1964-03-07 - Wherefore Art Camelot?
Summary: Whence the librarian and the bohemian enjoy one another's company anon. Arthur may or may not be involved. The Camelot one.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
rogue rosemarie 


Left to her own devices while the Queen of Limbo is off on magical guard-duty through her apprenticeship to some Asgardian practitioner, it falls upon Rosemarie to entertain herself. Lola has been played with a dozen times over, start and stop per her usual feline behavior patterns. The kitchen is clean as are the various rooms of the house. She's organized her bookshelf and found that she was lacking in the classical tales regarding magic — of all things.

Thus, the flow of her day finds her walking into a small bookstore not far from the New York Public Library. The smell of well-kept books is familiar and friendly, binding and paper suffusing the close space lit cheerily by overhead lighting and sunlight alike. Her quest is for the Arthurian legends, a solid rendition, and her instincts take her into the bookshelves after a shy wave to the shop-keeper.

"Maybe over here…" she murmurs to herself, nibbling at the scar on her lip habitually as she brushes fingertips over titled spines so nicely lined in their rows.

*

The city follows rhythms. Circadian rhythms where the height of activity thrums around noon and again around 7 PM, the spin of the seasons, the throb of people trudging from class and work. Rail timetables control their coming and going. Green lights and flashing orange hands command the approach of men, women, and children. All are, in the end, subject to these rhythms whether they care for it or not.

Scarlett flits through her usual progress, disrupted life falling awkwardly back into the shades of a routine she no longer wishes to adhere to. But for some, routine offers an escape from pain and uncertainty. They can walk through the established footprints, and if the walk isn't natural, at least it gives a direction. Hence the necessity of following the prescribed reading list for an advanced anthropology class that fails to hold her attention, the summary list of books obtained from a place like this, favouring less common novels and those editions sometimes forgotten about by the mainstream. In short, it's her particular stomping grounds.

Along a line of shelves she goes, her gaze slipping away from eye-level where the stock staff wants to move ends up. Instead she ventures low and high, in search for something else. The paper in her back pokes out, a pirate's spyglass, but there isn't much consultation she does. Sometimes fate has to lead her in the right direction, and sometimes fate abandons the prodigal daughter completely.

*

The brunette isn't so completely enamored with hunting down said gathering of legendary tales that movement in her peripheral doesn't draw her attention from squinting at the titles. There's the nudge of memory to bring forth a face — oh, yes! The comic book shop! — and now all she needs is the name. …oh shoot.

Trying not to stare turns her gaze obliquely, towards the bottom row of shelves as she tries desperately to remember. There had been another one, a shorter woman whose name was Marie…something. Oh dear. The knuckle of a lightly-closed fist rests against her lips as she frowns at the Compendium of Aesop's Fables. It never did anything to her, but still, the glare is intense until — it clicks.

With an air of relief, Rosemarie turns and takes a tentative step towards the red-headed young woman with the pack containing a rolled paper. "Excuse me? It's Scarlett, right? We met at the comic book shop?" Never has a freckle-faced librarian looked so hopeful and ready to have gotten that name entirely wrong.

*

Paperbacks for a quarter and a dime section flow past, turning into obscure cookbooks or hardcovers penned at a handsome sum for defunct college presses, their topics even more discretely strange. Scarlett gives those a glance over in case the diamond in the rough wants to be sifted out from the roughest material, though little presents itself to an inquiring mind. It's not so easy for her to focus, given her verdant focus melts away and drifts down aisles and byways far away from New York. Her hand grips the wooden shelf, a far greater vision given to precious few mortals filling her head with a sense of deja vu so strong it hurts.

Hurts. Wood hurts. Thin splinters where her fingers broke the edge bite into her palm, and the bohemian blinks back to herself.

Safer for her to fall into those thoughts as she focuses on the way the splinter digs in, unable to pierce through the skin. Breathe; she pulls in air, and that gives her a chance to recollect herself while Rosemarie tries to remember their last crossing of paths. A strange comic shop not far off in the Village, a place bustling right along as it will for another forty years, might place them together. "The scarf," she announces in response to the question, that delay cracked and stitched back together. "And that very peculiar, eccentric gentleman running the place. I'm not sure Marie-Ange ever went back. I remember you. Yes, Scarlett."

*

Rosemarie blinks, taken a bit aback for the sense of distance in the response, but eventually nods, a small smile curving her lips. "Oh yes, the scarf. That was…a singular thing. He was loud," she adds, almost unnecessarily, but then again, it was gaudy to her, so used as she is to the respectful quiet buzz of the library. Marie-Ange, right, that's the name, and she files that away even as she takes another step closer, a hand considering reaching out to offer a shake by how it hovers about her waist uncertainly.

