Pandora Midnight

The lightning before the thunder

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Within the week, Pandora had decided that the library was probably her favorite place in the castle. It had to be at least three times bigger, maybe more, than the bookstore in Diagon Alley. While she wasn't a very studious girl, she liked the quiet atmosphere the room gave. There were of course books here she was interested in but the fiction section for her age group seemed so small in comparison to everything else. Did that mean other kids her age didn't really read fictional stories anymore? It might have also just been the fact that most of her classmates wouldn't even step foot into the library in the first place. 

 

Today was one of those days that Pandora had come down to the library to get away from the noise. The castle was constantly filled with excitement that she wasn't use to. Even though she wanted to be friends with everyone, she had quickly fallen back into her old ways of being alone and making handicrafts. At the moment she was once again working on her needlepoint. She had taken a few books she had found on the subject and began sketching out a pattern for what she wanted to try and create. She had become so absorbed in her work that she didn't notice how close the book stack was to her elbow until they had already made contact and were tumbling to the floor. Pandora cringed at the sound and immediately went red from all the faces now turning to look at her.

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When Francis left Kay and Robin that day in pursuit of the Hogwarts library, he hadn’t planned on anything overly complicated happening to him along the way.

 

No scary stumbles down the moving staircases, no hallway brawls between Lester and Dyck, and no weird questions from any of his dorm mates about why he’d been measuring the dormitory windows late at night (at least not until after he’d checked and double-checked his numbers.)  Today, Francis simply wanted to visit the Hogwarts library because, well…  Hogwarts was a castle, and if Disney movies had taught Francis anything, it was that the very best of libraries were found in far off castles full of magic and whimsy.  The Hogwarts library was said to be no exception.

 

As his footsteps came to a sudden still, Francis got to have his own Belle moment as he saw with his own two eyes just how true those rumors were.

 

“Wow…” Francis murmured quietly for lack of anything else to say.  The sight had left him quite literally breathless.

 

There seemed to be more books than shelves, and that was saying something, as the library was quite large.  The shelves climbed at least three stories high along the walls, only ending when they hit the beams of the deep, arched ceiling.  At the foot of each sat a misshapen pile of books.  They were precariously stacked into mountains both big and small, and seemed at a glance to have no home of their own.

 

Curiosity and awe drew Francis closer.  Were these story books?  History books?  Textbooks?  Biographies?  New books?  Old books?  There were so many!  Francis could count one shelf each day and the total would still be a mystery by the time he finished his seventh year!

 

Francis was so preoccupied with looking down (no one wanted to live with the guilt of crushing a 500-year-old book beneath their heel) that he’d forgotten to look up; a dangerous thing at Hogwarts, where many a thing was left hanging in the air.

 

Bobbing candles, missives and mail, homework notes and gifts and queries and—

 

“OW!” hard and heavy tomes, Francis discovered, as his forehead banged soundly into one.

 

The cover was interesting, Francis thought, as he rubbed away the pain in his noggin.  There was no title on the cover, only an artist’s rendition of the book’s contents: a castle in the sky, with waving red flags and tapestries.  Around it clouds shifted in and out of focus, as if being pushed around by a cool day’s breeze.

 

Francis instinctually reached for it, fingers wrapping around the thick cover, but it did not fall freely into his grasp.  Instead it continued to pull up and away, as though it had places to be and things to do.  Francis, still new to magic and none the wiser, pulled again to no avail.

 

It wasn’t until he was several feet in the air and hanging onto the chain of a brass chandelier for dear life that Francis had a very serious discussion with himself about how tenacity and greed were horrible bedfellows and that the next time a book told him “no” he better respect its wishes.

 

;-;

 

These thoughts were interrupted a good half-hour later when a girl ventured into his section of the library.

 

Francis considered saying something to her (like “HELP ME PLEASE”) especially since she looked familiar and around his own age, but she seemed absorbed in a sketch and Francis didn’t want to bother her.

 

Art was serious business. ;-;

 

Francis was getting to the point of desperation when another opening finally presented itself.  The girl had nudged a stack of books with just a little too much force, sending the entire mountain tumbling down like a wall of heavy bricks.

 

“… Can you re-stack those books into a staircase for me, please?”  Francis asked quietly. “My hands are getting really tired.”

 

It was perhaps fortunate that Francis had the coiling arms of the chandelier to carry some of his weight, because he missed arm day pretty much every day and would have likely fallen to his death by now otherwise.

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Pandora let out a soft sigh of relief noticing now that the people who were looking in her direction were already looking away. They hardly seemed to care about a little girl making noise. As she reached down to pick up the first book from the floor she hesitated. Had she just heard someone talking to her? She stood up again and began to look around. There was no one here. Except...'my hands are getting tired' repeated in her mind. Slowly she glanced upwards and squeaked. "What are you...how in merlin's name did you..." She backed up a few paces to get a good look at the boy currently hanging from her light source.

 

She couldn't stop gawking up at him. A feeling of terror rushed over her trying to think about how this situation could have possibly happened. Was it possible that she could have found herself up there instead of him? No that couldn't be possible. "How long have you been up there for?" She asked before kneeling down to gather up some of her fallen books. She had no idea how she could possible stack books up high enough to help him but she certainly couldn't just leave him there,

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