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In Any Version of Reality

Chapter Text

Not to be overdramatic, but Professor Flynn Carsen was having what was probably the worst day in his entire life.

 

He honestly didn’t even know why he had agreed to go on this field expedition. There had been that ridiculous bet, and something about true professors having real-life experience, the rumor about a 6,000 year old undiscovered Trypillian temple, and that annoying tiny voice in his mind that told him to go, to see the world, to have an adventure for once in his life.

 

He really hated that little voice.

 

Granted, he had been told about the risk of violence along the border, but he was just trying to find the most architecturally relevant dig site, as well as understand why ancient stones with gothic markings would be in this area when it was clearly incongruous with the established cultural timeline, and surely any decent sort of person would understand the historical significance of what he was trying to do.

 

As he ran for his life from soldiers shooting not only at him, but also outrageously close to the artifacts they had found, Flynn thought that perhaps these were not decent people.

 

Any other thought he might have had was interrupted as a woman appeared almost out of thin air (to actually just appear like that was clearly impossible, but he could have sworn she hadn’t been there before) and clotheslined her arm straight into his neck.

 

As the combined sudden application of force to his windpipe and his back while hitting the ground caused a temporary paralysis of his diaphragm (most people would just say he got the wind knocked out of him, but that was not nearly as precise), he noticed several things about this mystery woman who had decidedly not just appeared out of nowhere. First, she was beautiful. Terrifyingly beautiful, and tall, and fit, and definitely lightyears out of his league. Second, she was somehow not afraid of the soldiers who had caught up and were shouting things like “Stop or I shoot!”. Third, she was calling his name in a voice of almost familiar concern.

 

“Flynn? Flynn! Where are we?” She hauled him upright as he stared, then made a confused face at him. “What happened to your clothes?”

 

The soldiers started herding them over to the small tent Flynn had been using as a base of operations while the woman kept asking him questions like he knew what was was going on.

 

“Who is this guy?” She whispered as they walked.

 

Finally recovering his breath, Flynn rubbed his windpipe and managed to ask, “Who are you?”

 

The look she gave him was part annoyed, part confused, and a tiny bit betrayed. Flynn suddenly felt very guilty. He didn’t mean to annoy or confuse her (although those tended to be the standard reactions people had to most things he said), and there was a small stab in his chest at the thought that he had hurt her.

 

After being shoved summarily into a camping chair, Flynn realized that he really did not like this scary soldier guy. Especially since he tended to emphasize his questions with pointed gun waving.

 

“You are in charge?” He growled, with more of the aggressive gun-pointing.

 

“I am Professor Carsen, and I am in charge.” He agreed, and then suddenly thought that might not be his best move. He did want to impress the annoyed woman with the flawless skin, but he also didn’t want to die. “Not really. I-I'm... I'm in charge of the dig. I have a lot of responsibility. I'm more of a supervisor kind of slash-”

 

The army guy glared and interrupted. “Professor of what?”

 

Glad there was something he could answer truthfully, he leapt into the explanation. “That is a fascinating story. I actually hold the record in PHDs. More of a student of learning than any kind of discipline or doctrine, but I like to think of myself as more of a-”

 

And there was the terrifying gun-waving again, so he decided to take the most oft-given advice. “I'm gonna s-stop talking.”

 

“This area is closed to all foreigners while the border dispute is resolved. Give me your papers!”

 

As he handed over his passport, Flynn thought that he should just clarify something before the soldier drew any more incorrect conclusions. “We're not together, by the way. I-”

 

He was about to add something about just meeting her, or maybe he had run into her before (hopefully not literally) and had forgotten her name, although the tiny adventure voice was making comments about how this woman was clearly unforgettable, when the soldier barked, “Shut up!”

 

Once the militia had backed off a bit, the women turned to him with an outraged glare. “A professor? Are you kidding me?”

 

He tried to explain, “I'm not even supposed to be here. I never leave the university.”

 

“A professor?!

