DISCLAIMER: Madam Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax all belong to BBC and whoever else that own the rights to the Doctor Who franchise, I still haven't figured out who they might be and probably never will.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: In a way this little ficlet, pointless though it is, is my way of celebrating the 50 year anniversary. Now, do you know what the very best way would be to celebrate would be? If they gave us a Paternoster gang miniseries! ;)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To rosmari.karlssonfaltin[at]telia.com

Casual Company
By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson


Mundane days were more or less nonexistent on Paternoster Row, although at least not all days tended towards the loud or violent.

Jenny Flint had been putting the final touches to a dinner that would then slowly simmer until Strax would be sent to bring it to the dining room. She had even checked things over twice so that the area was secured for Sontaran handling, a little habit she had picked up not long after Strax had joined their family. In their natural state not many things were ultimately Sontaran-proof, but Jenny had the advantage of advanced – sometimes futuristic, sometimes even alien – technology to her aid, for which she had quickly become grateful.

She had just put away her apron, straightened out her immaculate dress, and washed and dried her hands when she felt a hand on her shoulder. A head leaned in close on that side, and a warm voice purred appreciatively.

"Dinner smells just fabulous, dear. Got any wine?"

It wasn't the head and voice Jenny would have expected. She was rather pleased with herself that she did not, in fact, jump in surprise, but instead merely raised an eyebrow as she turned slightly to face her unexpected guest.

"Professor Song." As always the title was spoken with equal parts playful amusement, for they were friends after all, and admiration. While hardly a child of her age in most things, Jenny still felt immense admiration and pride in her friend for being a female professor, even if no-one else, River included, seemed all that impressed with the feat. "When did you get 'ere?"

"Just now, dear." River pranced away, eyes glittering with some private amusement as always. "I know my hubby is here." She turned fully towards Jenny as Jenny moved to follow River out of the room. "So about that wi... ne..."

Something slammed elsewhere in the house, quite hard, and a few loud bangs followed. There was a roar, the sound of feet stomping both hard and fast, and Jenny could swear she heard the sound of china breaking. It wasn't Strax' usual antics, either.

Jenny and River shared a brief, wide-eyed look of alarm before rushing towards the noise.

Just before they reached the door to where the ruckus came from there was another bang, a scraping sound, and another roar.


"Oh dear." Jenny and River sighed in unison, albeit with completely different inflections.


Entering the previously so elegantly furnished drawing room Jenny did a quick take at the chaos. The sofa was overturned – likely the source of that first loud noise – as were the large coffee table, a side table and a pedestal. The Chinese vase that had previously been displayed on it lay shattered on the floor, one of the comfy chairs were missing pieces, and books and random small knickknacks had fallen out of the bookshelves.

In the middle of this mess were the Doctor and Vastra, Vastra's lovely black gown ripped and the Doctor looking rumpled, with the enraged Vastra attempting to reach him and the Doctor – with a good grip on the far end – attempting to keep her away by dragging the other coffee table around the floor, keeping it between them.

"Come now, Vastra, it wasn't like that." He tried, sounding a bit desperate. "Please calm down."


Vastra made another lunge and the Doctor countered, spinning with the table. "It was a spur of the moment thing, didn't mean anything by it." Vastra feinted and he countered. "Can't we just calm down and talk about it?"

Strax came bursting into the room, a large Sontaran gun in one hand and a flour-covered rolling pin in the other. "WHAT!" He jumped, aiming at first one corner of the room, then the other. "WHAT, WHAT?"

Strax as a rule did not handle surprises very well, and his usual response to being startled was to start shooting. Jenny and River, in a feat of amazing unspoken teamwork, nimbly plucked the gun from his hands and slid it down the hallway before he could start. It didn't stop Strax from attempting to fire the rolling pin though, not that he noticed.

The leg of the Doctor's table shield snagged in the tangled carpet and got stuck, and in desperation the Doctor traded it for Strax, wielding the short but stocky Sontaran towards Vastra while crouching behind him.

"Hi honey." He gasped towards River, spinning himself and Strax when Vastra moved. Strax tried to hit Vastra with his rolling pin in a confused attempt to defend himself, while the hissing Silurian tried to reach over him to grab at the Doctor. The Doctor spun again and cast a desperate glance at his wife. "Help!"

