over the hill

In most of the dreams he can remember, he tries to climb a hill, never really knowing what is on the other side. Most of the time the hill is steep, almost more than he can truly manage but he always tries. His gut constantly is reminding him that this is something he has to do, that there is something on the other side that is waiting for him, expectantly, with wide open arms.

In most of those dreams, his leg is worse than it is in reality, as if he had grown even more malformed than he recalled himself being. It makes undertaking the climb difficult, almost impossible since his dreams (or was it his subconscious?) refuses to give him the one thing that makes his life and his walking a little easier to handle: his crutch.

At first most of the hills are slight, at least from afar. By the time he makes it to them, he realizes they’re much bigger than they seem though not impossible to get over. As he climbs, the face of the hill seems to change into something more difficult to work with and usually by the time he’s almost at the top, the ground opens up beneath him and swallows him whole. It usually is by then that he wakes in cold sweat, wondering just what his mind was trying to tell him.

No amount of reading about dreams or about what their might mean brings him any answer. None of what he finds in books makes any sense and after the fourth of fifth book he stops and leaves them in their place, instead going back to what he should have been doing, putting these books away.

He wishes he had someone to help him with those books, with summer around the corner, he sees more and more people in the library and working on his own makes it almost impossible unless he somehow works overtime (without being paid for it) to put most of the books away.

With his nights being as short as they are and his days as exhausting, it isn’t completely surprising for him to doze off just slightly by his desk. Thankfully never when his boss is around. He has a little bell on his desk and most people are kind enough to ring it to get his attention, usually from elsewhere in the library.

Still the idea of having interns of sorts or helpers in any way brushes his mind more and more. He doesn’t know how to bring it up to his boss and doesn’t even know who might be interested in the job. He knows if his boss goes with it, the pay will more than likely be close to minimum wage as had been the case for him when he had simply worked the shelves.

On a quiet, sunny afternoon, right as he begins to doze off, he hears a gentle sort of murmur, something that pulls him from his almost sleep. He startles to full awareness and blinks at the young man standing in front of him, wide blue eyes curious.

“Good afternoon, Mira.” He murmurs the words softly. He can’t recall when he last, if ever, saw the twins at all in the library. It isn’t quite out of their way but he figures it just is one of those places that doesn’t really appeal to young teenagers anymore.

Smiling, Mira carefully puts down a couple of books, on botany, on the counter. Looking them over, out of curious interest more than anything else, Armin brings them closer to be able to scan their spine, scan them into the system. “Do you have a library card, Mira?”

His voice remains ever soft and the teenager seems to understand that this is one of the rules of the place, he shakes his head, smiling sheepishly. “Wanted more books to read, Zora walked us here to look around a little, she can’t be far.”

Nodding, Armin turns away briefly to go through the motions of creating a new card for the young man. At the same time he creates one up for his brother and one for their older sister. It might as well be done all at once, even if they might not want those cards at all.

Done with the card, he turns back around and hands it over. He scans both books, makes sure they’re marked in his system and pushes them over gently.

“I like it here, it’s so quiet. Can I stay and watch you work for a while?”

A while turned out to be until it was time to close the library. The young man stays almost at his heels as he works, offering help in some places, putting books where it is a little harder for Armin to reach without the step and he hates it for how wobbly he feels when he’s on it. He manages to get more work done with Mira at his side in one afternoon than he has in past days over the course of several weeks gone by. It is impossible to keep a library of this size running with only one person in it.

Maybe, just maybe Mira might be willing to help, place books and check the system. Who knows, maybe his brother might be interested as well. He did spot both the red-eyed young man and their sister while they were out putting books back in their places.

Since all three stayed until he closed the door—he figures it mostly is Mira who asked to stay until then—he walks on home with them. They head to the bus stop and wait patiently for it to come their way. Armin keeps to himself for the time being, not really knowing how to approach Zora about the idea he has had to maybe try to see if the twins would not like to work with him in the library. He knows Mira would like it, he’s just not certain about Agni. At least it would keep the both of them out of trouble.

He knows well enough that at this point he can’t bring it up yet, he has to make sure to clear it up with his boss, find out if it’s possible at all. It would be one of those mistakes to make to manage to convince Zora and her brothers that the young boys could work with him only for his boss to deny him the help he knows he so desperately needs. So he keeps quiet.

Once they drop off at the proper stop, they head to the building and enter. On the first floor, before they part way, Armin thanks Mira for all his help, telling him how much it did help him and how further along his chores and tasks it got him. That maybe if he wanted to come help again now and again he could. He didn’t talk about the idea of a job just yet, no, just a little help now and again is a good start for an offer.

Mira beams at him and the Bachchan family head down the hallway and to the stairs to head up to the second floor. Once he sees them disappear into the staircase he walks to his apartment, collapsing into his couch for a while. His legs ache but not as much as they have over the past few weeks.

Help really would be nice.

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