An insistent knocking at the door got a sort of moan mingled with a groan out of Jenny's mouth while her wife tasted the sensitive skin of her neck and unbuttoned her dress without haste.
«The door.» She tried to speak Vastra's hands had taken place on her chest of the fabric that had just been removed.
She knew that the Silurian had heard the knock on the door perfectly, but she did not seem willing to let go of Jenny before having had her at least once.
They had already run into that kind of situation once and the girl did not want to be found shocked between the sheets while Vastra was opening the door to an insistently knocking enraged Strax because she had gotten bored of the commotion distracting her.
She pulled away reluctantly, causing the reptile to hiss a disapproval.
«The door.» Tried Jenny to pull quietly away from the attentions of the one that had become her wife a few weeks back, lacing up the bodice of her dress.
Strax's voice in the distance threatened the constable who had arrived in the middle of the night asking for the help of Madame Vastra for a murder that had taken place an hour before.
When they were certain they had gotten back the necessary demeanour to be in public Vastra, Jenny, and Strax, moved to the place where the chief inspector and a couple of men in uniform were already waiting for them.
«A true tragedy.» The man greeted them immediately by showing them the room where lay dead the owner of the house.
The smell of blood was overpowering, almost nauseating to Jenny so much that she had to hold her breath so as not to have her stomach give out.
She was used to her lady's quirks, a goblet of blood never failed to be in the studio or in the orchid-house, but what they saw in the kitchen far exceeded the amount to which the young human was by now accustomed to. Forcing herself she got into the room where a man was lying on the ground in a crimson puddle.
«Carl Marshall. Thirty-two. Died from loss of blood. As you can see. The murder weapon has not been found, but it is a sort of serrated knife.» Said the inspector observing the macabre spectacle.
«What happened to her wife and child?» Vastra asked as her eyes darted from one side of the room to the other noticing details that had escaped to the inattentive policeman.
«How did you..? I hadn't mentioned he was married. But they had no child.» Said the man surprised for the umpteenth time by the wit of veiled detective. Also strangely amazed that she was wrong about the presence of a child.
«There is no wedding ring, but on the left ring finger there is a stretch of the paler skin, as if the skin hadn't tanned because of a ring.» She took a deep breath as if to catch every molecule of smell in the air and although the smell of blood was predominant there was something in the background that indicated the presence of a newborn. Their characteristic odour. Talc and milk.
«A detached house, economically well-off, the good quality of the clothes and the silverware on display that does not seem to have been touched. They weren't trying to steal something. It is not a simple theft. They were looking for something else. What did you find in the other rooms?» Asked Vastra and then suddenly focused her gaze on the ceiling, imitated by all present who, not equipped with her hearing, did not understand what she was looking at.
«And I repeat: there is a baby in this house. And this leads me to ask where we can find the mother.» She muttered while walking out of the room with long strides and starting to climb the stairs to the second floor.
«How can you say that there is a child, the police have found nothing on the upper floors.» The inspector hurried behind her hopeful that she was wrong not to reveal, once again, that Scotland Yard was incompetent.
«On the collar of the man's shirt there were traces of regurgitated milk. This means that no more than two hours ago, he took in his arms a baby.» She explained quickly without delay in opening one of the doors on the second floor.
«See? No child.» Said triumphantly the man breathing a sigh of relief at the sight of a normal study. Vastra sniffed the air for the umpteenth time.
«Jenny?» She called her assistant who joined them in the studio while Vastra swiftly moved the heavy curtain behind which was hidden a niche where, in a large wicker basket, a child of a few months was resting quietly.
«Goodness.» Said shocked the inspector while Jenny picked up the note that had been left on the baby blanket.
I am forced to flee for my life and that of Eleonor, I feel they are coming for us, I know they are killing my husband downstairs. I'm afraid. Take care of my baby, hide her, make sure they don't find her.
A few lines in small and graceful handwriting despite the rush of having to escape.
