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It was cold, it was winter and the cold wind whipped mercilessly at Jenny's face that was exposed to the weather. Vastra sheltered herself under her huge cap to prevent the temperature of her body to plummet to temperatures unbearable for her.
The Silurian took off her gloves to rest her warm hands on the girl's cheeks.
«You'll freeze.» Tried to oppose Jenny, grabbing the woman's hands that were fast cooling.
«You were shaking.» Justified the reptile woman with a rueful smile making the girl blush at the words, happy about the gesture that Vastra had made at the risk of cooling herself.
They froze upon hearing the noise behind them, a carriage was being loaded with suspicious packages from two dodgy looking men. Their accent and clothes that were inappropriate for the cold, suggested to the great detective that those were men who would soon make their way to the sea, but who had been held back by business that had continued beyond the warm season, causing them to end up in that dark alley, infamous for smuggling stolen goods.
In the last week the daughter of a diplomat from Eastern Europe had been kidnapped during a visit to the ambassador, and since then the kidnappers had not given any news and they had not even asked yet for a reward. Scotland Yard was struggling with a hot issue and if they had not brought the girl back to her family they would cause a diplomatic incident, and the queen didn't want to find herself against half a continent.
«Let's follow them.» Whispered Vastra to her companion while, like shadows, they were moving towards the cab of the alleged kidnappers.
The Silurian moved with agility, the more Jenny watched her, the more she could see the proud bearing of a large reptile that moved to capture her prey. They clung to the back of the carriage trying to be as quiet as possible while it started being pulled by two old shivering nags.
As soon as the movement became slower they jumped out of their seats to hide in the shadows again.
A freezing drizzle had begun to fall on them, cooling not only their bodies, but also their movements that had became even more difficult to accomplish on a pavement now covered by a thin layer of ice crystals.
The men who had gotten out of the carriage, about ten feet from them, rhythmically knocked at a door slightly taller than Jenny herself. They heard a response from the other side, another rhythmic beat, like a song that was sung and then a grim laugh came from one of them.
The men spoke in a language that neither Jenny nor Vastra knew although the latter spoke fluently Mandarin, German, French and Arabic, but none of them sounded remotely like it. It was a kind of code, and while the mind of Madame ran a million miles an hour in an attempt to decode it, Jenny watched the whole scene with interest. One of the two men who had gotten out of the carriage had not lost sight of its interiors for a second. He held the door shut with one of his big hands, as if something, or someone could get out of there. The most slender of the two, entertained himself with the man beyond the small dark wooden door, who was hidden himself by a black hood.
When the two were done speaking, they signalled to the one holding the door who then approached them carrying a large parcel with difficulty.
The two women exchanged a quick glance before returning to observe the scene and decide how best to act.
They waited in silence, approaching with small slow steps. It was better not to reveal their position until they were quite certain that they could attack and be victorious.
Everything became silent, Jenny had noticed that the moment before the storm everything seemed frozen around them. their brains focused and their bodies ready to strike with moves that were becoming automated after hours and hours of training each week. But the moment of truth was always different from those fake fights that she and Vastra had in the basement. Her heart was pounding so hard in the chest that one could glimpse the movement beneath her clothes. The moment had arrived and their legs moved fast and readily even though they had been petrified by the cold just a few moments before. The adrenaline flowed, giving strength and purpose, without a shred of fear the human girl followed her trusty lover up to the criminals.
They found them, as always, unprepared for their silent attack. Stupidly, as every time, she jumped immediately to attack them with iron bars, sticks, or whatever they could find in the vicinity, only this time it seemed different. Only two of them were still in the room adjacent to the entrance, the third man, the one covered by the cloak, was gone.
«I'll take care of things here, check the rest of the building.» Ordered Madame taking over Jenny's attacker, while she went immediately to the opposite side of the room, ready for any eventuality.
She kept her trusty sword in front of her, on guard as she moved inside the dimly lit room. She heard a groan, she froze trying to figure out where it had come from. Under her feet she heard a thud, she rubbed the sole of her shoe on the floor of the dimly lit room and finally found a trapdoor that led to a lower level.
She went down the narrow stone stairway, trying not to make a sound while the noise of chains was getting closer. The hall in which she found herself was decorated with precious tapestries that were inconsistent with the modest decor of the floor she had just left. Torches lit the few meters that separated her from a heavy red curtain that she pulled back just to peek inside the huge hall that stretched along the entire perimeter of the house above. Two girls in chains were linked to two different stone tables while some followers of a cult wore a black hood over their face ready to sacrifice the two girls in white robes.
Jenny immediately recognized one of the two young men, the pale skin and long blond hair revealed her foreign nationality while the other was a striking woman of a deep ebony complexion, proud and unwilling to reveal her fear to her jailers.
