"He'd kill you all right. No sweat. But for the wrong reasons. Amateur's reasons. Of course, you'll be just as dead." ― Laurell K. Hamilton, The Laughing Corpse


As her suspect officially turned from the most likely perpetrator to confirmed culprit, Vastra hissed. Of course the bastard would run the moment he saw the police near his place. This would be quite problematic for her, as it always was. She could give chase, but she was a woman in mourning clothes and with a veil. She not only would be obvious, but rumors would start and the questions would follow and her enemies would have yet another lead on her location.

On a normal occasion, she would tell Jenny to run them into the less visible alleyways, or tell Strax to set up a trap of some sort at the most likely place he would run to, but Jenny was dealing with a prisoner at the manor and Strax was at Glasgow, coming back the next day.

She decided to keep watching his running while walking at a slightly hurried pace, trying to guess where he would go next.

The youth had commited patricide the day prior, proving his idiocy. His father was stabbed in broad daylight, and he wore his own distinctly torn coat to the crime. It had been found in the river later, the blood not quite washed off, and the knife used in its interior pocket. Everyone knew the father and his son had problems, especially after the victim disowned his son for gambling. The youth had many debts, and everyone knew that he had the guts to do it. The Yard had given this case to her as a joke of sorts, and were probably taking bets on how long it would take her to catch the guy.

Vastra though, no matter what social disadvantages she was afflicted with, had the advantage. Human nature, as malleable as it seemed to be with criminals, would force him to grieve the death of his father. Grief was a powerful paralytic, as shown by her culprit's stopping (cleverly in the middle of a crowd) to take a deep and shuddered-looking breath. She quickly reconsidered her initial view on his intelligence. Perhaps he wasn't learned, but he had a real spark of intelligence. It was a real waste of potential skill.

Her new analysis was confirmed when she saw him dash off into the crowd, and then into some alley she couldn't monitor or get to in a timely manner from her position.

That's when she decided to ignore all of humanity's stupid rules and run after him. He only made it less than a block before he realized that Vastra was indeed following him, and Vastra, with her warrior training, was rapidly catching up as well. Then suddenly, he turned.

Fatal mistake, she thought with triumph.

However, when she turned to the alley, she couldn't see him. She carefully looked around, and saw nothing out of the ordinary with the alley, or any way he could have passed through the alley in the first place.

Then she hissed under her breath.

He hadn't went into the alley at all.

He just turned to make it look like he had, while he, in reality, continued off through the alley and probably to the main road.

Vastra, feeling properly fooled, contemplated if this was one of the reasons the Yard gave her this case; the suspect was too damn slippery for them to get themselves.

She turned around and looked to see any discreet vantage points. She could only see the tops of buildings, however.

Dismayed, she slunk her way through the alley and tried to think of the most likely place he would go. He had no more friends, because they all knew of his evil greed, and his family had already disowned him.

Madame Vastra then nearly hit her head for her slowness.

He was going to collect his father's money. Why had that taken so long for her to realize?

The money was somewhere at the docks, she remembered from her earlier investigation.

So she made her way as quickly as she could to the closest docks there were to her and looked around.

While stalking the area, she noticed a semi-familiar scent. Her perpetrator's scent.

So she came closer to him silently. He was waiting in the alley, for the workers to leave their shifts. Then, he was probably going to take all of his father's money and leave.

She didn't have much time. The sun was low in the sky. First, she took his scent so he would not escape her again. Then, she slowly came from behind him and-

He ran. He noticed her and ran on instinct.

He was faster this time too. What had caused the sudden speed-up she didn't know (perhaps the lack of moving apes for his navigation), but she didn't like it. He was running only a tad slower than her, and that would cause quite a problem, because she had run the whole way to the dock, while he had been resting.

He probably knew the area better too. He had most likely played in these alleys in his childhood, and he twisted through them as if that wer the case.

It was quite a chase. Everything that his hands came close enough to touch was thrown to the ground behind him, in his effort to stop her, but it was becoming increasingly futile.

She was just within a few yards of him when a tall, skinny, odd-smelling body slammed into her, and they were both thrown back.

Her murderer turned again, and she lost sight of him. So she concentrated on the smells instead.

He had just went west, but the scent carried by the wind that she was smelling smelt of sweat, so he was becoming tired.

However, she found it hard to concentrate on his scent when the person who she hit (or did the person hit her?) didn't smell of a human.

She didn't mean just the general stink that they secreted by sweating, but the pheromones that they also produced.

The person that hit her obviously wasn't human, but none of the animals in the area were large enough to be that tall.

It was also muttering profuse apologies at such a rapid pace she could hardly understand.

"OhmygodIamsosososorry! WasthatasuspectyouwerechasingIcan'tbelieveIjusthityouIamsososorry! Ishouldhavebee-"

"Doctor? Is that you?"

She knew that was a redundant question, merely a formality, as she knew it could only be him, but as she took a better look at him, she reconsidered. His face, though not the first one she had met, was the same as the one from the battle they had fought for young Melody, but he wasn't wearing the clothing of his signature look. He was, surprisingly, wearing clothing that was suitably appropriate to the time period.

The most disturbing thing was the fact that his beloved bow tie was gone. In its place was a dull, brown, ordinary tie.

"Yes, sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going." he said, nodding his head, before jumping up and offering her a hand.

"It happens to everyone, does it not?" she mused while she took his hand.

"I suppose you're right, Madame," he agreed, taking a small step back.

"Madame?" she asked in confusion as she pulled herself up. "I'm not your superior."

He merely shrugged, and shoved his hands into his pockets.

"I fear I just impeded on something," he said guiltily, looking down and chewing his lip. "I apologize."

"Your apology is accepted," she established. She gave him a small smile, while internally trying to understand his exceptionally odd behavior.

Before she had finished speaking though, he began to stalk away.

She was about to call out to him, but stopped when she heard him mutter, "Stupid, stupid. I knew something like this would happen."

Then he was out of proper earshot, and she decided that she had more urgent matters to attend to (namely, catching the killer), and would call him when she arrived home.