A Minor Misdemeanor

Chapter 31

One of the things Clara was quickly learning was just how much time was saved by modern labour saving devices, such as dishwashers. Even in her flat, she normally operated on the principle that if some item of crockery needed cleaning, it went in the dishwasher, while saucepans were one of the few items that went in the sink, although she only used them a few times a month, due to the combined requirements of life as a teacher and as the travelling companion of a Time Lord. A fair amount of the time when she was travelling, she was able to "eat out" as the Doctor put it, although he had to be careful, simply because there were inevitably foodstuffs and chemicals that she suffered allergic reactions to. The consequences of her going into anaphylactic shock on a planet where she would be an unusual sight, simply for being human, never mind a baseline 21st century human, were likely to be incredibly dangerous. She had brought herself an epipen, and told the Doctor exactly how and when to use it, in the event that she suffered a severe and unexpected reaction. She lived mostly on a diet of ready meals and reheated leftovers when she hadn't been spending the night with Danny or was otherwise unable to find the time to cook

Washing a day's worth of crockery by hand was very time consuming, and had given her ample time to think about exactly what her best option was for reining in Vastra, without using a baseball bat.

Vastra, meanwhile, was curled up in a type of bed that could only be accurately described as a nest. It was set into the middle of a room that was the silurian's equivalent of a Zen meditation cell, full of flowering plants salvaged from the late cretaceous, and accessible to pollinators, which she knew an awful lot better than to try and eat for a snack. Jenny had been very unsympathetic when the Silurian presented to her a six foot tongue with a bee sting lodged a short way from the top. There had been an awful lot of laughter, although the little ape had at least consented to extract the venom gland without squeezing it, which had been extremely carefully done with a pair of forceps which had been pressed against the surface of her tongue and gently positioned below the gland, before it was suddenly pulled free of the tongue, leaving Vastra a slightly mottled green and orange colour.

She grinned slightly as she remembered ensnaring the small human with her tongue, wrapping it around her neck as soon as she'd disposed of the forceps. Then she'd given Jenny a small dose of silurian venom, just enough, as she had put it with a grin, to keep her quiet, before laying the ape across her lap and, keeping her carefully supported with a tongue around her shoulders, spending a few minutes spanking the human mercilessly, enjoying the slight struggles that were all Jenny could manage under the level of envenomation, before marching the human upstairs for some more fun as soon as she regained enough muscular control to move under her own power. By the time that Jenny had actually been able to offer any resistance, she'd been fastened onto the large bed in the main bedroom at all four corners.

After about an hour, Clara placed the last of the dishes on the drying rack, before turning her attention to the stone floor, which she quickly decided could cope for a few more days without washing it down, although she did sweep the area next to the servants entrance, before running a broom over the hall floor, which she followed up with a mop, collecting the majority of the dirt that had built up while she had been busy providing Vastra with a Watson.

At about half past one, the post came through the letterbox. Clara, who had just finished cleaning the relevant section of floor, gathered it up, before taking it into the drawing room to differentiate between routine correspondence (bills, complaints about Vastra, junk advertising mail) and letters requesting the assistance of the Great Detective. She posted most of the junk mail into an in-tray, before taking the small sheaf of requests for help down to Vastra.

When she arrived, the Silurian’s position reminded her of nothing more than a kitten curled around a spring of catnip. There was a flower next to her head, and she was curled into an almost endearing ball around it, completed by a fluffy blanket patterned with the Jurassic park logo. It was a scene she couldn't resist. Quietly, so as not to wake the Silurian, she extracted her phone, before simply taking a photo of Vastra, which she suspected Jenny would like a copy of.

Then she swung her poker against the ceremonial gong at one end of the room.

The Silurian’s reaction was instantaneous. She came awake almost instantly, before scrabbling to conceal her blanket and whatever plant she'd been breathing the pollen of, before attempting to look dignified when Clara started laughing.

Then the Silurian bowed to the inevitable, and joined in, before reluctantly wandering over to her working desk, which was layered with items of interest.

"There are a whole bunch of people looking for assorted people and things." Clara told her. "There's also a bank manager looking for some suggestions about how his vault was raided last night, and what looks like fan mail from a Mr Conan Doyle." She commented, raising an eyebrow slightly.