The child rested quietly unaware of being alone in the world.
«Where will you bring her, inspector?» Jenny asked, stroking the little chubby face while the man looked alternately between Vastra and her assistant as if to suggest the obvious answer, but without the courage to ask officially.
«Well, the child will need a safe place where it can not be found. From someone who can defend it in case of need. Someone who does not already have children who could be put in danger.» He kept pressing closer and closer to Jenny in the hope that they understood where he was going with his speech.
«I think that the inspector is saying that we are the most qualified people in the protection of the child.» Vastra said, finally noticing that he was prolonging the silence too long and glancing significantly at her wife.
«Well Inspector. We'll keep her safe.» Said Vastra after a silent consultation.
She knew nothing of human cubs, had never had to deal with them and her inexperience was known to Jenny in case she agreed to take the girl with them for a few days.
They called Strax so he could determine the child's condition while Jenny was searching everything they would need to take care of Eleonor.
When they returned to Peternoster Row the baby was sleeping peacefully in her basket. She didn't even seemed to have noticed the journey in the carriage towards her new home.
As soon as they set foot in the new house Eleonor seemed to notice the change, starting to scream loudly. Strax immediately volunteered by his mammary fluid and Vastra and Jenny for once agreed to leave the child with him.
Initially she did not seem to appreciate this change of mother, but after a few attempts she surrendered to hunger while the two women watched the unusual spectacle.
«It is more disturbing than when the threatens moonites standing on the roof at night.» Admitted Jenny grimacing, feeling almost usurped in her role of mammal while Strax swung lazily in the rocking chair and the little warm bundle fed ravenously making satisfied sounds. When finally little Eleonor was satisfied all returned to their own rooms and, after Jenny was able to burp her, she stretched in the wicker basket they had placed in their room next to their bed.
«It seems simple.» Said Vastra who had no idea of the night they had ahead of them and receiving a warning look from her wife.
They had just the time to turn off all the lights and lie down tightly hugging that Eleonor began again crying desperately.
«What now?» Asked the Silurian that, with her special hearing, found the sound quite unpleasant and annoying.
«I'll have to change her.» Announced Jenny wriggling from the arms of her wife and reaching the girl who smelled terribly.
«How the hell do you smell so much being such a small thing? Keep her away from me.» Warned a nauseated Vastra holding her nose.
After she was changed they got back again to bed but Eleonor did not seem on the same page as the two women and kept crying undeterred. Jenny stood up for a second time to calm her down. She walked down the bedroom back and forth so many times that Vastra's head was spinning, but as soon as she slowed down the pace and approached the crib the child started to cry again.
«Do not tell me you want one of these things, too, I could not survive a child.» The Silurian warned her wife.
«You take her.» Proposed Jenny, after half an hour, handing the hot bundle to Vastra.
«I do not think that is the case. I do not know how to do it, and if a scare her?» Admitted the older woman.
«Oh stop it, you'll be perfect, you'll see.» Said the exhausted girl who would say everything to be able to rest a few minutes handing her over, in her arms.
Eleonor began to scream even louder while Vastra looked on with a shocked expression.
«Get up and walk with her.» Explained Jenny laying her better in her arms, and as soon as the girl felt herself being hugged again she managed to calm down.
«She's not afraid.» Said the radiant lizard woman, finally there was another human being who didn't fear or was horrified by her.
«She just needs to feel safe.» Explained Jenny happy to see the Silurian ecstatic as she held the hot bundle in her arms with enthusiasm.
Jenny let fatigue overtake her falling asleep sitting against the headboard. When Eleonor finally fell asleep in her arms, Vastra, placed her in the basket then put her wife under the sheets.
Finally after an hour the house was quiet again but what the Silurian did not know was that her rest would last very little. During the night they had to wake up Strax more than once, feed the creature, change and rock her until, exhausted, they decided to put her at the centre of their bed, too tired to move a single step into the room and finally she seemed satisfied with her accommodation, sleeping the rest of the night.
