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Title: The Library of Blank Books, pt. 2
Author: Ponygirl
Rating: PG
Characters: Nine, Rose, Ace, Seven (genfic)
Spoilers: Seasons 25-27
Warnings: Er... snark? Do you have to warn for high levels of snark, these days?

A/N: So much for being done on Tuesday. ::sigh:: Thanks, as ever, to [livejournal.com profile] dark_aegis for her invaluable beta eagle-eye.

Who_Daily: a href="http://ponygirl72.livejournal.com/26753.html">The Library of Blank Books, Pt. 2 by lj user="ponygirl72"> (Nine, Rose, Ace, Seven | PG | Spoilers: DW Seasons 25-27)




The Library of Blank Books, pt. 2



Dawn was just breaking as the last group of hardened party-goers was disgorged, blinking, onto the pavement in front of the club. The doors closed firmly behind them as the club's employees got ready to tackle the arduous daily task of cleaning up after several hundred drunken revellers.

Rose stifled a yawn as her body clock began to catch up to the local rhythms. TARDIS-lagged yet again.

"Okay," Ace said, slinging a large rucksack over her shoulder and craning around to look for her friend. "I'm officially worried, now."

"Yeah. You're not the only one. What do you reckon we should do next?"

Ace blew out a breath. "Coffee. Definitely coffee-- or whatever they drink around here when they should be drinking coffee. Then, I need to find out where the nearest mayhem is. No doubt, that's where I'll find the Professor."

"Do this often, then?" Rose asked. "Right. Coffee's good." She waylaid the nearest club-goer. "'Scuse me, mate-- what do you call the drink that you drink when you're drunk, that sobers you up and keeps you awake?"

He peered blearily at her. "What, you mean kavia?"

"That's the one. Where do we get some?"

He pointed across the road, and down half a block. "There's a shop over there, by the news stand. Don't try the faza pastries; they're awful."

"News stand, eh? Perfect. Thanks, mate." She turned back to Ace. "Kavia and mayhem it is, then."

"Nothing like the first shot of the day," said the other girl.

"What, of kavia?"

"No. Mayhem."

After a brief haggle over whether or not the shop accepted credit sticks as payment, they headed outside with cups of a foul-looking green substance that smelled heavenly and tasted like paint stripper.

The bored newsagent handed them a paper, watching curiously as they huddled over the front page.

"Okay, what have we got?" Ace asked rhetorically. "'First minister caught in flagrante with the anchorwoman of the Channel Zed 14 o'clock news'... 'Price of flopjaw bellies falls to new all-time low over fear of illegal commodity dumping'... 'State council agrees on a date next month for the demolition of the Library'..."

"About time they took care of that thing," interjected the newsagent, still leaning listlessly over the counter.

"Took care of what?" asked Rose, looking up from the paper.

"The Library," he said. "That thing's a bloody menace. Should have been torn down months ago."

"A library? What's so menacing about a library? Is it about to fall down or something?"

The man stared at her for a moment. "Everyone knows about the Library, love. You two been living under a rock or something?"

By now, Ace was looking up at the news agent as well. "We're not from around here, mate. Why don't you just tell us?"

"Blimey," said the man. "I thought everyone in the Eight Systems knew about the Library of Blank Books."

"Obviously not," Rose said.

He shook his head in wonder. "Well, it all happened about ten months ago. The Library of Arian City is one of the biggest in this sector. It's always been a popular place for academics, researchers, school trips, and regular people who just like to read. Then, one day out of the blue, all the words started disappearing from the books. Just sort of... faded away.

"It started in the Anthropology section and spread through all the Sciences, into the Biographies, Literature, Drama and the Arts. Patrons were screaming; running for the exits-- it was a regular old panic. They say the Romance section was the last to go... strange, that.

"Anyway, since then, anyone who goes into the Library just-- disappears. People say that the books are trying to get their knowledge back and, if you go near them, they simply suck you in. Little hard to verify it, of course, since no-one ever comes back with a report. They even tried sending in a robot. Same thing. Once it got close to the General Collection-- pfft!-- gone. Like I said, the place is a menace."

Rose and Ace looked at each other.

"Result," said Rose.

"What?" said the man.

"Nothing," Ace assured him. "So, where would we find this library? Is it close?"

"You're not thinking of going there?" He sounded alarmed at the prospect. "You want to steer clear of that place, Miss. It's nothing but trouble."

"No, no," Rose assured him. "We'd just like to, um... see it. From a distance, I mean. No harm in that, is there?"

The news agent still looked sceptical. "S'pose not," he said guardedly. "Anyway, it's hard to miss. It's up on that big hill at the east end of the city. Mind you don't get too close, though. You both seems like nice girls, and I'd hate to think of you getting eaten by a book."

"Erm, thanks," said Rose.

"Yeah. Cheers, mate," said Ace. She turned to Rose. "So, you ready?"

Rose looked down at her half-finished kavia. "Uh-huh. This stuff packs quite a punch, but it's really, really disgusting." She poured it onto the ground and tossed the cup in a nearby can. "Let's go."

tbc


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