In the dead of night, a single light was burning in a window in Paternoster Row. Jenny Flint of Number 13, Paternoster Row was currently the only person still awake in the whole neighbourhood. She was pacing up and down the corridor, from the living room to the front door and back, nervously wringing her hands in her apron, muttering under her breath.
“Where is she? She was supposed to be home hours ago. What if something happened?”
She stopped at that, her eyebrows knitted together.
“No, don’t be silly, she’s a Silurian, she can take care of herself”, she scolded herself lightly, before the worried look re-appeared on her face. She continued her pacing.
“Only she can’t, can she? Daft old lizard, she is. Always staying out too long, getting too cold. And what if she ran into some sort of alien who bested her in a fight? Something like that is bound to happen at some point… Oh! Where is she? She should be here!”
Jenny was already dressed and halfway on her way out to look for the Silurian when she heard a dull thud at the door.
“Wha-?” She flung the door open and a hooded figure fell to her feet.
“Ma’am!” Jenny cried, kneeling besides the shivering Silurian. “Let’s get you inside.”
Somehow Jenny managed to steer her towards the living room and sit her in front of the cold fireplace.
“I’ll have the fire started in no time, ma’am. It’ll warm you right up.”
And sure enough, the fire was blazing in just a few minutes, but still, the Silurian looked a ghostly light green when Jenny pulled her hood down.
“Vastra”, she gasped. “You stupid, stupid lizard!”
Jenny silently scolded herself for not noticing earlier how wet and cold Vastra’s clothes were.
“Let’s get you out of these.”
‘She must be really very out of it if she lets me take her clothes like this’, Jenny thought to herself, but did not voice it, knowing full well that it would only end in an argument.
The chattering of Vastra’s teeth and the rustling of clothes filled the room as Jenny silently undressed her. A cold green hand weakly grasped hers when she made to remove the undergarments, but Jenny gave Vastra a stern look.
“They’ll only make you colder.”
The green hand fell limply away and there was no more resistance as Jenny stripped the last pieces of clothing away.
“Now sit closer to the fire and I’ll make you some tea.”
Vastra looked at her but could not manage comprehensible words through her chattering teeth. Jenny only chuckled lightly.
“Ape beverage, I know. But it’s hot and it’ll warm you up from the inside. Never mind the taste.”
She put all the blankets she could find around Vastra and disappeared to the kitchen.
Even though she knew Vastra would not like it and would never let her hear the end of how much she despised ‘this ghastly ape beverage’, Jenny tried to make the best tea she possibly could. Who knew when she would get another chance of the Silurian trying it?
When Jenny returned to the living room, tea tray in hand, Vastra had sunken further into her nest of blankets. Only the tip of her head-crest stuck out of the quivering bundle.
“Here you go, ma’am”, Jenny said and handed a cup of steaming hot tea to the bundle. A pale green hand reached out and took it with what Jenny assumed was a thankful hiss.
One blue eye peaked out of the top of the bundle, eying her with a suspicious look.
“Just drink it, please. It’ll do you good, I promise.”
Without looking away Vastra lifted the cup to her mouth and – without so much as blowing on it – gulped it down. Jenny’s eyes grew wide in shock.
“Vastra! Did you hurt yourself?”
A second eye appeared along with the cup. There was an impish gleam in those brilliant blue eyes.