"I'm Rosemarie. If you didn't remember — which you might have and I don't mean to assume." She winces a little, but gamely presses on. "I saw you and thought I'd say hi. I guess we really are bookworms, huh?" Her cinnamon-brown eyes linger on Scarlett's face, attempting to determine if she's a welcome presence in this moment.

*

Loud, boisterous and highly unusual, that's a showman selling four colour prints for you. Scarlett nods slightly, feeling about the broken fragments of memory arising from the mosaic spill in her skull. Pieces felt and fit together seem to lock better than she anticipates, the L-shaped layout leaping to mind. "He was very different. Nothing like that around Greenwich Village, though, and I imagine he gets all the young men with money to spend and time to fill. Hopefully they don't treat the place like the library and actually purchase something."

A tip of her fingers leaves away the broken wood, and hopefully none are the wiser to that. Instead, she steps sideways to take up more of the aisle, and block an easy rush past her shoulder. "I do remember you, Rosemarie. You were very kind to Marie-Ange, and she thinks wonderfully of that yet. Twice in a bookstore; third will probably be an author signing at this rate. Do you attend those often, or would that truly be icing to the cake?" Sunshine reflected through dusty windows lends her expression a sense of distance, preoccupied by the low-level mental processes that take considerable distraction as their price for going on. But she hardly looks troubled by Rosemarie loitering and attempting friendly small talk.

*

Under Scarlett's regard and with presence not harried away by a frown or a snarky reply, Rosemarie lingers and nods, if even a bit to herself, in silent agreement for the showmmanship and its reasoning. That Marie-Ange thinks her kind does bring a bit of a blush beneath those freckles and the librarian is one moment away from scuffing her foot on the carpet and uttering something along the lines of 'oh shucks'. The red-headed Bohemienne saves her by mentioning how third time's the charm with many an instance.

"Oh! That would be icing on the cake, absolutely. I've never been to one and…knowing our luck, we'd find one another there." A little chuckle, braver now for not being dismissed. Her hand has returned to her side; not brave enough to offer a handshake after all. On a whim, said hand rises and gestures to the shelves around them. "What are you looking for?" A pause and then another chuckle, a deepening of the blush. "Sorry, couldn't help myself. I can't seem to leave the library behind when I'm surrounded by books."

*

Snark might be so far beyond Scarlett's abilities that she would be hardpressed to summon up more than a tangible murmur or remark able to scratch someone's ego. Scathing is beyond the realm of ability right now, particularly given her daydreams wander off into lambless fields a little too often. "Oh shucks" and toe-scuffing might be missed, if she were not quite too paranoid these days about things coming out of the woodwork.

"You haven't? Oh, they are a dime a dozen in the Village, though I admit most of the authors might be famous only to their mothers. They dream of agents coming out, but I fear they haven't much in the way of that. Some might make it big, though, and the whole atmosphere is very inspiring and uplifting." The bohemian blinks again and then she says, "I don't know. Sometimes I only know what I need when I find it. Or it finds me, though that happens less and less these days."

*

"Ah. Perhaps it's that they need me around the library so much. I mean, I'm never in Greenwich Village except for errands and they don't normally allow me time to wander. I'll look though, if there are so many authors signing books." Her teeth flash against the scar on her lip once before she glances back to her own section most recently perused.

"There's nothing wrong with seeing what catches your fancy on a shelf. I do the same thing every now and then. I'm after Arthurian legends today though," she adds, dragging a fingertip down the row of books lined on the shelf. Bip-bip-bip, over each slightly rounded or flat spine and on to the next, dismissing gilded lettering as she goes. "I was cleaning and realized that I didn't have any good books on…on magic." A faint frown crosses her brows and she inhales, momentarily consumed with musings of her own before it passes, but not without another ivory tooth snagging at her skin. "Yes, Arthurian magic will do." A quick turn of her face towards Scarlett to flash a fleeting grin and then back to pointedly staring at the books, pointed digit passing more slowly now. She needs must take a step or overextend her reach.

*

Scarlett kneels down to consider the pretty assortment of books lining the shelves. Something might emerge out of jumbled letters and promising letters, though one title after another can be discarded after she finds little interest in the psychology of moose or the haunted histories of Penn Station, given the thin tome barely amounts to the width of the font on its spine. "They fear you might be encouraged to wander away? Or was there some other justification for your departure? Arthuriana? Mm, the French or the English or the German versions? There's an Italian and a Spanish too, though they are quite a bit less common on this side of the pond."

Fingers skip gracefully enough along and she peeks over the volumes wedged int he back, nothing especially satisfying there. Alas, such is the difficulty. "Arthurian magic. You want 'The Once and Future King' by T.H. White. It's actually not the only book in the series, but he writes plenty in there well worth consideration, a compilation of the myths in a fictional story that might be more than fiction. Who knows? The man isn't about for me to ask, alas."