The next morning they woke up very late, tired by the unusual night. They were used to even track down criminals all night, but the girl had put a strain on even their endurance.
When Vastra opened her eyes she felt her heart being filled with tenderness. Jenny was resting on an elbow, playing with small Eleonor tickling her on her tummy and on her rosy cheeks, while the little one was letting out excited little sounds and wiggling her chubby tiny legs.
«Good morning.» Yawned the reptile woman stretching like a cat, say hello to her wife with the first kiss of the day.
«And good morning to you too, little devil.» She said, placing her lips on the small head with thinning fair hair. At the contact Eleonor gave a little shrill of fun and caught Vastra's ridges finding in them a new funny attraction while Jenny watched the scene, touched and amused.
«Until yesterday, you would not have even known how to hold a child, and now look at you.» She congratulated while the lizard threw the little one in the air and catching her, making her laugh even more.
«If I apply myself I am good in almost everything.» Boasted Vastra, rubbing her nose with that of the child.
«In your dreams.»
«I'm sorry Eleonor, I have to punish this undisciplined subordinate.» She said, placing the girl on her soft pillow to pounce on her wife's belly tickling her while Jenny was trying to escape the grip. After a minute they were already flirting and within seconds they had already turned into foreplay ending up with Vastra kissing her neck and causing shivers to run down her spine as she stroked her sides, coming to brush her breasts.
«If I remember correctly we were interrupted last night.» Remembered the lizard woman causing a shocked expression to appear on Jenny's face.
«There's a little girl.» She said aghast.
«So?» Asked Vastra not seeing any problem in that.
«She can see us!» Squeaked the girl becoming flushed.
«Are you serious? What, do you think she'll understand? She is completely dependent, only produces a lot of saliva and incomprehensible sounds, you can not really be serious.» Vastra marvelled at that, at times still struggling to understand some human behaviours.
«Do you think I'm kidding?» Asked Jenny crossing her arms over her chest seriously.
«We have to find the mother of that child.» Grunted Vastra, jumping out of bed, eager only to get her wife and their life back.
While Strax fulfilled his duty as nursing-maid, Jenny harboured mixed feelings within her mind. She had given up the idea of being a mother long before she met Vastra. She knew that for girls like her it was impossible unless caused by some untoward incident, but watching Eleonor had sparked her hope somehow. She wanted to find the girl's mother for the sake of both but if she was never to be seen again maybe they could keep the little girl with them forever.
She felt guilty towards the mother, a poor abandoned woman, forced to flee by herself in the cold, probably scared out of her mind of being followed by those same monsters who had gutted her husband like an animal and left him to bleed to death on the kitchen floor.
«Is there something wrong?» Asked Vastra, observing that she had not touched her breakfast.
«Nothing.» Lied Jenny, eating to avoid raising suspicion.
When Strax had finished feeding Eleonor, he unceremoniously handed her to Jenny who took her place in the rocking chair basking in the heat from the small child, rocking her gently while Vastra watched with increasing interest.
She had seen her wife observe the human infant as she had never seen her do with anyone else. Her usually strong eyes had softened and she had noticed the look on her face every time she watched Strax nursing the baby.
She watched her for the rest of the morning, while trying to make the whole seemingly illogical thing make sense.
The lack of the ring on the man's finger, the hiding of Eleonor, the disappearance of the child's mother, the note on which were written the few words that explained the situation very badly. The more details jumped to Vastra's mind, the more complicated the puzzle became.
They had no evidence on which to base their research. The family was wealthy and everyone in the neighbourhood knew them. They were part of high society and no one seemed to have a reason to kill them. Nothing had been stolen in the house except the ring of the man, but why take it?
