A Minor Misdemeanor

Chapter 41

Clara woke up at about the same time as Vastra. The Silurian had awakened first, and immediately decided that she wanted bacon sandwiches, with brown sauce.

As such, she gently prodded her temporary maid in the ribs.

"Whuh?" Clara groaned.

"I don't suppose that there is likelihood of you serving me breakfast in bed?" Vastra asked, easing the human towards the edge of the bed.

"I'm not going to be your cook." Clara said, more fully awake. "And if you dare to push me out of the bed, you will regret doing so."

Reluctantly, Vastra stopped pushing. Then she started to snuggle again.

"Gerroff." Clara told the snuggling annoyance, elbowing her in the ribs. "I am not a hot water bottle, or any form of toy." Vastra gently captured her, pinning her arms to her sides, before beginning to croon what sounded like a lullaby.

"Fine." Clara said. "I'll get you your…?"

"Bacon sandwich with brown sauce." Vastra said, not releasing the human until she'd completed her order.

Vastra immediately uncurled, allowing Clara to drop into the dinosaur themed slippers she was borrowing from Jenny, before heading downstairs, where the bacon and hotplate awaited her.

Inside the kitchen, she wasn't entirely surprised to find Allana, who she'd been very briefly introduced to the previous night, pottering around, and clearly gathering food. After a moment, she grabbed the Silurian’s arm, pulling her away from one cupboard.

"Don't get anything out of there." She said, having observed the hand-painted daffodil on the front of the pine cupboard. "That's where Jenny keeps her gardening supplies. Eating a daffodil bulb gives you a stomach upset." She told Allana, carefully checking through what the Silurian had already scavenged, and removing two bulbs, along with what appeared to be a paper packet of plant food.

"Those are toxic to humans." She said, kindly.

"What are they doing in the kitchen?" Allana asked, seemingly baffled.

"The flower on the box is Jenny's way of identifying gardening supplies." Clara explained, keeping her voice matter-of-fact and accepting. "It's a cultural thing."

Collecting the bacon from the closet, and noticing the golden retriever reaction of the silurian at seeing the food, she quickly extracted another two slices of bacon from the cupboard, before dropping them into the pan next to the first slices, taking advantage of the size of the skillet pan, which was all of eighteen inches across, and made from cast iron.

Once the pan was on the stove, it didn't take it long to heat up, and the bacon began to sizzle audibly, provoking what Clara now suspected to be a genetically hardcoded pavlovian response in the silurian watching her cook, as she carefully browned the bacon in its own juices, before simply flipping it onto unbuttered bread, two slices at a time, ignoring the immediate vanishing of the first sandwich, before plating up the second and carrying it upstairs, collecting a feather duster on her way past.

Vastra, much as she'd suspected the Silurian would have, had curled up again, so the duster was employed, slowly lowered into position, before the Silurian sneezed as the feathers engulfed her face, jerking her into an annoyed level of awakenedness.

Her nose twitched with the proximity of the bacon sandwich, before she pounced on Clara, bearing her to the ground and taking full possession of the sandwich, before sitting on the human while she ate, enjoying the extra warmth.

Once she had finished the sandwich, however, Clara began to belabour the Silurian with her duster, repeatedly striking her over the head with it until she finally released her temporary maid from underneath her.

Then, of course, Vastra darted into the shower, enjoying the horseplay and the letting off of the head of steam she'd built up during the previous few days.

Unknown date, 2015, St. George's Hospital, London/ 23rd February, 1895, Newgate Prison, London.

After nearly a week in hospital, receiving large amounts of modern medical care, Jenny was finally ready to be discharged. All of her bags were packed.

There was just one sticking point.

"I am not wearin' those bleeding rags when we go back." She yelled at Vastra, who was offering her the freshly laundered, entirely parasite free prison uniform she'd arrived at the hospital in five days earlier.

Vastra didn't know quite how to react. Usually, it was her being asked to wear something silly in order to avoid people realising that although she was humanoid, she wasn't exactly human as well.

Fortunately, Clara was ready to step in with some support.

