Summary: Jo meets someone unexpected during the course of an investigation.
Notes: Written for Pearlislove
Jo screamed as she was attacked. It was an instinctive reaction, but a useful one: it gave bystanders the opportunity to lend a hand, which was always handy.
Her other instinct was to grab her attacker in return and get them in a hold they wouldn't escape from. Being arrested on protests had given her time to learn many useful things from her cellmates. It was also a useful instinct because she was on a London street and no one took any notice of her scream.
It was only once she was in control that she discovered who her attacker was.
"Rani!" Immediately she released the other woman.
"I'm so sorry." Rani didn't put her pepper spray away yet, but kept it by her side instead. At least she hadn't used it - that wasn't something Jo ever enjoyed. Or grew used to. "I thought you were... well, causing trouble."
"Causing trouble?" Jo repeated with a glint in her eye. "Me?" She laughed. "Of course I am. But if by trouble you mean reports of Daleks menacing the streets of London, that's what I'm investigating."
"So am I!" Rani was wide-eyed. "I'm a journalist now, I hunt mysteries. Usually alien ones," she added.
"That's wonderful, darling." Jo hugged her again. "Sarah Jane would be so proud." When she let go she didn't comment on the tears in Rani's eyes. "Let's find out together."
It didn't take long: there were screams in the shop beside them. When they peered in through the window they saw there was a Dalek in there.
"What does a Dalek want with a clothes shop?" Jo wondered.
"It's not really there," Rani replied. "Look closely at the edges, they're a bit blurry."
"So they are." Now Jo could see that it wasn't right at all. In fact, it was obvious once you knew. "Someone must be controlling it. Someone nearby."
It only took a few seconds of peering at panicked shoppers before she found him. A man watching the action, holding what she thought was a video game controller. It was similar to something the kids all wanted these days, anyway. "On the right."
Rani nodded. "You distract him, I'll pepper spray him."
If there was one thing Jo was good at it, it was distraction. And she wasn't afraid of a holographic Dalek. Or the ordinary-looking man controlling it. She strode into the shop.
"Hey, Dalek, over here!" She waved her arms, nearly knocking over a clothes rack.
"It would be you, wouldn't it? My dear Miss Grant," the man said, before Rani pepper sprayed him. He dropped his controller and the Dalek disappeared.
"Don't worry, we're the authorities." Jo waved a card around that she hoped people would assume was official. In reality it was an expired library card she kept tucked into a pocket of her bag for exactly this scenario. Generally no-one looked too closely at it. "We'll get him back to his carers."
That at least kept everyone away from them, even if they were still watching the free entertainment they were getting with their shopping.
She rejoined Rani. "This is the Master." To him she said, "That's Mrs Jones to you. Don't rub your eyes, you'll make it worse."
"Is he someone to worry about?" Rani asked cautiously.
"Oh, no." Jo dug around in her bag for something to tie the Master up with. He wasn't fit to go anywhere yet, but they might not have long before he was. "He always did have such terrible ideas. None of them ever worked."
He growled and made a lunge in her direction, which Rani stopped by grabbing hold of his arm.
Jo rolled her eyes and handcuffed him. She should probably give the handcuffs back sometime, although she couldn't remember which policeman she'd stolen them from. Or where. Or how to get them off the Master without the key. Never mind, she could make that someone else's problem.
"We'll phone UNIT. Don't worry," she added, patting him on the shoulder, "they'll take good care of you."
He glared at her. Rani tightened her grip on him and held up her pepper spray with her other hand. That left Jo free to search her bag for her phone. It always seemed to disappear into the recesses, so she could never find it before it stopped ringing.
It was some time before she found it. And even less time before the shop was swarming with UNIT soldiers.
Once he was gone, Jo and Rani having declined to go with him, Rani asked, "How about a coffee?" She inclined her head at the cafe next door. "I want to hear all your stories about the Master. I don't think Sarah Jane ever met him."
Jo took her arm. "I think that might take more than one drink."