While Vastra pinned theories and places they were supposed to investigate, she kept looking stealthily at Jenny, who was letting herself be rocked lazily in front of the fire. Usually at that hour of the morning she would have been out shopping or trying to steal some information from the streets, but that morning she did not seem willing to let go of Eleonor. As beautiful as Jenny was at that time, the Silurian had been tempted to order her to leave the baby in the basket and take care of other things, if she was getting too fond of the human infant, separation would have been more difficult. Maybe she could never make her as happy as she was that morning, to the adoring gaze was very similar to that she had given her no more than a few weeks before when they were getting married in front of their friends, but it was something even more profound. Jenny had never looked at her with the same look she had for Eleonor. Vastra was aware of her own limitations so she let her be, even though she knew she would only suffer more once back to their usual life.
Vastra left the house well covered, she wanted to make sure that the coroner had not forgotten to write down anything, so she went to the morgue leaving home Jenny and Strax to make sure that the little Eleonor was not in danger.
The property cleaned up body revealed many more details than the previous night. The great detective took the folder compiled by the attending physician carefully reading the report, but she knew that all was not checked properly. She re-examined the corpse in front of her with attention. She checked the mortal wound, the smell of the skin, bruising and signs of a struggle under the fingernails of the poor unfortunate man and again that white mark left by the missing ring.
She looked more closely, on the skin of the ring finger, a tiny impression marked the otherwise smooth skin. Letters? Maybe numbers? A combination?
She transcribed on a piece of paper the small incomplete marks to study them better once home.
Was this what the killers were looking for? And if the combination had been only partial, and the rest was kept safe beneath the wife's ring? She had had to flee to ensure that it would not fall into the wrong hands. But what was she referring to? And where might Eleonor's mother be now?
Jenny was gently rocking in the chair when Strax's hand awoke her from her slumber.
«We're under attack.» He said, his voice unusually low and with a serious look. The girl held out her listening ears, there was actually someone trying to open the back door. She put the baby in wicker basket that she had kept beside her and moved to the entrance where they kept their swords while the Sontaran loaded his rifle, exploring the rest of the building in search of other noises.
For them it was easy to surprise the two invaders who certainly did not expect to find themselves under attack of a blind fury disguised as a harmless little girl and a psychotic potato dressed up as a butler.
Two big men, with two large iron bars, stormed in with little grace. The first to lash against them was Jenny who fought them with her katana with strength, despite her physical structure was much smaller than that of her attackers.
«You will be obliterated in the name of the glorious Sontaran empire!» Strax yelled before firing a perfect shot to the shoulder of the second man who had entered.
They could not even pass the door that they were sent back, legs in the air, in the backyard.
«And you can tell those who sent you, they shouldn't challenge a mother!» Jenny screamed in the high of adrenaline only to realize what she had said. She was not Eleonor's mother, therefore, why had she said such a thing?
In the hustle and bustle of the fight no one had noticed Vastra's return who had witnessed the last moments of battle.
«Jenny?» She asked, not even knowing what to say to the unusual behaviour of her wife.
«The child!» She watched Jenny ran into the next room to find that she was all right as she cried in despair for the confusion of the previous minutes.
«It's all right, all right. Those bad guys won't take you. I promise you.» She tried to reassure her, rocking her in her arms.
«Are you all right?» Asked Vastra walking around the house in case there were other attackers ready to jump.
The rest of the day passed quietly between the crying of the little girl that was always hungry.
«It's pointless to try, I don't have anything here for you.» Jenny was saying at another of Eleonor's attempts to seek nourishment from the girl's breast. Vastra observed everything from behind her desk as she searched hectically for old newspapers.
«Did you see that article about the roobbery the other week?» She demanded, surrendering to the evidence that it had to have magically evaporated.
«Library, upper right corner.» Pointed the human who rearranged everything meticulously knowing how messy the Silurian was.
«Why do you ask?» Jenny asked, approaching curious to read the notes that the great detective kept on her desk.