"Jenny, if you aren't wearing them, they'll probably decide you haven't been punished for the last part of your sentence, and insist that you serve the entire term inside of Newgate."

Jenny's eyes were still sunken from the bout of consumption, as she insisted on calling it, even to the medical staff, that she had been treated for while in hospital. As it turned out, the dose of medicine she'd been given while aboard the TARDIS had cleared the initial infection, but done nothing to protect her from re-infection, which, in the unsanitary, damp environment of the prison, had likely occurred within hours. The resulting course of advanced antibiotics, to which the version of the disease she'd been carrying had responded well, much to the surprise of medics used to treating drug-resistant modern strains, until they briefly were allowed access to enough of her notes to discover that this was a pre-medication strain of the disease, had left her drained, although she'd been able to maintain enough of an exercise program not to lose much ground, physically. Reluctantly, she clambered back into the garments, giving both Vastra and Clara dirty looks as she did so.

Then Vastra approached with the other thing she disagreed with.

"Please can I not wear those?" She asked, her voice pleading rather than anything more sarcastic.

"No. Bad Ape. Bad Apes wear manacles." Vastra said, doing an excellent impression of an owner with a recalcitrant puppy, leading to a chuckle from Clara, and from Jenny herself as she offered her ankles to be fastened together.

Vastra placed the pair of rags around her wife's ankles, tying them into a pair of optimally effective edge absorbers for the restraints, before clasping the heavy steel bands around her wife's ankles, with one of her prototypical satisfied smirks.

Then the Doctor arrived, with a scowl.

"Have you finished yet?" He asked.

"Yes, Doctor, we are ready to depart." Vastra said, carefully cutting across the somewhat more irate comment Clara had been about to fire at the Time Lord.

The small party moved through to the TARDIS, parked in the small niche set aside for it in the UNIT section of the hospital, guarded by a pair of commandos, who had not taken a selfie of themselves as soon as the Doctor turned the corner.

They saluted, much to the annoyance of the Doctor, who was forced by an ingrained sense of politeness to acknowledge them, with a stiff nod.

Then the party entered the TARDIS.

Vastra, once inside the TARDIS, disappeared off, taking Jenny with her, presumably to one of the seating areas within the massive interior.

Clara remained with the Doctor in the control room.

"How was it?" He asked her.

"How was what?" she replied, looking at him with a smile.

"Working with Vastra."

"It was… interesting." Clara replied. "She's smart, obviously. Not in some areas. She nearly ate a Lord of the Admiralty just before I arrived. That said, she handled the case I helped her with surprisingly well. It was like, well, watching Sherlock Holmes in action."

"You were." The Doctor replied.

"Not news." Clara said, with a smile. "While I was there, a piece of mail from Conan Doyle arrived."

"Which one of the books was it?" He asked.

Clara thought for a long moment. "It involved a submarine plan being stolen by a foreign agent. The Bruce-Partington plans, I think."

"Was it fun?" He asked.

"I spent most of the case doing Vastra's legwork. Master of disguise, according to Conan Doyle."

"That's Jenny." He told her. "When we get back, remind her to show you the Cupboard." The capital letter seemed to drop onto the word unbidden.

"How've you been?" She asked.


"As always."

"Universe never seems to be able to save itself for once." He muttered.

Once they were out of sight, Vastra latched onto her wife.

"Easy, you ol' thing. I ain't goin' to be away any longer." Jenny said, feeling the desperation of the Silurian’s enclosure of her shoulders and upper body.

"I've missed you, Love." Vastra replied.

"Don't think I haven't missed you too." Jenny replied. "I keep putting on weight when I don't have you around to steal the heat from my body."

"And from other places, of course." Vastra began, with a grin.

"Not now." Jenny said, her voice taking on the rare 'Command Voice' tone she used to keep Vastra in line, seemingly wired to a receptor present in almost any person's brainstem, causing zero processing to be needed in order to follow an instruction without thinking.

Vastra almost instantly put the idea of doing anything with her wife out of her head, at least until they were finished inside Newgate.

At almost exactly the appointed time, the TARDIS groaned out of the timesteam, dropping into the prison medical centre, in almost exactly the same space it had exited with Jenny aboard, heading for hospital, four days earlier.