 

“They didn't think I would. It was kind of a bet. You are not... they said, ‘you won't go into the field and get your hands dirty, Flynn.’ I said, ‘I'll do it.’ They said, ‘you have allergies, and you won't.’ "

 

There was a considerable amount left to his story, which was quickly sidelined when the soldier came running up, furious.

 

“NATO! Western spy!”

 

The blonde woman sighed heavily. “Oh, crap.”

 

“Get up!” The soldier yelled, grabbing her roughly by the arm and yanking her down the trail. “You come with me.”

 

Wherever they were taking her, Flynn estimated a high likelihood that it was not pleasant. That stupid tiny voice started madly shouting at him to do something for once. “Uh, hey,” he squeaked, then winced at how pathetic that sounded.

 

The soldier wasn’t impressed either. “Shut up!”

 

By now the adventure voice was full on bellowing in alarm, and somehow managed to take over his mouth. “Let... let her... Uh... Let her go! I said, ‘let her go!’"

 

His attempt at bravery earned him a blow to the gut, and while he fell to the ground attempting to get his breath back for the second time within an hour, the woman grabbed the hand that was on her shoulder and twisted savagely. As the soldier dropped, she rushed over and grabbed his jacket.

 

Flynn, wake up! Listen to me, you are not a professor!” She told him in a tone that brooked no argument. Before she could continue, a yell came from their left as a soldier flipped through the air and crashed into some boxes.

 

Suddenly, a mysterious man appeared and took down the rest of the soldiers like a scene from an action movie. Flynn gaped as the man fearlessly grappled with the guns, throwing them aside in contempt and basically living out the dreams Flynn had sometimes about perhaps being a crime-fighting archeology professor before laughing at how ridiculous that sounded.

 

Finally getting his voice back, Flynn stuttered as the ninja guy walked up, “Uh, that... who... how did... who are you?”

 

He took off the scarf covering his face and answered in a low, rasping voice, “I'm the Librarian.”

 

The adventure voice marveled at how cool he sounded.

 

Flynn snorted. A librarian who fought people? C’mon. “Librarian? More like… ‘barbarian.’" He watched the woman from the corner of his eye to see if she appreciated his humor.

 

She didn’t really get the chance, as the Barbarian guy suddenly fixed his gaze on her face. “Eve.” He breathed in a stunned voice, then kissed her full on the mouth.

 

(Eve! Of course her name was Eve. He knew that.)


(Didn’t he?)

Chapter Text

 

Damn. His inner thoughts commented as the rough librarian guy released Eve with a joyful smile, and Flynn couldn’t help but agree. Anyone brave enough to kiss a woman like that really was the hero he wished he could be.

 

Eve’s eyes widened, and as the ninja man stepped back, she started with, “What the hell?” Then, she shook her head vehemently and nearly shouted “Nope! Nope! Nope!”

 

The Barbarian looked almost pitifully distressed. “Eve-”

 

She continued to shake her head as she marched away. “Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.”

 

“Eve!”

 

“No, no, no no no no no no!”

 

Well, even if Eve didn’t appreciate what had just happened, Flynn did. One man to another, he held out his hand and said, “That was awesome, by the way,” trying to encompass both the fighting and the romantic aspect of his latest actions.

 

The Barbarian nodded his thanks, then started organizing Flynn and his team for an immediate evacuation out of the current war zone, which Flynn reluctantly understood.

 

“More troops are coming. Why would you still have researchers here? War zones are very dangerous!”

 

“Well, there are some very interesting ancient-goth marking stones just down the road. Actually, the thesis-”

 

The other man froze. “Wait. What?”

 

“Of my dissertation-”

 

The Barbarian grabbed him. “No. Mystical stones. Go back to that. Directly under ley lines…” He snapped his fingers in triumph. “That's what I'm here for. Show me.”

 

Flynn laughed. “Ley lines? I mean, there’s no such thing as magic. And ‘Show you?’ That sounds, uh... what would the expression be? Oh, very dangerous. No. I will point the direction, and I will take this truck. Nice to meet to you Bar…”

 

Eve suddenly reappeared and grabbed his tie before he could escape into the vehicle. “You're not going anywhere.” She growled, hauling him after her.