«I think they are connected. She was killed at a jeweller and the ring of Mr.Marshall had been made at that very jewellery. I have reason to believe that they are looking for a code in the ring, and that both the men who were killed knew of that code and did not want to reveal it, and for this they have been killed.» She explained as she reread the article in the newspaper of the week before. Jenny turned her head. What the hell was she was talking about a code? Vastra was always one step ahead of everyone else, had logic and intuition above any human being she had ever known.
«The next step is to find the another jeweller.» Said the Silurian regardless of the expression of her confused wife who at that point was not so sure of what Vastra was talking about. In less than half an hour she had accumulated all the material relating to the jewellery robberies and shootings in the last month while unfolding a map of London on the table to mark with a circle and connect the points of interest.
«I'll have to go back in the house of the Marshalls, and I want you there. We will leave the child in Strax's hands.» Suggested the Silurian.
«Are you sure that's wise?» Asked Jenny who already felt deprived of the warmth of the small kid.
«Surely it is for you.»
By late afternoon they went back to the site of the murder, the evening began to fall relentlessly while Jenny forced the lock on the door.
The surreal silence of the neighbourhood gave her chills and upon entering the house they could still see, beyond the kitchen door, the pool of blood still on the floor. Vastra's eyes darted from one side to the other side, retracing with great steps from the entrance to the dining room. She could see the footprints stained with blood that traced the path of the two killers. Perhaps the same two thugs who had tried to break into their home that afternoon. She could almost hear the sound of shattering shards falling to the ground, and there it was, a few steps beyond, a vase, overturned with fury in the hope of creating more distance from the two attackers. The prints on the walls were stained with blood. But it was not what she was looking for at that time.
She climbed the steps that led upstairs to the studio where they had found Eleonor. They emptied the drawers in search of evidence, beating on the walls in search of secret passages but it all seemed perfectly ordinary. No involvement on the part of some religious group, no ritual, but whole shelves of scientific books. What was Carl Marshall working on that was so secret it caused him to be killed?
They entered the bedroom of the couple and watched the window closed badly from which
Mrs. Marshall had supposedly gotten out, on which fingerprints were still stained with blood.
«They are missing a pillow.» Watched Vastra pointing to first the bed, then the cradle with the sheets in disarray to fake having grabbed the girl in a hurry to dive with her from the window.
Jenny looked on the dresser at photos of a happy family smiling unaware that a few months later their lives would have been destroyed.
Finally they found what they were looking for, the container of the second ring and in the same place the correspondence of Mary Marshall. They still had a hope that she was alive.
That evening, sitting under the covers while Eleonor slept peacefully between them, they frenetically read the incoming mail from the child's mother. From it they could feel her fear of her husband's employer, and the one writing Mary was telling her not to make risky moves, or they could end up badly. Each letter was signed only with the initials but the wax seal used could say much more about the mysterious writer.
Vastra with her long forked tongue licked an envelope with a grimace.
«Coal, potting soil and a flavour that I can not decipher but if it was not unreasonable I would call it moisture and... they are full of static electricity.» She said looking at how the paper remained suspended attached to the sleeve of her silk dressing gown.
«A secret lab?» asked Jenny, pointing to a corner of the letter in her hand, on which coordinates were scrawled.
«Good.» Lit up the great detective, they had finally something concrete in their hands.
The next day Vastra went directly to the place indicated by the coordinates with Jenny in tow while Strax and little Eleonor awaited them in the carriage. It could be something big and she could not afford not to have both of her assistants at her side, but she could not even leave the small one home unattended, so that had seemed the most sensible solution.
A row of shops were proudly displaying their products in large windows, but it was one in particular that had caught their attention. An old book store on the corner seemed the perfect cover for shady dealings. Who would have set foot in the most dusty and less fashionable of the entire neighbourhood? Nobody, except if you had interests beyond musty old tomes.
The sign outside the shop was a wooden panel with a drawing of a scroll with the name inscribed above the shop.
«It's the same as the wax seal.» Saw Jenny with wit.
The bell rang announcing their entrance. A frail and elderly man approached the counter and asked them how he could be useful to them and Jenny drew from her coat a handful of the letters that they had found in the Marshall's house leaving the man speechless.