The hooded man meanwhile were chanting some kind of spell or prayer and the whished Vastra would arrive as soon as possible to help her, or by itself she wouldn't be able to do anything.
She prayed silently for the arrival of Vastra but when a dagger made its appearance in the hands of the one who had first uttered the ritual prayer, Jenny knew that she had no more time.
She jumped out of her hiding place with her sword drawn and shouting to attract attention to herself. The three men who had gathered around the Eritrean girl whirled ready to face her, and for as much as the little warrior was clearly outnumbered she didn't let herself be intimidated by the men who were advancing menacingly towards her. She swallowed and readied herself for the fight when she saw Vastra's tongue strike one of the man with a swift move.
Now they were one on one and the equation was again equal.
What neither Jenny nor Madame knew was that someone in the shadows had not yet revealed their presence and while they were engaged in combat another hooded figure took one of the girls.
«Amina!» They heard the young diplomat's daughter scream, and before they could do anything the girl was gone.
The two warriors after a long sword fight managed to get the better of the perpetrators and neutralized them.
They hurried around the young still restrained by chains and no matter how hard they tried to force the lock, it showed no signs of budging.
«We have to find the girl.» Suggested Jenny, pointing to the stairs from which they had come and from which Amina and the hooded figure had disappeared.
«We must free her before they come to.» Tried to reason with her Vastra, looking for the keys on the two unconscious men.
«Stay with her, I'm going to get Amina.» Ordered the Silurian once the girl was free thanks to tools that Jenny always carried with her and even if she wanted to follow her, she nodded and stood in her place.
Vastra ran down the stairs taking two steps at a time, she had already lost too much time and the young woman could be in grave danger. She popped back into the room where shortly before she had beaten the two men, on the floor they had left a trail of blood drops to the entrance of the house. She went out again to the street where the rain had begun to beat with more insistence. She put back on her hood and ventured into the night. She sniffed the smell of blood, but it was not easy to follow the track: the stench of the streets was nauseating with excrement, toxic fumes from the factories and the pungent smell of the stagnant water of the river were so strong as to cover any other track.
They seemed to have disappeared into thin air, but the carriage was still parked outside and therefore they could not be far away. She walked for what seemed like an eternity under the icy water that drenched her clothes, making her tremble with cold, the scent disappeared completely after she had moved a few miles from the house. She walked around the neighbourhood like a caged beast and when she finally gave in to the evidence that she had lost the girl, she returned to her companion, sad.
The surreal silence alarmed her, she came running into the house in which were still Jenny and Anna, and while she found the young girl curled up in a corner of the room, cold and still in a state of shock, Jenny was not in there.
«Where's the girl?» She asked very slowly, hoping that the young woman understood her language. Anna reached up to the top where Vastra spotted another trapdoor, this time leading to an attic. The ladder was lowered and in less than no time Madame climbed reaching a low room unlit, dusty and full of cobwebs.
A sob, then another.
The Silurian turned to the small figure huddled in the shadows.
«Jenny! My goddess, my dear, dear girl, are you okay?» She asked seeing her so upset and as a response the young woman threw herself into the arms of the older woman.
«I could not...» She sobbed, unable to speak correctly pointing at something over Vastra's shoulders, two figures in a pool of blood near the abandoned katana that belonged to her girl.
She bent over the lifeless body of Amina, closing her glassy eyes, scared and lifeless. A few inches from her lay the body of her assailant, evidently pierced by Jenny's blade. She removed the hood to make sure the spark of life was gone from his eyes.
«They are both dead.» She growled in frustration, she had not noticed that the murder was taking over her head and she had mistakenly left leaving a task on Jenny's shoulders bigger than the young assistant was prepared for, upset, her face streaked with tears.
«It was not your fault.» She tried to console her, handing her a hand to help her get up from the squalor of the place, but Jenny did not seem of the same opinion.
They stayed in darkness, while Vastra gently stroked her back to calm her down and the girl was crying silently, hiding her face in the other's chest who would have patiently waited the moment when she would calm down enough to get dowstairs to gather the young daughter of the diplomat and notify the police that the case was solved at the expense of the life of the young lady Anna's maid.
While the inspector made his observations, Vastra went down again in the giant sacrifice's room, where three cult followers were handcuffed and regaining consciousness. She approached immediately, showing her intentions, and despite the huge hood that covered her appearance, the three shared a shiver of terror.
«Beasts.» She hissed, livid. Not only had they tried to make human sacrifices in the name of god knows what, but they had shocked Jenny and that was enough to make her angry. She struck with her tongue the neck of all three men releasing a small dose of toxin that would make them suffer for days and spread throughout their body by bringing them to a slow and agonizing death. They did not deserve to live, rich aristocrats, spoiled and bored, playing with the lives of other people. She left after they had dropped young Anna off in safe hands and given their deposition to the Commissioner.

