Doctor Who and all related characters and places are owned by the BBC - I just make them dance for my own amusement.
Started writing this almost immediately after The Great Detective aired. Expect a lot more Vastra & Jenny fic in future :)
13 Paternoster Row, London – 23rd December 1891
Jenny Flint let out a quiet yawn, hiding it behind her left hand as she continued to gaze into the fireplace. The hour was late; the once roaring flames had died to a faint red glow, occasionally spitting the odd crackling spark or two. Jenny was sat at one end of the settee, legs tucked beneath her and an elbow leant against the arm of her seat. Aside from the dying fire, the room's only illumination came from a handful of candles; they had no intention of lighting the gas lamps and informing the entire street that the residents of Number Thirteen were up and about during the early hours. The study's only other occupant was stood by the window, hunched over something obscured by his wide frame.
"I told you not to touch that!" Jenny hissed for what felt like the hundredth time, and probably wasn't far off that estimate.
Strax just straightened up and turned on the spot, revealing the brass telescope he had been examining.
"It's still up there," he muttered. "Watching and waiting."
"Oh, 'onestly," Jenny said, shaking her head as she leant it once again on her arm. "You know my lady doesn't like people touchin' 'er things."
"Unless they happen to be small and female," Strax replied with a triumphant smirk. Jenny just stared daggers and remained silent. It didn't take a great intellect to deduce that Strax's words were not regarding the telescope. The Sontaran chuckled to himself and stepped over to the fireplace. "I don't know what's keeping her."
"Maybe he 'asn't arrived yet," Jenny said, glancing briefly towards the door to the hallway. It had remained closed for nearly two hours, save for her brief tea run to the kitchen.
"Or they're arguing," Strax countered, shaking his head. "They're as stubborn as each other. I've never known that Silurian of yours give in…" He smirked. "…well, unless you're-"
"Small and female, yes very funny," Jenny snapped, lifting her head and dropping the arm that had been supporting it. She knew her friend was only teasing, but she was on edge. It had taken a lot of persuading – though admittedly, some of it enjoyable – to get the house's owner to do what she was currently doing, and now the two of them were sat eagerly awaiting the result. Save for the grandfather clock's faint ticking, there was silence for a few moments, before finally, the sound of the front door opening echoed throughout the house.
Jenny sat up straight, swinging her legs out from underneath her and resisting the urge to jump to her feet. Strax turned from the fire, his eyes fixing along with Jenny's towards the entrance to the room. The front door closed, and for a few agonising moments, the clock was once again the only sound, before footsteps began moving along the hallway. Jenny gripped the arm of the settee, her foot tapping nervously against the carpet. Strax just folded his arms behind his back to keep from fidgeting. The footsteps paused briefly, before finally, the door swung open.
Madame Vastra surveyed the room, her eyes first turning to Jenny, then to Strax, then back to her maid. She let out a quiet sigh and simply shook her head. Both Jenny and Strax seemed to sag slightly; the tension was broken, replaced with a decidedly deflated atmosphere.
"Well then," Strax said stiffly, sounding uncharacteristically put-out. "I had better be off."
He left without another word, only pausing briefly to give Vastra a curt nod. It wasn't until the front door had sounded again that the Silurian stepped further into the room, not even bothering to shed the heavy cloak around her shoulders.
"What did he say?" Jenny asked, looking up at her employer and lover with mournful eyes. Vastra opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it again. She swept past the other woman, finally removing her cloak and tossing it unceremoniously onto an empty chair. She turned to face Jenny again, before stepping closer and – almost apprehensively – sitting beside her.
"It doesn't matter," she said, voice quiet and unusually small-sounding. "He made himself quite clear."
"Did you mention the claw marks on Lord Malbrook's door?" Jenny asked quickly. "And the bag of severed limbs?"
"An escaped bear from the circus," Vastra replied. "And the work of the Pinpricks Gang." Jenny's shoulder sagged again, and Vastra managed a small smile. "He already knew. As did I."
"You…knew?" Jenny asked, confused. "But you never said…"
"Perhaps I was trying to convince myself," the Silurian replied, looking away and gazing into the fireplace. "But no, he will not be joining us."
Jenny nodded, swallowing uncomfortably. "How…how did he seem? In 'imself, I mean."
"Not well," Vastra said, gently sliding her gloves from scaled hands. "I have never seen The Doctor look so lost, not even after…" She paused, giving her head the smallest of shakes. "Well, that is the past. Let us just say that he has seen better days."
"Are you sure there's nothing we can do?" Jenny asked, leaning a little closer. "We can't just let him stay on his own like this."
"You have tried, Strax has tried, and now I have tried," the other woman reminded her. "I did my best, but I now see little else that we can do."