«Recognize these, sir?» Asked Vastra from under her heavy veil.
«Never seen them before.» Lied the man while his terrified eyes darted from the door, to the two women to the back of the counter.
«We know you knew the Marshalls. And we know that you entertained a correspondence with Mary Marshall in which you say you know of the husband's employer. Now that he is dead we would like to know if she is here. If she's hiding here to save her life.» Explained the Silurian.
«For the love of god, now they will know that you are here and they will kill me too. You have to leave now!» The man was in a panic, trying to push the two women out as best as he could, but Jenny broke free from the hold, running behind the counter and finding a stairway leading to the basement.
«Ma'am, there is something here. Come and see.» She said aloud, attracting the attention of the detective while the despair of the bookseller was getting stronger.
They went down the stairs where a huge basement housed an exceptional laboratory. Static electricity filled the air above their heads making Jenny's hair stand up. Huge sheets of paper depicting monumental projects, torn or wrinkled, were scattered over an equally huge wooden table.
«What will this be for?» Jenny asked, looking at half of the project of what looked like a giant ball containing snow like the ones you saw in the shops around Christmas, but a hundred thousand times bigger.
«I have not the foggiest idea. But it looks like they have made everything disappear in a hurry before our arrival.» She said, noting the many footprints on the floor that revealed traces of still wet soil.
Jenny turned what was left of the cards until she found what she was looking for.
«G.I.» She announced victorious.
«The institution of the Great Intelligence.» It was some time they had been keeping an eye on that building, it was said that in the inside strange experiments were carried out and many disappearances in the last while were linked to that institution, even if no one had never had any evidence.
Vastra suddenly sniffed the air, alert. There was a burning smell. She looked back toward the ladder by which they had arrived and noticed that smoke was spreading down to the basement.
«Here, everything is burning. We have to get out of here immediately.» She ordered taking her wife's hand to drag her quickly out of hell of fire and smoke they found once they reached the first floor of the building.
Covering their mouth and nose they advanced with difficulty out from behind the counter. They saw the owner lying on the ground with his head bleeding. Someone had hit him. A wall of fire separated them from salvation and Vastra began to cough, suffocated by smoke while Jenny was trying to drag the poor man in agony.
«Take this.» Said with come difficulty the man, showing her an envelope that he held tightly in his hand while Vastra was trying to open a passage that would allow them to finally get out on to the street. Those old tomes produced an amount of smoke that stung the eyes and lungs.
«Jenny!» Cried the Silurian grasping the hand of the younger woman just before a beam from the ceiling collapsed on the ground a few inches from her, where she was dragging the poor man who died instantly. The door was impossible to reach so they were left with only one option, jumping from the window. They took one last breath and, holding hands, they plunged toward the glass that shattered into a thousand pieces, cutting deeply Jenny's fair skin under her clothes but saving their lives.
Many onlookers had come to see the fire and luckily the veil that Vastra used to cover her face was still fairly intact so as to enable her to hide from the crowd of onlookers while the police tried to put out the fire as best they could and Strax came with the carriage as fast as lightning ready to pick them up from the crowd that had started to become more and more curious.
Once at home, when the wounds were treated and disinfected properly by a careful Strax, they could read the letter the owner of the library had delivered, as a last gesture, before he died.
Jenny again sitting before the fire with her arms aching read aloud while the Silurian took care of little Eleonor walking around the room with her so she could sleep.
«Dear Mr.L, the situation is becoming more critical. I'm afraid that the next on the list will be us. My husband's colleagues have already vanished into thin air and we have had no more news of them. If you do not receive another letter by next Thursday, know that I will have had to flee to the south. I can not tell you exactly where, but I have relatives across the Channel that will hide me until the waters have calmed down. I really hope to be wrong. With love M.M.»
