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 Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]

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Andrei Kessler
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PostSubject: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:53 am

Andrei liked to believe that if there were a heaven that it would look something like Flourish and Blotts. Books lined every inch of the walls; not a single bit of space was wasted by decorations or needless advertising. Even what little space there was to navigate between the packed shelves was sometimes blocked by stacks of books that went off at weird angles and though they sometimes swayed ominously never fell. At times one had to watch their head as books flew this way and that some under their own power and others by command of a waiting customer.

Ducking one such flying book that seemed to have escaped its unfortunate owner’s grasp, the newly hired Hogwarts professor stepped into this famed bookstore with a spring in his step. He loved the controlled chaos that was Flourish and Blotts. For, while bookstores died a slow painful death in the Muggle world, the wizarding world’s bookstores seemed to be ever expanding.

Weaving through the stacks and bounding up a small set of stairs, he made a beeline for a less trafficked section of the bookstore. It was here that he knew they kept the large and often untouched Ancient Runes section. He frequented this section of the store and knew where to turn and when to shimmy past a few precariously stacked pile of books.

Normally, he would have spent more time walking around the whole store marveling at the newest releases and spending more money than he ought to, but today, however, was different. Today he had a job to do: find an appropriate textbook for the class he was going to teach in the Fall. While he was confident in his ability to teach without a textbook he also knew, from his time as a student himself, that students liked to have something solid to reference when not in the classroom. He had a few titles in mind, but he had to compare prices; he did not want to ask his class to buy some ridiculously expensive textbook that they might never use again.

He did not want to be that teacher.

Coming to the Runes section, at last, Andrei inhaled deeply and began his search. Pulling out and replacing books he worked through the section like a man possessed. Coming to his first-choice textbook, he balked at the price. He couldn’t ask his students to buy this. He vaguely recollected learning from the same textbook while at Hogwarts, had it cost that much then?

Sighing he reluctantly returned the book to its proper place. Were anyone to happen upon him they would first hear the shuffle of feet, then the flipping of pages, and at last, if they drew closer yet, they would hear Andrei muttering to himself as he so often did when engrossed in a task. Naturally, much of what he said would probably be incomprehensible as it came from runic texts. Thankfully, he was far enough along in life that he didn’t much care what other people thought of him, so he continued his search without regard for the strange looks he got from people who had clearly made a wrong turn somewhere and stumbled upon him.
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Grayson Hughes

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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:34 am

Grayson spent the majority of his year surrounded by books, yet he never tired of them. Reading had always been one of his favourite pastimes--a way to travel, even when physically prevented from doing so. That was one of the reasons he'd taken the librarian position, once he'd decided to stay near his mother.

Hogwarts had an extensive library, and, though he'd memorized almost all of their titles and locations, he had yet to read even a third of them. That being said, new books were being printed every day, and one of his jobs as a librarian was to make sure anything of value was in stock at Hogwarts. So, periodically, he would make the trip to Diagon Alley, and spend his (mostly) school-provided book fund at Flourish and Blotts.

He was on a budget, obviously, but if anything particularly caught his eye, he could spare a few coins of his own every now and then. After all, the library was basically his own giant bookshelf, over which he had free reign. Anything he bought for the school, he also bought for himself.

As such, after stopping by the new releases section and picking up most of the things that hadn't been there on his last trip, he wandered around for a bit. As he delved further into the shop, other patrons became more sparse, and the atmosphere less hectic.

He wasn't really looking for anything in particular. Occasionally, he would spy an interesting title, and pull out a book to flip through it, but he normally returned them to their shelves, trying to limit his spending. Also, the expansion charm on the inside of his bag wasn't a very powerful one, and he could only carry maybe thirty books at a time. He already had twenty-four, so he'd need to be selective.

Eventually he found himself in a section dedicated to ancient runes. He'd always found this subject fascinating, though he'd only taken one course during his school days. He'd worked with them a little in Africa, but he certainly wasn't an expert. Only one other customer seemed to be browsing this section intentionally. He was deeply engrossed in whatever he was reading, and Grayson caught a couple of muttered words. It took him a second to place, but he thought he recognized them.

"I'm sorry to bother you, but is that the inscription from the Karnak obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut?"

He'd been there once, several years ago. He'd find it rather serendipitous if the man just happened to be reading about some of the only hieroglyphs he'd actually studied, but he was intrigued by coincidence, so he had to ask.
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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:42 pm

"Ethw—Karnak?" Andrei stopped mid utterance and replied like a man suddenly stirred from a pleasant dream, with slow reluctance. "Oh yes...yes it is. You have a good ear."

