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A bad wolf running beside the storm

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Watson: The Second Anglo-Afghan War brought many decorations and promotions. But for me, it was nothing but misfortune and disaster. I returned to England with my health hopelessly shattered and my future bleak. Under such circumstances, I made my way to London. That big sewer where all the lazy and lazy end up.

4x00 The Abominable Bride




The Lost Children II


The Albion Children's House was founded in 1870 by J.R Jenkins, a young, self-centered and millionaire man, who was just looking for a way to spend money, or so the gossip said.

The truth is that J.R Jenkins, with his investment in the state to open a house for orphaned children made everyone fill their pockets. The industrial revolution came into full swing at the turn of the century, new job opportunities for people in all parts of the country with the new factories, but at the same time the lines between social classes had widened, it was only necessary seven more pounds to belong. middle class and seven pounds less to end up on the street. Free trade to other countries brought new diseases and people died on the streets. J.R Jenkins opened the children's house, and collected all the street children for the next ten years, took care of them and gave them work in the house after they were older, preventing them from being taken to the poorhouse.

Children were allowed to leave once they were of legal age, but the truth was that everyone preferred to stay, and therefore the orphanage was an unusual way to work, but not everyone could use it as a source of income. J.R Jenkins was the director for the first ten years, then delegated to Mary Jane, a retired nurse with no family, as director and manager of the place. Many would say that J.R Jenkins had gone mad by leaving charges to a woman who was not family and who was of doubtful origin.

But that's why everyone said that JR Jenkins was an egocentric, he had appeared one day, without having acquaintances or relatives near the district and had integrated himself into English society with silky words and his American accent, and without fail, he met at parties upper class as if he had always belonged, and when politics came up, he would cast a spell on everyone in the room into donating to the orphanage cause, thus he always left before dawn with checks of many zeros and countless invitations to the following parties, and while I know I knew JR Jenkins was rich, no one had a clue where he came from.

The Albion Children's House solved everyone's problems. The children who were welcomed came from the outskirts of London, abandoned children from Hackney, from Clerkenwell and even the bastard children of the Whitechapel women. And that was another thing that the Albion Children's House had that had no other adoption house in the whole country, it accepted not only children, but young women and men. All those homeless people left there becoming productive people for society. Nannies, butlers, maids, and a host of other trades. The older ones were in charge of instructing the younger ones, and the director was strict when giving the tasks.

There were a series of suspicious things, rules and permits, both inside and outside the Albion Children's House that caused the institution to be investigated in its early days on numerous occasions. The first suspicious thing: the house was not a house, it was a mansion more like a castle. The mansion was majestic, located on the outskirts of London, that had not belonged to anyone in the past and the roles of possession had long since disappeared, not even the state had been able to get it and had tried to do so since the original owners had died. It had closed and they had forgotten about it.

But to the dismay of everyone in high circles, J.R Jenkins had shown the legitimate papers for the property to the judge the same year he had arrived and the house had been passed into his hands. All in just one month. The mansion had three floors and a gigantic backyard with a small greenhouse. The first floor was divided into three rooms as a whole, one for music, one for study and another for tea. A dining room with more than ten seats at the large table, a kitchen that was the heart of the house, a bathroom for visitors and an office that belonged to the director that had an attached room for her.

The second floor had all the rooms and bathrooms for the residents. Both the first and second floors were accessible, but the third floor was prohibited for everyone, except for the director and the competent authorities of the country. And that was stipulated in the will of Mr. J.R Jenkins. And that was the second weird thing. J.R Jenkins was not dead, he had only disappeared shortly after Mary Jane became director, and all those subsequent years it was known that the man was still alive.

Because always, at least five times a year, a child without parents would arrive at the doors of Albion House with a short note explaining the situation of the child and signed by the same man. And when asked to know from the creature if he had met the famous founder of the house, they always had the same answer.

"He was a man ... quite smiling"

And that was all the children could remember of the man who had helped them. But it was a mystery no one intended to solve, as was the fact that House Albion was a lucrative entity and no one had a clue how.

It was a midday carriage ride, the road was wooded, full of wild animals and the dirt road was quite uneven. And he was giving Gwenevere trouble to keep reading all the information on House Albion.

