A Minor Misdemeanor

Chapter 35

As the police car was about to drive past Vastra, she noticed one of the officers inside turn his head, before speaking into the radio briefly, then to the man driving, before the large lightbulb on top of the car came up, sending bands of revolving blue light around the suburban street.

"Excuse me, madam, but is it possible to have a chat with you briefly?" One of the officers asked, stepping out of the panda car.(Why Is it called that, anyway? It isn't black and white, it doesn't eat bamboo, and it doesn't look anything like a panda.) "We've had a report of someone wearing similar clothing to yourself threatening you eat the manager of a pub nearby, and we just want to make sure it wasn't you before we continue."

"Certainly." Vastra said, trying to hope these police apes were as generally incompetent as the ones who paid her to solve their cases for them.

"Five nine, control. We're with a woman matching the description given, about eight hundred yards up the road from the pub. Are there any further details...?" The man still in the car said into the radio handset he was holding. "Ok. Scales, teeth like a velociraptor, blue eyes and a funny accent. We sure that the caller hasn't been smoking something a bit stronger than weed?" He said, almost chuckling. "CCTV from inside the pub confirms that description, and we're fairly sure it wasn't someone dressed up for the star trek convention or something? I see. I'll ask her." He said. "Madam, I know this is an ask, but I need to ask you to remove your veil."

"In front of a male stranger?" Vastra asked, using her knowledge of the period (mostly gleaned from books) to try and derail the attempt to identify her as the perpetrator of the incident in the pub.

"In that case, I'm going to have to detain you for the purposes of a search." He said. "I have to caution you that you do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you fail to mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court. Furthermore, anything that you say may be taken down and given in evidence against you."

"Why are you arresting me?" She asked, trying to sound meek.

"You're not under arrest, although you have been cautioned. You are merely detained for the purpose of determining if you are of interest to our enquiries." She was old, before the officer began dealing into the radio. "This is car Five nine. We have a suspect detained on Shawcross street. We need a female officer and a van." He told the dispatcher.

Without it having been something she noticed, Vastra realised that if she tried to run, she'd have to bowl over both officers, regardless of the direction she chose to run in. It was a stratagem she hadn't expected.

Fortunately, the Doctor arrived before the second police car did.

"John Smith, UNIT." He growled, taking advantage of his height to tower over the two policemen in a dominance display. "This is one of our people. She isn't native to England, and she has a few unusual habits. I apologise for that." He said, trying to imitate the explainer UNIT had employed during that business with the portals and dinosaurs. "She tries not to be any trouble but her cultural traditions ("like eating apes." Vastra muttered very softly.) Are a tiny bit unusual." I apologise if she has caused any trouble."

"UNIT?" The constable said, slightly uncertainly. "We'll call it in as a code fifty one."

Neither Vastra nor the Doctor got the reference, but they smiled, nodded, and headed back towards the hospital at a fast walk.

"What exactly did you do?" The Doctor asked, slightly grumpily, once they were out of earshot of the two police officers.

"The manager was trying to get a gratuity for letting me eat in the snug, so I took my veil off, and commented on how he was unlikely to taste any good. Then I smiled at him, ate my food, and paid in cash on the way out."

"They've got Jenny on a rehydration drip, and her leg is in a padded sleeve that stops her moving it." The Doctor told her, grimly, with a slight catch that was common to all of the incarnations she'd met when someone who they cared about, no matter how secretly, was in danger. "They've got her on a course of antibiotics to clear up her chest."

They turned the corner, into the road leading to the hospital, using a footpath to avoid obstructing an ambulance or similar conveyance. "They've also given her a special meal, based on peanuts. It's designed to fatten her up a bit." Vastra sniffed slightly at the idea of her wife putting on weight. Anyone who saw her exercise routine when she was fit would understand why she was almost entirely lean. Except for certain areas, Vastra thought, with a smile that would have been considered lascivious by a Silurian, and a threat display by most modern lifeforms. Those areas were still very soft, compared to the rest of her wife, although the small human didn't use weights or anything that would result in camouflage-defeating muscle.

