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To Read Makes Our Speaking English Good

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Summary: After battling a demon in the Cleveland Public Library, Xander finds himself learning an important lesson about literature. . . .

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-CenteredCasixThistlebaneFR723,819174,19313 Jul 0413 Jul 04No

To Read Makes Our Speaking English Good

Disclaimer: Neither Xander nor the Buffy crew belong to me. Nor, in fact, do any of the other books I'm using here. This story was inspired by, but is not based on, the book _The_Eyre_Affair_ by Jasper Fforde.

Further disclaimers will be included at the ends of the chapters, so as not to spoil the fun of figuring out what books Xander ends up in along the way.



To Read Makes Our Speaking English Good

by Casix Thistlebane



Prologue



Most people associated libraries with silence, enormous posters telling them to read, books of a variety of ages, stern librarians with thick glasses, and late fines.

This particular library, the local public branch on the outskirts of Cleveland, had all of those things, except for the silence.

Most people would see the scene taking place in the library and be shocked, not just by the general damage to the various reading tables, but by the large blue skinned, scaled demon and the smattering of teenaged girls fighting near the checkout desk.

For Xander, however, this was nothing new. In fact, it sent a sharp, bittersweet tang of nostalgia through him. It had been a long time since he’d done battle in a library. He found it a rather comfortingly familiar experience.

Up to and including the demon shoving him backwards into the tall wooden stacks.

The heavy bookshelf shifted and rocked beneath the force of Xander’s fall, and, remembering the agonizing time that Willow had spent in a coma due to having a bookcase fall on her, Xander surged forward away from the thing.

It toppled forward, nearly catching Xander’s ankle, sending books flying onto the floor. The demon roared and approached him again, spotting a weak spot in the phalanx defense of the teenaged slayers.

Xander lunged forward with his axe, ignoring the agonized wail of the stern librarian with thick glasses as his feet skidded on and ripped the pages of several of the books. Xander swung the axe, opening up a large wound on the demon’s left arm. It howled and slashed at Xander with it’s thick claws, spattering blue blood all over the fallen books. The librarian cried out again as Xander blocked the blow, removing a few of the demon’s fingers. They fell to the ground and smoldered, catching a particularly thick and old book on fire. Xander stomped it out with one boot as the slayers charged after the demon, who’d decided to beat a hasty retreat through the library’s front doors. Xander moved to follow, but was stopped by a hand on his arm.

He turned to meet the steely gaze of the librarian, who glared at him over the edge of her square lenses.

“Young man, I don’t know who you are–“

“No need to thank us, ma’am. We’re merely doing our job.”

“I have no intention of thanking you.” The librarian’s voice reached a piercing pitch. “You have ruined several books in our collection.”

“Lady, that thing was trying to kill us all.”

“I don’t see why you couldn’t simply lead it out of here like any civilized–“

Xander cut her off, pushing aside his amazement at the librarian’s, well, lack of amazement. “You think that thing was civilized? Look, I’m sorry about the damage, we’ll pay you back,” Xander screwed up his face, quickly calculating the expense of repairing the tables, and winced. “Mostly. But, please, they were just books.”

The librarian released his arm, much to Xander’s relief. She narrowed her eyes and pulled something from her pocket. “Just books, young man?”

“Well, yeah.”

“JUST BOOKS?!”

“Ma’am–“

“I’ll show you ‘just books’, you impudent, illiterate fiend! I’ll teach you the proper respect for the written word!” She tossed a handful of dust into his face and began muttering something under her breath.

Xander brushed the dust off his cheeks, stepping back toward the door. “Um, I’ll just be goi–“

The world dissolved into a haze of blue glitter.

tbc
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