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Arrogance

twisted_albel in somni_astrum

Second Meeting at the Library

Who? Albel and Rinoa
What? Albel takes a job at the SFAI library in order to continue stalking RInoa
When? Today
Warnings None

Albel felt incredibly silly standing there at the library. On top of the circulation desk were a tower of books that needed re-shelfing. And of course, he was stuck with the duty of putting them back in their correct spots. After a few hours of this mind-numbing chore, he decided that the Dewey Decimal system can go die in a fire.

In hindsight, this plan was half-baked. He did not have enough information on her to know how often she came to this library. Much of his time working would be actual work and not his reconnaissance duties on the young artist. This was such wasted time that he could have spent doing something else like arms training. In fact, since he had applied and received the job, he had yet to see Rinoa at all.

For Rinoa, there were two places she went if she wasn't busy working on class. This generally spanned between her room and the library for various studies, or checking out particular books that she needed to later draw back to her dwelling and write about. On the rare occasion, she found quiet places on campus to work on the finer things with art, not so much the expression, but the analysis part. What kind of lines said what about which item in line art? What kinds of strokes from a brush made what form of idea in a painting? There was so much more to art than simply slapping some lead, some graphite, some charcoal, or some paint onto the corresponding support. Rinoa was just beginning to discover that.

Hand at the base of her chin as she entered the library, she clutched under one arm a rather small notebook, filled with tiny writing that was surprisingly legible for what looked like was written in haste. She cast a wave behind the librarian's counter, who didn't seem to be present at the particular time, but would probably come in later. Then she made a beeline for the aisle that told more than enough about the history of particular art styles dealing with charcoal mediums.

There she would find a familiar person with a stack of books slung around his arm. He was dressed much more conservatively this time in a long white coat with a gloves on both hands. The library insisted that he keep the insidious looking thing out of sight. He would have filed a lawsuit on their asses, but he was too prideful to label himself as "disabled" in this discrimination case. At the moment, he was looking at the backing of one of the books, trying to discern the code and figure out exactly where to place this book.

It was the creeper again. What'd he say his name was? Albel Nox? It didn't sound like a very nice name either. Well, he wasn't a very nice person to begin with, so clearly he just hated everyone or had an outrageous superiority complex. Either way, Rinoa didn't have a good impression of him and had to admit that she didn't much care for him. He had said, however, that he was going to be around more often. She arched an eyebrow as she watched him for a few moments, ever silent, her own prerogative placed on a temporary hold.

Albel almost didn't notice Rinoa enter the building. He was too intent on finishing up this mind-numbing menial task that he almost missed the whole reason why he planned this scheme in the first place. His eyes lit up in recognition. He walked down towards her then stopped to shelf a book as an excuse to move towards her general direction. "Heh, fancy meeting you here," he said as he looked down at another book that needed to be put away. He couldn't make it obvious that he was stalking her. He just had to pretend that he really was... "interested" in this job.

"You're working here now," she observed, careful not to sound interested or suspicious, although between the two, she was very much the latter. She arched an eyebrow, watched him for a moment, cast a glance around, and figured he was the reason the typical librarian wasn't in. So what was he? Did he become the replacement? Or maybe he was just helping her. She couldn't quite decide yet. "You don't look like you're enjoying it."

"I don't see how anyone could enjoy it. At most, indifferent. It's putting books back on shelves. Feh. I can't really complain. A job is a job," he remarked. Of course she would be suspicious. If he was in her shoes, he would likely be the same way.

He was complaining? There were some people who didn't have work at all. She was lucky, though. Rinoa didn't have to have a job. She just had to be taking classes full time and getting good grades, and that'd keep Caraway off her back--or so she hoped. "Er. I don't know about that. It's not so bad. Maybe you just don't like books."

Albel was literate. He did read, though he couldn't exactly label himself as a "book worm." As long as the book helped him improve himself in some way shape or form. *The Art of War* was one such example of a pleasureable reading experience. "Books are fine. The action of putting them on a shelf. No," he said as he tried especially hard to put a book into a small crevice with some degree of success. "You know why I'm here. Why are you here today?" he asked.