Madame Vastra had had a lot of information in her study, she and Jenny had realized almost immediately about the disappearances, and they had compiled everything they had found, the background of the victims, as Madam Vastra had called it, and she struggled enough to say the word correctly.


In two months, from the beginning of fall, September 25, to the present, November 19, a total of twenty-one children of similar ages had disappeared, a group made up of twelve street children, including Charley, and to surprise of Gwenevere, of eight rich crib children, four of them were taken from a rather expensive boarding school in Kennington and four children from their own beds. In their homes, during ungodly hours of the night.

Those eight cases had not been reported, no one knew that those children of noble birth had disappeared, and Madam Vastra had informed him that they were being investigated unofficially, that Scotland Yard had its best detectives in those cases and that in two months there were no indications you're welcome.

The children of noble birth had disappeared into thin air, as had the children of the street. And as for the forgotten women, they had not been in an alarming number as the children themselves had been, no, only four women from Whitechapel had disappeared. And no one competent would have noticed it if it were not for Jenny herself, who had contacts of dubious seniority and had been informed of the disappearances.

Gwenevere swayed once more in his seat as the carriage hit a pretty bad pothole, the papers in his hands crunched at the squeeze I gave them and he looked up at Madam and Jenny who were looking at him from their own seat with amusement.

"Sorry." He cleared his throat and apologized, spread out the information papers, Jenny took them with a friendly smile and put them in her briefcase.

"First time in a carriage?" The question was kind on the part of the Madame, her veil had been removed because of the privacy that the carriage provided, and Gwenevere continued to marvel every time she saw her face. And it had only been a day.

Gwenevere, suddenly uncomfortable at hearing the question, scratched the left side of her neck, and nodded. The Madame had told her everything she knew yesterday, and Gwenevere had walked home at a slow pace, as if walking in a dream, still not believing everything she had witnessed that day, with a request from Madame, meeting at seven o'clock the next day on 13 Paternoster Raw, because the three of them were going on a hike, or so Jenny had said. She had left a note for her father, and had left at the appointed time.

And then she had gotten into a carriage, with Madame and Jenny, and had spent the last four hours reading about House Albion, her destination today. And it's not that there was a lot of reading material, it's that she was quite slow to read, and there were very big words, which made Gwenevere's mind stumble on more than one occasion.

Jenny had offered to help her, but she had graciously refused. She needed to learn for herself if she would be surrounded by Madame and Jenny.

She glanced at Madame, who was looking at the greenery along the verandah and suddenly a question danced on her tongue, she pursed her lips and took a deep breath.

"Does it come from the stars, madam?" Her tone was the kindest she could muster, and even her voice came out as a whisper. Madame turned to see her and looked at him. She swallowed hard and the lady smiled.

"What makes you think that, Gwenevere?" The amusement was remarkable and his tone of voice did not have the annoyance she expected. "Why don't I look human?"

"You don't look human because you aren't human."  She answered too quickly, as if the observation were obvious, and gritted her teeth. Rude, she had been very rude. Jenny chuckled and the lady snorted with her.

"Yes, I am not human, but I do not come from the stars. But why did you think that?"

Gwenevere shrugged evasively. Even she wasn't sure why she had thought that, but it was ... sensible to assume that Madame Vastra belonged to the stars. It didn't look like anyone I'd ever seen.

Madame closed her eyes at his lack of response. "I'm from here, Gwenevere, from the land. Do you know what it means to be homo-sapiens?" Her voice had taken on a curious tone, once again genuinely interested in her answer.

And Gwenevere wasn't entirely sure how to answer, because she had no idea how. Homo-sapiens, homo-sapiens, homo-sapiens… It sounded weird, too weird and she was afraid to say it out loud, because surely her tongue would get tangled up and she would end up being embarrassed and kindly corrected.

Madame Vastra seeing the confusion on her face, looked at her wife, who had a knowing smile and proceeded to explain to the young human.

"You are a homo-sapiens, Gwenevere, you could say that this is your species. It's the term scientists use. You understand me?"

Gwenevere got it. "You are not a ... homo-sapien." and yes, he had said it slowly and very carefully. Both Jenny and Madame nodded their heads and, although the s was missing in the end, they decided not to correct it.

