The various streets between the butcher and Paternoster Row seemed even more crowded to Clara, as she stepped out of the shop, basket dangling from one arm.
All around her, there were people.
It took her about five seconds too long to realise that not all of those people were moving randomly around her.
A four wheeler cab dropped out of the traffic, empty, just as the man in the green coat who'd been about five to ten feet behind her the entire way dropped out of the crowd, suddenly very close to her, before she felt a prick against her skin, just enough that she froze as she was led towards the cab, a knife resting against her right kidney, before being bundled inside, along with Vastra's meat order and the butcher's basket.
As soon as the kerbside door had been slammed shut, they placed an old sack, containing an annoying, but harmless amount of extremely dry soil, fine enough to be described as dust, over her head, and a loop of rope was tied around her neck, looped through what felt like eyelets or loops on the outside of the hood, and securing the bag in place.
Then one of the men, who'd been very careful that she didn't see their face, spoke to her briefly, his accent cut glass, and about as distinctive as a black cab, telling you very little about anything other than the type.
"Miss Flint, put your hands behind your back in a position that you will find comfortable during an extended period with them tied in."
They think I'm Jenny. She thought. I'm not sure what sort of advantage that gives me. She grinned slightly under the hood, imaging the results if Jenny hadn't been in prison.
Reluctantly, she placed her wrists in the most neutral position behind her back that she could, with them crossed at around a 90 degree angle, with her palms outwards.
She was surprised at how relatively tenderly the ropes were looped around her wrists, although she was not in the slightest given the chance to gather her legs, and exit through the opposite door of the cab. When the ropes were in place, they were not going to be something she had a chance of working her wrists out of, she quickly found, shifting slightly against them more as a ritual statement than anything else, but they weren't tight enough to be causing issues with her blood supply.
As the coach rattled away through the streets, she just hoped that she was going to survive the next few hours, while making herself as comfortable as it was possible to get on a high backed seat with her hands bound comfortably, but securely, behind her back.
She knew it was in complete defiance of every domestic rule Jenny had imposed on her since they arrived in the Row, but that almost made the toasted cheese and sliced gherkin toasties she made for herself taste even better, as she curled up in her bed, wrapped around a mound of hot water bottles wrapped in a blanket, and, after finishing her meal, dozed off, gently drifting into sleep, without realising she had crossed the boundary between consciousness and sleep.
Vastra stirred slightly as she felt a warm draft from the hall, and then heard the tell-tale sound of a person not trying not to wake her up, but to be very quiet and make as little noise as possible, with the goal of silently slipping into bed after a late night.
Glancing up, muzzily, she saw Clara, wearing only the silk shift that Vastra had snuck under her pillow, so that it would be the first thing that the human found when reaching for her nightdress, coming down to just below the top of her thighs, the translucent material showing just a bit less than it hid, hiding nearly all of the details behind the material, but showing just enough to make her start producing hormones at a rate she only normally felt with Jenny, when her wife was in one of the wide variety of human garbs they had selected for playing various roles. The most tantalising sight was the human's breasts, barely visible behind the shift, and teasing her with their presence.
What would they feel like, compared to Jenny's? She pondered, momentarily remembering the human's reaction to the Silurian’s wandering eyes. I think they'll be considerably softer, with a lot less muscle underneath them. When Jenny was naked, her body was considerably harder than her face looked, almost possessing the anatomical feature humans referred to as a "six pack" although the majority of her physique was concealed behind a thin layer of fat, little more than required for insulation against the worst of the London winters. Clara, on the other hand, had a far sleeker body in some ways, although Vastra suspected that the ratio of fat to muscle was higher than Jenny's by quite a margin. She was going to be very interested to find out exactly how Clara felt, both inside and out
"Clara?" She asked, remembering that she was supposed to have been asleep when the human entered the bedroom. "Do you want anything?"
"I'm... not sure, ma'am." The human replied. "I've been thinking about your offer the first night I was here. I've... never done anything like that with anyone before, even at teaching college."
"Clara..." Vastra said, carefully, more wanting to spook the human into remembering her reaction the last time the Silurian had made a pass at her, in what had quickly become a massive faux-pas. "Are you sure that you want this?"
The small human looked at her briefly, before suddenly changing. Now, she was wearing her normal clothes, but her hands were bound together behind her back, wrists crossed, and an old potato sack was tied over her head, with a loop of rope forcing it into her mouth, effectively gagging her.
Then Vastra catapulted awake.
Outside the window, she could see the sun sinking below the horizon, dropping behind the church steeples and factory chimneys that dominated the London skyline.
She dressed for action, clambering into her hunting clothes with an almost eager spring to her step, before slinging her katanas over both shoulders, ready to take immediate action should the circumstances require it.
She had also called in a favour.
At about a quarter to nine, a groaning noise emanated from her cellar, although experience suggested that it would be inaudible unless you were positioned in front of the coal chute, and even then, would likely be taken from cranky plumbing, rather than the second part of her plan arriving.
"Vastra!" she heard from downstairs.
"Coming, Doctor." She replied, grinning.
