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One Sixty Seven

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‘I am qualified, and the best of me is diligence.’ ~William Shakespeare


 

For all of his excitable nature, there was something about Flynn Carsen that was inherently peaceful. He had spent years travelling, gained more mileage in six months than some people did in their entire lives. For a man who had been a professional student, so scared of what the future held...well, thanks to the Library, it didn’t seem so scary anymore. He wasn’t simply Flynn Carsen, 30-something, still living with his mother, never had a job. He was Flynn Carsen. The Librarian. Number 167. Only the latest in a long line of impressive men (and women) who were tasked with protecting this impressive collection of books and relics. It wasn’t long before Flynn realised that this was not a mere job. It was a lifestyle. It had changed him.

 

For better or worse, he was never sure.

 

The Library had given him confidence. The Library, in all its vastness, had given him a home, a place to belong. But because of that vastness...it had isolated him. There’s only so much of a life one can keep a secret, and with each broken heart, Flynn had come to learn that more and more. And human beings aren’t meant to live that way.

 

He returned from New Orleans, and with each passing day, he began pulling away. Because despite how much he yearned for a ‘normal’ life, Simone had been right. The Library was where he belonged. His mission, it wasn’t over. And Flynn knew he would stick it out. The Library, it needed him.

And though he had never quite admitted it

 

(until he no longer had it, until he watched his entire world collapse around him)

 

he had come to need the Library just as much.

 

It had only been after his home had been returned to him that he had realised...he needed more than that. Perhaps he always had. The Library hadn’t just been a job, it had been an excuse. It had been an escape. And now, with each passing moment, Flynn was coming to learn that he no longer needed that escape. He was still the Librarian. But for the first time, he had somewhere he fit in.

 

Always the tallest, always the most enthusiastic, always too...different...too young, too old, too intelligent...his entire life, he had been told that there had been something wrong with him. For the most part, he had brushed it off (or he had simply not noticed).

 

But the other Librarians...they were becoming his friends. His equals (yes, even Ezekiel Jones). And despite their differing views, he had Jenkins. And even with everything they had been through (and everything he had put her through), Flynn still had Eve. And those five, they had become his family. He had lost one family. But he had gained another, and he was sure that they had no idea how much they meant to him.

 

It had to stay that way, for now.

 

“Everyone went home hours ago,” came a voice from behind him.

 

At the soft, questioning tone, Flynn’s lips grew into a smile and his brown eyes lit up as he turned to face the only other person in the room. “Jenkins?” he queried.

Eve’s head tilted towards the door. “Lab,” she answered. “Apparently, something I don’t want to know about.”

 

One of his eyebrows raised in curiosity, but instead of asking, he simply nodded. Best not. “Everything’s, um...back in order,” he said, scratching the back of his neck. “Now that Ray...and, well, Prospero...” Flynn cleared his throat. He wasn’t doing very well. “It’s like you said, Eve. I don’t -- I mean, I don’t think I ever was --” Well, if that wasn’t the lie of the century...

 

(he had been avoiding her, after all. but did that even matter anymore?)

 

“I just...I just mean, I’m sticking around,” he told her. “For a while.”

 

Eve’s soft smile grew into one with hints of triumph -- she’d planted the seeds, after all. And would he stay, if not for her? The Library was his home. For so long, he’d thought it was all he needed. Had he been wrong to think that? Because he was slowly coming to realise (or perhaps he’d realised this too long ago) that if he had brought back the Library but lost Eve...it would have been a hollow victory. He wasn’t even sure if he’d have considered it one at all.

 

Judson would have been disappointed in him; Judson, the man who had always had so much faith in him. The most important man in his life, his true father. The man who had been...everything to him.

 

But maybe, he was old enough, now, to know what his mother had meant. With Eve, he had over-thought things until he’d run his brain into the dirt, leaving her stranded because he hadn’t known any better. Because he was scared of how intensely he felt for her.

 

He wouldn’t be making that mistake again.

 

“Good.” Eve’s smile grew a tiny bit, and it warmed Flynn’s heart. In turn, he met her smile with one of his own, and he reached for her hand, tugging on it as he drew her to his side.

 

Their lips met, and it was like a flood of emotion dragged him down, wave after wave. The current pulled him in, his mouth moving against hers in a passionate dance. Perhaps with words, he would never be able to define or profess how he felt about her. How grateful he was, that she had come into his life. How much she had changed him, simply by existing. Even after she pulled away, even as Flynn felt her lips drop away from his own, his eyes remained closed, just revelling in the touch that he had become accustomed to.

 

“No way better to spend eternity?” he murmured, leaning forward as her head lifted to rest against his. Eve laughed quietly, and Flynn found himself unable to pull away. But for once, he didn’t have to. There weren’t any more artifacts, no more articles in the clippings book, and no fictional criminals out to steal his girl. He was allowed to feel a little smug, right? (Something about Moriarty had bothered him, though...that wasn’t the end of his story. No, even Prospero couldn’t have been that powerful. Right?)

  

“Come on, Librarian,” Eve told him, extending a hand to him. She had seen the cogs and gears turning in his mind the moment they’d started. And right now, all she wanted was a warm bed and her Librarian. “There’s a bed in my apartment with our names on it.”

 

So he slid his fingers between hers, twining them together. Meeting her gaze, he smiled. For eleven years, he had been adventuring. Travelling. Never stopping, because...it seemed that he had forgotten how. And he hadn’t needed to slow down. The Librarian had become more than just a job title, no...it had become an identity. Flynn Carsen was someone he thought he had left behind...the moment they’d lowered his mother’s coffin six feet below. But now, it appeared that some small part of him had been in there, hidden, all that time. Eve had woken up that part of him again, and for the first time in a while...he saw himself as simply Flynn. The man behind the mask of the Librarian. He didn’t have to carry that weight anymore, not alone.

 

Striding out into the cool night, Flynn and Eve left the Annex behind them. And for once, Flynn didn’t look back. It would still be there in the morning, proudly standing, leading them in for what would no doubt be another adventure -- maybe a volcano or hidden passageway, or a mountain troll wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting small town (although, he did have to admit that he’d had just about enough of small towns). Prospero was gone, the team was safe and sound...but there would always be a new mission. He was the Librarian, and no one knew this job better than him.

 

The difference was, when he started his day, it would be a team effort. Saving the world, twice before Friday. And maybe their lives weren’t made for fairy tale endings, maybe not everything would have a happy ending. Maybe they wouldn’t all get what they wanted, or dreamed for. But they would fight for themselves, and for the world, and Flynn couldn’t imagine a better destiny.

 

The drive to Eve’s apartment was quick, and as he crawled into bed next to her, her weight resting comfortably against his own, Flynn had to think that if he could choose between excavating a newly discovered Sumerian temple and this...he would choose her. He would choose Eve, every time. Life was short. Life was fleeting. There would always be another temple. But people...sometimes they don’t stay forever. Sometimes they can’t. Sometimes fate just plays a bigger hand than anyone else. Moments like this...they could be gone in an instant, and the Librarian knew that better than anyone.

 

Eve was his happily ever after, his eternity.

 

They pulled the comforter up, and even as her head rested on the planes of his chest, she whispered, “Good night, Librarian.”

 

(I love you.)

 

Flynn’s eyes closed, and he was already drifting off as he vaguely heard his voice speak one more time. “Good night, Guardian.”

 

(I love you, too.)

 

 

 

 

Finis.