"Maybe if we all-" Jenny began, but Vastra reached up and silenced her with a finger.
"Another time, my dear," she said softly. "For now, we should let him be. Lest he come to resent us, hm?"
"I suppose," Jenny mumbled, lips brushing against Vastra's still-raised finger. "But it's just-"
"Not our concern," Vastra interrupted again, pressing her finger more firmly against the other woman's lips. "We have plenty of our own to worry about." She lowered her finger, quickly finding Jenny's hand and lacing it with her own. "The Doctor is a survivor; he had been through far worse than this before you even met him."
Jenny nodded in silence, simply staring at the other woman. Even in the dim candlelight, Vastra's eyes were piercingly bright; she often wondered if that's why her lover always looked as though she were reading her like a book, able to see through any lies or fallacies. Vastra gave another one of those small, almost encouraging smiles, before leaning forward and briefly pressing her lips to Jenny's cheek.
"Come," she said, drawing back and shifting towards the edge of the settee. "If we do not go to bed soon, we might as well not bother."
"Right you are, ma'am," Jenny replied, disentangling her hand from Vastra's and getting to her feet, smoothing down the front of her apron. "Should I prepare you a warming pan, or…?"
"Well, you have been doing such a fine job of it yourself…" the Silurian said, voice reduced to a low purr. "It seems a shame to waste good coal when I have such a willing substitute…"
"True enough," Jenny replied, unable to hide her grin at the other woman's suggestive tone. "'Sides, it'd be a shame to wake Strax. He's probably already sleepin' anyway."
"I still fail to see why he insists on sleeping in the coal shed," Vastra said, rolling her eyes as she made her way towards the door, Jenny close behind. "He turned down your old room for a dusty black coffin? Outside? The man is insane!"
"I can't argue with that, ma'am," Jenny replied curtly. She would never admit to knowing the true reason for Strax's refusal to lodge in the house with them – Vastra needn't know just how loud she could be sometimes.
As they made their way to the room they shared, Jenny couldn't help but consider Vastra's words; was The Doctor really a lost cause now? She remembered her own encounter with him, purely by chance in the middle of the market. He had been so slouched and poorly dressed that it had taken her several glances to even be certain it was him, and not some vagrant that had wandered down the wrong street. She had thought that maybe the sight of an old friend or two would lift his spirits, but it seemed to have no effect. Before Vastra herself had been roped into an attempt, Jenny's lover had theorised that they were far from the best people to appeal to The Doctor's cheerful side – after all, they still had the people whom they most cared about.
It wasn't until Vastra began shedding her dress that Jenny's mind fully snapped back to the present, unable to ignore the sight before her. The Silurian knew just how much her maid enjoyed the sight of her slowly peeling the layers of skirts from her emerald body, as voyeuristic as it seemed, and gave a small smirk over her shoulder as the last vestments of her clothing fell away. Had it been a more elaborate outfit, the maid's help would likely have been required in removing it; but as it was, Jenny was free to stand by the doorway and simple stare.
"Is something the matter, dearest?" Vastra asked innocently, turning fully to face the other woman. "You look rather perplexed."
"No, ma'am," Jenny squeaked, straining to keep her eyes fixed upon the other woman's, lest they wander down and forget how to move back up.
"Are you certain?" Vastra continued, stepping towards her maid, a definite sway in her hips. "Because I can help you out of that thing, if you so desire…"
"Oh, it's quite alright, ma'am, I-" But she was cut off by a pair of cool green hands upon her shoulders.
"Shhhhhh," the Silurian murmured, dipping her head slightly and leaning closer. "You are clearly still a little upset, so how about your mistress helps you for a change, hm?"
Before Jenny even got a word out, Vastra had moved behind her and began untying the other woman's apron. Despite her lover's cold-blooded physiology, Jenny could feel a definite heat against her back as her mistress continued her work. It wasn't long until Jenny felt those hands against her bare skin, shivering slightly as her uniform was removed. Even just half-exposed – her skirts were still in place – Jenny stiffened as she felt scaly skin pressed against her back; the swell of Vastra's breasts was as alien as it was welcome. But it wasn't until she felt the other woman's breath against the nape of her neck that Jenny felt control slipping from her grasp.
"You are beautiful…" Vastra murmured, her lips ghosting against Jenny's rapidly-warming flesh.
"Makes a nice change from 'dirty ape'," Jenny replied, fighting to retain some form of composure. Vastra just laughed, blowing even more air against her skin.
"The 'ape' part is somewhat offensive, I will grant you that," the Silurian said, her voice dropping to little more than a whisper. "But you and I both know you are perfectly capable of being dirty, don't we, Jenny?"