Looking up from the leather bound book, he glanced over at the person who had interrupted his hurried reading. Normally, the man would have nodded once to the newcomer and returned to his work—he didn't much like being bothered when reading. However, the newcomer's knowledge of Karnak was enough to pique the newly hired professor's interest. After all, he knew very few people who could actually keep up with his fluid runic recitations. Plus, he had a personal weakness for anything and everything Egyptian having spent three years of his life there.

"It really is a marvel," he continued with a passionate light growing in his eyes. "Much of Hatshepsut's legacy was expunged from history by later monarchs, but still her obelisk remains. Muggles can't explain it and attribute it chance alone."

He paused, pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, and flashed a good natured smile.

"But we know the real reason," to emphasize his point he tapped the book he still held before placing it back on the shelf with all the loving care unique to fathers. "Is there anything, in particular, I can help you find? I know most of these titles by heart."

He gestured vaguely around him at the rows of books. Colleagues in his field of study often sent him manuscripts to review and he always took pleasure in reading the work of others. Consequently, he was well versed in the titles both published and unpublished. Indeed, he also hoped to one day publish something himself, but the right topic had not struck him yet. One day he'd do it though.

One day...
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Grayson Hughes

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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:50 am

Grayson nodded along as the older man confirmed what he knew about Hatshepsut's obelisk. The man was obviously very enthusiastic about his work--he seemed much more knowledgeable in the field than Grayson, and he felt slightly ashamed that he hadn't learned more while he'd had the chance. He'd only been in Egypt for six months, and he'd been distracted by a great number of other things, trying to fit a broad range of interests into the time he had, rather than trying to specialize. Such behavior was typical of him, but every now and then he found himself regretting it--when he came across a professional, he always felt like an imposter.

As the man offered to help him search for books, Grayson shrugged him off. "I'm just browsing, really. I don't know nearly as much about ancient runes as I would like--I'm sure any one of these books would offer copious amounts of new information. Unfortunately, I'm on a bit of a budget. I'm open to recommendations though--you seem like quite the expert."

He fell back on one of his tried and true talents, which was now a bit of a habit: maneuvering the conversation so that the other person would have an excuse to speak, and he wouldn't have to. That way, he gathered information from the other person, without having to reveal his own ignorance. Of course, he always kept one or two tidbits of information up his sleeve, just in case he had to say something. He figured this was the reason he was placed in Slytherin, and not Ravenclaw. It was benign for the most part though--just a way to save his pride, while also taking the opportunity to learn.
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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:59 pm

“Ah,” Andrei nodded knowingly, pricing was always king as he well knew. “Well, you’re in luck as it seems we’re looking for the same type of book. Give me a sec; I have one in mind.”

Turning back to the wall of books to his right, his eyes jumped from title to title while his fingers followed gleefully behind running over the smooth unbroken spines in search of one in particular. Edging further and further down the aisle he got further and further away from the newcomer. Nearing the end of the shelf he became slightly concerned until, at last, he spied the deceptively thin plum colored book. Pulling it gingerly from the shelf he returned to his new acquaintance.

“I’d suggest this,” he held up the plum colored book with the word ‘Runescape’ written on the cover in ornate golden lettering. No, wizards apparently didn’t much care for muggle copyright law. “It’s great for the beginner and intermediates alike. The focus is mostly on building vocabulary than actual magical application, but everyone has to start somewhere, right? Plus, the price is right.”

He paused ever so slightly as if to hesitate—this was the last copy on the shelf.

“I had intended to use this for a class I’ll be teaching,” he shrugged lazily. “But I can always find another copy, I still have a few months until classes start and it’s not horribly difficult stuff.”

Accenting his words, he offered the book to the man. Truth be told, Andrei did not altogether like the author of the book, Kyson Hinter. Hinter had an abrasive overbearing personality that clashed rather spectacularly with Andrei’s. Indeed, Kyson was one of the few people who could get Andrei to raise his voice in anger and frustration. That said, Hinter also did good work, even Andrei had to admit and respect that, so he felt no qualms in suggesting the book itself.
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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:42 am

Grayson accepted the book and looked it over. Vocabulary was a good place to start, and one of his strong suits, since he had a good memory. It would be an interesting read. He hadn't necessarily intended on studying ancient runes over the summer, but now that the opportunity presented itself, he certainly wouldn't object. Plus, he didn't think this book was in the Hogwarts library--the title and author didn't sound familiar. Most of Hogwarts' books on ancient runes were at least a century old. Grayson figured he may as well donate this book when he finished it.