 

Despite the happiness of his inner voice, Flynn tried to object. “Uh, I'm not the adventurous type. I-I-I'm a student of learning!”

 

Eve held up a hand. “Shh! Not now!” She pointed to the Barbarian. “You're the Librarian?”

 

“Yeah, going on 10 years. How are you here?”

 

“I'm the Guardian.”

 

(The word echoed strangely in his head. Guardian. Protector. Defender. He knew that title… he must had read about it some-)

 

“Eve, you're dead. I watched you die.”

 

(Part of his mind screeched to a halt at the thought of Eve dying. She couldn’t die. She can’t. She won’t.)

 

I won’t let her. His inner voice declared defiantly while Flynn wondered why he reacted so strongly to this woman he had just met.

 

Trying to make even some sense out of what was going on, Flynn started, “Um, being a student of learning, one of the things I…”

 

Eve turned to glare at him. “Okay, is this gonna be a thing? 'Cause if so, I'm just gonna nip it in the bud right now.”

 

He wasn’t sure what she meant, but tried to finish offering his logical faculties to the group. “I tend to be very methodical, and maybe I can help establish your hypothesis. Who exactly do you think he is?”

 

Eve gestured impatiently. “Jacob Stone, recent librarian.”

 

Mr. Stone was obviously offended. “No, I'm the librarian for over 10 years, okay? The other guy died. Well, he faked his death, but I took the job.”

 

Furrowing her brows, Even pointed at him. “At the Metropolitan Library?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Feeling slightly left out, Flynn jumped in with, “Metropolitan Library? Ah, well, I was offered a job there once, but I never showed up.”

 

That earned him the frightening intensity of Eve’s full attention. “Yes! Where I'm from... when I'm from... whatever…” She pointed to Stone. “He's you. I mean, you're you, but he's the Librarian and I'm his Guardian.”

 

A strange sort of wistful look stole across Jacob’s face. “You were my Guardian.” He told her softly, and Flynn suddenly felt like he was eavesdropping on a private conversation. “Almost 10 years ago, right after your military-intelligence training.”

 

He looked about to add something else when the sound of gunshots echoed from behind them.

 

Whirling around, Stone grabbed Flynn’s shoulder and shouted, “Show me the stones! Where are the stones? This way?”

 

After much panicked running in the direction of the incongruous gothic stones, Flynn both finished processing the hypothesis Eve had put forward and tried his best not to have an asthma attack. If this is what Librarian-ing was all about, the Barbarian guy could have it. Coughing, he managed to say “Oh, man. Me, you? I don't think so. This job seems to involve an awful lot of running.”

 

Eve shot him an inscrutable look. “You get used to it.”

 

All that physical exertion was causing his core temperature to rise, so Flynn took off his jacket and suddenly noticed a very convenient metal spike that made the perfect coat hook. Smiling, he uttered a pleased, “Hey!” and hung up his coat.

 

It was then he heard Eve ask Stone, “How did I die?”

 

Glancing over, he watched Stone pull back slightly and change the subject. “I've seen these stones before.” The Librarian called, pitching his voice so Flynn could hear. “I've seen them in South America. I saw them in Egypt.”

 

Not to be dissuaded, Eve said his name with a bit more force behind it. “Stone.” When the man met her eyes, her voice gentled. “Jacob, please.”

 

Taking a few deep breaths that Flynn suspected were more emotional than physical, Stone answered, “You stopped Dulaque from stealing the Library. Okay? Charlene and Judson, they threw the library into another dimension and…” He paused and looked up, voice thick with regret. “You were stabbed. You bled out in my arms.”

 

Eve grabbed his arms. “That's my version, too, except for the part where I died .”

 

All this talk of stabbing and bleeding and dying was making Flynn acutely uncomfortable, so he wandered around the wooded area near the stones, trying not to listen.