"I only do what my mistress asks of me," Jenny shot back, repressing another shiver as the other woman ran a hand down her upper arm. Despite her claws having long-since been trimmed, there was still something dangerous about the way Vastra's fingers played against her skin.
"Is that so?" she asked, pressing a gentle kiss to the back of Jenny's shoulder. "And just why do you continue to serve your mistress, if she so clearly has you here against your will, hm?"
"I…I…" That last kiss had killed the last of Jenny's self-control, and very quickly she found herself shuddering under the Silurian's touch. "…I do it because I love you, ma'am…"
"Mmmmmm…" Vastra hummed, moving her wandering hand from the human's arm to ever-so-gently cup a breast. The touch was electric, but Jenny somehow remained standing, only now realising just how laboured her breathing had become, much to Vastra's delight.
"Please, ma'am, I…" Jenny stammered, trying as hard as possible not to lean into Vastra's hand or mouth. "…I don't know 'ow much longer I can keep standing 'ere like this…"
"Then perhaps we should get you to bed, my dear," Vastra said, and without so much as a warning, scooped Jenny into her arms. The young woman let out a shriek as she felt her legs lifted, supported behind the knees by a strong arm, while the other held her lower back. She instinctively looped her own arms around Vastra's neck, looking into those bright eyes narrowed with predatory glee. "Oh stop fussing, silly thing," Vastra teased, grinning widely at other woman's distress. "Here I am, completely bare, and all you can do is complain."
"You startled me, is all," Jenny replied, her cheeks reddening slightly.
"You know I enjoy surprises," Vastra said silkily, slowly turning them and heading towards the bed. "At least, when I'm the one giving them…"
"You're terrible," Jenny muttered, trying to fake irritation but sounding nothing less than incredibly aroused.
"Oh you have not seen anything yet, my dear," Vastra purred, briefly ghosting her lips over the other woman's ear, before pulling away and allowing her lover to fall onto the waiting bed.
The separation was short-lived; moments later, Vastra was on all-fours above Jenny, grinning down at her. Jenny was faced with a now familiar dilemma: was it bad that she felt like a piece of meat? And was it worse that she enjoyed every second of it? Vastra let out a surprisingly lyrical laugh at the expression upon the other woman's face, before leaning down and finally pulling her into a proper kiss. Despite Strax's teasing to the contrary, Vastra's tongue 'skills' rarely involved it's great length; as Jenny herself had pointed out – the last thing she wanted while kissing her mistress was the possibility of choking. Not that there was any risk of that, given just how tender Vastra's actions were. For a creature so fierce and lethal, the Silurian was an incredibly gentle lover. Perhaps it was born from fear of hurting Jenny, back in the early days of their relationship where she was still inexperienced with such acts.
But these days, Vastra was a master. With Jenny being the one and only person she had ever been intimate with, she knew the young woman's body as well as she knew her blade; and was no less skilled with either, as evidenced by the amusingly high-pitched crooning sounds now escaping Jenny's mouth. After pulling away from their heated kiss, Vastra had set about finally removing the mass of skirts still gathered around Jenny's waist. It was no mean feat, but once again her experience showed – the garments were flung onto the floor with their fellows in mere seconds.
Now with them both exposed, Vastra finally settled herself atop the other woman, eliciting a gasp from Jenny. The feeling of Vastra's bare skin against her own was still something she could never get used to, despite how welcome it was. Vastra simply smiled serenely, gently lifting one leg and swinging it over Jenny's, now straddling her thigh. Jenny's breath hitched in her throat, her attention now solely focussed on the slick warmth against her skin.
"Now then, my darling, just what are we going to do with you…?"
To Jenny's delight, the answer to Vastra's question was spread out over several hours.
The Silurian's comment about not bothering with sleep turned out to be surprisingly apt; by the time they had collapsed into a sweaty heap of tangled limbs and lazy kisses, the sun was peaking over the London skyline. Given that it was the middle of winter, it couldn't be any earlier than eight o'clock, not that Jenny cared a jot about lounging around in bed with her mistress. She had finally got her revenge, and once again proven why Strax preferred to sleep in the coal shed. For someone who prided herself so much on being superior to humans, Vastra didn't half sound like one when she was begging for release. Jenny smiled at the thought, giving the scaly woman beneath her a little squeeze.
Vastra murmured happily, returning the gesture and pressing a gentle kiss to the top of Jenny's head. Now settled beneath the bedsheets and extra blankets, the pair were quite content to simply lay there. But a question that had been nagging at the back of Jenny's mind before Vastra had provided a rather lovely distraction was beginning to fester once more, begging to be answered. She lifted her head slightly, eyeing the Silurian's content expression. She looked so peaceful, but Jenny knew she was going to blurt it out sooner or later.
"Ma'am…?" she whispered. Vastra's brow lifted quizzically, but her eyes remained closed. "I was jus' wondering…well, you never said…um..."