"Hello sweetie." River replied calmly, not moving an inch while Jenny took a few instinctive steps forward.

Vastra hissed louder and tried to simply barrel through Strax.

"I was speaking to MY wife, not yours!" The Doctor hastened to explain while bracing. "And honestly Vastra, she slapped me! She slapped me hard!" There was a note of hurt in his voice when he said that, like a part of him was a little boy that didn't get why he'd gotten scolded for something he'd done.

"I certainly did." Jenny stated calmly, loud enough that she hoped Vastra would hear her.

"Good for you, dear." River approved casually.

Trying to ignore all else Jenny focused on her wife and calming her down. "Enough now. Stop this ruckus, we're all friends 'ere." Vastra didn't seem any less angry, but her posture changed, bit by bit, at the sound of Jenny's voice. "Just calm down, m'love."

As Vastra shifted slightly her ripped gown did the same, and a long, mostly bare green leg came into view. Jenny's eyes snapped to that leg, and her mind went out the window.

There was a long, tense moment in which no-one spoke, Vastra did not hiss or lunge, but she also did not release her crushing grip in the three-way wrestling tug-of-war.

River cleared her throat and smirked at Jenny.

Coming back to senses and realizing she had just been caught openly ogling her wife, Jenny blushed bright red. She shook herself slightly and glanced away. "Come now, you're scarin' Strax."

Vastra blinked at that and immediately let go of her grip on the flailing Sontaran. As Strax and the Doctor stumbled backwards from the sudden move Vastra straightened and seemed to finally calm herself. She turned to look at her wife, only to find Jenny blushing and averting her eyes.

Surprise and confusion passed quickly over Vastra's features until her expression settled into a frown. Bright blue eyes started to blaze once more as she glared at the Doctor again, clearly gearing up for a second round of insanely jealous spousal rage.

Then she stopped for a moment and looked back, only now really noticing that River was present. River gave her a lopsided smirk and gestured none to discreetly between Vastra's leg and Jenny, whose eyes had returned to stare at her wife with a rather telltale expression on her face. Vastra tilted her head and looked down at herself.

"Oh!" Blushing a darker green she pulled at her ruined clothing, covering herself better, and gave her wife a somewhat shy but pleased look.

"Yes. Well." The Doctor mumbled as he slowly tried to inch his way from behind Strax and over to his wife. "Indeed. Good. No kissing of any kind, no sirree. And a no to the slapping as well."

"I don't know, sweetie..." River answered him with a wicked gleam in her eyes, catching the attention from the others in the room as well. "It seems awfully unfair to me."

With a grin she turned to the unsuspecting Jenny, quickly cupped her face and gave her a resounding kiss.

Vastra gasped. Jenny made a startled and protesting noise. The Doctor whimpered and tried to go back to hiding behind Strax, but Strax waved his rolling pin at him threateningly.

"River Song!" Jenny gasped indignantly as she yanked herself away. "How could you! I am a married woman!" She reached over and smacked River in the shoulder. "YOU are a married woman! I's not right!"

"Professor!" Vastra protested loudly, moving closer to her wife.

"Mm, I'm married." River agreed while ignoring Vastra, that mischievous glitter still in her eyes and a confident smirk on her lips. "But I am a fantastic kisser though, aren't I?"

Jenny made a little sound that sounded vaguely like agreement as she turned towards her wife.

Vastra gasped again and pouted, looking upset. She glared at River and growled, which just seemed to amuse the woman more, before grabbing her Jenny and pulling her tightly, possessively, into her embrace.

There was no time for anything more than a startled yelp from Jenny before Vastra had her pressed flush against herself, dipped her deep towards the floor, and proceeded to kiss her wife absolutely senseless.

After a moment the Doctor whooped at the kissing couple, while River chuckled. A little while later he started to look away and fidget, casting his eyes about randomly while smiling a bit embarrassed.

"Not this again." Strax sighed heavily. "Once they start they take hours and hours to stop." He stomped towards the door. "I'll go to the basement before the screaming starts."

He stopped next to the wide-eyed Doctor and River and added with a mixture of misery and disdain in his voice. "That one" He pointed his rolling pin at Jenny. "is by far the noisiest, but that one" The rolling pin pointed at Vastra. "reaches a pitch that hurts my ears." He sagged a bit and grumbled. "Stupid mating rituals."

