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Dec 04, 2022 7:13 AM
an explanation how Henry and Gabe became Harry and Dudley
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The best place to perceive this place is a library at night, dim light, but not dark. Obviously after hours, but not closed.

The "after hours" is a wordplay. The Library's owner likes it, despite the circumstances for it to be a wordplay. Her first child would've liked before... now, she doesn't want to deal on her first child's fate. Better for everyone if she just gets to her job.

Sophia walks into the library as a tall blond woman with a concerned look on her face. Crossing the threshold of the door with the sign says Bookend Library Staff Only.

She approaches the two boys curled up on a sofa, holding so tight together that they could've been easy to mistake for a single person from the right angle.

"Excuse me, sirs."

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One of them jolts awake, like that single word had managed to take him out from the deepest sleep to full alertness and readiness in a second.

It's the reaction - Sophia knows - of someone who is expects the worst every time they go to sleep.

"I am sorry, I am sorry."

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The other also wakes up, but he is less ready to fight and more... just dealing what is coming. He doesn't speak.

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"No, no, no. It's okay-"

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"We will get moving, sorry. We will get out."

He looks at his surroundings, at the sky first... except they are indoors. And the darkness beyond the library's windows is... just darkness, hard to tell what the weather is. Henry was expecting snow.

He blinks confusedly.

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"No, I am not here to kick you out. You can't stay, but I have a place for you. Both of you."

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Gabe blinks at that and smiles. Henry is the kind to look at the gifted horse's mouth, but Gabe knows this is a rare situation where he is the one with more common sense on how to react.

"Thank you. Could you take us there?" Just accepting what is handed and not making questions or demands. Not showing thanks either, just not to have her think too much in those lines if she isn't already.

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Sophia gives them her best benevolent smile. "Sure, just follow me."

She starts leading.

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Henry gets up, and a quiet look from Gabe communicates the not asking too many questions notions.

Instead, he watches the surroundings.

The library is... huge. Impractically so. Four stores tall with balconies and bookshelves looming over them. The light coming from ornate chandeliers hanging from chains. It was also huge horizontally, the bookshelf corridors extending for quite a while as they passed through them.

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The places they are looking are not infinite. But they are definitely extremely long corridors. The one that they have been walking through itself is quite long, but somewhat curved, making it hard to assess how long until they will arrive at their destination.

"I am Sophia." She finally says after five minutes of walking.

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"I am Henry and this is Gabe."

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"Pleasure."

After that no one talks after another five minutes.

That is a lot of library.

"Huh, Bookend is a charming name." Gabe finally says after spotting the sign.

It's mostly to break the silence. He subconsciously noticed the absolute silence. Not even their footsteps.

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"Thank you. I am very proud of my library."

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More quiet moments. Henry notices. Bookend sounds like a bookshop name. And this place looks ancient. The sort of place that is named after a president. Or better yet, a king.

He curiously but surreptitiously inspects the books. No tell-tale signs of a business, signs of sale or pretty arrangements to catch the eye. There were - at a glance - the kind of popular novel you could find in any bookstore. Glossy, pretty covers, with various kinds of artwork. Also, very old-looking books. Not together. Henry couldn't guess how this place was organized but it appeared to follow some logic. At least at a glance.

After another long silence, Henry finally cracks.

"Where are you taking us?"

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"To the Harry Potter section."

She knows this is not quite an explanation.

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"The children book series...? Uh, are there beds in there or something? And can we can stay together" He can't help himself from asking.

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Sophia gives him a pained but sympathetic look. "Yes that is a book series. Also, movies, but that is not my area. You don't know much about it, do you?"

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"There are wizards and wands and a magic school," he doesn't like fantasy, but the real reason he never read or watched anything too closely was simply that they are just that poor.

When you counted pennies for utilities one couldn't pick the most popular series around, and Henry sort of pointedly tried to learn as little as possible.

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Awkward silence for a long while.

She doesn't get tired from moving legs places, but socializing of any kind is sure tiring even when it's mostly silence.

"It's okay if you don't know anything. And..." she can't help asking, "you don't find the world objectionable."

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Was that a question? It's a weird thing to say.

"No. People like it because it's like, fun and there is magic and adventure and stuff. You don't need to explain yourself, as long we are together we will be happy."

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Sophia...

 

...Sophia is a coward, so she just takes that opportunity.

"Alright, so... as long you are together. I don't own you an explanation. I am sorry, but that is always the hardest part for me."

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"Huh... Okay."

At the same time everyone stopped moving.

Some quiet part of him immediately reaches for Gabe's hand.

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Gabe holds the hand and looks at Sophia with uncertainty.

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"It's okay. It's okay."

This is a new chance. A new life.

She doesn't say that, because it will start more questions, and she won't be able to stop. And this job is hard the best of the days.

"Uh, your mother will be there," she tells Gabe before turning to Henry. She doesn't mention his parents.

Instead, with an expansive gesture that grabs the corners of the room and folds them together.

She closes their book.

And puts it on the Harry Potter section at Bookend. Sophia gets back to doing the other parts of her job that don't involve the souls of the departed.

Somewhere, in a world, some people will find where the two were. Frozen together in the snow. The end of their story.

Elsewhere, their story begins.

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