Normally, Iowa’s boss was not the first person Jack would choose to go to for advice about Iowa’s birthday. Yes, she was thick as thieves with the scary, snarky werewolf dude, and he probably knew her as well as anybody did, but still, boss. However, Jack also knew he was going to need to ask the Professor anyway, eventually, and there just weren’t that many hours during the day when he could count on finding him lurking around the basement of the Library– and not finding Iowa. Tuesday morning (History seminar) was one of the few safe bets.
Luckily Iowa’s passcodes still worked (the Professor having a slightly paranoid habit of changing them without notice and leaving his staff milling around in the stairwells) and Jack quickly tracked down his wily prey in the bookbinding workroom. He found the Professor sitting on a drafting stool next to a precarious pile of books, reading a thin volume with a plain red cover. He put it down quickly when he heard Jack coming, but Jack caught a glimpse of a pretty lively illustration he supposed might be considered educational in some quarters. He personally wouldn’t have minded studying it himself a little.The Professor, of course, turned the tables and began interrogating Jack sitting on his tall stool like it was a throne, interlacing his fingers and asking questions full of innuendos and the eyebrow thing. When Jack huffed up and blushed at suggestions involving … lingerie (at least he thought that was what the werewolf was implying) the other man shook his head sadly at the younger generation’s lack of imagination, and came up with a series of properly professional suggestions, such as a good magnifying glass, a gift certificate from the big used book store in the City, and a new ebook reader with a light in it, since it was sometimes necessary for apprentice Librarians to read items from the newly digitized parts of the Restricted Section. In dark places. Jack glowered at this. The two of them better not be having adventures without a responsible bodyguard along, preferably himself.
But these were fine suggestions, if slightly on the dull side. Or there was always jewelry. The Professor’s own “particular friends”, he told Jack, had given him a gold tie bar, amethyst cufflinks , and a Japanese fountain pen for his last birthday, and Jack filed the fountain pen away as the best idea of the bunch, glad he had only one “particular friend” to shop for.