"Homo-sapiens came long after my career, we inhabited the earth long before you learned to walk on your two feet and hunt with your hands, Gwenevere." She said, her voice soft as if she were reading it from a story, and Gwenevere had been absorbed by the cadence of her voice. "We are known by many names, the simplest would be homo-reptilia. We lived with the dinosaurs, we knew the earth when it was just earth and ..." His voice trailed off, his green eyes stopped seeing her and the emotion in They faded, Gwenevere felt her own heart give a painful tug in her chest.

Long time ago. The lady had had a family for a long time. The carriage rumbled again and the moment passed. Madame blinked several times and Jenny slid much further, close to her side, from her shoulders to her knees, taking her left hand between hers, Madame Vastra turned her face and gave her a sweet smile, which was warmly returned.

Gwenevere glanced quickly toward the window, uncomfortable at witnessing such an intimate act, and her eyes widened at her fate. In the distance, among the trees, the Albion Children's House was illuminated by the sun, making part of its structure seem obscured, as large as a castle, a long dirt road that diverged from the main road to give it the welcoming visitors, and grass, large patches of grass covered the entire grounds, and Gwenevere felt like running tickling her feet, for her, the mansion could easily hold more than a hundred people.

"Well, we have reached our destination, ladies." Madame Vastra said pleased, watching what she was doing out the window. The carriage turned onto the road and large iron gates opened, allowing them to pass.

"Did the principal know we were coming?" I wonder, as her gaze fell briefly on the gates when the carriage had passed her way.

"I sent you a telegram last week, telling him I had some questions about the adoption, and it wasn't until two days ago that I received a response." The lightness in the lady's voice alerted Gwenevere, but she kept her face blank. Many days for the answer of a telegram, and more if it was an adoption.

Today the orphanages were more than immediate with adoptions. Too excited about the departure of the children, not caring who had taken them. Gwenevere kept her thoughts to herself, because she suspected that both Jenny and Madame were aware of the suspicion of the matter.

What Vastra had found about House Albion had been incongruous. While the children continued to disappear, the Albion Children's House had not reported any cases. But twenty-one children were missing, of which only twenty she and Jenny had collected. But a child was missing for whom both she and Jenny had kept their identity. Timothy Jones belonged to the Albion Children's Home. While the disappearance of the other orphaned children had gone by word of mouth, and even the case of the richly born children was being investigated low-key, the case of Timothy Jones had not been mentioned at all.

Every Friday morning at ten o'clock for a whole year, Timothy Jones had been to the market without fail, leaving early with other workers from the mansion and a wagon, fetching supplies. They all remembered, kind and attentive that young Jones was, but a month, a month ago, no one had seen him. And when someone dared to ask there was only one answer: "Tim was adopted by a good family."

But Vastra and Jenny knew better. The Albion Children's House did not give up its children. There was never a record because they never did. They had their weapons, and taking the young human was a risky gamble, but Gwenevere ... she, Vastra knew, knew that this human was special, not like her Jenny, no human was as special as her Jenny, but she did have something to do with it. she couldn't describe.



 D O C T O R W H O D O C T O R W H O 


The wardrobe was large, so high that it stuck to the vaulted ceiling and so wide that a single wall covered it. If you asked about the color of its wood, it was made of oak, and only one door had, which was adorned by delicate ornate roses, its handle was gold, an expert would claim that it had been plated with gold and outside the door with the roses, all the wood in the wardrobe was smooth.

And while the floor and the light drain were covered by a fine layer of dust, showing how neglected the room was, the closet was clean, impeccable. The only thing that showed that the room was regularly busy were the footprints on the floor, a clean path from the bedroom door to the closet. Some eras larger than others, you could see the firmness of the largest footprints by the footprint of the shoe, being easily from a man, and the smallest were just clean spots against the dust. More like a drag than a footstep.

The laughter of children could be heard just outside the room occupied by the wardrobe, quite far away, and if the people, the people who lived in the habitable part of that huge house, paid attention, they could hear the cry of a child, as low as a whisper, coming from inside the closet.


D O C T O R W H O D O C T O R W H O 


Gwenevere's first thoughts regarding Mrs. Mary Jane had not been entirely flattering, because when they were greeted by Jeremy, who, with his thunderous eyes, made him look like a man who was not at all happy to have received them, there was a stiffness in her words of welcome, she did not even offer to remove their respective cloaks, and they had not been authorized to leave the reception of the house. They were made to stand at the entrance, because the headmistress had been busy with a previous visitor.