She supposed he had a point. She was never messy enough to complain about putting books away, though, and she'd never worked in a library. Better not to say anything more, as it didn't seem like he was coming around to her side anytime soon. Instead, she tapped her notebook lightly, "I'm actually looking for a book on artistic history in which the styles utilize charcoal as opposed to graphite or lead. Have you seen any books like that in the ones you're putting away?"

"Fortunately for you, I have," Albel replied. "Over here." He led the way, all the while spinning a book on a finger to eek out what little amusement this job would afford him. There was many things about his current arrangement which bored him. There just wasn't really much that he had to say in his reports to the general. Rinoa's doing her homework. Rinoa's at the library. Rinoa is attending her classes. He decided that the more mundane he made his reports to him, the more likely the general would just drop the whole affair. And hopefully nothing interesting would happen.

"Alright fool. You'll be needing this one," he said, pulling out one of the books on the shelf and dropping it into her hands. "And you'll probably want this one too. And...there's the little worm," he said, dropping another two on Rinoa.

Honestly, Rinoa didn't have anything else to do. Seifer went to school way far away. Squall probably didn't want to see her. There was no hope of her getting to see either of them anytime soon and that condemned Rinoa to her room, the school, and the library. One day she'd likely make friends in her classes, but that just hadn't happened yet. Not that any of them were uninteresting or something like that. She just hadn't met anyone who popped out at her yet, save perhaps Albel, but he was just as creepy as one could get.

She almost brightened when he said he had books for her. Until she saw how many. She took them all in some form of strange stride, forgetting he called her by his favourite name. "That... that's a lot of books. I was hoping I could get by with maybe just one. Two if it was really that necessary... Are you sure all three are essential?"

"Essential? Pft." he replied curtly. "I'm just being thorough. Lately, the maggots around here have been checking these three books in and out. Just pick one that suits you and use it for your report," he suggested.

"Oh...!" She didn't even think of that. Maybe she was too worked up over classes. Rinoa regarded him thoughtfully, looked between the three books he offered her. She picked the largest one, knowing it'd give her plenty to occupy her free time with and handed the other two back, "Thanks, Mister Nox."

"Well, at least one person appreciates my efforts to 'help'," he answered in a low growl. He really was trying to suppress that inner-nastiness of his. Compared to his appearance before, he definitely cleaned up in order to get this job. But that attitude of his was something that stayed with him no matter what he looked like and he wasn't going to be changing *that* any time soon.

"Well, maybe if you were nicer, people would appreciate you more," she replied with a very nonchalant tone. It was entirely meant to be a bit of a push, the kind of one she always gave to Seifer and Squall. Always good intentions, but easily misinterpreted, especially by those who were seeking to find something less than good with her.

Albel dismissed her words with a passing wave of his gloved claw. "Feh. Actions speak loud than words" he remarked. "Judging a book by its cover... and other such nonsense. It's not my fault if people can't see what's in front of them."

"It's sort of your fault if you don't portray yourself the way you want to be seen." Rinoa lifted a hand and wagged her right hand's forefinger at him, "So if you want to be seen as... whatever you are, then you shouldn't complain about it, right?"

Albel glanced over at her behind his bangs and half-rolled his eyes. "A kind action given by the nastiest dragon is still a kind action. But all they ever see is that dragon." Meh, that was enough of that. He sounded pathetic enough as it is. No need to reinforce that feeling with such talk.

That was a really strange thing to say. She didn't hear people use storybook analogies very often, but it certainly sounded like a good point to make. At first, she wasn't really sure how to respond, but it didn't seem he had plans to continue. "Well, then." A tip of the head and she nodded once, "Thanks. You've been pretty awesome today."

"Skip the pleasantries and run off with your assignment," he scoffed. "If you need anything...well, you know where to find me now."

Welp, she tried. Nothing else she could do, right? A hand lifted and she gave a characteristic wave, "Alrighty then. Hope this job doesn't maim you." Sort of. She wasn't sure how much she believed that, but it couldn't hurt. Then she turned and took her leave, but not before casting him a final glance. Creeper or not, one couldn't help feeling a little sympathetic.

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December 2009

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