"Jenny…" The sound of Vastra's voice over the subtle cracking of the fire and the rusting newspaper startles the younger woman, whose hands jump slightly. Thankfully she was in between stitches on the torn shirt she's mending. "Sorry my dear, did I scare you?" Jenny looks over, shaking her head as Vastra puts the evening newspaper down.
"No ma'am, just broke the silence." A log pops in the fireplace loudly and they both jump a bit, causing Jenny to smile. "Just like that."
"I have been thinking, and we should put an advertisement in one of the newspapers. We need a maid." Jenny is clearly taken aback, her chin tucks into her neck out of surprise. She recovers quickly though, looking across to Vastra in confusion and a hint of...is it sadness? Hurt?
"But...but I'm the maid, ma'am." Vastra adjust the blanket around her for warmth as she watches Jenny with a look of disbelief.
"You are not a maid my love. You are so much more than that. And you should not be doing all the work you do each day. We work together, and yet you still insist on maintain the house. And you shoo me away when I attempt to help." That's because Vastra has no idea how to help without getting in the way, Jenny thinks to herself as Vastra sits up straighter. "We are equals and it is wrong for you to be performing tasks and duties of an employee. It is improper." Never mind the fact that by prevailing human standards everything they do is improper.
"It's a lot of work, yes. But I like taking care of you and making things nice darlin'. And normally I think of you as a wife rather than my employer, so it's not done out of financial obligation." Oh no, did she just say that? Jenny questions internally. 'I've done it now' she thinks. That just sort of slipped out. Vastra's silence only adds to Jenny's feelings of uneasiness. "I'm sorry ma'am, I didn't mean to o-"
"A wife, as in the custom of marriage? Similar to Mr. and Mrs. O'Dell next door?" For being a genius sometimes Vastra seems so unclear on some things. How long has she been living amongst humans, and she still needs clarification on what a wife means?
"Well yes," Jenny answers quickly." but I was not meani-"
"Obviously I have heard of this human mammal custom, but remind me what it entails exactly." Vastra interrupts again. Never one to stop her ladyship from learning more about the good side of humanity, Jenny thinks of how to answer and describe marriage properly.
"Comes down to what happens after courting. When a man and a woman love each other. When they want to be with each other and only each other for the rest of their lives they get married. The man asks for the woman's hand in marriage and if she agrees they go to a church, say some vows to show how serious they are, then they start a life together. Live together, have children, and grow old together. It's a special bond that two people share with each other. It links them, forever." Jenny explains as she focuses on Vastra and tries to figure out what the other woman thinks of it all.
"Thank you for that excellent explanation." is the reply. Jenny nods,
"You're welcome." before looking back at her sewing. It is a moment later when Vastra, with a definite tone, asks,
"So when are we to be married?" Jenny catches herself with the needle in her hand.
"Excuse me?" Her eyes are wide as saucers as she brings the pricked finger to her mouth.
"It appears as if we have done some of the steps out of order, as we already reside together and I am already old, among other things…" Jenny believes Vastra can't realize how crude her comment unintentionally sounded. Especially considering they have not really done what she seems to imply. "So we should be married, obviously. It is the normal progression for how we feel about each other." Vastra's usual calm and rational tone is only just slightly compromised by this expression of emotion. But it's not lost on Jenny.
"Ma'am I didn't mean to say we had to get married. I just meant to tell you I like taking care of you, and the house." A frown forms on Vastra's face, reaching the ridge above her eyes.
"Well from now on I won't allow it unless it's as a wife rather than a maid. And you must let me learn to help. And Strax...well he shall remain doing what he does best."
"Being crazy?" Jenny retorts, drawing the frown away from Vastra's lips and replacing it with a cheeky smile.
"He has his maddening moments." Jenny smiles, giving in for a moment to the thought of Vastra actually being her wife. But she halts such emotions quickly by pointing out,
"But we can't get married my dear, it's not possible. So we should just stop talking like this." Jenny moves to busy herself and to stoke the dimming fire a bit.
"Jenny no one, besides you, can tell me what or what not to do. There is a way to do everything. Even getting around your silly human social conventions and tastes." Jenny turns, still crouching.
"I thought you liked how mammals taste." She smirks, on a roll.
"Oh now, cheeky." Jenny stands up straight, but remains between Vastra and the fireplace, watching her. "I never used to want to do anything in a human way, but you have brought that out in me, my love." Vastra holds out her hands, and Jenny does not hesitate to move over and take them in her own. "I love you, and if we have an opportunity to show that, if only for ourselves, I say we seize it. I only wish you'd mentioned these thoughts earlier so we haven't wasted so much time not being married." Vastra actually does seem to want to do this, and the realization of that makes Jenny grin. Which in turn causes Vastra to smile as well. Seeing Jenny happy always has that effect. While Jenny runs her thumbs over the backs of Vastra's hands she looks down to the scaled face.
"Well if you insist I can't really refuse then, can I?" Jenny's smile grows.
"Absolutely not." is Vastra's response.
"I guess it's settled then." The two women smile at each other in silence for a few moments, thinking about what has just transpired and what it means. "I love you. I wish more people could see you the way I do."
"I am just happy you aren't terrified of me, you're all I need. Besides, having too many mammals around gets tiring." Jenny half frowns but rolls her eyes slightly, kissing Vastra before sitting down next to her on the couch.
"If you weren't my fiancée I don't know how I would take that."
"You are special. A unique occurrence."
"Thank you." Vastra kisses Jenny as deeply as she can, trying to express to the younger woman her happy emotions.
"So how should we celebrate the engagement? By writing out an advertisement for The Times about a maid?"
"We can argue about that later lizard," Jenny dismisses as she pulls Vastra closer again. "for now just kiss me some more."