Grayson noticed the man's hesitation, however brief. He glanced up. The man's next words sparked some interest.

"You're a professor?"

He couldn't be teaching at Hogwarts, could he? That would be entirely too coincidental. But where else would offer an introductory course in ancient runes? The university, perhaps, but he'd expect those classes to be more in depth.

He caught the professor's tone. It was nonchalant, but his words, coupled with his momentary hesitation, suggested that he might be inconvenienced by giving up what was apparently the last copy of this book. Grayson held it out to him.

"If you need it, by all means, take it. It seems far more important to you than it is to me--after all, I'm just browsing. Believe me when I say I have no shortage of books."
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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:35 am

“I will be a professor yes,” he nodded accordingly. “It’ll be my first term at Hogwarts teaching, obviously, ancient runes. It should be I hope, if nothing else, an experience I won’t forget. It’ll be my first time teaching outside of the university setting.”

In the past couple weeks, Andrei’s thoughts about his new job vacillated between excitement and apprehension. On one hand, he found excitement in opening a new chapter in his life. Then, on the other hand, he worried he would not be a good teacher. In his time at Oxford, he had taught college students, but by that point, the onus of learning was more so on the students than the teacher. So yes, the idea of being entrusted with the minds of a younger generation worried him more than he could put into words.

“But please,” he withdrew his hands and shook his head when offered the book back. “I insist that you take it. I won’t be needing it for another few months no matter what way you look at it. I can always pick it up some other time; there’s no hurry on my part.”

The book itself wasn’t all that important to him as he knew everything in it. He’d just mention to the proprietor of the store that he’d need to order a few more copies. It seemed cheap enough and he hoped his soon to be students would appreciate that along with its easy to understand language.

“I’m sorry though,” a light red blush colored his cheeks as it so often did when embarrassed. “Here I am talking your ear off and I’ve forgotten my manners.”

He held out his hand.

“My name’s Andrei.”
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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:06 am

Grayson stayed silent, raising his eyebrows as he filed away this new information. So he was teaching at Hogwarts. They were coworkers, though he was certain the other man didn't know it. And he'd apparently taught at a university before, which was interesting. Grayson supposed they'd see each other around over the course of the coming school year, and he looked forward to it. This man seemed fascinating. And, if he did decide to learn more about ancient runes, he now knew someone to ask.

As the man refused to retake the book, Grayson shrugged, and stowed it away in his bag. When he finished it, it would go to the Hogwarts library anyway, which the man now had free access to. In any case, the man seemed adamant about letting him have it, so there was no sense in arguing.

Grayson shook the proffered hand as the man introduced himself. "Andrei. That's a Romanian name, isn't it? I'm Grayson. I'm the librarian at Hogwarts, so I guess we'll meet again when school starts," he said with a small smile. "There are a few interesting characters amongst the students, but they're good kids for the most part, so I shouldn't be too worried. Then again, I've never had to teach them," he chuckled.
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PostSubject: Re: Bookworms Anonymous [Grayson]   Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:22 pm

Life is strange like that, isn't it? Andrei thought to himself, who'd have thought he would meet someone else from Hogwarts here? Well, he certainly wouldn't have until about a few seconds earlier. All the same, it was a decidedly welcome surprise. Normally, he did not make it a habit of getting to know his colleagues, but he already felt that Hogwarts would be rather different whether he liked it or not. So far he liked it; most people he'd met had been interesting if nothing else.

"Yes it is," he referred back to the mention of his name. "On my mother's side actually. Supposedly it was my great grandfather's name on her side, though I've never met him."

He paused here again.

"It seems I am meeting all sorts from Hogwarts nowadays; it's nice to meet you, Grayson. And, for better or for worse, I've heard the same thing about the kids from a few other teachers. I can only hope that they'll be a good kind of interesting."

Glancing down at his watch dismay etched itself across his face; he had forgotten about Marie.

"I hope you'll forgive me," he sighed—he always got so caught up in bookstores. "But I have to get going, my wife expected me ten minutes ago and you have no idea how she gets. I suppose I'll see you at school then."

The last of his words were said as he attempted to shuffle past the man he had just met. If he got through he'd wave over his shoulder and hurry out of the building. Marie was not going to be happy. Then again, lately, she never was.

[Exit]
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