I just…" the fluttery, young voice started, and Evan finally looked up. The girl wasn’t Liz, but she was pretty cute. "Do you know where the three hundreds are? I have to write about Fredrick Douglass, but I just can’t find the book I need. Or the section."
He watched her eyes take him in, the way she sputtered and shifted uncomfortably, as she spoke, hands never quite finishing a gesture. She’d seen his back and expected a girl, he realised. It happened enough. He looked around at the shelves nearby — five hundreds. Five tens, to be exact. He’d been captured by the idea of flowing time as opposed to stepping time, but social sciences? Nowhere near here.
"Tried near history?" he asked, pointing toward the nearest shelf of nine hundreds, with his pencil. "I don’t know why this place isn’t just in order. If you’re going to number things, then you should put them in order," he complained.
"But, then it would be easy," the girl joked, shyly. "And education’s supposed to be hard work."
Evan’s eyes lit up as he stifled a laugh against his sleeve. He shut his notebook and stood up, tucking the pencil into his back pocket. "I’m Ebony," he said, introducing himself with that name Liz wouldn’t stop calling him. "Do you want some help looking?"
"Not Ivory?" she asked, with a mischievous smile. "I would have gone with Ivory, but I guess it would make people think of the soap. I’m Annie, and I’d love some help." She moved as if she would put her hand out, but didn’t quite make it all the way there.
"My best friend wanted something dark and mysterious," he said, with a heavy dose of melodrama, taking the half-offered hand. He smiled, eyes heavy-lidded, and bowed, lips stopping just short of Annie’s hand. He didn’t feel half as smooth as that was supposed to look. In fact, he felt like a complete idiot, but he had an image to maintain, for Liz’s sake, if not his own. He raised his eyes to Annie’s, then stood straight, releasing her hand, after a moment.
"Come on, let’s find you some Frederick Douglass," he offered, as if he hadn’t done anything in the least peculiar, pulling a pencil out of his back pocket and handing it to her. "Better to arm yourself against the dangers of the Social Sciences section. God only knows what perversions you’ll find on the way," he managed with a straight face and just a gleam of amusement in his blue eyes.
Annie fluttered and blushed, taking the pencil with a quiet giggle, and Evan figured he must have done something right, as he led her toward the other side of the library. He was supposed to be mysterious and untouchable, glamorous and flippant, but he had a soft spot for girls who weren’t stupid, self-absorbed, or a combination of the two. Annie’s sense of humour seemed to indicate she was neither, and, as they continued to look for the books, Evan started to enjoy being in the company of someone, besides Liz, who could just treat him like a normal person, even if he was being weird. And he was. That was completely clear in his mind, but Annie seemed to find it charming, or something, because the laughter never got condescending, and she just kept playing along.
"You know, it could be over by the hard sciences," he said, coming to the end of yet another aisle of stacks. "It’s all science, or so they tell me, and I’m sure that the slave trade required a decent background in engineering and economics. Wait, isn’t economics in the math section? That’s back where we started."
He turned around one way and then the other, looking completely confused, and then backed into a rolling step-stool, making a terrible clatter. Arms out for balance, Evan froze, his eyes wide. A panicked smile flashed into being on his face and he grabbed Annie’s hand, pulling her after him as he ran toward the other end of the shelf and around the corner. A few aisles over, he stopped, leaning back against the books, like a man pursued. Annie giggled, quietly, and he held a finger to his lips, eyes still comically wide.
"Shh, they’ll find us!" he whispered.
She covered her mouth with both hands and sat down, trying to contain the hysterical laughter bubbling up. Looking to one side, she was suddenly taken by surprise, and the laughter stopped as she pointed to the books on the bottom shelf. "Ebony, look! You found it!"
"Did not," he complained, reflexively, then turned to look behind himself. "Oh, wow. Maybe that’s the secret to this place. Just freak out and run around until you find what you’re looking for. It’s a high school library. That could be a feature. I have a whole new respect for whoever decided where to put things."
As Annie picked out the books she’d been looking for, the bell rang.
"Aw, shit," Evan sighed. "Good luck with that paper."
"Wait," she said, pulling out the pencil he’d given her and writing on the back of a stamp card from one of the books. "Call me sometime," she suggested, pressing the card into his hand, with a bright smile and running for the checkout desk.
Evan tried to pry the shit-eating grin off his face, as he swaggered toward the exit. Maybe things were just going his way, today, but there wasn’t any sense in showing off. Someone would clear up the universe’s mistake, if he looked too happy. In fact, as he stepped out into the hall, he took a punch to the side of his face that knocked him to the ground.
"Stay away from my sister, freak," the towering brute standing over him growled, spitting into his face for punctuation.
"Who’s your —" Evan started to ask, only to be cut off by the guy stepping on his arm and his hair, while walking away. Suddenly tired, he wiped his face off on his sleeve and dragged himself back to his feet. That was the way things were supposed to go. He was pretty sure of it. Maybe he just wouldn’t call her. Liz’s boyfriends were enough trouble. He didn’t need a girl with a cro-magnon brother.