*

The librarian pauses in her lookings to glance back over at Scarlett. That's right, indeed — there are many versions of it, silly her. Pick a language first, perhaps! English will do best. The section of the library specified to the myths and legends of humankind is not her home, hence the lack of knowledge. Thank goodness for the red-head's thoughts on the matter!

"Oh. T.H. White. That does ring a bell…vaguely," she adds with an air of disappointment in herself for not knowing it. "Hmm." Now that she's got a name, all it will take is asking the shopkeeper if the book exists in inventory. "No, I don't think that they would think I'd leave. I'd like to think that I'm good at my job. I mean, isn't that why people keep other people around anyways? No one keeps a useless person on a payroll. Well, maybe they would, but I wouldn't understand why." Another faint laugh. Her hand drops to her purse, perhaps checking that it's still there slung over her shoulder. "Have you read it then, the T.H. White take on Arthur?"

*

How many versions are there of Tolkien in here? About seven, all things said and done. One ugly guide to the trees of Maine, whatever purpose that had. Scarlett creeps sideways along the shelf and nudges a box out of the way with her open palm to see what treasures lie forgotten behind that wall. "Such splendid, glorious things, where are you?" If Howard thought to whisper like that, maybe he'd have found King Tut much faster than he did! Archaeologists never put enough faith into complimenting the inanimate, which they ought to do far more. "English Arthuriana falls into three or four common tales. You have T.H. White, our modern take upon it. Thomas Malory's 'Le Morte d'Arthur,' the death of Arthur, is sort of the seminal books or rather, volumes, since it has round about eight. White is my favourite given his awareness and sensitivity to the prior works he stands upon, and he pulls in the literature and narratives of numerous authors. The French and the Welsh both have deep, glorious traditions, but you'd need the Mabinogion — the great book of the Welsh Triads — to know about Arthur as the Welsh, his people, saw him. That gives more of the magic, though less of the coherent narrative, as it's really about several more people than simply Arthur and Lancelot and Gwynhwyfar. Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King' is long poetry, but most helpful."

*

"Oh," she adds, "and the Historia Brittonum - the history of Britain. It's entertaining in the way of Herodotus, though not exactly factual, but it's lovely all the same."

*

"Oh."

How adorable, she's taken the brunette librarian entirely off-guard and those pert lips stay rounded long after the vowel has disappeared beyond hearing. "G-good to know," Rosemarie finally replies, blushing all to hell. So much information! Scarlett's basically a walking encyclopedia. Turning half-away from the red-head, she discretely scratches behind one ear, attempting to hide it by tucking hair away. "I-I think th-that I'll s-stick with T.H. White." She tries for a smile and succeeds, though it's shy as hell. "I-I'm going t-t-to go see if-f the shopkeep-per has it in. Is th-there an-an — " With a grunt, she slams her lips shut and closes her eyes for a moment. A deep inhale and exhale, a sense of anxiety abating. "Is there anything you want to ask her about?" Yay, success! Illy would be proud.

*

Adorable librarian going into the realm of flibberty-gibbetying and flailing about? Fantastic. Might she also start blushing, stammering, and singing while bunnies bound across the ground and flowers bloom at her feet? Scarlett needs to look around for Limbo dwarves singing her praises, and throwing apples over their broad, mighty shoulders. "T.H. White is very good. Yes, I have read his different books. I realize I didn't tell you much about that. He is surprisingly sensitive in his treatment, and he mixes the legendary and the modern extremely well. You could probably find a book in here, if you happened to want a copy. Or in the library. He's quite a popular writer, as far as the genre go. Did I make you uncomfortable?"

Her head tilts as the girl wants to run away, and Scarlett pauses before pressing the matter further. She's ruffled chicken feathers without knowing why. Bawk? "I'm not sure yet. I doubt they possess anything in Icelandic."

*

Cue an aversion of eyes and Rosemarie wars with long-ingrained habits. And that damn itch behind her ears! ACK! Tucked hair is suddenly pulled forwards to hide the sudden expression of midnight-blue plumes, gently-arcing in their expansion from her skin.

"N-n-no!" Good job there, very convincing, sunshine. The brunette definitely does not look up at Scarlett again. She can feel the Otherness thumping through her veins like wildfire and now the itch has intensified, especially between her shoulderblades. That assuredly means the lightening of cinnamon irises towards raptor-gold, peachy around the outer edges. "Ohhhh no-no-no," she whispers, pressing herself against the nearest bookshelf as if to prevent the wings from shifting about, another couple notches of blood pressure all that remains between seeming fairly normal and the full showing of atavistic Shi'ar feathering. "Breathe, remember to breathe!" It's a quiet squeaky mantra.

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