This is a December gift for justlook3, who asked for Anne of the Island the Patty's place years) To Learn of many things. It's another new fandom for me. I've written Blue Castle fic, but never Anne of Green Gables, so we'll see how that goes. I hope you enjoy it!
Title: To Learn of Many Things
"The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things," Anne murmured absently, walking into the cozy living room at Patty's place.
Phil looked up from her position bent over a book, "Well, I've no desire to talk of ships, sealing wax or cabbages, Queen Anne, but if you want to discuss a King coming and sweeping one of us off of our feet then I'm all ears."
Priscilla grinned from her place in the corner. The two P's were ensconced in the living room keeping warm by the fire while Stella and Aunt Jamesina had left earlier to attend a public lecture at the university.
Anne smiled as well. "Why Phil, I thought you'd already found the king of your heart," she said a trifle wickedly. Mr. Blake's frequent visits to Patty's Place certainly supported that idea.
Phil's answering smile wasn't offended. "Why, of course I have, honey," she agreed. "But that doesn't mean a girl can't dream a little. After all, what little girl hasn't dreamt of a prince coming and showering her with jewels?"
"You can't tell me you haven't, Anne," Priscilla replied. "We all know different."
"Oh, I definitely have," Anne replied blithely. "And loads more besides. Too many dreams to even remember, but then I had to grow up, as we all do."
"You're only grown up on the outside," Priscilla retorted. "On the inside part of you is as young and foolish as ever. And we'll all be reminded of that fact when it comes time for the first spring flowers to poke their green tips out of the earth. It's only because we're trapped in winter's cold that you're feeling beyond your years."
"I'm not feeling beyond my years exactly," Anne disagreed. "Just in search of a distraction."
"You're restless; you need a walk, change of scenery," Priscilla informed her sensibly.
But Phil shook her head. "No," she said. Uncurling from her nook on the sofa, she walked over to Anne and placed a hand on her forehead, eyes narrowed in mock-seriousness. "No," she repeated. "A walk isn't the cure for what ails ye."
"What's your diagnosis then, Dr. Gordon," Priscilla asked, eyes twinkling.
"Why a friendly gab with some girlfriends," Phil replied. "Sit down honey," she said, pulling Anne to the couch. "We'll have you right as rain in no time. A little conversation, a few cookies or maybe some cake," she added, looking at Priscilla hopefully.
Priscilla just raised her eyebrows. "You know very well that I baked a cake yesterday. But yes, I will go and get it. There's enough left over that we can all have a piece."
"Thank you Prissy," Phil replied. "It's for a good cause."
Priscilla stood, shaking her head indulgently and walked into the kitchen.
"Now tell me,' Phil said, turning to Anne. "What's troubling you, honey?"
Anne sighed. "Nothing really. I was trying to work on my English paper, when all of a sudden I couldn't. The topic was stale and flat and I felt like I didn't know anything. So I came in search of a different subject."
"Writer's block?" Priscilla asked, carrying in the cake.
Anne shook her head. "More like soul block. I'm just glad the paper's not due for a week so I'll have time to work on it when I'm hopefully in a better frame of mind."
"This is what comes of trying to finish things early, Anne," Phil informed her seriously. "If you did things like me you wouldn't have these existential crises of yours."
"No," Anne said dryly. "There'd be no time. With you every paper is finished in a whirlwind of activity just before it's due."
"Exactly," Phil agreed. "And look how well that works for me."
Anne shook her head. "I know, but it's not for me. You have your system Phil, and I have mine. Besides, it's not that I can't write the paper; I know I can. I just can't write it rightnow."
"Well, then let's all have a piece of cake and a break and not worry about it," Priscilla said, handing Anne her piece.
"Alright," Phil agreed. "And what shall we talk about?"
"Well, since you vetoed almost all of Anne's original suggestions, I would suggest shoes," Priscilla said.
