IN ANOTHER WORLD:
The Library of the Realm was truly something to behold. It towered over the city in all it's pristine glory, sparkling clean, no raised voice to be heard, not a book out of place. The books themselves were wonders of inoffensiveness, lacking such things as coffee rings, dogeared pages or notes in the margins. The content of the books was equally inoffensive, anything questionable having been removed by a recently promoted Assistant Librarian.
The Librarian in question sat at her desk, which was a paradigm of organizational skill. The folders were neatly stacked and labeled, the desk calendar completely updated and doodle-free, the paperclips and rubber bands all categorized by clippiness and stretchiness, respectively. The untidy piles of paper that exist on any other desk in any other Library in all the multiverse were here nowhere to be found. It was a desk of pure perfection.
She sat, staring at a bullet-pointed masterpiece of a To-Do List. Glancing from it to the desk, she moved a pen ten degrees to the right, so that it was precisely symmetrical to the pad of paper on the other side of the calendar. She then neatly crossed that task off of her To-Do List, and resumed staring at it.
There was a problem.
She had desperately wanted to return here, had ranted and railed at anyone who would listen (and a few who wouldn't) about her home, the world where Everything Was Right, and now, here she was. Back.
Back where it was clean.
Back where it was quiet.
Back where everything had it's place and there was a place for everything, including her.
There shouldn't have been a problem. There shouldn't have been any problems, there in the place where no problems were tolerated, and yet. There it was, clinging to her shoulder like one of those typo gremlins from the Other Place, large as life and impossible to ignore.
Assistant Librarian Skidge, known to some as the Pedant, was bored.
It had taken her a while to work out what it was. She had never felt that grey, strange lack-of-anything emotion before, and the word for it took some intense introspection. She wasn't very good at introspection, any more than she was good at feeling things, so a week had passed of work before she had suddenly put her finger on it. Boredom.
It had been quite a disturbing revelation.
There had been no questions when she had returned. She had been gone for just under three weeks with nary a word, yet nothing had been said about her absence. She supposed nobody had noticed. This thought wouldn't have bothered her in the least a month ago, but now, unaccountably, it did.
"Miss Skidge?" a nervous voice interrupted her reverie. She straightened, caught in the act of doing Nothing for the first time in her career, and gave the intruder her Very Sternest Look.. "What."
He cleared his throat nervously. "The Head Librarian wants to see you," he quavered. The Head Librarian liked it when people quavered, and it had gotten to be quite a habit amongst the lower echelons of Library personnel. This man wasn't following the fashion; he just quavered a lot.
"Mmh. Yes. I'll be right up," she responded after some consideration. He began to scurry away. "Wait." He stopped, cringing. "What is your name?" She had never noticed him before.
"Um. Giuseppe, miss."
She stared. This Giuseppe was small and grey and utterly, utterly unremarkable. He almost seemed to fade into the wallpaper behind him; if it weren't for the nervous trembles, he would almost be invisible. No wonder she hadn't known who he was. "Giuseppe Lorenzo?"
The man started. She knew his name, and the look she was giving him frightened him. Of course, everything frightened him, but still. "Yes, miss."
She gazed at him for a moment more, until she thought the poor man was going to have a heart attack, then nodded. "Of course it is. Very well, go about your business." He scurried off, breathing out a sigh of relief she pretended not to notice.
With a final glance at her precise To-Do List, Skidge got to her feet.