That night, when they were in the comforting warmth of their home again Jenny could not find peace. It was the first time she had lost someone and the girl had been left upset.
«Jenny...» Vastra did not know exactly where to start, but she had to make it clear to the girl that these things could happen in their line of work, she should not get upset so much. But she did not know how to broach the subject without hurting her.
She made her sit next to her, in one of the cream coloured sofas in the drawing room, after she had rekindled the fire.
«I just want to sleep.» Jenny admitted, rubbing her eyes that burned with tears.
«The first time I lost someone I thought about quitting. That it was not worth it, that despite all my efforts nothing would change in this horrible city.» Vastra admitted grabbing the girl's hands tightly between hers and staring at her with her irises clear and full of conviction.
«And what made you change your mind? How have you been able to get back out there?» Asked Jenny doubtful that anything the Silurian might say would have changed something.
«A few days after, I was walking around the streets, angry with myself when I saw a girl in trouble. At first I thought of letting things be. If it was not that day, she would surely have been killed by someone else probably the next day.» She admitted with a sigh as the memories of that day surfaced vividly to her mind.
«But then someone told me that it wasn't important how many times I would fall, I always had to try to get up to prove that I was better than that scum on the street, so I saved the girl.» Said the woman reptile with a proud smile. «And you know what happened after that?» She continued bringing Jenny's hands to her lips and kissing her knuckles.
«I fell madly in love with that beautiful creature.» She revealed with a big smile causing Jenny to blush to the tips of the ears.
«This does not mean that the next girl you will save will steal your heart.» Vastra made sure to point out, making a small smile appear on Jenny's face.
«What I mean is that you do not have to break down. It's true, we lost a girl, but if tomorrow you won't go out to save another "Amina", fallen into the hands of ruthless criminals, who will save her? She will die, and you won't even have tried.» The Silurian waited in silence as Jenny made her decision. She had done all that was in her power to convince her, now it was the girl's turn to make a decision, and even if it were to be not fighting anymore, she would not make her feel guilty about it.
Jenny was deep in thought, biting her lip with her eyes downcast, Vastra could see the indecision on her face until the human lift her gaze again and kissed her slowly.
In a second she found herself lying on soft couch, in five seconds the kiss became hot and in ten she was already out of her clothes while the Silurian's hands stroked her gently.
The hot breath of the human on Vastra's neck was a real pleasure as she licked her cheek where tears had left a trail of salt on Jenny's face. She squeezed the girl's breasts in her hands, each time enjoying their softness and malleability so different from her scaly body, while her most prominent bony ridges were kissed by lips wet of their mixed saliva.
The reptile gently kissed her chin, neck, and then down and lay a light kiss where the beating heart of Jenny lay.
She moved between the legs of the girl inhaling and enjoying the excitement, basking
with her fingers of that hot and wet paradise and then adding her mouth to give Jenny pleasure. The girl moaned, trying to restrain herself from screaming uncontrollably with her mouth open to meet the demand of more oxygen. Everything was tense at the moment of pleasure and without being able to control another two tears came from her eyes which alarmed her lover.
«I thought you liked that.» Vastra felt terribly guilty again face to face with the young woman.
«Silly lizard, when a girl cries in that moment it's a compliment.» Explained Jenny embarrassed by dragging the Silurian in a tight hug while the latter collected the drops with her fingers, breathing a sigh of relief even though it would take a while to fully understand the strange human behaviour.
When she had regained her strength, the human searched with her free hand between their bodies, still clothed, Vastra's pleasure.
«You do not have to.» Vastra warned her, though she was grateful to her young lover for having thought of her in that moment.
«Oh, shut up.» Silenced her the girl with a mischievous smile as the big predator dragged both in a more comfortable position before completely losing reason, thanks to the attentions that her partner was bestowing upon her. Pushing through the girl's hair she invited her to meet her pleasure and Jenny did not let her wait a minute longer, by now she knew what her madame liked and how to bring her quickly to hiss her name among the disconnected thoughts. She then felt Vastra's hands grab her face to pull her up as soon as she reached the pinnacle.
They were hugging on the couch with the fireplace crackling merrily, for what seemed like an eternity to them while Vastra was stroking her dark hair and a spent Jenny lay a lazy hand on the hip of her lover.
«What can you tell me about tomorrow night's mission?» Asked the human only to yawn and curl up better on the reptile woman's shoulder who smiled radiantly and suggested they move to the bed in order to sleep more comfortably and deal with it the next day with renewed energy.