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cue the frantic scramble to finish up at least a drabble. I posted most of this as part of the WIP meme over on tumblr, but here, have a self-contained story about Andres Iniesta the children's librarian and his delinquent motorcycle-riding boyfriend.

radical reference

Word in the break room was that the new part-timer, who was notable mainly for his ability to bring shy children out of their shells and his extensive collection of hideous cardigans, had been picked up after closing last night by a tattooed skinhead on a motorcycle. Normally Xavi didn't lend much credence to water cooler gossip, but when Carles the night-time security guard texted to make sure that Andres had come in to work unharmed, he felt that as his supervisor he ought to be concerned. "Andres, are you busy?" He didn't wait for a response. "Come sit at the ref desk with me and let Patricia take her lunch break."

"But -- the shelving -- " Andres cast a worried look over his shoulder at his half-full shelving cart and the deserted children's reference desk as Xavi towed him away.

"One of the pages will get to it," Xavi said firmly. He nodded to the librarian on reference duty. "Patricia, you can take your break now."

"But I already -- "

Xavi frowned, and Patricia immediately logged out of her Gmail account, collected her water bottle and retreated to the staff room. Three patrons who couldn't work out the system for reserving a computer and one confused grandmother with a new Kindle later, there was finally a pause long enough for Xavi to speak with Andres.

"Puyi was worried about your making it home safely last night," he said.

"Hmm?" Andres blinked, visibly tearing his attention away from the computer screen. When Xavi squinted, he recognized the header of a popular blog on low-budget craft ideas. "Oh, because the buses weren't running? That's very sweet of him, but I wasn't walking, someone picked me up."

"Oh?" Xavi carefully kept his tone neutral. "Is that likely to be a problem? I'm sure we could arrange a carpool, if it's inconvenient for your friend to come get you."

"No, no, um -- " Andres flushed and glanced around the deserted reference area before admitting, "I wanted to close on Tuesdays because it's easy for him to pick me up on the way home. Victor works the late shift anyway so I wouldn't see him otherwise."

"And this -- Victor," Xavi asked delicately, "is he your roommate? Where exactly does he work?"

Andres' entire face lit up in a manner comparable only to his expression when he'd started talking about his childhood love for Eric Carle and Leo Lionni during his interview. "Victor works at the community library downtown," he said proudly. "He's so happy I got this job, he really wanted me to get my MLS too but it just didn't seem practical to take out more student loans, so when Director Guardiola said the library would pay for me to get my degree part-time…"

"You know you can call her Josie, right?" Xavi interrupted. "She's not a stickler for formality or anything." Andres went even paler than usual and shook his head, and Xavi remembered belatedly the awe that Josefina Guardiola tended to inspire in people who hadn't seen her the week before budgets were due, wild-eyed from lack of sleep and ready to rip off heads after who knew how many forgotten meals. Xavi had worked with her for years, and was no longer impressed by anything less than full-on Amazonian rages. Those were rare these days, thankfully, since they were usually reserved for across-the-board budget cuts of twenty percent or more.

None of which had anything to do with what Xavi wanted to know about the mysterious Victor, and he was preparing to guide the conversation back to a more useful avenue when Andres let out a startled squeak and jumped to his feet. "Victor! You're early!"

Xavi looked up from his computer, and then up a little further. Tiny, timid Andres made an interesting contrast with the newcomer: Victor was tall and good looking in an intimidating sort of way, with a shaved head, muscular arms and several tattoos bared by the short sleeves of his Guild of Radical Militant Librarians t-shirt, a leather motorcycle jacket dangling from one hand... and a look of unabashed adoration directed at Andres on his face. "Thought I'd see what the place looked like before closing for once," he was saying. "Don't worry about me, I'll just poke around in the nonfiction until your shift is over."

"Oh -- well, okay, but -- "

"Don't worry," he repeated, with a smile that was completely at odds with his biker aesthetic. "It's not like I'll be bored. You go on back to work."

"Wait!" Andres said when Victor started to turn away from the reference desk. "I want to -- Victor, this is my supervisor, Xavi. Xavi, this is Victor, my, um. My partner."

Victor's eyebrows flew up, but his handshake when Xavi got to his feet and reached across the desk was firm. They were both silent for a moment, visibly sizing each other up, until Andres let out an impatient cough. "Pleasure to meet you," Victor said.

"Same," Xavi said, and released Victor with a satisfied nod. Delinquent or not, he thought Andres' boyfriend might be suitable after all.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2013 11:41 am (UTC)
This is pretty much the best thing ever. And I adore it kind of unreasonably (Eric Carle references! Leo Lionni references! I even feel a little giddy about the budget cut references and references to patrons who can't use technology - which probably makes me a little crazy - but it's all so true.) Also I never tire of the way you write Victor and Andres's adoration of each other.
Apr. 4th, 2013 08:50 pm (UTC)
no, you are pretty much the best thing ever! <3 and you're supposed to write what you know, right? :P WHERE'S MY CITY LIBRARY AU, HUH.
Apr. 4th, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, god, now you've got me thinking about it, well mostly you've got me thinking Sergio Aguero - children's librarian (And, um, Vinnie's obviously the long suffering director and Micah's either also a children's librarian or possibly a YA librarian and Silva is a cranky cataloger? possibly? I don't know? And James Milner is a very, very serious reference librarian. Denis Suarez is a page, along with some of the other city babies, and has a hopeless crush on Silva. Joe does something in tech services and shares office space with Silva and drives him crazy. Mancini as president of the library board!). Gah, I have to stop I'll want to actually will write it.