The smell as Vastra and the Doctor entered the hospital was a very typical smell for a place of healing run by those with a basic understanding of the germ theory of disease, something she couldn't find any information on at home, except in the most up-to-date scientific journals.

She had acquired a flask of anti-bacterial gel from the 23rd century, and had explained to Jenny why she should insist on it being used by a "doctor" examining either of them. She had then gone down to an instrument shop, and brought herself a high magnification microscope, which provided extremely clear images, to her considerable surprise, before taking a sample of water from the ornamental birdbath, which Jenny had prevented her from putting glue around to catch birds with. ("Ma'am, you ain't supposed t' eat them sort o' birds.")

Jenny had looked for several minutes at the collection of microorganisms swimming around in the water, before newspapering the Silurian around the head several times for "Usin' one o' t' best saucers for y' blinkin' demonstrat'n." Vastra had blinked at her, before wrestling her to the floor and inserting her tongue into the human's underwear, worming between layers of fabric to find what she was looking for, while pinning her ape to the ground in an expert hold. The human had tasted like anticipation almost as soon as the Silurian jumped on her, and she made sure that if Jenny really wanted to, she would be able to break the hold.

Rapist was not a word she ever wanted to apply to her.

The corridors were as brightly lit as they had been when the sun was down, and the Silurian simply trusted the doctor to navigate her to her little ape, occasionally chivvying Vastra away from vending machines containing foodstuffs. They also had panels to stop stray prehensile tongues from being able to access the stock through the brought product hatch.

Jenny, it turned out, had been given a small, private room, off of the specialist admissions ward, complete with whiteboard, which read: "Jenny Flint, UNIT patient, fully human, Victorian era."

"Doctor," Vastra said curiously. "Are they that knowledgeable about their staff that they feel comfortable advertising her origins?"

"I had to swipe a card to access this area." He said. "Humans are good at keeping things in, and out, of places like this. You wouldn't get those doors open with a battering ram, short of taking out the walls as well. You can go and visit her now."

Vastra darted through the doors into the room containing her wife without a word.

Inside, Jenny was curled up in a large bed, with her left arm apparently secured to the bed through a wide cuff, which had wires coming out of it and connecting her to a bank of machinery.

"Don't mind It, ma'am." Jenny told her, noticing the very slightest signs of an angry Vastra. "'It's not locked or nothing. I can take me 'and out whenever I wants t'. Just ticks off the nurse, is all."

"How are you feeling?" Vastra asked.

"Fair 'nough." Jenny tried to claim. "I can't stay 'ere for too long, or I'll be in a right fine state."

The fact that her eyes had sunken into her skull slightly gave her away. She clearly hadn't been given enough food, and her lips were slightly papery looking, which Vastra knew from her care manual to be a sign of prolonged minor dehydration of an ape.

Giving the little monkey a look that suggested that Jenny was going to stay in bed until she was well, Vastra padded over to a small device standing on the floor, before pressing a cup under the tube, and extracting a cup of water that seemed neither hot nor cold when she dipped her finger into it.

She placed it on the little table next to her ape, before spotting the fact that her legs were both contained in some form of splint, and that those were secured to the bed.

"You daft ol' lizard, those are to keep me from movin' 'em around an' 'urting meself. They ain't intended to attach me t' the bliming bed." Jenny yelled at her, seeing the expression on her face. "They're a bleeding sight more comfortable than your selection for holdin' me in this sort o' position, though."

Vastra turned a mottled orange briefly. The stocks she had hauled up several flights of stairs had enjoyed a very significant lack of success when she'd fastened them around her wife's legs, using a metal tie to hold them shut, in an attempt to ensure the human got treated to breakfast in bed.

