A/N: Mild spoiler references for the Doctor Who episodes The Masque of Mandragora
and School Reunion
. Thanks to Michelle for the beta.
Sarah Jane sighed as she pulled out another document storage box. She was only here because of him. All those sights, all those different times and different people-- she couldn't get them out of her head. And now that she was back home again, Croydon, even the whole of London, seemed so small. True, she was a reporter at heart, but while nothing at the British Museum was breaking news, it still felt like an investigation.
After she'd hitched a ride back from Aberdeen, she spent a few days with her aunt, thinking about what to do with her life now that her world view had been so thoroughly shaken by adventures she couldn't put out of her mind. Then there it was, in the Times. The British Museum needed a research assistant for their new curator. She'd applied and gotten the position; now here she was, sorting artifacts and helping the curator fit pieces of historical puzzles together. It wasn't quite like running around trying to foil the plans of a fifteenth century Italian astrologer, but the element of discovery was still there.
He was an odd sort of chap, really, but very nice. An absentminded professor, not big on formalities-- just looking for the answers to the mysteries of history. Right now, they were working on a project cataloguing gypsy rituals of Eastern Europe. Before traveling with the Doctor, Sarah Jane might have dismissed it as fanciful religion, not really steeped in too much fact, but now, she wondered. Had any of these rituals or ceremonies been in response to an alien presence? Several of them seemed to be directed at vampires...
They dealt with a lot of strange bits of history; it was what fascinated the curator the most, even though it was often difficult to scrape up the documentation necessary to make an exhibit or classify an object. He never seemed overly surprised at the odd stories they encountered in classifying a ritual bowl or a scroll with folk tales. Once, he did insist on treating Sarah Jane to lunch after she found a battered piece of pottery that had fallen out of a storage box. The most unusual thing Sarah Jane could see about the bowl was that the coming of age story is depicted on its sides was that of a young woman and not a young man. Most of the societies they studied were patriarchal.
That lunch was the first time she'd really interacted with her boss outside of work, and it was good fun. Of course, the conversation still centered around work-- he spent the meal animatedly telling her of the different places he'd been to research old legends of Amazonian women who defended villages against mythological dark creatures. Thinking about it, Sarah Jane smiled, remembering his almost childlike glee at relating the discovery of a particular stele of hieroglyphics about one such warrior who had saved a village with no weapon but her bare hands and her mind. "So unusual to find such a piece intact!" he'd exclaimed.
Shaking herself from the memories, Sarah Jane concentrated on sorting the new documents she'd pulled from the box. Another few months of sorting through history and she might have enough closure to get on with present day mysteries. But not yet.
"Rupert?" she called. "I think I've found another scroll that'll be worth celebrating with a sandwich in the canteen. Your treat."