A Minor Misdemeanor

Chapter 19

Inside the control room, Jenny wrapped her arms around Vastra, who responded with a huge amount of enthusiasm, pulling the smaller biped close and kissing her frantically, even refusing to let go of her initially. It took Clara and Jenny several minutes to persuade the Silurian to release her hold and allow Jenny back into her cell.

Inside, the room was just as it had been before she left, with the smells of human faecal matter and rotten straw almost overpowering her for a moment, before she simply dropped onto the simple plank and curled up under the blanket, knowing that the next day would be just as brutal as the day she'd just survived.

Vastra keened slightly in her throat as the TARDIS lifted off without Jenny, a sound that seemed to Clara almost like a memorial dirge.

When it landed again, though, she seemed to be in a different mood, jostling Clara slightly, seemingly trying to size her up for something.

"Behave." The Doctor told her, after a moment.

Reluctantly, the Silurian backed off, looking more than slightly miffed at the intervention, as Clara opened the doors, allowing them to step out into the coach yard.

Clara went straight to the kitchen, making several dire threats about what would happen to Vastra if she entered the room, mostly involving being beaten around the head with a thick-bottomed skillet pan then fed into the sausage machine. There was a speculative look, before Vastra reluctantly headed for the drawing room.

Once she was in the kitchen, Clara fished out a bottle of milk from a cold place, having spent several minutes searching for it earlier when she was making the tea. She upended it into a saucepan, before turning on the heat underneath. Once the milk was heating up, she headed for the pantry.

Inside, she opened Jenny's cupboard, quickly searching out the oblong tin that contained the chocolate powder, labelled 'cocoa essence'. She removed the tall yellow tin from the shelf, before taking it out to the kitchen, and reading the packaging. It didn't give too many hints, beyond four teaspoons per half pint being the recommended level of powder.

Then, Clara noticed a small piece of paper that seemed to have been gummed to one side of the packet. When she read it, the handwriting was simple and printed, and read: 'one teaspoon: drowsy. Two teaspoons: very drowsy. Three teaspoons: extremely drowsy. Four teaspoons: asleep within moments of finishing. Five teaspoons: asleep before finishing. Six teaspoons: asleep for two days.' She grinned slightly. Jenny had obviously wanted a quiet night occasionally.

She stirred four teaspoons into the milk, before leaving it to brew for a minute.

While it was brewing, she made herself a packet of sandwiches, which she tucked into her satchel, expecting the next day to be somewhat busy.

Once the chocolate had brewed, she loaded it onto a tray, along with a small pile of what appeared to be fingers of powdered bone meal dipped in honey.

She also recovered a small frying pan, just in case.

In the drawing room, Vastra was huddled close to the fire, which appeared to have been lit using most of a newspaper and several random logs thrown in haphazardly without seemingly worrying about cross-section or length.

"What the hell are you playing at?" Clara yelled hurrying over.

"I'm trying to get warm." Vastra replied, her voice low and trying to sound as plaintive as it was possible for her to sound.

"You'll set the place on fire." Clara said, before bending down and using the poker, safely stashed on her person, to rearrange the fire so that it wouldn't escape, before replacing the fire guard to ensure it stayed where it had been put, noting as she did so the weight of the copper and the surprisingly ornate patterns that adorned both the edges of the grill and the mesh itself.

While she was doing so, Vastra had been sitting there, and Clara turned around just in time to catch a look on her face that suggested she'd been thinking about things Clara would rather she hadn't.

"Bed." Clara ordered her, before menacingly raising the frying pan.

The Silurian looked at her for a moment, seemingly thinking 'my tongue can have that thing off of her in a heartbeat.' Clara twitched the pan slightly, though, and Vastra seemed to surrender, before allowing herself to be marched upstairs.

Once she had got the Silurian into her bedroom, Clara very pointedly stood behind a screen while she changed into her nightdress. For reasons best known to herself, Vastra had chosen a knee-length skirt made from cream silk, which wasn't necessarily the colour Clara would have in any way suggested for her.

"Jenny has threatened to bin this dress more times than I can count." Vastra said, seeming to pick up on something in her body language. "She says it clashes horribly with my skin."

"It does." Clara said.

"Would you like to take it off of me?" Vastra asked, wriggling her hips slightly.

"No!" Clara replied, backing away slightly. "Drink your cocoa." She said, after a moment, proffering the drink as if it was a holy symbol.

The Silurian sniffed the air for a moment, before her tongue flicked out and ensnared the drinking vessel, looping itself several times around the body of the earthenware vessel, then returning it to her hand. She sat on the corner of the bed, before blowing on the drink.

"Clara...?" Vastra asked. "I really need a hot water bottle tonight."

"And you're mentioning this because?"

"I'm mentioning it because you are an endotherm."

"And that means?"

"It means that you produce body heat." Vastra replied.

"Don't even consider it." Clara said, waving a finger. "I don't go in for that sort of thing."

"I wasn't going to suggest it." Vastra replied, trying to sound earnest and believable.

"Sure you weren't." Clara muttered. "Sit down and drink up." She said, raising her frying pan again.

The Silurian made it look like she was consuming the drink entirely under duress, although the slight purring noises coming from her suggested otherwise. It took her about a minute to finish the drink, before she put the mug down, and curled up under the covers, out like a light.

Despite her reservations, Clara changed into her own nightdress, a heavy garment made of undyed wool. Reluctantly, she clambered onto the opposite side of the bed, and almost as soon as she was under the covers, the Silurian was snuggled against her, resting her chin on the top of Clara's head.

When Vastra woke up, she was far warmer than she had been in days. There appeared to be an ape of some variety curled up next to her. She took a tentative sniff, hoping it would turn out to be Jenny, and that the last few days had been a horrible nightmare.

Instead, she recognised the scent as that of the Doctor's morality pet, Clara. She spent a moment wandering what the girl was doing curled up in her bed, and why they were both fully clothed if they were in the same bed, before connecting the fact that she was warm with the fact Clara was producing body heat, and sharing it with her.

She considered trying her luck with the girl, before deciding, that, on balance, she would probably have a frying pan wrapped around her head if she tried, and it would be no fun if she was asleep.

Nevertheless, she briefly tapped her on the back of the neck with her tongue, transferring a careful amount of venom that would leave the victim asleep for about ten minutes.

Then she reached under the bed, fetching out a large piece of leather, and grinned as she bent over Clara.

Clara woke up with a splitting headache.

It reminded her of the time at teaching college someone had slipped something into her drink, although thankfully her boyfriend at the time had been on hand to rescue her from being presumably sexually assaulted, or worse.

Groaning to herself, she tried to rub her forehead, only to find that she couldn't move her arms, which were behind her back, before realising her shoulders were hurting. There was also a pressure across her upper chest and against her throat.


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