«The ferry to France will start as soon as the sea has calmed down. Maybe we still have hope of finding her in England if we rush to reach the coast by tomorrow.» Said Vastra hoping that the woman was still alive, while Jenny looked a little sad. That might be the last night that Eleonor spent in Paternoster Row.
The next morning they woke up early and with horses spurred by Strax they travelled to the coast. Jenny was not able to close her eyes, she could not stop watching the little one sleeping blissfully between her and her wife and the idea that the next night she would not be there hurt more than she wanted to admit. She was fond of the girl, and in their line of work this should not have happened, ever. But here she was, unable to let the small child in their arms down. Vastra had pretended to sleep for most of the night, but hearing the sighing of the girl she had failed to fall asleep, prey to the feelings of guilt. She wanted to find the girl's mother, but on the other side she did not want to separate Jenny from Eleonor. But that child was not theirs, it was the right thing to give her back to her mother's arms. She had asked Jenny if there was something that tormented her but she had only said that the pain in her arms could not make her sleep, so she gave up even though she had wanted to be able to soothe the pains of young human.
Once on the spot they separated and combed through the inns of the place looking for someone who had seen a pretty blonde woman wandering around, arrived in the country no longer than two days earlier. It was a kind of beauty that did not go unnoticed, someone must have seen if she was there. They walked around the village all morning but there seemed to be no trace of the woman. Maybe she hadn't been able to even get there, it was a sad possibility that she had been captured, and they couldn't break in the headquarters of the institution for which the Marshall's worked. Each trail had been destroyed in the fire of the library and the only witness was dead.
They sat down to have lunch at an inn on the harbour, eyes always focused on the ferry that was leaving that afternoon.
The little one became hungry and began to weep, uncaring of the assurances of Jenny.
«Calm down Eleonor, Strax now will feed you now.» She was trying to convince her, even though the girl was screaming louder and louder.
Next to them, a hooded figure in the shadows ate in silence and solitude her meal, and as soon as she heard Jenny call the girl she spun around.
«You have chosen a beautiful name.» She said in a soft voice.
«Thank you, ma'am.» Replied the young human exchanging a suspicious look with the Silurian.
«And have you got children?» Vastra asked suddenly curious as she settled better the dark veil that hid her features.
«One, I had a daughter. She was about yours age.» Said the mysterious woman in a choked voice.
«Sorry for your loss.» Ventured Jenny clutching a bit 'more Eleonor to her chest, prey to a mysterious and sudden anguish.
«I know I sound crazy, but...can I?» She asked, stretching out her arms to the girl who would not stop squirming.
A look of anguish passed over Jenny's eyes who seemed to have become unable to move a muscle while the woman revealed her face. It was just the woman who smiled happily in the photo they had seen in the home of the Marshalls but now her eyes were marked by unrest and sunken cheeks, even though her blonde hair were unmistakable.
Did she have to give her back a child she had abandoned to save her own life? By doing that she had probably saved the child's life as well but Jenny somehow could not believe that the woman had been able to leave her in a house where there were still Dr.Simeon's henchmen.
Vastra had to grab the baby and handing her to her real mother who collapsed in tears acknowledging her own offspring who at contact immediately stopped crying finally reunited with her mother.
«Who are you? How did you find me?» She asked, trying to compose herself before those unknown women who had brought her little girl, keeping her safe. The two women explained briefly what had happened to Mrs. Marshall after her escape and the raid that had been made in the house of the great detective.
«That's why the next day they stopped chasing me. They knew that the key was no longer with me.» Thought Mary, stroking the serene face of the little Eleonor who meanwhile had been fed properly while Jenny and Vastra exchanged a confused look.
The woman pulled back the sleeve of the little girl's dress, revealing the little gold bracelet she wore. At first glance, none of the two detectives had noticed that the surface of the plate, on which was engraved the name of Eleonor, had small teeth perfect for a small lock.
How had they not noticed it before? They had been looking for a ring, instead they had what they were looking for right under their eyes, in their arms.