 

“But I stopped them, though. Okay, it may have been too late, but I stopped them.” Stone growled resolutely.

 

“ ‘Too late’?” Eve repeated sardonically. “There's magic in the world!”

 

The pure absurdity of the whole situation resulted in him trying to remind these people that this was the real world. “No such thing as magic.” He threw out as he ducked under a tree.

 

The others ignored him.

 

Something was bothering him about this forest… if only there weren’t such clearly ridiculous ideas being discussed, he could probably focus on it better. Purely hypothetical theories tended to be very distracting.

 

“Without the Serpent Brotherhood's control, it's wild magic, all right? Technology's failing, the monsters are rising, wars are breaking out. The best I can do is hunt down magical items like these stones and keep them safe... out of the wrong hands.” Stone told her.

 

It finally hit Flynn what was off about these woods. “These are not the right kind of trees.” He mused aloud.

 

For some reason, that seemed to attract both Eve and Stone’s attention.

 

“What?”

 

Flynn was sure explaining reality wasn’t as exciting as talking about magic, but he still hoped Eve would be impressed by his observational skills. “I'm just saying that the actual native specie of tree on this side of the Ukraine would be the oak or the hornbeam, but these pine trees are totally out of place.”

 

The other man frowned. “I wouldn't have spotted that. Yeah, I'm art and history and stuff…” He turned to Eve automatically and smiled in a way that suggested years of habit. “I mean, you know. Anyway, Th... you being here, you spotting that, that's like…”

 

Eve’s eyes lit up. “Fate. That's like fate.” She turned and gestured between two of the stones. “Here. I came in right through here.”

 

Glad Eve had taken at least some interest in what he had said, Flynn continued, “These pine trees actually form kind of a pattern around the stones, and there's a, uh, ancient metal spike in each one.”

 

“Resonance.” Stone paused a moment, then nearly jumped with excitement.. “That's to activate the teleportation stones!”

 

Very sure Eve could clearly see who didn’t have their heads in the clouds now, Flynn guffawed loudly and shook his head at the silly Barbarian. “There's no such thing as teleportation.”

 

A round of gunfire rattled through the trees, and as Flynn ducked, he remembered he had read a few papers on the viability of teleportation, and while he had judged them to currently be more  pseudo-science, perhaps using photons and quantum physics to relocate physical beings wasn’t nearly as impossible as he once thought.

 

“Aaaah! I'd be very interested in the concept of teleportation right now!” He shouted while hoping the Barbarian knew what he was doing.

 

His doubts increased as Stone threw Flynn’s jacket onto the ground, then hit the temporary coat hook with a large rock. Before Flynn could protest the treatment of his coat, he saw the sound waves physically manifest in a pattern around them and his brain immediately went into overdrive trying to determine the frequencies involved and why they affected him so strangely.

 

“Self-reinforcing harmonic resonance? Whoa!” He had read that it was theoretically possible, but seeing it firsthand was exhilarating. Almost exciting enough to override how terrified he was.

 

“I told you I knew what these stones were.” The man told them in a smug tone. “Get in there now. You guys must have come from a different timeline. For some reason, you guys keep getting dragged into the weak spots in reality. Ha! Teleportation stones under ley lines, that counts!”

 

As Stone hit the next spike with a loud clang, Flynn felt a powerful ringing sound echo in his head, and changed his mind about trying to argue about the impracticality of hypotheses involving varying timelines.

 

As Flynn huddled as close to Eve as he dared, she turned to Stone. “Come with us.”

 

Wait a minute. “Us? Wh-what do you mean, us? Wait, no, no. Where are we going?” Flynn asked in mounting concern. It was one thing to theorize about the mechanics of resonance with the possibility of teleportation, it was quite another to actually consider where they might end up if there was even the tiniest chance of this working.

 

Stone shook his head ruefully. “I can't. I got to stay here. I got to power these things up. If I get this right, I can send you guys back.”