Anne turned towards her friend, pretending to sound offended. "You two should know by now that poetry isn't to be takenliterally."
"And you should know that quoting poetry irresponsibly can often lead to misunderstandings and trouble," Priscilla retorted.
Anne laughed a little ruefully. "I've definitely learned that in my life, but I always thought I was reasonably safe here in my flights of fancy."
"And so you are," Phil replied. "I don't mind. I'm certainly not sensible."
"You don't say," Priscilla laughed.
"Now girls, do shake hands and be friends," Anne replied in her best school-teacher voice.
"I'll offer Phil a piece of cake as a peace offering," Priscilla said dryly.
"Which I'll gladly accept," Phil agreed.
"Here's to being silly for the evening," Priscilla added.
"And hopefully feeling like we know something tomorrow,' Anne replied.
Phil frowned. "Do you really feel like you know nothing, Anne?"
Anne shook her head. "I told you, it's just one of those winter evenings."
"Are you sure?" Priscilla asked.
"Yes, well mostly," Anne said.
The two other girls shared a look.
"Uh oh," Phil said.
Anne sighed. "Do you ever wonder what you're doing with your life? What you're doing here?"
"All the time," Phil replied. "Remember, you're talking to someone who went to college to avoid getting married. I figured I'd learn a little, but that was really a secondary consideration. College was just an excuse to put off reality, but I'd like to think I know more now than when I started."
"Alec and Alonzo," Pricilla intoned, before dissolving into giggles.
"You've certainly found something you never expected," Anne agreed, alluding to a certain minister who faithfully visited Patty's Place at every opportunity.
Phil blushed, but held her head up high. "I did," she agreed. "And I'm certainly not upset to be proven wrong on that score."
"But Redmond has also helped you find something, Anne," Priscilla reminded her, glancing significantly at the vase of pink roses on the table in the corner, Roy's latest offering.
Anne smiled, and felt her cheeks heat as she looked at the roses. "Yes, that's true," she murmured. Roy was wonderful, he was, but she still felt uneasy. And she wasn't sure why. She was sure she'd feel like herself again in the daylight, but for the evening, she just felt lost.
"So?" Phil prompted, sensing there was more.
"So, I just always thought I'd know more about myself by now, about what I wanted, who I was. And I guess I just… don't."
"Oh honey, I think it takes a lifetime to really learn who you are," Phil told her. "And even then some people never achieve it. I can think of any number of poor souls who haven't a clue, some of them are unhappy because of it, some of them just go about their lives, cheerful and oblivious. Probably the most anyone can do is feel like you're on your way."
"Although there are some people who are born knowing who they are, and never change," Priscilla said dryly.
"And aren't they some of the most boring people you've ever met?" Phil demanded.
Priscilla had to concede the point.
"There now Anne," Phil told her. "You know enough. You're Anne of Green Gables, and Anne of Patty's Place. You'll figure out the rest later. And if not, don't worry about it. I think my existence proves that the world can always use a few foolish people."
"I guess you're right Phil," Anne said with a laugh. "Though you were veering towards sensible again tonight."
"I have my moments," Phil admitted.
"Rare as they are," Priscilla added.
"It's who I am," Phil agreed with a grin.
"And we wouldn't love you nearly so much if it weren't," Priscilla agreed.
"There now Anne," Phil said, jumping on the idea. "We're your friends and we know who you are. So in times of trouble, just trust that we wouldn't let you go too far wrong."
"And eat your delicious cake," Anne agreed. "But thank you girls, that's a lovely idea."
"That's the spirit!" Phil replied. "Now enough of this serious stuff. Let's talk about something else. Any ideas?"
"Well," Priscilla said, eyes twinkling. "I did notice that you bought a new pair of shoes last week."
The three girls met each other's eyes briefly, before dissolving into giggles.
Anne let herself get lost in the laughter, her earlier unease all but forgotten.
After all, she had time to figure out the other stuff later. Nothing would be answered tonight.