«And what is it?» Jenny asked, curious to know more.
«My husband was the head of the team that had the task of building the snowball, and he realized that something was wrong, so she decided to put the project under lock and key. He did not want Dr.Simeon or someone else to find them. He said that there was something evil. But he never wanted to tell me more than that. He said that the less I knew the easier it would have been for me. And apparently, he was right.» She sighed, distraught.
«That is why I had to hide Eleonor. I hoped with all my heart that the Great Detective would be called upon and even though I had never seen you myself, Madame, I knew of you and I knew that Eleonor would have been safe with you. And I was right.» Mary was again on the verge of weeping and Jenny felt encouraged to ask a favour.
«Mrs. Marshall, could I hold Eleonor one last time?» She asked the grateful mother who was more than happy to be able to fulfil the desire of one of the saviours of her child. When Eleonor was in Jenny's arms, Vastra took advantage to better observe the small bracelet noticing right away that something was wrong.
She rubbed it with her fingers feeling small grains on the surface and bringing them to her mouth to figure out what the material was.
Ms. Marshall noticed the green skin of the Silurian and her eyes widened in surprise.
«It's just a skin disease. But it is not infectious.» Explained quickly Jenny like she had done a million other times in their lives.
«Clay.» Ruled Vastra lost in her thoughts. «When they broke into the house, you were not alone. Someone made a cast of the bracelet while you kept busy with the two thugs at the door.» She said as a surreal silence seemed to fall all around them.
«So now they have both the ring with the number of the safe, and the key to open it.» Thought Mary aloud, bringing her hand to her mouth as if to push backing the words she had just uttered.
«Leave the country, you will be safer.» Advised the Silurian while she escorted them to the pier where the ferry had started to puff, ready for departure.
«Good-bye baby.» Jenny said to Eleonor, holding her one last time before the ferry took of.
The interior of the cab that was bringing home the Paternoster gang had never been so quiet as that afternoon. Jenny looked out the window lost in thought and Vastra was sitting in front of her undecided whether to search for her wife or leave her be with her own thoughts. In a short while, they were in London again, and as the great detective stopped at Scotland Yard to report the latest news to the inspectors, the young human, with the excuse of not being hungry, locked herself in her room.
When Vastra returned home she was unusually greeted by Strax.
«Where is Jenny?» She asked, noticing the sherbet that the Sontaran had in his hands.
«The boy has retired to his room Madame.» And he fled before the Silurian could take away his precious booty, but Vastra was too preoccupied to care for him at that moment, so she quickly went up the stairs to knock on the door of their bedroom.
«Can I come in, dear?» She asked, just opening the door and adapting her sight to the dim light of the room.
The girl was lying under the covers and seemed to be sleeping, but her too fast breathing betrayed her. She entered quietly and sat down on the bed beside her wife.
«Are you okay dear? Have you a fever?» Asked the older woman, depositing a light kiss on her forehead to make sure that the human's temperature was not too high.
«Maybe.» Her voice was muffled between the blankets that covered her up to her nose.
«Want me to leave you alone?» Asked the Silurian wondering if her presence was unwelcome in that moment that seemed to be very sensitive for Jenny.
In response, the girl crawled up to place her head on Vastra's shoulder.
«Stay. Please.» She prayed, entwining her fingers with those of her wife.
Jenny sighed, perhaps the Silurian never could understand how she felt at that moment. she did not want to hurt her wife by making her feel inadequate or have her think that their life was incomplete. She felt ungrateful, she had been very lucky to meet such an exceptional woman who loved her more than anything else, that had made her her wife, while her wanting nothing, who had made her love life when everything has seemed lost for her.
«Do you miss Eleonor?» Asked Vastra, knowing that this was the cause of her wife's illness.
«Not while you're here beside me.» Jenny felt better while held tight in the arms of the Silurian. With her near her she could do anything, and perhaps, in the future, as long as they were together, maybe even the impossible could become possible.