 

He hit a few more of the spikes to perpetuate the resonance, then called out, “Hey... In your world, we didn't have our 10 years?”

 

Eve bit her lip, then shook her head. “We just met a few months ago.” She said, then after some thought, added, “We're friends, though. Despite ourselves, sometimes.”

 

Stone attempted a lopsided half-smile. “Then the alternate me's an ass, 'cause I missed you, Eve.” And even Flynn could hear the depth of emotion lingering under her name.

 

The moment was broken by the yelling and gunshots growing closer. “Stone, they'll kill you!” She shouted at him almost desperately.

 

The ringing sound in Flynn’s mind was almost unbearable, but he watched, half in fear, half in awe, as a large, shit-eating grin appeared on Stone’s face. “Let them try.”

 

The soldiers surrounded him, guns pointed at him from every direction. “Hands on your head!”

 

Flynn’s vision started fading in and out (was he fainting? He didn’t feel like he was fainting) as he watched Stone spread out his arms declare proudly, “I'm the Librarian.”

 

(The way he said it almost made Flynn change his mind about not wanting the job. It sounded like it meant something. Like it was more than just a title. Like it was worth dying for.)

 

(What could be that important?)

 

(What could mean that much?)

 

As the forest disappeared from his view, he turned to stare at Eve, whose eyes were fixed on the last glimpse of the Librarian.

 

(Maybe…)


His thought was left unfinished as everything went dark.

Chapter Text

The next thing Professor Carsen knew, he was standing with Eve in a place that was definitively not a Ukrainian forest. It was a room that looked like it belonged an office building, with cords and large silver ducts hanging by the walls.

 

Hold on. If what he was seeing was accurate, it meant one thing - that the teleportation stones unbelievably, undeniably, had worked .

 

“Whoa! W-w... We just teleported. We... we... we just... using extra-physical means, we somehow... we... we... we accessed the concept of... of... of quantum tunneling on a macro scale!”

 

The academic in him was trying desperately to consolidate this fact with the logical framework he had built his whole career around, but the stupid adventure voice was gleefully delighting in this apparent impossibility and considering what this could mean for the existence of other hypothetical realities.

 

His internal conflict was interrupted by an Australian voice correcting them from above, “Uh, you mean magic, mate.”

 

Flynn and Eve spun around and looked up to see someone who looked to be in his early twenties standing on a balcony in a lab coat.

 

The jittery excitement of his inner voice was clearly contagious, as Flynn greeted, “Hi. We're on an adventure.” And for the first time, the thought didn’t fill him with complete dread. Although he did suddenly realize another possibility for what he was seeing. “Or I-I-I've lost my mind. Or both. Who are you?”

 

The young man raised his eyebrow and announced authoritatively, “I'm the Librarian.”

 

(Perhaps there was more than one Librarian, but the way the Australian on the balcony had said it, with the same weight and meaning that Jacob Stone had used, Flynn somehow doubted it.)

 

Flynn was doing his best not to black out while considering the intricacies of physics that must have been involved in their recent relocation through space as Eve grabbed his arm and towed him upstairs.

 

(Wait. What if they had moved through time as well? What if they were a hundred years in the future? Or two years in the past? He didn’t imagine that devices created by stones and metal spikes had a precise linear correlation between space and time.)

 

He tuned in just in time to hear Eve finish her explanation about how they used the gothic stones to jump forward to… wherever they were, and for the young man, who had introduced himself as Ezekiel Jones, to correct one detail.

 

“Sideways, actually. I think you're moving sideways between different timelines... each one with a minor difference.”

 

Eve added very quickly, clearly thinking of her interaction with the last Librarian, “Uh, not so minor.”

 

Flynn’s anxiety and excitement both escalated exponentially as he realized that not only had they teleported to a different physical location, they had somehow moved to an alternate reality, which was an entire other atmospheric level of impossibility.

 

“Wait... are you saying that we're... I'm in a parallel universe?” Ezekiel nodded nonchalantly as another terrifying thought occurred to Flynn. “Wait. Is there a me here?”

