Death From Above

Dallas Public Library

The library is a rather large building that extends two levels. Security gates at the entrance lead past a long rectangular circulation desk where patrons may check out or return books. Across from the circulation desk is large, archaic looking card catalogue beside which is a computer that is set up to locate books. Following the typical Dewey Decimal Classification System, the rows of shelves are laid out systematically, with large signs overhead so that patrons can find precisely what they are looking for. Study carols and tables line the walls, and one corner of the library is set aside for two separate lecture rooms that can booked for meetings.

Afternoons at the library are generally boring — especially in the summer months. The majority of the college and university students are finished with their year, other schools are gearing up for their finals, the younger children are still in daycare or being shuffled about by parents.

Which means that afternoons at the Dallas Public Library? They're reserved for reshelving books.

Normally, Chloe loves this part of the day. There are less brains around, less distractions. Just herself, Doris, sometimes Mischa, and the books. But today? Well she's sort of schluffing off work. Sitting in the stacks, the cart just outside of it, several books on Hessians strewn about in front of her.

Well, there's one more brain in the building today - if a less accessable one then most. Skylar walks around the corner in the stacks, a few books under one arm, the other hand holding a piece of scrap paper with some words and numbers on it. Right now, he's busy checking the paper and then checking the books on the shelves. So, needless to say, he isn't looking where he is going, and with Chloe being at ground level at the moment - well, it isn't that surprising when he bumps her foot, nearly tripping himself, and dropping one of his books almost ontop of Chloe. Unless she got out of the way, of course, which may have been difficult, as he wasn't making alot of noise, physically - and none at all mentally, which is likely to be the most surprising.

"Oh, jeeze, I'm so sorry… are you alright? I didn't see you there at all," Skylar says, his face one of momentary horror at the sort-of collision. "I'm really a clutz lately." He kneels down, attempting to retrieve the book, which is medium-weight introscpective piece on the commanalities between the predominent religions of the modernday world. "I guess it's a good thing I hadn't found the book I'm looking for. Over a thousand pages, definately wouldn't have enjoyed getting hit by that… I really am sorry," he says again, his expression genuinely dismayed. Even as he picks up the book, he's also checking Chloe over to see how badly, if at all, he hurt her with his clumsiness.

Without warning, a book drops from the heavens and plops on her head. The spine bends, and the pages split open before she reaches up to grab it, a slight grimace on her face. At least it wasn't a thick hardcover which would have left lasting damage.

Closing the book, she glances up at the shelf first to see if she bumped it. This will give Skylar a nice view of the beautiful blackish purple bruise on her face. A bruise that looks very much like she was slapped, punched, or backhanded. Hard to tell really, though it looks about the size of a hand.

Noting the man, she glances down at her watch, then back at him. It's not after dark, and she can't really sense a void so he's obviously not a vampire. Two-natured then? Still hard to read, but that wouldn't explain her lack of picking up on his presence.

Frowning, she picks herself up off the ground and offers the book up to him. "It's fine," she says, pushing past the frown and forcing a bright smile. "It happens. What is it you're looking for?"

Her own books can stay right where they are for now, she can gather them later.

"Oh wow, did I… are you…?" Skylar frowns himself when he sees the bruise, but eventually he removes foot from mouth, as it were - and, once he seems to have realized he couldn't have been responsable for the bruise, apparently decides that it's not his business. So, changing the subject entirely, he takes the book back and stands as Chloe does, saying, "Um, yes. I'm looking for this book here. I believe it's a newer book, but I can't seem to find it in the new non-fiction section -or- the religious section. Which is bad enough since I practically grew up in that section during college, especially during finals, but you've added to it since I've last been here, and…."

Sky pauses, letting out a sigh and allowing a big, self-conscious grin to spread across his face. "And I'm rambling. I tend to do that when I've just made an arse of myself. So yeah, this is the book I'm looking for," he says, holding out the paper to her, which has the two books he already has in hand crossed off, and one other still on it, complete with dewey number.

"Ah." Chloe really doesn't want to have to explain the bruise, so she just gingerly touches it and makes a note to cake on the makeup when she's done helping the man. "Wrong place, wrong time. Let's just say, it's probably wise for me to stay out of bars for a while." The truth, without giving too much away, all while making it sound like she tried to break up a bar brawl.

"This book…" The title and the number are given only the briefest of glances before her eyes close, and she starts to mentally go over the library. Walking through her mind's map of it, she smiles. "It's in the wrong section. Follow me." That she can know this without even looking for it? Pretty nifty feat.

As she starts to walk toward the reference section, she tries to pry at his mind. Just a little. Just to try and figure out what he is, or if he's friend or foe. She can't be too careful these days. She's not a manipulator or a glamourer, so it's likely nothing but a gentle prod at the barrier to see if he's been glamoured with it.