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, the cellar was somewhat fuller than usual, even after having been used as a concealed landing place for the TARDIS. She was amused to see the eight commandos, borrowed from UNIT, maintaining their areas of responsibility, even in a building that was considered safe. She was slightly less surprised to see the other person who'd been brought along for the ride, and greeted her warmly, noticing the way one of the human commandos was standing, without leaving any blind-spots in his own coverage, in a way that offered her as much protection as possible.
The Doctor was waiting for her. "Vastra, what is this about? I am not a taxi service, although I appreciate that I owed you a favour for Demon's Run."
"Clara had an encounter I believe to have been intended for Jenny." She showed the Doctor both cards, before he turned away; muttering something, before her final ally finally overcame her diffidence.
"Allana!" She called, watching as her welsh cousin slid past the human guarding her with a slightly possessive glance at him, before throwing her arms around Vastra.
"Cousin Vastra." She greeted Vastra, in Silurian, for at least a modicum of felt privacy. "You are looking as if your ape feeds you well."
"She does. I have hopes for her progression to the sixth chakim before the year is out. I dare say that she would grace the fields at Va'taakduk in her own class."
"Va'taakduk? You must be very proud of her."
"She studies well, and is diligent with her katas. Do you have hopes on the human?" She said, glancing back at one of the younger commandoes.
"He seems strong. We spent time talking on the trip here. I think he has skills that are quite distinct to those of our warriors, but would be a valuable skillset to learn."
"I see. I know exactly what it is like to find a human that triggers eros'tika, cousin. They are a species given to many things, including a level of passion somewhat greater than that present in our kindred. Their metabolism is an extremely pleasant thing to have beside you on a cold morning."
"Excuse me, Ma'am." One of the humans, wearing a jacket with three downward chevrons on it, said, extremely politely. "I understand that you haven't seen each other for a while, but we need to start planning."
"Very well, sergeant. If you and your team would follow me upstairs, I will lay out our plan."
Vastra had, with a certain amount of assistance, installed a
few surprises in her rear reception room, which was normally closed, with the
furniture hidden behind dust sheets.
A full holographic display was the centrepiece of the room, which she fired up as the last commando took a seat.
"As you may or may not be aware, my current maid, and one of the Doctor's travelling companions, Miss Clara Oswald, has been kidnapped, and is being held for ransom. While I do not consider three hundred sovereigns more than she is valued at by several different people, I am not in the mood to allow a kidnap team to get away with acting in such a fashion."
"Sergeant, you and your unit will be held in readiness at the stables behind Paris Place. We have borrowed a pair of four wheeled cabs, somewhat shabby, for your use, along with drivers. They are from a small group within the metropolitan police who are aware of what is happening, and that the technology you use is unusual, although they believe it to have been provided by me."
"Allana, do you remember when we used to impersonate each other for the males while we were studying?" The other Silurian dipped her head. "Your role today is vital. In ten minutes, you will call a cab, and proceed to a human tavern called the King's Arms. This journey will take you roughly an hour, as it is on the far side of the centre of the metropolis. On arrival, you will enter the building, and hand a human item known as a valise case to a human, wearing a red weatherproof garment on his upper body, sitting in the second to last booth. You will then exit the building and return to Paternoster Row. The kitchen is the room that smells of food, and three slices of bacon will have been left in a pan next to a cooking plate. Those are for you."
"Once the drop has been made, I will follow the man with the money case from the rooftops, where humans very rarely look. Hopefully, there will be very few pigeons on my route. Once he has entered a building, and remained within for twenty minutes, I will call in the military team, to immediately assault the building, which should be within ten minutes of your lying up point. The level of resistance expected is unknown, and it is likely that those inside will be carrying revolvers or similar pistols, although they should pose little danger to you if they strike body armour. I expect that a cellar or something will be present under the building, although I do not know if there will be an additional guard within."
"Do you have any intelligence on the building that you expect us to be assaulting?" The UNIT Sergeant asked, looking slightly sceptical.
"I will by the time you attack it." Vastra replied, impressed by the professionalism, although it wasn't something she hadn't been expecting.
"How will we get to the lying up point?" the man asked. "I'm assuming this building is under surveillance."
"I have a secret exit route. Given the nature of my work as a consulting detective, being able to enter or exit my own home unobserved is useful. It comes out in the disused stables at number nineteen, where your carriages will be waiting. Lord Scott is in Egypt visiting the pyramids at the moment, and the butler is a souse. I will show you to the tunnel, and accompany you as far as the stables, before circling to take my position at the tavern before Allana arrives."
Then Allana raised her hand. "Cousin Vastra, how do you use a phone in this period?" she asked, looking dubiously at the device sitting on a side table at the rear of the room.
"You rotate the dial on the front so that our finger is over the zero with your finger. Then, once you have done that, you ask the operator to connect you to Charles Lane Cab office, and ask for a cab at 13 Paternoster Row as soon as possible, but make sure you are dressed as me first." She said, as the other Silurian darted out of the room, heading for where Vastra had deposited her clothes when she cleared for action.
Vastra smiled, before heading for her tunnel, with the commando team and the Doctor in tow, smiling somewhat grimly.