 

The Librarian shrugged. “Theoretically.”

 

“If I... if I met myself, would I explode?!” The sheer thought of several impossible events colliding into one meeting with his alternate self was starting to get overwhelming, so he asked for a pen in order to get his thoughts out onto a nearby whiteboard to see if he could make any kind of sense of it all.

 

As he scribbled out the relevant equations, he heard Eve ask the other Librarian, “And me? Please don't tell me we're involved.”

 

The young man sputtered at the idea. “What? N-no. No, no, no.”

 

“Oh, thank God.” Eve sighed in relief.

 

“You were like a mother to me.” He reassured her.

 

Eve was clearly not comforted by this. “Wait. What? No. That's mathematically im...probable.”

 

Happy to have a purely mathematical problem, Flynn responded, “Actually, that's not true.”

 

He was halfway through the calculations based on the average age of female puberty when Eve shot him an impressive glare and said “Actually, that's not helping.” in a warning tone and he wisely refrained.

 

She turned back to Ezekiel, concern furrowing her brows. “‘Were’? Why past tense?”

 

Ezekiel winced. “Tore me up. You became my Guardian when I was a teenager. When you were stabbed the day Dulaque tried to grab the library, it was the day you died.”

 

The young man met her gaze and Flynn thought he saw the sheen of tears. “Worst day of my life.”

 

Eve looked as if Ezekiel’s display of emotion both shocked and unnerved her, which in turn unnerved Flynn.

 

Muscling past that painful memory, Ezekiel announced in a falsely cheery voice, “Not to look a gift guardian in the mouth, but maybe you could help us with our ghost problem.”

 

Flynn tried to resist his impulse to panic by citing facts. Ghosts aren’t real , he chanted internally. They are simply superstitious interpretations of completely rational phenomenons. Research has shown that pulsing magnetic fields, imperceptible on a conscious level, can make people feel as if there is a “presence” in the room with them by causing unusual activity patterns in the brain’s temporal lobes. There is always a logical explanation. He had almost convinced himself that there was nothing to be afraid of before that dratted internal voice piped up with, Maybe not in our reality. But this is a parallel dimension. Anything is possible.

 

Eve only sounded vaguely confused. “Uh, ghosts aren't really the Librarian's job.”

 

“Well, they are now.” Ezekiel grimly pulled up the blinds. “Welcome to ghost world. There was a house, it granted wishes…”

 

Paling with dread, Eve finished, “... a killer from the past.”

 

The Librarian nodded. “Didn't put her down quite right. Her last wish opened a hole in the world and let in all the-”

 

Flynn, who had finally worked up enough courage to peek out the window, shouted, “Ghosts?! You're saying those are ghosts?”

 

“Real people... possessed.” Ezekiel corrected matter-of-factly. “Most of the world now. Just my team left.”

 

Faced with the reality that if at least several billion people were now possessed, the calculation that their chance of survival was currently sitting at single digits, plus the overwhelming feeling that he did not want to die, forced him to flee from the room.

 

As he ran, he heard Ezekiel comment, “He's not taking this very well. Who is he?”

 

Eve answered in an exasperated tone, “The Librarian.” which somehow only terrified Flynn more. He didn’t want to deal with men with guns and brainless possessed ghosts. He wanted to be home, safe, surrounded by books and not bothered by anyone.

 

He paced wildly across the small server room, then waved his finger at Eve as she marched in. “No, no, no, no, no.” He told her in what he hoped was an authoritative tone. “This is not happening.”

 

Eve walked forward with soothing hand gestures as he spun around her. “Yes, yes, yes. It's happening.”

 

“This is not happening!” He tried again, despite knowing that if it turned into a yes/no argument, Eve had a much better chance of winning with her commanding tone.

 

“Oh, it's happening.”

 

“Not happening.” Finally snapping, he shouted, “Why are you so calm?!”

 

“Because I've had some experience with the weird lately.” She told him as she backed him into the corner of the room, then grimaced in thought. “Although apparently not the 10 years of experience I've had in these other timelines.”