"Oh," Skylar says, simply, in response to Chloe's explanation of the bruise. He seems to take it at face value, however, since he doesn't say anything else. And though she can't read his thoughts on the matter, his facial expressions largely just show a lingering bit of concern, and perhaps a hint of anger for whoever did that to her - all of which is soon covered up with his next expression, which is a raising of the eyebrows with a vague bit of awe at Chloe's obviously superior mental library catalouge.

"Well, that would definately explain it," he says, moving to walk after Chloe. "Thanks a bunch. I'm glad I ran into… well, ok, not like that. But thanks." Clearly, he's still got a bit of foot in his mouth, along with his good natured smile that covers up, or at least partly makes up for the occassional social error.

The book they're looking for is, when they find it, indeed a thick hard-cover one - an in-depth analtical study of Eastern Religions, particularly Daoism, Buddhism, and Confusionism. And as for Chloe's own study, in regard to Sky's brain? Well, the gentle prod proves that -something- is there. But it's resistant to her touch, and certainly something different - definately not a glamour or any barrier she might have come across before.

"Like I said, it happens. I've been tripped over more in these stacks than you can likely count. I'm a bit of a bookworm, and I practically live here when I'm not at home sleeping." Which is rarely these days too. Being home, that is. "First time a book has ever opened up on my noggin, but I don't think I'm any worse for the wear, promise."

It pretty much takes them the rest of the length of the expansive library to get to the reference section, and once there she glances between two shelves. There's a slight pause before she moves toward the second shelf and begins fingering over the spines until she finds the book.

"Religion, hmm? You know, this one you can take home but we've got a better book…" Handing off the book to him, she's already on the move again. Four shelves over, three down, and she comes up with this enormous tome. Thick, heavy, and were it not for the fact that she lifts books for a living? Difficult to carry. She brings it over to a nearby table and smiles. "This goes more in-depth on the religious aspects of the Eastern philosophies. Worth taking a look at if you have the time."

Something flits behind her eyes briefly, and the knowledge that he's different is filtered away. Were this several months ago, she might just outright ask him what's wrong. Instead, she gently pries at the mind again, seeing if she can glean any sort of information from him and registering what his brain 'feels' like to her, so that she won't be taken by surprise again.

"Where were you during my term paper days?" Skylar asks Chloe with a lopsided, hearty grin as he follows after her, looking over the huge book she pulls out with avid interest. "You guys have definately expanded the collection since I was last here. Granted, it's been a few years, been kind of wrapped up in my work. But man, what I could've done with this. Before now, most of the in depth stuff I'd been able to get here were religions with western roots, with the obvious exception of Isdlam." He smiles again, shaking his head as he puts his own pile down, flipping through the table of contents with a pleased expression, before turning back to Chloe. "I doubt I'll get time today, but… I'm guessing this is a no take book? Guess it'll give me a reason to come back sooner. Which'll make returning books on time less of a challenge." A pause, and a more self-conscious grin as he says, "Don't suppose you could help me up front too? Going to need to pay off those late fees if I expect to get these books out of here with me."

Meanwhile, as the prying of his mind progresses, a few realizations will likely come to Chloe. The first is that she may very well be taken by surprise him again, just by the nature of what she is studying. Where the average human is loud, and vampire's are non-existent access-wise to a telepath, Skylar's mind seems to be neither. There's something there, that's for sure, the touch familiar enough that to someone with so gentle and skilled a touch as Chloe that she likely soon realizes that it -is- his mind she's prodding at, and not a barrier. This is confirmed the longer she goes, as once, when she presses just a little bit harder and longer, there is the whispered echo of a whisper of a thought. It's hard to make sense of, like it's in a different mental language, though one word comes through "Chris." The thought comes one of the times he is looking at her, and the expression of his face behind the usual smile is hard to read. But as soon as the thought come, there is a brief wince, like from a mild headache, quickly ignored.

"Probably hiding in the stacks somewhere," Chloe says with a shrug and a smile. Even in her high school days, the library was a safe place to hide. The minds that were around were quiet, and if she snuck off to the restricted sections, she could have peace and quiet while trying to get her own papers written and done.

"A lot of the stuff has come in over the last two years. Vampire donations and all. Doris doesn't like'em, but I figure that if they've got out of print, or hard to get books, and they want to loan'em to our research section, why not let them?" When he mentions not having the time, she hefts the book back up and gingerly places it on its shelf. Dusting the cover off a little, she nods. "Sure thing. So long as you have your card? If not, I can still help you, we'll just need to look you up in the system."

Not a barrier, but a mind? Definitely something she'll have to talk about with someone more skilled than she, and the only one she knows there is out of town for the next few days. Her brow furrows a little, and she busies herself with setting straight another book, but for now she's content to leave the mind alone. No reason to cause too much suspicion, and he doesn't seem to outwardly putting her in any danger.

