The two searched for hours, referencing, cross-referencing, searching the stacks, and one by one marking off each book from the list that they could find. It was long and tedious work, but for Wilson it felt like a mission. It was something that he had to do. He was beginning to realize that a lot of his distrust of the whole situation, a lot of his disbelief at the whole thing stemmed from the simple fact that deep down this new life that Tooth had provided for him was in many ways perfect for him. He had never taken the time to discover what it was he really wanted in life, and without really knowing him at all Tooth had managed to see in him a kindred spirit. The old man had seen what Wilson himself had not, and before dying had decided to do Wilson one last kindness, one that was so far beyond anything that anyone had ever done for him. It was remarkable and unbelievable, but, and this was his realization, the main reason he was having a hard time accepting it was that he felt he had not earned it. He could have taken the time to get to know Tooth better. He should have recognized in the old man what the old man had recognized in him. He should have reached out more than he did. And he did not, he stuck to his routine, and he had been rewarded anyway.

It shamed him to think on it, but now, now he thought he might actually have found a way to thank Tooth, at least in some small way. He would do what the Peace could not, and track down Tooth’s killer. He would at least do everything he could to try. It was the least he could do. He would honor Tooth’s wishes as well, keep the shop running, treat it with all the respect that a true book lover could give. And he would try his best to start breaking those habits that kept him apart from the rest of the world, kept him wrapped up inside his own head. But those things were mostly for him. If he could bring the killer to justice, if he could at least help, he might start to feel like he had at least earned some small part of the gift he had been given.

He wasn’t sure why Lyn was helping, she didn’t owe him or Tooth anything, she just seemed to be along for the ride. But she was diligent in the task, all the same. And it was going much faster with her help. As the sun went down she suggested that they get food, and when he offered to cook she insisted that they treat themselves out, to celebrate their meeting. They had a modest meal at a small pasta restaurant down the street, and toasted with wine before returning to work, and worked into the night before returning to their rooms. Wilson found spare sheets and took Tooth’s bed, not wanting to waste time returning to his apartment.

After a second day of inventory they were finally done, and had found three titles that were missing. The Tome of Echoes, Mr. Pickles Afternoon, and Cooking with Ginger. Wilson supposed that there would be some loss through normal shoplifting from time to time, and considering how long it had taken to do the full inventory when they were this focused it was no wonder that Tooth’s list was not entirely accurate. Even so, they were pretty sure that they could discount the children’s book and the cook book. The Tome of Echoes. Had it been shoplifted as the others had, unrelated to the killing? Or was that the reason for Tooth’s death? All he knew was that it was the only lead he had, and he intended to follow it.


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