And while the Madame and Jenny had accepted all the rough treatment with simplicity, Gwenevere had scowled at the man's back as he left.

And a few long minutes had passed, which had given Gwenevere the opportunity to become familiar with her surroundings, and she swore that the wooden owl, perched atop a beautiful cuckoo clock, followed her every move. Her eyes and plumage had too many details that, if instead of leaving it on natural wood they had painted it, it would look exactly like a real owl. The interior of the mansion was beautiful, the entrance, where they now stood, was spacious, almost a ballroom, the spiral-shaped side stairs leading to the upper floors, the ceiling was large and high, and the walls ...

The walls were what took Gwenevere's breath away, at first glance people would think they were painted by various shades of green, but they were not. Painted from floor to ceiling with foliage patterns, the depths of a forest had been wall-mounted with pitura, leafy and other dry trees, fruits hanging from the branches, he recognized some birds that had been painted, with such detail, as well as the owl, who, if it weren't for fear of retaliation, would have touched them. Robins in their nests, nightingales flapping wings, a pair of peregrine falcons in the treetops. And looking carefully, among the leaves of the trees there were several species of squirrels, the most striking were the red ones that played on the branches of a ... conifer, if your memory is correct, and then at the foot of the tree, a family roe deer rested.

The owl on the watch looked real. But what was displayed on the walls was something else.

"Wonderful, isn't it?"  Madame's voice drew her from her observation, and she turned to look at her, once again having the veil covering her face. But it hadn't been like before, now that she knew what was under the veil, it had become much easier for her to see the characteristics of the madam. A faint smile could be visualized, and Gwenevere perhaps understood the sentiment.

They were surrounded by something that, if you're not mistaken, was akin to home to Madame.

"Wonderful, but strange," both Madame and Gwenevere looked at Jenny, who had been keeping quite quiet, and seeing that she was the center of attention, she continued, touching her chin gently and her eyes dancing across the hall. "This is a children's home, we know there are at least thirty children here, but… nothing can be heard." Her eyes narrowed at the observation and she looked at both of them with a concerned gleam in them.

Her mouth had become a fine line, and Gwenevere tensed, because it was true. The only real sound, outside of them, was the clock, the second hand moving. The house was suspiciously quiet. The hairs on her never stood up, and she turned to her left quickly.

They were watching her. She could feel it, and her body jumped a little when she saw the eyes of a wolf watching her, on the wall, in a bush near the roe deer family, a gray wolf awaits, his eyes were very realistic, two yellow gems watching with attention, and Gwenevere could not explain to herself how the animal had been able to go unnoticed in the painting. But in general the forest landscape was dark, the animals did all the true lighting with their respective coats. There were shadows rather than lights, and where the bush was… it was conveniently dark, but eyes like that didn't go unnoticed.

Her mouth was suddenly dry, because the more she looked into the animal's eyes, the unease within her grew. A deep hiss rumbled from the doorway, and she turned her head, cutting the gaze she had with the gray wolf from the one responsible for the sound. The Madame was tense, her grip on the staff had tightened and the sound coming from her was a warning, a rumbling hiss for the hunters.

Gwenevere though tense, found the hiss wonderful. Somewhere nearby, a door opened, the hissing stopped abruptly, and the door closed. The Madame relaxed her grip on her cane, Jenny moved a little closer to the right of the Madame, and Gwenevere eagerly moved a little closer. The three of them made a united front.

It was a set of footsteps pounding against the floor. Three people came out of the corridor that was under the stairs, a short woman, her purple dress highlighted her white skin, her gray hair neatly tied in a bun, and discontent was engraved on her face.

Behind her, a tall man, even taller than Gwenevere herself, followed her, black curls framed his snowy face, and blue eyes looked at them curiously, he was dressed in black, from the jacket he had to his boots, and the third, the man stood out painfully among the dark figures that was the woman; Mary Jane, Gwenevere dared to suppose, and the tall man. The third man was between the height of the director and the tall man; He was still shorter than Gwenevere, but he was taller than the lady, his skin was white but tanned, which let Gwenevere know that he had worked in the sun for several seasons, his eyes could well be blue or brown, she was not I was happy. all safe, but her hair was blond, flecked with gray, making it look like wheat.

