In the end, Sasha is transferred to the Archives a week earlier than planned, owing to the Head Archivist suddenly going missing. Tim is taking her out for drinks tonight to celebrate, even though it’s not a promotion. Actually, it’s sort of rude that Elias didn’t just give her the position, even though he’s already looking into appointing a replacement, but to be honest it’s a relief now that Sasha's actually seeing the place, and the dizzying confusion that reigns over it.
Ms Robinson always seemed like a sensible woman, if a little scatterbrained, but whatever system (or five different systems??) she seems to have been using, Sasha can't make any sense of it. No guide, nor any training in archiving or library science, not even a computer. Thank God for her coincidental experience in Artefact Storage, at least — and ain't that the weirdest thought this week.
Well, after the special kind of chill that comes with the realisation that the person you were supposed to be meeting today may be dead right now.
It's an eerie feeling. Unsettling, literally: it felt like tripping, losing balance, rearranging a paradigm and looking mortality in the face. Sasha is five years orphaned, she knows grief and loss — but this is something else than having months to make peace with illness. This is about the unchangeable fact that death is right there, right around the corner at any point of time, can happen whenever it pleases and doesn't care about your plans and preparations. Sasha should be talking with Ms Robinson right now, getting to know her, but she's not here and something inside Sasha's bones knows that she is dead.
She barely ever spoke to Ms Robinson, yet it's an unexpected punch to the sternum. There's an ache, a hole, in her chest, as if something was carved and ripped out that she didn't even know was there. Something that should have been, a connection severed before it was ever weaved. Red thread of fate snapped, the ends left to fall to the dusty floor and be unceremoniously trampled by the life that carries on its way. A stranger dies and the world goes on unchanged.
So right now, Sasha is Archival Assistant to no one.
She stands there alone in the silence and emptiness, looking around the vast room cramped tight with boxes and piles of files, and tries to understand.
The place is a bit creepy, of course, in that special way the entirety of the building of the Magnus Institute is by essence, but it doesn't make her want to run for her life like Artefact Storage did. There's a strange quality to the thick heavy silence and the warm semi-darkness, the tall and crowded rows of shelves, the haphazardly piled boxes stuffed full with dangerous secrets, arcane treasures to hunt down and otherwise incomprehensible gibberish; it all has a homely feeling, welcoming. Familiar, somehow. Sasha already likes it here.
She doesn't think she's going to want to leave.