Picking herself back up, she starts out of the reference area and moves toward the circulation desk. "Tell you what. If they're under five dollars, I'll waive the late fees this time. You just make sure you bring the books back on time next time." From the looks of the books he's taking? It's not like there's anyone that's going to be wanting them desperately in the next three weeks. It's not like it's a new Harry Potter book or anything.

Skylar smiles briefly at Chloe's further mention of her stack-hiding tendancies, the expression moving to neutral as the topic of vampire's is broached, and he nods slowly. "True enough. And I can't exactly complain if it gives me more reading material. That one you showed me just now? I'd heard about it, but didn't think it existed in the country outside of the Library of Congress. I thought about ordering it online, but… well, even if I could have found a copy for sale, I wouldn't have been able to afford it unless I was willing to rip someone off, which I'm not. Kinda surprised it's not in your special collections. But then, I guess only certain circles would consider it for the find it is."

Sky then smiles once more, shaking his head at Chloe's offer. "Thanks, but I'll pay my dues. It's been awhile, like I said, so I've no idea how much it is. Don't think I've gotten a collection notice for it, so it shouldn't be too high, but I'd still like to pay."

Ah, and that was her months ago. Neutral to the whole vampire thing. Then she was really into it, because let's face it — for a telepath to not hear a mind? That's a big thing. Now? Well, she's stepped into slightly more dangerous territory now and she's not certain what to think, except that on the whole they can offer a great deal of history, and books that have been out of print for centuries.

"Generally it would be, but the restricted section is left for the more rare and out of print books these days." She doesn't mention the fact that she's had her hands on some books at the Estate that the Library of Congress would kill to have. "It's here, and you're welcome to come in any time we're open and read from it if you'd like. Our hours are expanding a bit into the summer months as well, so we'll be open later in the evenings." Even though that comes with a promise of less pay during those hours, and her being the only one on duty for the trial run.

Sliding to the computer, she holds her hand out for the card so that she can swipe it and bring up his account to see what he owes.

Skylar holds out the card to her, saying (a bit unnecessarily since the card has his name on it), "I'm Skylar, by the way. And thanks, I'll definately be back. I may no longer be studying for a degree, but one has to keep one's passions alive and all that." He pauses as he waits for him to pull up his 'bill', which is $12.46 - all the books that were late pertaining to some kind of religious subject matter, except one which has to do with swordcrafting. Which makes his next question all the more pertinent.

"Now that I think of it, though, since you've had such a big donation boost… I don't suppose you could see if you've got any books within the last two or three years that have to do with smithing? Primarily looking for technique, origin as it pertains to such, and so forth. Eastern, western, it makes no difference - though again, what few books you did have were western based, so the eastern stuff would be awesome." Skylar pauses as he places the books he is checking out on the counter, and reaches into his pocket for his wallet. "And you don't have to look for it now. I should be heading out anyways, got to get back to work. But if you could put anything you find on hold for me, I'd sure appreciate it."

In exchange, Chloe taps her name plate as she swipes the card and goes through the account. She tallies up the total, and punches it in. At the top of the small register is a little green lit area the displays the cost. It's not as upscale as some libraries, but Chloe loves it all the same. Simple. Easy.

"Smithing?" Definitely an odd request, though she meets it with a smile. "We might have some in with the medieval books, down by the section where you nearly killed yourself tripping over my feet." Chuckling, she pulls out a yellow sticky note and writes two words upon it — 'Smithing' and 'Skylar'. "I'll take a look when I'm shelving the returns, and you should hear from someone in the next day or two. If we don't have them at this location, I'll look through the system to see if we have anything like that at another branch." Which of course would take longer to obtain.

Skylar hands her the money, nodding with a smile as he waits for the change and for the books to be scanned. "Thanks, I appreciate it. And yeah… my profession, such as it is. I probably should feel guilty for having a job that I love… but something tells me you can perhaps relate. Except for when books attack." He apparently doesn't feel so bad about making a joke about it if Chloe can. "Also, it was nice to meet you, Chloe," he offers, after glancing to the nametag once she motions to it.

"You too, and don't forget — get those books back on time," she adds, using her sternest look and her librarian voice. Chloe even goes so far as to waggle her finger at him.

Then as soon as he's gone, she's moving over to the section she was perusing when he dropped in. All while trying to figure out who, or what he is.

Skylar gives a brief, but warm laugh at Chloe's old lady librarian impersonation, his smile bright and cheery as he sketches a mock salute. "Yes ma'am. G'day, ma'am."

And then he departs, a lopsided smile on his face. All the while, within his shielded brain, trying to figure out how someone who looks so like the evilist bitch on the planet (and incidently the only vampire he knows personally) can be so nice and helpful. And not the least bit vindictive after he just assaulted her.

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