Gwenevere swallowed hard at the memory of Charley. He blinked furiously and bit his lower lip. Mary Jane stood in front of them with unknown men, and it was not the right time to show her feelings.

"Madama Vastra, if I am not mistaken." The lady's voice echoed in the silence of the hall, her brown eyes staring at the lady, clearly showing that she was not happy. "I apologize for the delay, some… unexpected guests arrived."

The tone was still tight, her jaw moved and Gwenevere dared to take one more look at the men behind her, who had apparently been the unexpected guests. The tall man showed no shame for having arrived uninvited, on the contrary, her previous curiosity in her eyes had disappeared to show a trace of vanity and she displayed a smile with all her teeth, highlighting her cheeks, and the shortest only. Her lips were pressed into a fine line, her own cheeks flushed with pain, Gwenevere wanted to bet.

"I understand the wait, Director. These are my assistants, Jenny Flint." She nodded toward Jenny, who nodded briefly. "and Gwenevere Forney. " He made the same movement towards her, and she responded like Jenny, nodding her head.

The director looked at the three women with narrowed eyes. As she was introduced, and although she couldn't see the infamous Madame Vastra's face, the other two had their expressions carefully blank. The redhead in particular had never met a woman so tall, with short hair and dressed as a man no more, no less.

The women of today. They were his reproachful thoughts, but he dismissed them when he felt the men behind him shifting restlessly. They had arrived unexpectedly, not to his liking at all, and their intentions had been as fraudulent as Madame's himself, but at least the latter had been kind enough to have asked for an invitation, on a weak pretext, but he had.

She cleared her throat and decided to introduce herself and the rude men: "I am Mary Jane, the head of this house, these men next to me are Dr. John Watson ..." She used her hands to introduce the man shorter than it was on her. left. , who cordially nodded and presented a kind smile to the women, and caught herself to roll her eyes and make an unpleasant face, not worthy of a lady like her, introduced the man to her right. "And Mr. Sherlock Holmes."

There was a snort and a strangled sound, Mary Jane blinked in surprise and looked at Madame, still couldn't see a trace of her face, but the first sound had clearly come from her, and then she saw her assistant Jenny, who had opened her mouth and she had made the second sound, something close to surprise and astonishment was on her face at seeing the unpleasant men and Mary Jane herself had no idea what was going on.

"Well, Headmistress, this has gotten interesting." The delight in the lady's voice made her look at her questioningly.

"The men are leaving" he contradicted, there was nothing interesting. You don't want to have more strange people in your house.

"The men stay, Headmistress." The baritone sound to her right made her tense. Mr. Holmes hadn't said a word since she sent them to her office. They had been rude with their questions, erratic in etiquette, and had not had the slightest trace of chivalry.

"This is my home, Mr. Holmes, and as i told you and Dr. Watson, i deeply dislike unwanted visits." Her tone did not agree to refute.

But if he had learned anything in the last half hour with Mr. Holmes, it was that he was terribly insurgent.

"We do not agree to leave, Headmistress, we agree to welcome Madame Vastra with you. We did not want you to keep delaying the inevitable." He looked at her with a pleased smile and she wanted to remove that smile from her face. She gritted her teeth at the desire.

"The inevitable, Mr. Holmes?" Curiosity trickled into the madam's voice, and Mr. Holmes looked up at her. He approached, in one step, he was already close to the madam, Mary Jane was internally shocked at the lack of decorum.

"You, unknown Madame Vastra, came for the missing children and women. And the director is aware of that. The headmistress is cunning, she doesn't trust any of us, but she's especially suspicious of you. And do you know why? Because she does not show her face, someone who does not show her face is a person of little trust. She is dressed from head to toe in black, but she is not a widow, that cane, you have no problem walking, your weight is favored on both legs ... the wood is broken from the tip to the handle, as if it had fallen many times against the floor. So it is not just any cane, madam, I would bet on a sword. What do you think, Watson?"

When Mr. Holmes's observation ended, the room was silent for a few seconds until the named Doctor Watson cleared his throat. "I think, Mr. Holmes, that Madame Vastra is quite skilled with the sword."

And Gwenevere was surprised, Jenny's mouth had remained open in surprise, and she had closed it, but her eyebrows had risen to the crown of her hair at Mr. Holmes's conclusions.