"Just spit it out, Jenny dear," Vastra replied, finally opening her bright blue eyes. "If you're going to kill the mood with questions about The Doctor, at least be upfront about it."
"Begging your pardon, ma'am, it's just…" Jenny trailed off, glancing away for a moment, before finding the courage to face those piercing eyes again. "I was just wonderin' what 'e actually said."
Vastra was silent for a moment, averting her eyes from the other woman and gazing at the top of their four-poster. She let out a quiet sigh.
"Oh, nothing much, my dear…"
Vastra drew her cloak tighter, bracing against the icy wind. The alley she had requested a meeting in, far from shielding her from the elements, was acting like a funnel for the freezing gusts. She wasn't above playing up just how much the cold affected her if it meant Jenny would fuss over her, but right now there was no need for exaggeration. She had been waiting there for nearly two hours, hidden just out of sight in the shadows, waiting.
And almost as if he had been waiting for the last possible moment, just as Vastra was stepping out to return home and call the whole episode a failure, he appeared.
Little more than a silhouette against the gaslamp-illuminated smog, The Doctor made for a surprisingly unimpressive sight. Just as Jenny had described, he looked rather sorry for himself. Vastra drew herself up to full height, and approached.
"It is good to see you again, old friend," Vastra said, nodding curtly at the man. He just remained motionless.
"Is it?" he asked; his voice was nearly as harsh as the wind, but Vastra chose to ignore it.
"After everything that happened, we were beginning to worry," she continued, stepping a little closer.
Vastra's nostrils flared. She knew he was being difficult on purpose; acting like a petulant child that wasn't getting his way.
"Because we are your friends," she replied. "Or have you forgotten that?"
"Being my friend isn't something anyone should want," The Doctor said, finally stepping close enough to make his face visible. "It's bad for your health."
"Is that really what you think?" Vastra asked, shaking her head. "You truly blame yourself?"
"Why shouldn't I?" he countered, his blank expression unchanging. "Everyone I ever care about has left because of something I've done; something I've caused."
"That's not true and you know it," Vastra replied, but The Doctor wasn't having any of it.
"No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, everyone around me will die long before I do," he said, his anger rising. "It is…selfish…of me, to bring anyone else. What right do I have? I might as well kill them on the spot and save the trouble."
"Those are words of grief," the Silurian replied calmly. "Not of my friend."
"Well maybe I don't want to be your friend anymore," The Doctor spat. "Maybe, I'd rather we had never met. Five days in my company and you'd probably wind up dead, or stranded, or hurt, or-"
"Enough," Vastra cut in, raising her hand to silence him. "Are you really so blind to all the good you have done?"
"Someone else could have done it," he replied quickly. "Someone who doesn't get people killed."
"You cannot fixate solely on death when you have saved the lives of so many," Vastra said. "It is not fair to them if-"
"Fair?" The Doctor interrupted, anger rising again. "I'll tell you what's not fair – tricking people with lives not even half as long as your own into thinking they'll be with you forever."
"Don't you dare," Vastra said firmly, knowing exactly where he was taking this. But he didn't listen.
"A healthy Silurian like you, you'll live for…what? Another three hundred years? Maybe more?" he asked, cocking his head to the side. "And you don't think it's even a little bit cruel that you're stringing that poor girl along? Does she even know you'll outlive her five times over?"
"You know she'll be lucky if she makes fifty, don't you?" he continued, taking no notice of her discomfort. "And when she dies, she'll wonder why you made so many promises that you knew you could never fulfil."
"You've made your point," Vastra said, her own expression now as hard as The Doctor's.
"Good," he replied, almost looking pleased with himself. "Now perhaps you should get inside, it's not safe for you to be out in this cold."
"Don't patronise me, Doctor," she spat back, eyes narrowed. There was silence for a moment, before Vastra gave a tiny smile. "You know, I think I can finally see why you love humans so much."
"And why is that?" he asked, sounding almost genuinely curious.
"Because they are better than you." He looked surprised. "Goodbye, Doctor."
"…nothing much at all," Vastra said softly, forcing a smile. "I wouldn't fret about it."
"It's a pity," Jenny murmured, nuzzling against her lover's shoulder. "I hope he's alright."
"So do I, my dear," Vastra replied, gazing off into the distance for a moment. "So do I…" There was silence for a few minutes, and Jenny could feel herself drifting off to sleep, before the other woman's voice filled her ears. "Jenny?"
"Mmm?" The young woman looked up to find those beautiful eyes shining back at her. Vastra smiled.
"I love you," she said, her smile growing. "Never forget that."
Jenny smiled, feeling even warmer than she had moments before.
"I shan't, ma'am."