At first, the Doctor thought it was a brilliant idea. A quiet, peaceful, library in a country town with no aliens or evil genii trying to take over the Earth, and above all, comfy chairs. He walked in, feeling slightly uncomfortable without a companion, and sat down in a sunny, deserted corner towards the back. He smiled at some of the books he saw around him; The Odyssey, The Mayan Code, Angels and Demons, Dracula. Humans always struck him as having such vivid and wonderful imaginations. He took down a pile of books, and began to read.
Half an hour later, having chewed through at least 20 books, he sat back in his chair, enjoying the peaceful, sleepy atmosphere of the library. He counted the shadows, and saw with a slight relief that there was only one for everything- in fact, the peaceful completeness of it all was just perfect for his much needed break before he left to find the Ood... his smile disappeared as he remembered what was coming next. No, he told himself; don't think about that, anything but that... his eyes wondered over the embossed titles of dusty volumes, eventually straying onto more tattered paperbacks, worn after being held by countless generations of hands. The past was strong here, he could almost see it- children and adults, for countless decades coming to read of the marvellous wonders these books could reveal. Suddenly, his train of thought was interrupted brutally as his eyes rested on a title...
No. No, surely not. It couldn't be. He jumped up, grabbing the book off the shelves and flicking through it at a speed and intensity totally at odds with his behaviour less than two seconds ago. He read and re-read it, each time being amazed at the impossibility that was this book.
He felt a slight tap on the shoulder, and turned around so suddenly that he quite startled the young girl standing behind him. He blinked, bringing her into focus.
She was young, about twenty-two by the looks of it, of medium height and average build; she wore a long black trench coat over a white shirt and dark blue jeans, and a name tag that read Fenn. She had dark, short, wavy brown hair and fair skin; but the Doctor took all of this in at a glance. It was her eyes that really stood out, deep, intelligent eyes- were they blue? No, they had brown in them, and green, and even grey. They seemed to look at him in an almost searching manner, but then hardened, so that he could no longer read them.
"Excuse me, sir," she said politely, like she was waiting for him to move, "but have you finished with that book?"
He looked down at it, and then at the girl, "That depends. Are you a librarian here?"
She laughed, "No, not at all! I'm the local archivist, though I do library duties every now and then. Why do you ask?"
He stared at her, "You're an archivist? But you must be, what, twenty, twenty-one years old!"
"Do you have a problem with that?" she looked indignant now, like she had faced this reaction many times.
"No, no; not at all! It's just that, to be an archivist you'd have to have degrees in history and library science and have done internships and..." he trailed off as she nodded and smiled as he listed the requirements for such a position, "Are you telling me that you've already been to university?"
She nodded, "Yep, and passed with honours."
He looked at her, "But you're so young!"
She cleared her throat, "Are you going to ask me about that book or are you just going to stand there being prejudiced all day?"
The Doctor frowned, "I'm sorry, I hadn't realised..." she was nodding again, like she was tired of the whole conversation. He looked at her again, and saw for the first time the age behind her eyes, "You must get a lot of that."
She nodded again, "Yes, I do. Now, about that book?"
He glanced down at the paperback in his hand, realising with a shock that he'd forgotten it for a moment, "Ah, yes. Tell me, what is this book about?"
She looked at him like he was an idiot, "Why don't you read it and find out?"
He shook his head. This was going to be a difficult conversation, "No, I don't think you quite get it. I need to hear it from someone else."
She rolled her eyes, "Where have you been? It's part of one of the most popular series on the planet. It's about a time traveller from a planet called Gallifrey, who travels through all of space and time, saving people."
"And what would be this traveller's name?"
She looked at him strangely, "His name?"
He ground his teeth in frustration, "Yes, his name."
"The Doctor." They said it in perfect unison, staring at each other.
Finally, the Doctor broke the silence, "Tell me, Fenn, is it? Tell me, what year is this?"
She stared at him, wide-eyed, "Two thousand and ten. September twenty-first, two thousand and ten." She took a step towards him, studying his face.
"You're the Doctor."
It was a statement, not a question, and the Doctor looked at her with utmost astonishment, "Yes, I am."
Without a word, she took his hand and dragged him out of the library. The book lay where he had dropped it, on the floor next to a row of similar books. The front cover was facing up, easily seen.
Doctor Who: The Stone Rose.