The madam was not intimidated. Although Vastra did not like human men, she knew who was standing in front of her. Oh, the Doctor would feast on this new discovery. She thought in amazement. Legends, two impossible men were in front of her, in the flesh.

She inevitably wanted to know more.

"It's amazing, Mr. Holmes, but what else can you tell me?" she prompted, looking into the man's blue eyes and was rewarded with a maniacal look from Sherlock Holmes.

I hear a muffled sound in the background, from Doctor Watson.

"I said you are not a widow, but that is only half the truth, you, Madame Vastra, have never married a man in your life. What's more, you don't like absolute men. Even though I can't see your face, and I'm still searching my brain for the name of a cloth as dark as the one you have to cover your face, you squeezed the handle of your sword almost imperceptibly as I approached, your right thumb moved, just a centimeter further than I was, and I take a fairly deep breath, nothing too noticeable or too loud, but you don't want to smell me because I'm a man, while the headmistress approached and you didn't present a problem, you moved your thumb because She is used to fighting, the dress does not hide it so well, but she has always fought with men. "The man danced around her, or at least he tried, Jenny hadn't moved an inch, while Gwenevere had found herself restless." And it clearly favors Miss Jenny, her body was much closer to her than Miss Gwenevere's, and you introduce her first. "

Vastra was fascinated. It was like seeing… the Doctor. But clearly human and much grosser. If you ever thought that was possible.

"That doesn't prove anything. Jenny has been working with me for years, Miss Gwenevere is fairly recent in her position." Sherlock waved his hands, rudely dismissing what Madame said. Jonh Watson wanted to cover his face before the demonstration.

"No, don't insult me, Madame Vastra. The young lady has not had a week to get used to her position, because there is no such position, Madame. The girl is a baker, motherless, a virgin, and you only met her yesterday, no, wait, maybe you didn't find, she went looking for you, and regarding Miss Jenny, you, Madame have a particular smell… "I take a deep breath in the direction of Madame, completely ignoring Mary Jane's gasp and her face. Gwenevere blushed.

Jonh Watson hissed. "Sherlock!"

But it was just as ignored. The aforementioned closed his eyes a little before the smell that the madam gave off, he opened them when he finished his inspection.

"It smells of swamp, iron and sun, but within that strange combination of smells, which I had never smelled in a woman, you have traces of ... gunpowder, sandalwood and leather, stuck to your dress. The same smell that the young lady gives off. Jenny, pretty strong, so just like the cane that wasn't a cane, I can bet they both like to play with whips and guns. Miss Jenny has calluses on her hands, calluses that are only made by excessive handling of weapons. fire and leather for whips, or ropes, I'm sure in his spare time he likes to tie knots, and yet another reason why his nails are cut to the root. "A slight glance at Jenny and continued. "And the look she gives me is indicative of her overprotection towards you. Between us…" She leaned closer if possible to Vastra, she whispered, though everyone could hear her "Miss Jenny doesn't like men either."

It was fast. Quick as a whip, Jenny, flushed and furious, had shot her hand at Mr. Holmes's left cheek and the slap had rumbled across the doorway.

Gwenevere had opened her own mouth in shock, Doctor Watson had lowered her head, brought her right hand to her forehead, between her eyebrows, and let out an exasperated sigh, her own shoulders were tense. Mary Jane was pale and Sherlock Holmes was grinning, still with the red mark on her cheek.

Jenny had taken his throbbing hand against her chest, still surprised by his action.

"This is unacceptable, Mr. Holmes!" Mary Jane chided, who had been the first to react, her voice had risen an octave, she was scandalized. "You can't make those kinds of assumptions about women, for the love of God! I order you to get out of my house right now!"

"It is not worth naming God in vain, Headmistress, and you are not the Queen." She commented in disgust, combing her dark curls back and turning her entire body, to face the headmistress, using her height to make her take a step back, Mary Jane closed her mouth. "I did what the lady prompted me to do and what I'm good at. Deduce. But here's the real question we've been asking ourselves all this time, Headmistress, where are the children?"

Mary Jana's eyes widened at Mr. Holmes's question, she had been caught off guard and the words escaped her. She couldn't answer. I seek help from Madame, but she was still silent and looked at her behind the veil, she was sure, as were Dr. Watson and Madame's assistants.