 

With the knowledge that the first step to solving any problem was defining terms, Flynn choked out, “What is a librarian?!”

 

Eve sighed. “They're the ones who protect the rest of us from the magic and the weird and the things that go bump in the night.” Her serious gaze put an end to his thought that maybe this was all just some highly elaborate practical joke.

 

Slightly mollified but also confused, since the definition of a guardian is literally ‘one who protects’, he followed up with, “What's a Guardian?”

 

Shoulders straightening from years of training, Eve explained.“We're the ones that protect the Librarians.”

 

He couldn’t help but add, “And die.”

 

Eve tilted her head to the side for a beat before answering. “Apparently.”

 

“And that doesn't freak you out?! I'm totally freaked out!” Flynn asked in a strangled tone, leaning forward with a half-thought of running again before Eve pushed him firmly back against the wall.

 

(Guardians die protecting Librarians. If he was a Librarian, that meant Eve would die protecting him.)

 

(He couldn’t let that happen.)

 

“Why didn't you answer the letter about the job in the library? Did somebody interfere?” Flynn could clearly see that Eve must have been a top interrogator in her former career.

 

“N-no. No. I just... I know myself. I was comfortable in the university, so I-I-I didn't go.” He had almost gone, had printed out his resume and everything, but the idea of leaving the university, of leaving the safety of books and learning and quiet shelves… frightened him. He was afraid of the real world. Afraid he wouldn’t be thought valuable, or worthy. Afraid he wasn’t as intelligent or important as he imagined himself to be. He was scared to leave, and he didn’t want Eve to think less of him for it.

 

Wheeling his hands in a vague gesture that was meant to mimic weaving, he fumbled for an adequate phrase. “It was just a... it was a twist of a thread on a random loom of fate.”

 

Eve’s eyes suddenly widened and stared at a distant point behind him. Before he could ask where she went, she came back to the present with a terrifying intensity. “Why did you say loom of fate?"

 

Flynn shrugged. “Cause it's a Greek myth. Not just a Greek myth. It's also a Baltic myth. It's also a Finnish myth. If you want to be technical-”

 

In a way that was both new and achingly familiar, Eve sensed his impending lecture cut him off. “Skip, skip, skip.”

 

He tried to sort through all of the myriad information he could give for the most efficient way to summarize the myth.

 

(The Balkans had the sun goddess Saule, who spun and wove the sunbeams)

 

(The Germanic myth had the three norns, who represented destiny as it is spun and twined with the flow of time)

 

(The Greeks called them the Three Fates: Clothos (Spinner - who spun the thread of life), Lachesis (Allotter - who measured the thread and chose their destiny), and Atropos (Unturnable - the one who cut the thread. The one who ended life))

 

He finally explained, “All of our lives, all of our possibilities, all of our choices are all woven together in the fabric of history on the loom of fate.”

 

Eve leaned forward as the pieces came together. “He cut it. He cut the fabric. And when he cut the fabric, he cut history.”

 

It was a sign of how much this whole teleportation thing had changed his perspective that he was about to ask if she meant an actual loom of fate when a loud sound of glass shattering came from the next room.

 

His first instinct was to run and hide somewhere, but his adventure voice (which was getting uncomfortable loud) pointed out that if what the Librarian said was true, if the last of humankind was in this building, he had to do something to protect them. Right?

 

Then he met Eve’s eyes.

 

She was looking at him as if she knew he could help. As if she knew he would help.

 

As if he was a hero.

 

Swallowing, Flynn tried not to sound terrified as he half-suggested, “I guess we should see what that is?”

 

Eve gave him a small gratified smile. “You're the Librarian.” She told him, and the pride in her tone made his stomach flip in a not totally unpleasant way. “Even if you don't know it... You're the Librarian.”

 

And it was her belief in him (plus the way she was shooing him towards the door) that gave him the nerve to walk out and see if, just maybe, he could save the world.