"Arthur's more or less harmless." Vastra replied. "Jenny feeds him the odd story, just a few every year."

"Hang on?" Clara burst out. "Arthur Conan Doyle, the same one who created Sherlock Holmes, sends you fan mail, and Jenny feeds him stories?"

"Is that what he calls his detective?" Vastra asked. "Jenny has a whole stack of various penny dreadful type things with his name on the cover, although most of the things Holmes calls "feats" of deduction could be figured out fairly easily by anyone with a working knowledge of apes and a subscription to the London papers, possibly excluding the illustrated dailies." Clara half-heartedly aimed a newspaper at her head, which the Silurian ducked, not overly concerned.

"They're taught in schools in my time, you damned handbag." She said, smiling. "They're considered literary classics. And most of the deduction points are very arcane to the reader."

"Handbag?" Vastra asked, seemingly mystified by the reference.

"There was a period when a percentage of handbags were manufactured using the skin of reptiles such as alligators."

Vastra hissed, before seeming to inflate, causing Clara to take a very rapid step to put her beyond tongue range of the Silurian.

"I am not a handbag." She hissed.

"Right, got it, err, tea?" Clara asked, hopefully.

"Tea would be excellent." Vastra said, deflating rapidly.

As Clara scuttled back up the stairs, Vastra gave the flowering plant she'd been inhaling the pollen from an extremely irritated glance. See what you made me do? She thought. This is going to be the last time I sniff your pollen, regardless of how relaxed it makes me feel while I'm breathing it constantly.

Jenny had a whole shelving unit devoted to the penny dreadful serialisations of the Sherlock Holmes series, along with other assorted materials of the same type, along with a somewhat dusty selection of romance novels she and Vastra had shared, before they found each other. In fairness, the supply of volumes was sufficient to keep even Vastra's eidetic memory entertained, and Jenny usually picked up the latest instalments with the groceries.

Unfortunately, she'd let slip about some of Vastra's experiments with assorted intoxicant substances in one of her letters to Conan Doyle, resulting in Sherlock Holmes developing a cocaine and nicotine habit, although Vastra had no interest in consuming the smoke produced by burning a particular group of leaves, particularly given the heavy metal count in the leaves and their smoke, which had led her to confiscate Jenny's cigarette case and the contents.

The other thing that had somehow made it into the Holmes series was her love of chemistry, which had nothing at all in the slightest to do with being able to turn a packet of cheap dye into sufficient high explosive to blow a door from its hinges, if carefully applied, or the number of different things she had quietly injected herself with since ending up marooned among primitives. That said, she had to be able to explain her ability to distinguish human blood from that of an animal or from stains produced by other iron bearing products, which largely relied on scent, and occasionally, and very covertly, taste.

Her unintended anger at Clara for calling her a handbag had largely come from the connotations of humans deliberately killing reptiles. The plant she'd been inhaling had allowed her to relive the life she had had before going into cryosleep, and the idea, so shortly after awakening from a society where primitive mammals were nothing more than a nuisance to crops, of humans killing and wearing reptiles had set off her anger about the death of her sisters far more easily than it might otherwise have been aroused.

Clara came back down the stairs with surprising agility, which quickly attracted Vastra's gaze, which played over the little human's figure. She looks good. Vastra thought, as her gaze roamed over the human. All it needs is a little bow, and possibly a few less garments, and I could serve her to the club as a very delightful main course. Perhaps leather harness...

"Hoi!" Clara burst out, interrupting her thought processes. "Stop salivating."

Vastra tucked all but the tip of her tongue back into her mouth, before reluctantly turning her attention away from the human's figure and onto the contents of the tea tray, which included a rack of rich tea biscuits.

"My apologies, Clara. My mind was elsewhere." She said, trying to avoid staring at the human's rear end." Damn this drug. It makes me far too easily aroused. Can I get her to try some...?

Clara responded with a glare that followed the path of her gaze, before returning to the Silurian’s eyes. "I don't do that, Vastra. I'm just not that sort of human."

Vastra filled the air with her 'sad, jilted' pheromone, as Clara headed upstairs. "I'm going to the butchers to pick up a decent cut of lamb." She told the Silurian, trying not to notice the way her eyes had followed certain parts of her up the stairs.

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