A/N: Roman holiday- an occasion on which enjoyment or profit is derived from others' suffering or discomfort... also one of the best movies ever.
On a sleepy street in the heart of Edinburgh, there lies a tea house that has been in business for over 100 years, despite the sign on the door always proclaiming it closed. It provides a haven for a specific type of traveler: one who journeys, not from place to place, but through time.
The small tea house boasted quite the collection of books. Still, as far as libraries went, Imlach's left a lot to be desired. That is why Lills found herself back in 1996, deep inside "the Bod," aka the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, pouring over textbooks alongside one of her oldest friends and former professor, Nicholas.
Nicholas Brody was a professor of archeology, an Eastern pottery expert, and a surprisingly skilled mini-golfer. Wild blonde curls stuck out at all angles from his thin face, and the dark circles around his eyes and full goatee made him look like an Elizabethan poet.
"Remind me again what you're looking for?" he asked.
Lills rubbed her face; she'd been here all week, open to close. She cursed the library for not letting her bring in any tea. "I'm trying to find Mieko, the thief of time," she said.
"Didn't you already find her?" Nicholas asked, leaning forward in his chair.
"She found us," Lills said. "And now she's off chasing her Machiavellian brother."
"Are you planning on helping her with her chase?" Nicholas asked. Lills shook her head and sighed. He raised his eyebrows. "Oh my," he said. "I know that look. What did you say this time?"
"I got in a fight with Aoto," she said. "He felt that I wasn't being polite enough to Mieko, and then he let it slip that he was yakuza and because I'm a bloody idiot-"
"No language in the library," Nicholas said.
Lills raised a brow. "In that case, we'd better get rid of all these books," she retorted. "Anyways, because I'm an idiot with no filter, I ended up insulting him. I'm hoping that if I find Mieko and apologize to her, Aoto will be more willing to accept my apology to him. But I couldn't even find her the first time around, and I don't seem to be faring much better this time."
Nicholas nodded sympathetically. "Why don't you take a walk with me? It might clear your mind," he said. Lills groaned at the thought of moving but nevertheless obliged. He led her down the spacious stone halls to a series of paintings. While he told an amusing anecdote about a pigeon who stole his newspaper, Lills stared at a painting of a port in Venice. She had passed it many times while she was studying at Oxford, but this was the first time she'd ever really stopped to inspect it. Suddenly, her eyes widened.
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me!"
Nicholas jumped and looked at her. "What is it?" he asked.
"That's Mieko!" Lills exclaimed, pointing at a young girl in the foreground of the painting. "When was this painting done?"
"October 1828," Nicholas said. Lills instantly adjusted her time machine to the date and location. "I take it that you won't be able to join me for lunch and tea anymore?" he mused.
"Sorry," Lills replied. "I'll try and make it back soon. But right now I need to do this."
"What about your clothes?" Nicholas asked, but Lills was already gone.
YOU ARE READING
The Time Traveler's Tea HouseScience Fiction
(Watty "Wild Card" Winner 2018) In the heart of Edinburgh, there lies a tea house that has been in business for over 100 years, despite the sign on the door always proclaiming it closed. It provides a haven for a specific type of traveler: one who j...