The warders were waiting at the exit.

"Prisoner Flint, come with us, please." They instructed Jenny.

She obeyed wordlessly, her submissive streak coming to the fore once again.

The small party was led through to the receiving area of the prison, passing various groups of warders, most of whom were grinning slightly, or even giving Jenny thumbs up.

They had never really viewed her as a prisoner, considering her to be one of their own, in a lot of ways. They'd treated her according to protocol, but there had be no casual brutality, as a number of the warders had been known to mete out to less fortunate convicts. There was also sympathy for her offence, and a general assumption that it was an injustice, based largely on class prejudices.

Outside the receiving office, Vastra and the rest of the group took seats on a padded bench, reserved for relatives and family of those being collected, before Jenny stepped inside the office.

Inside, a clerk was waiting for her behind a desk.

"Name?" He asked, in a bored tone, the typical voice of the minor bureaucrat dealing with the same routine every time the door opened into his officer.

"Jennifer Flint." Jenny replied.



"Normal residence?"

"Number 13, Paternoster Row."

"Any outstanding unpaid fines?"


"Anything else that the system should be aware of?"

"No." Jenny replied.

"Step through the far door." He instructed her, after rummaging in his desk for a moment, then handing her a slip of paper.

Stepping into the next room, Jenny realised that this was the property store. She stepped out to the counter, before tapping the bell gently for attention several times.

A somewhat shifty looking attendant appeared after a few moments.

"Yes?" He said.

"Sorry for interrupting your card game." She said, before handing him the chitty.

"Ah, Flint." He said. "They said you were being let out today." He said, giving the impression that she was an old lag who he was expecting back within a week, rather than an essentially upright housewife and detectives assistant.

"My belongings?" She asked.

In response, she was handed a canvas kitbag, with a cell number sewn onto it, along with a slip of paper.

Her smile at the way the paper was pushed at her was Vastra's favourite, out of all of her wife's smiles, even beating "I am your faithful ape" or "I love you". "It was the smile that suggested Jenny had just been dealt the last card needed for a royal flush, and that you would be walking home tonight in your underwear.

In response, she placed the pad on the counter, watching the suddenly very nervous attendant watch her as she untied the drawstring, and opened the bag carefully, before rooting through, identifying exactly what was missing. Unfortunately, the man hadn't found her lock picks, and the locks on her manacles could have come off of the ark.

Ten seconds later, he was backed up against the opposite wall of the property store, with a particularly evil, pointed lock pick tickling the inside of one of his nostrils, as high up his nose as it would go.

"Where. Is. My. Purse?" she demanded, her voice very level, with a very unsettling smile on her face. "Where. Is. My. Bible? And, Where. Is. My. Hairpin."

The man's eyes were very wide, and very panicked.

"Unduh duh counuh." He managed to gabble, unable to breathe through one nostril, shortly before the pick in Jenny's other hand whipped into his collar, pinning him to the wall with the same amount of effect as a thrown hunting knife.

"They'd better be. Which box?" She asked, after making the obligatory threat.

"Blue one." He choked out.

She stepped over to the box, before retrieving her roll of picks from on the counter. They'd been inside another item, which explained why a cursory search hadn't found them. It was a basic lock, cheap, and made without attention to detail. She broke through it in about fifteen seconds, much to her annoyance. Inside, she found the missing items.

Taking her hatpin, she stepped over to the attendant, still trying to free his collar from her lockpick.

He froze as it pressed into his testicles.

"If any of those items had been missing, this would be in the wall behind you right now." She stated, her matter-of-fact tone far more threatening than any low growl, suggesting as it did that this human would think nothing of impaling the testicles of a man who'd annoyed her, as would view it in the same way as taking a basket to the shops. She also showed some teeth, in what biologically would appear to be a smile.

Then she extracted the lockpick from his collar, and vaulted the counter, before collecting the shackles and stepping into a small changing booth.

"Pleasure doing business with you." She said, pulling shut the curtain.

The attendant didn't even consider trying to peek as she changed into her civilian clothing.

It was a very wise decision. Her boots contained her spare throwing knives.

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