a challenge

“So they just have to write that many words in that month alone? Then what do they do?”

“Well, it’s not just about writing words, essentially they have to write a novel and fifty-thousand words is just how many words it should have at least. They call it National Novel Writing Month. It pushes people to write more, those who might laze and not finish projects they start have no real excuse to not do things from start to finish in that month, it’s the point of it. Once they’re done, they revise, to clean it up and some get published after a lot of hard work.”

“But what’s the point and does it have to be written in French?” The questions keep on coming, it amuses him more than anything else. He knows they should have been working but the library is very quiet on that calm and fresh afternoon. Most people who would come, tended to on humid afternoons, mostly seeking the calmer, fresher, air conditioned quietness of their walls.

“People just write because they can, because some of them want to be published, it’s really just that. They want to write. Some believe they want to write but they just want to be writers, they want all the hard work already to be done and just want the money they think comes with writing.” He shrugged, a soft chuckle at the back of his throat. He didn’t even know where the teen had heard about the whole thing, he only knew because Andoni had taken part in it twice during the time they had been together.

“And no, it doesn’t have to be in French, it can be in any language you’re comfortable writing in.” He still isn’t sure if the twins can even write proper sentences in French yet. Sure their speech is better, a lot smoother than it had been when he first met them but there is a huge difference between speaking the language and writing it.

“It’s just a challenge for people who want to write.”

“Oh.”

“Don’t you have books you should be putting away?” His voice is gently amused and Mira pouts at him lightly, as if he’d just been told that chores were waiting. It was essentially that. Still the young man rolls his eyes but turns though not before sticking his tongue out. Armin chuckles again softly and shakes his head. He knows they still are teenagers and they react properly most of the time. He knows it’s a good sign, that they’re growing up essentially as they should be, just out of school.

He recalls having watched Andoni over the course of the month, those two times he had settled in for the writing challenge. He had kept his distance and made sure not to bother his boyfriend at that point. He knew concentration was fleeting at times and he hadn’t wanted to bother him. Once his word goal for the day had been reached and then some, Armin did get plenty of Andoni-time and that was the best of times for him. He never once had felt neglected.

“I think I’ll do it.”

Armin blinks, he stops scanning the new books that had come in and turns to his young worker with a quirked brow. “Do what?”

“The writing thing.”

The writing thing. That’s one way to talk about it. Armin chuckles softly and shakes his head. “You do know that it is in several months from now, yes? It’s one particular month a year, November actually, and it runs from the first day of that month to the last?”

“Oh, I thought I could just pick a month I wanted and write.”

“Not quite how it works but if that’s how you’d want to do it you could. I just don’t think it really would count for NaNoWriMo, that’s all.”

“Well that sucks.”

“You’re adorable.” Snickering as Mira blushes at the compliment, Armin turns back to the box of books he had been scanning and stamping. “No one is stopping you from writing whenever you want, Mira. That particular challenge just takes place in November. Some people prefer to just write year round, they set themselves up with a word goal and they write a little whenever they can, if they reach their goal then all good, if not, it’s not much of a loss but it’s not all that fun either for them.”

He shrugs and pulls a few more books out of the box. Just a few at a time, these encyclopedias were heavier than he recalled them being, it would take some time to get them all up where they belonged.

“Do you write?”

Maybe he wouldn’t get to finish his scanning today at this point, not that he minded. He hadn’t expected that delivery for another week so he had some time ahead of himself.

“I don’t, I’m more a reader than a writer. Andoni used to write though. I still have most of his manuscripts though they’re in a sealed box in my apartment.”

“Who’s Andoni?” With a slight wince at the question, Armin shakes his head lightly and Mira frowns. “Didn’t mean to hurt you, Armin I’m sorry.”

“No, that’s okay, I brought him up first. Andoni was my boyfriend, we spent several years together but he was in an accident and he was taken away from me.”

“Is that why you walk with the crutch?”

The question startles him but he actually laughs, he shakes his head and reaches out to gently ruffle the teen’s hair. “I thought you’d been told about that. No, I was born this way.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No need to be, curiosity is absolutely natural and I don’t mind. I’m just glad you and your brother don’t look at me as if I was diseased or something.”

“We were told not to ask you about this because they didn’t know if you were comfortable talking about it or not. I think it’s just a little sad because at times it’s like it hurts you but you’re just like us in the end. You’re a little different but that makes you unique.”

The words warm something in him and he smiles softly. Again he reaches out and lightly muss the teen’s hair with a chuckle. “You’re absolutely sweet, Mira. Thank you. Now you go and finish putting those books away, all right?”

“But I’m done!”

“Oh?”

“Well, mostly, Agni was done so we split up my half of the workload and I’m done with mine and there’s Agni now just coming down from the second floor.”

Canting his head, Armin does watch as the older of the two boys, though barely by a few minutes he’s certain, comes their way and settles next to his brother.

“Since the two of you are done then, you can help me with these encyclopedias, they need to have the little regular barcode applied at the bottom of the spine, the stickers are right here and once they’re on I’ll scan them. If we get done with that box before it’s time for closing, we can put them away and we’ll have an even lighter workload tomorrow. We could even more than likely go for ice-cream once we’re done, sounds good?”

The boys both nod and start pulling the books out of the box to set up the sticker. Team work does make things easier to handle. A small part of him wishes he had met these two sooner, it feels good to not be working all on his own in the library anymore.

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