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DW Fic: Anatomical Differences

Story: Anatomical Differences
Author: [personal profile] kaffyr 
Characters: Lady Vastra/Jenny Flint
Rate: PG13
Wordcount: 629
Edited by: the brilliant [personal profile] buckaroobob 
Summary: Even the powerful need champions; armoured scales and talons are not always protection enough.
Author's Note: This was written for [personal profile] joking  in this year's [community profile] fandom_stocking  effort. She indicated a fondness for one of my favorite twosomes, ladies who prove that valor and affection scoff at any boundaries, including those of DNA. (Anyone who doesn't cheer for Jenny and Vastra needs to let their heart grow a bit, methinks.)

Disclaimer: as much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole properties of the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement, and take no coin. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play in their sandbox.

Vastra was not human. She was a reptile, wholly alien to the great city around her.

She had no hair covering her head or adorning her brows, nor anywhere else on her tall, broad-shouldered body. Nor did she have visible skin. She had scales, a great many of them. She had emerald and jade facets that framed her calm blue eyes, that shifted and moved around her unexpectedly mobile lips as she spoke in deep, soft tones. She had strong plates of verdigris-touched bronze that protected her back and her flat but muscular chest from blades in close combat. She had great tawny and malachite scales on her powerful calves and thighs. She had small scales of willow and chartreuse that faded to ivory in the joins and folds of her vulnerable places. All needed careful cleaning and oiling; all the sensitive junctures between scale and hidden skin; all her secret places, gold and glistening.

Her fingernails were perilously close to claws, and needed trimming regularly. So did the scythe-like talons on her feet; without regular paring and shaping they would have ripped through the specialized boots that hid them and subtly adjusted her gait to help her appear more human.

Her tongue was far, far longer than should be possible, part of the reason her accent was unplaceable, but charming. Her teeth looked human but weren’t; some of them angled slightly and beveled to a dagger’s sharpness while her incisors were longer than humans might think necessary and slightly serrated. She was very careful with her mouth and her teeth.

She was warm-blooded, but her internal temperature controls were less responsive than those of the humans around her, which made fashioning her clothing difficult. In the humid city summers, her outfits had to seem decent, while being designed to vent as much heat as possible. She required far more cold-weather protection than humans, too. Cumbersome dresses had to conform, outwardly at least, to societal norms of this time; needed to be warm enough to keep torpor at bay while cut well enough to allow her to move easily - to be slowed by cold or constraining lengths of material could mean her death, or that of those dear to her.

She fed differently than humans did. She could eat some vegetation, but without regular supplies of blood or blood-rich meat, she weakened and fell sick. She could enjoy tea, she could relish the taste of sweets and starches, but kept those treats to occasional rewards for herself.

She did not sleep, not as humans did. Instead, she would periodically sink into dormancy for days at a time. If she allowed herself to go too long without those periods, she would become erratic and snappish, lashing out dangerously at those around her. She trained herself to have shorter dormancies, three or four times a week, allowing her to mimic sleep. It was easier to do so with someone else in the bed.

Had she been alone, perhaps she could have survived; dodging in and out of shadows, snatching the occasional unwary meal and risking unwanted encounters as she killed and disrobed it for consumption. Perhaps she could have evaded discovery for a time, could have kept clear of frightened, horrified humans armed with guns and cudgels. But not for long.

Vastra needed protection.

And that, Jenny decided - as she ordered from butchers and arranged for fittings from discreet tailors, as she learned accountancy and detection, Latin and Sanskrit, as she mastered revolver and katana and her own increasing abilities, as she visited banks in the daylight and slums at night, as she read omnivorously, as she administered a most curious household and welcomed most curious visitors to it, as she took on adventure, companionship and love - was her job.


This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/247269.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2013 10:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, I liked this a lot. Vivid imagery, and you make Vastra's alien-ness beautiful. I especially like the description of her scales.
Feb. 2nd, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I am so glad you liked the description of the scales, because I worked very hard on that section (which gave me a fantastic chance to enjoy the many gorgeous shades of green the world has blessed us with.)
Feb. 3rd, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
Wow...this was gorgeous. Beautiful sketching out of a very lovely, but very alien being. Just lovely, sweetie - and a wonderful treat to read! Jenny's insight there at the end (openly) was the icing to this cake!


Edited at 2013-02-03 12:42 am (UTC)
Feb. 3rd, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it, my dear!
Feb. 3rd, 2013 02:28 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed the thought you put into Madame Vastra's nonhuman physiology. Jenny's love and protectiveness shines through in the descriptions. I also really enjoyed the little glimpse of Jenny's own formidable accomplishments at the end.
Feb. 4th, 2013 12:09 am (UTC)
Thanks! There is no way that Vastra was going to attract - as aide, friend and lover - anyone who wasn't formidable in her own right, I think.
Feb. 3rd, 2013 09:31 am (UTC)
This is really beautiful and you do describe Vastra's alienness very well here, yes.
Feb. 4th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
I'm very glad you liked it! (Sudden thought, which I really just had! Vastra isn't alien to Earth - just to us; her race was here before we were. We must seem very strange to her; hot and flexible and fast and too ready to fight when there is no need to.)
Feb. 5th, 2013 07:11 am (UTC)
Love the way you have highlighted the problems that Vastra would face, and her need for the protection that Jenny provides.

Both our lovely ladies needing the protection and love of the other, the best form of co-dependency.
Feb. 5th, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks; it occurred to me that as independent and self-contained a person as Vastra is, she's still alone in a world that is colder and more primitive than that from which her people came. And even though she spent a lot of time hiding out in the sewers of London, to be able to have a loyal companion, friend and lover who can help her, and pass unremarked in the world, could mean the difference between life and death. It also means surcease from loneliness, which can be a death sentence in and of itself.
Feb. 13th, 2013 04:36 am (UTC)
This is beautiful. I especially love the pains you've taken to reconcile the science of Silurians with cannon's...eccentric...portrayals of them. And Jenny's brilliance is, well, brilliant.
Feb. 13th, 2013 04:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! As I said to someone above, it was a matter of remembering my high school science classes and childhood nature reading about reptiles, and trying to project that forward onto intelligent non-mammals.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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