To be fair, it wasn't entirely her fault that the stove had decided that it was not going to light when fuelled, or that the chimney had picked that day to dump a bag of soot over her when she forced the window pole up to search for blockages. In the end, she'd been forced to release her wife, simply because she had managed to set fire to the coal bucket. Jenny had pointedly not berated her, simply helping to remove the bucket from the kitchen and leave it in the coach yard until it had run out of fuel.

Afterwards, the wooden bars had vanished, presumably into the wood store, Vastra guessed, after seeing several thing lengths of wood with one or two curved ends, on a radius that suggested they were chunks from the stocks, in the kindling buckets.

Neither of them had discussed the matter since.

Vastra just gave the small human a look, suggesting that she regretted the whole incident more than Jenny would ever give her credit for. Jenny replied with another look that seemed to simply raise its eyebrow sceptically, but without speaking.

"How are you feeling, love?" Vastra asked, after a moment.

"All the better for seein' you again, miss." Jenny replied. "I tell you, though, I ain't gonna get bored any time soon. All o' these films on the screen, I can access parts of the internet, though nothing relevant to the time period back home." The small human seemed to bounce as she sat up slightly, turning the screen around to show the Silurian what was currently on it.

On screen, what looked like some sort of giant green human, bulging with muscles in a way that was anatomically impossible, was picking up what appeared to be a fully manned armoured vehicle, before throwing it at another tank, causing both to explode. A soldier, she assumed, from the light coloured patterned garments and helmet he was wearing, was punched through a wall, before the giant swung what looked like a lamppost at another group of soldiers.

"Humans." Vastra muttered. "They like their fight scenes, don't they?"

"It's fun to watch." Jenny said.

"Am I in any danger of losing your interest at night?" Vastra replied.

"Not my type, ma'am." She said. "Too male, even if those muscles are something."

Vastra had not been exactly unappreciative of the muscles herself, and so she only gave Jenny a level look, before gently kissing her forehead.

"Jenny, I'm sorry to leave you like this, but I need to go and explain where you have gone, and check on Clara."

"I know." Jenny said. "Behave. Don't eat anyone, and don't you dare try anything with Clara."

"I like my teeth where they are." Vastra said, in a slightly miffed voice. "Clara has made it quite clear that she does not share my tastes in companionship."

Jenny just grinned, before Vastra made her exit, unsurprised to find the blue box waiting in the corridor, in what looked to her suspiciously like a purpose built nook for the blue box. It even had several stencils suggesting what the writer thought about humans who tried to fiddle with his box when he wasn't there to defend it.

Inside, the Doctor was standing next to his console, clearly waiting impatiently, as he pulled the lever once she was through the door.

"Anything changed?" He asked.

"Bedrest, I think." Vastra said, slightly regretting her role in sentencing her little ape to hard labour. "She looks exhausted."

"Hard labour tends to do that to people." The Doctor said, reprovingly. "I never let any of my companions end up doing it, unless I was alongside them and there was no other option."

"I wanted her punished." Vastra almost keened. "I wanted to remind her that her training wasn't a toy, or something to abuse. I didn't want her to end up… like that."

"Vastra, something I have learnt is that every action has consequences. Giving her a ride to a modern hospital means that we will have to explain her absence, and avoid her being looked for. Ensuring that your own wife was sentenced to hard labour… we'll see what she makes of you when she is out of hospital."

Vastra looked uncomfortably at the Doctor, before hurrying to the wardrobe room, and clambering back into her familiar dress, before settling the specially adapted hat onto her head. Jenny had ordered her a hat with a more or less oval shoulder, carefully measured so that her lobes would fit cleanly inside the hat, and draw a minimum of attention. There was also a slightly fill underneath the crown, so that it would contact more than her central lobe at the top.

Before she stepped out into the prison hospital again, Vastra checked her clothing. Her veil was the only thing out of place, and she quickly and carefully draped that over her face, before the box finally came to a stop, and they disembarked into the hospital.


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