Edited at 2013-04-04 10:10 pm (UTC)
Apr. 5th, 2013 03:12 am (UTC)
Kun the children's librarian FOR SURE. oh my gosh. and I kind of want Micah to be the teen librarian just so he can get teased by all the kids about secretly being the character from Liar by Justine Larbalestier, haha. cranky cataloger Silva is SPOT ON, too, oh my god, and Samir would be the second cataloger who was brought in to lighten his workload but Silva takes this as an ~affront to his abilities~, especially because now he spends half his time fixing all the stuff Samir has cataloged wrong so it's not like it's saving him any time NO HE DOESN'T WANT TO HELP TRAIN HIM THAT WOULD ALSO BE A WASTE OF HIS TIME CAN'T THEY FIRE THIS IMBECILE ALREADY. Samir is not helping his case by responding with borderline sexual harassment whenever Silva tells him off because he thinks Silva is sexy when he's mad. Gael is a children's librarian and everybody loves him and nobody really understands why he's friends with Samir??? but apparently he is so they can't badmouth him in the staff room.

James and Gareth man the ref desk! Zaba is head of circulation! Vieira is chair of the Friends of the Library Association! :D :D :D

I sort of feel like this AU should involve some genderswap, though. the likelihood of an all-male library is staggeringly low. would it be too stereotypical to make Silva a girl? oooh, Patrice Vieira, I'm so into that.
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:40 pm (UTC)
Micah would make an awesome teen librarian! I firmly believe this.

Oh, god, all the cataloging wars. And the unwanted flirting, what's up with that? Seriously. Samir's problem is a) he took his cues on how to treat Silva from Joe - bad plan - except he doesn't have the relationship with Silva that Joe has and b) he's terrible at being a functioning human being and c) doesn't have any concept of appropriate workplace behavior. Silva is this close to stabbing him with a letter opener or taping his mouth shut - book tape is very heavy duty, you know? It would totally work.

Gael would, in fact, be the best children's librarian in the world. He would be much beloved. Small children would mutilate his name whilst attempting to call him Mr. Gael, mothers/nannies/baby-sitters/not so small children/fathers - they would all have hero worshipy crushes on Mr. Gael who would be oblivious to their adoration. And, he has hope for Samir, which no one who has met Samir actually understands, but they shrug and figure if Gael can't help Samir no one can.

Ha! No kidding about the genderswap (I seriously, right now at least, don't work with a single man). And yes, yes, a thousand times yes to Patrice Viera, chair of the Friends of the Library Association. She's always dressed impeccably, has a quiet kind of elegance, and is a fierce and committed fundraiser and a tirelessly eloquent advocate for the library (and libraries in general because she is so awesome). And, like, Vinnie, let's genderswap Vinnie because more female directors is always a good thing. And Vinnie (what would be the female equivalent, I don't know?) and Patrice have lunch once a month and are generally on really good terms and like, Vinnie reluctantly asks Patrice for advice on the whole Samir/Silva debacle and things because Patrice knows Samir somehow and things.

And, yes, it might be stereotypical to make Silva a girl, but I kind of don't care because I've always wanted Silva genderswap while simultaneously being afraid that someone will write it and I'll hate it but whatever (It's possible I have a few snippets of some somewhere but whatever). Silva as a women - small, fierce, dedicated to the craft of cataloging, still has kind of the same hair that Silva as a man has. And Aguero's totally fascinated by her, right? But she's mostly suspicious because he arrived around the same time as Samir, right? And that really, really hasn't gone well. Also he's always smiling and seems to think that glitter goes on everything and is constantly singing even when not in storytime. She's just not prepared for that much cheerfulness. But he wins her over somehow (possibly Benji is involved somehow because she has a secret soft spot for children, maybe?)

And Sergio's kind of just as baffled by her, even as he's fascinated by her, like she hangs out with Zaba in the staff room - they have lunch together a lot - but when he asks Zaba about her Zaba kind of shrugs and says you should really ask Joe (or Jo - I think a genderswaped Joe would be all kinds of fun - tomboyish, went into tech/IT/still plays soccer and is a keeper/possibly went to college on a scholarship or something and has a really fabulously glamorous girlfriend who she towers over and things) because when Silva does go out she goes out with Joe and his delinquent friends *cough*Adam Johnson*cough* and, like the reference librarians (Silva likes the reference librarians - Gareth and James both have what she deems a proper reverence for cataloging - Silva makes judgements about people based on what they have to say about cataloging because reasons) and like Aguero does ask Joe but Joe's totally unhelpful about the whole thing.

Other candidates for genderswaping - James Milner - for, like reasons, um, and maybe Nasri also but I don't know. Or even Sergio - could be fun.

Also, Edin does something or another in the library but he actually spends most of his time staring at and/or flirting with Aleks who is, like, the law student studying for the bar who's always in the library, like every single day and when he passes the bar the whole library is super thrilled for him or something.

And wow, shutting up now, because this is a very, very long comment.
Apr. 22nd, 2013 12:45 am (UTC)
I love every bit of this, as you already know, but I especially love how we have done our part for gender equality by having lady librarians but also an all-male youth services department ;) dudes can take care of children too!
Apr. 23rd, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC)
We have covered all the bases! (though I have to say even in a librarain!au populated by genderswapped footballers, the all-male youth services department is probably the most unrealistic element - which is sad, men totally can take care/work with/educate children)
Mar. 31st, 2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
*weeps* Oh, this is so beautiful! Will there be more or is this the kind of story that only has one part but leaves the reader inspired with lots of ideas and images about Andres and Victor and Xavi and Josie and...

Oh, this is PERfect... <3 I have to read it again :)
Apr. 4th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
aww, thank you! I don't really have further plans for this universe... but you never know! feel free to nag justkisa and missmollyetc about it too, haha, since they were partially responsible for its inception. XP
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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