"The neighbouring lowly human scum has asked what they're breeding in here, and if it could buy one once they're whelped." Strax turned a concerned and earnest squint up at the Doctor and River. "Are they attempting to breed? I have explained the particulars of human-silurian interspecies reproduction and hybridisation to them before, but..."

"YES Strax, thank you." Finally releasing her wife's lips Vastra straightened, sending Strax a warning glare. "That is quite enough. Go play with your grenades until supper."

The Doctor and River watched avidly, trying not to stare at Jenny who was still slumped over and gasping in her wife's arms, and also trying very hard to tell themselves that they did not in fact see the tip of Vastra's tongue quickly slither back behind her own lips just before she spoke up to interrupt Strax.

For a moment Strax rebelled. "But I was going to perfect my pie bomb recipe!" He whined, even though he had been only too willing to leave the room mere seconds before.

"Go play, or stay here and start the cleaning up. It is your choice." Vastra declared, and grumbling Strax stomped away down the hall.

A moment after Strax had disappeared from sight and as Vastra was gently making sure Jenny was alright to stand on her own, the Doctor suddenly gasped and pointed at Jenny. "HEY!"

They all started as he shook the finger accusingly. "Hey! What? No. Hey!" He pointed at River. "No slappy!" He pointed back at Jenny. "The kissing!" Finally back at River again. "Why no slapping with her?"

Jenny wasn't the only one that stared at him in confusion.

"You, her, with the, the..." The Doctor made some exaggerated and fish-like movements with his lips. "the smooching, there was no slapping! Why?" He put a hand to his chest, affronted. "When I did it, because I was happy to be alive and moving, I got the slapping!"

"Oh don't worry sweetie, there will be slapping soon." River told him archly, causing the Doctor to gulp. "Someone will get slapped very soon, I guarantee it."

After a brief hesitation Jenny stepped forward, trying to carefully urge everyone out of the room. "I think per'aps we ought to retire to anot'er room," She looked at Vastra as they all stepped into the hall. "while you change into a new dress?"

Vastra pulled self-consciously at her ruined gown. "It would be best." Then she eyed the Doctor. "Doctor?"

"Uhm, yes Vastra?"

"Gallifreyan or no, you had best keep hands and lips away from my wife henceforth."

"Yes Madame!" He agreed loudly and saluted, then made sure to keep River between himself and Jenny to be on the safe side. "Absolutely no lips whatsoever."

"So that means my lips and hands are still allowed?" River teased, tapping her chin as if in thought. "Mmm, the possibilities."

With a few long quick strides Vastra shot past River, intending to have a little chat about accosting other people's wives, but she never got quite that far.

As she passed River there was a loud slap, and an equally loud high-pitched yelp.

Somewhere far away in the house Strax could be heard complaining about pain to his ears.

With a grin River held up her hand, flexing the fingers. Slowly both Jenny and the Doctor looked from that hand and that grin to Vastra, blushing dark green yet again while holding both hands to her rear. River giggled.

"Are you insane?" The Doctor hissed to his wife, quickly grabbing her arm and pushing her in front of him as she was clearly not moving fast enough.

Jenny calmly walked across the hall.

"An angry Vastra can be reasoned with eventually. As long as you keep her from remembering that she can use her venom on you until she's calmed down, you're fine." A pause. "Probably."

Vastra looked a bit stunned at that, having indeed forgotten to use her tongue earlier in all her anger. Jenny reached the stand where her and Vastra's swords were placed when not in use.

"An angry Jenny though..." He didn't finish his sentence as Jenny unsheathed her katana and turned around. Instead of pushing at her he grabbed River's hand. "River, RUN!"

And they did, River while still laughing and the Doctor while shouting, down the corridor and turning towards the back of the house where the Doctor had parked the TARDIS. Jenny, still not saying anything, held her sword high and set off running after them.

Vastra stood for a moment still, in a torn dress and with a stinging backside, staring in the direction her wife and their guests had gone. Screams and shouts echoed throughout the house.

"Jenny!" She wrenched herself back into motion and set off after them. "Don't run so recklessly with a sword in your hands!" There was a thud and a shout somewhere. "JENNY!"

No, not all days at Paternoster Row were filled with loud noises, shouting and violence. But then there were days when their friends would come to visit.

The End

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