"The arrival of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson took you by surprise, Headmistress, you were already in a state of turmoil when you left your office, seeing and hearing Mr. Holmes dissect us in front of you only bothered you that much more. . " Madame Vastra conceded, going from her initial passion, to being next to Mr. Holmes, her heels tapping on the floor. "But Mr. Holmes is not mistaken. We come for the children, Headmistress, as you well suspected. We came specifically to ask you about Timothy Jones."

At the mention of the child, something snapped in Mary Jane, her face contorted several times, her crystalline eyes gazing between Madame Vastra and Sherlock Holmes, her lower lip trembled and she looked much older than Gwenevere had initially assumed. Her shoulders tensed and finally, lowering her head, she let out a sob.

"I-I protect these children, I have protected them for fifteen years." Her voice was cracking and she put her hands to her face to hide her tear-stained face. "They in one morning just ... disappeared."

The confession made everyone breathe hard. It was impossible.

"Madam Headmistress, that is ..." This time it had been John Watson himself who had spoken, had quickly offered a handkerchief, but had fallen silent at the vehement refusal from Mary Jane.

"No, Dr. Watson, it is not impossible. We had children ranging from six to twelve years old, including Tim himself." Mary Jane looked up, took the handkerchief that was offered to her, and delicately wiping the trail, the Doctor Watson swallowed at the steely gaze of the headmistress. "That morning, all our children were gone, Doctor Watson, the only ones left in this house are the gardener, Frank, Jeremy who is in charge of the kitchen, Elisa who is in charge of the cleaning and me."

The statement had been strained, so strained that it could be cut with a knife as unease had fallen on each of the visitors.

"A month ago," Jenny spoke, and everyone looked in her direction. She went on. "It was a month ago that they disappeared."

Mary Jane nodded in affirmation, and both Madame and Sherlock Holmes made a noise in consideration, if Mr. Holmes and Mr. Watson had paid more attention to Madame Vastra, they would have assumed that the noise Madame had made was entirely animal and not human. But no, they were both looking at each other, saying something to each other that was not for the audience.

The silence was broken when Sherlock Holmes applauded, stunning everyone, turned and without permission placed her hands in the hands of the madam, Gwenevere and Jenny held their breath.

"If you promise not to get in the way, Madame, I want you to accompany me on this case." Her eyes sparkled with excitement, and even the mark of Jenny's hand was painfully obvious on her cheek.

Vastra shook the man's hands roughly. "If you, Mr. Holmes, promise not to interfere with me or my assistants, I may consider joining in solving this mystery."

"Oh, Madame, you certainly consider yourself smarter than I am, and I haven't seen your face yet." Her eyes narrowed and she adjusted the lapels of her coat.

Beneath the veil, Vastra rolled her eyes at the ridiculous man in front of her, she could almost imagine the Doctor and Sherlock Holmes debating, oh, the men would not rest.

"No, Mr. Holmes, I don't consider myself smarter. I am." I declare with disdain. The aforementioned smiled, showing his teeth and turned again, to see Mary Jane.

"Headmistress, Madame Vastra, Jenny, the Baker, Watson, and I will take your case, and solve the disappearance of your children."  Her blue eyes sparkled with emotion and mystery, John Watson stood firm, Jenny pulled her shoulders back, Gwenevere felt her ears redden when she heard what the man had called her, and Vastra behind her veil a satisfied smile appeared in his lips.

Mary Jane looked at her guests unsure of the man's confident statement. "Mr. Holmes, who are you to declare such a thing?" Her question had come out agonizing.

"We are not the police, although Madame Vastra does consult Scotland Yard in rare cases." At such mention Vastra couldn't help but tense, Sherlock continued, this time her smile was smaller. "And I… well, Headmistress, I'm Sherlock Holmes, it's my job to know what other people don't know."

The turn of events had been dizzying, and at first Vastra wasn't sure how to proceed in the face of the impossible men in front of her, but everything had turned to her advantage. I watch with delight as Sherlock Holmes gave directions to the headmistress to gather everyone at the entrance, and she left with Doctor Watson to meet.

Perhaps this would be another case where I would not need the help of the Doctor. Having Sherlock Holmes himself and Doctor John Watson.