"Doctor, can I use your office for something?"
The Doctor glances up from a book, arching one of his magnificent eyebrows at Bill, who does her best to look as innocuous as possible. "For what, exactly?"
"I need some… practice space," Bill says. "There's no room at my place, not really, and it needs to be somewhere where I know I won't get walked in on by students, or, you know, cute girls who might think I'm the biggest idiot ever."
"... why would they think that?"
"I dunno, cute girls make me nervous, on principle."
Bill shrugs. "I guess I just tend to assume they'll think I'm a dork or something. Anyway, this so isn't the point." Although, one of the endgames she is hoping for in this endeavour is being able to impress cute girls, but he doesn't need to know that. "I need practice space."
"Yes, but practising for what?"
"None of your business what," Bill retorts.
He snorts. "It is my business if you want to use my office for whatever you want to practice."
Bill gets up and slings her bag over her shoulder. "Don't worry about it, Doctor, I'll find somewhere else. I should probably get going. Got that essay to finish for you, still need a few more sources."
"Add some pictures in this time, the pages need some colour!" He calls after her, making her shake her head. "I love a good diagram!"
Bill, of course, is not going to go and finish her essay. She's on a quest of the utmost importance.
Finding somewhere she'll have the space to learn the Little Mix 'Touch' choreography. (And not be walked in on by strangers while she's going through the awkward initial stages.)
This is a bad idea. This is, possibly, the most bonkers idea that Bill has had in a very long time.
And yet, here she is, standing outside the vault, her backpack hanging off her shoulder, chest filled with nerves and self-preservation instinct doing some elaborate cartwheels in an attempt to bring her to her senses.
Unsure of how else to proceed, Bill knocks on the large metal door. "Missy?"
Bill remembers how, the first time she had been allowed inside the Vault, the Doctor had commanded Missy to stand inside the containment field before opening the Vault doors. But things seem to have changed a bit since then. She's allowed out of the Vault now, sometimes. The Doctor seems to trust her enough for that.
"Okay, this is going to sound totally nuts, probably, but do you like Little Mix?"
There's a brief silence.
"That girl group with the catchy music? Yes, I'm familiar with their work, and it's one of the better things to come out of this century. Why do you ask?"
"I'm trying to, uh," Bill coughs awkwardly. "I want to learn one of the dances. And I need somewhere with room to move, but also somewhere where I'm not going to get walked in on when I'm trying to learn, you know?"
Missy's voice sounds immensely amused when it next comes through the door. "And you want to use my Vault? As your dance studio?"
"Uh… yeah. Basically. Would that be totally annoying, or-"
"No, no, go ahead, I'll be glad of the company."
"Oh. Okay. Thanks."
"No problem, poppet. Now, do you want me inside the containment field? Or do you trust me to behave?" There's that hint of coy teasing to her voice, the kind that makes Bill swallow and specifically not think about how Missy's voice is more attractive than is fair, because Bill so far has done a pretty spectacular job of not noticing how attractive Missy is.
"I think the Doctor's less likely to have my arse if he finds out about this if you're in the containment field, so yeah, if you don't mind," Bill says, making a face.
"Not at all. Perfectly understandable."
She's far too reasonable, for someone who is supposed to be a monster. Well, Bill doesn't doubt that she is one. She watched her talk about throwing a girl in a volcano the same way one might comment on the weather, and that's not something Bill has been able to forget.
But she's trying to be good now, supposedly. With how the Doctor has been letting Missy run around lately, he shouldn't be able to protest too much about this, should he find out.
"Okay, I'm coming in then."
Bill is pretty proud of herself when it comes to having worked out how to open the Vault. The doors open and she steps inside the strange open space, a bit nervous but tentatively hopeful.
"Hey," Bill says to Missy, who is perched on the piano stool and watching her intently.
"Hey yourself, Pottsie."
Bill makes a face. "Do you really have to call me that?"
"Hmm. Yes. I think so."
Bill isn't about to argue any further when Missy is allowing her to use her space. Allowing. It's ridiculous, really, how little this actually feels like a prison now. It had scared Bill a little at first, that the Doctor could keep someone in a Vault, and deprive them of interpersonal contact for six months, but she understands the need for it better now. (Even though, somewhat ironically, it seems less and less relevant with every day that passes.)
Bill gets her speaker set up, gets out her laptop so she can reference the video, and soon the sound of four powerful female voices fills the empty, echoing space of the Vault.
Damn. The acoustics are great.
Bill feels fairly self-conscious about starting making an attempt at the dance moves with Missy watching her so intently, but this doesn't go unnoticed.
"Don't mind me, poppet," Missy says. "Would it help if I turned around?"
"Maybe just until I've got a vague idea of what I'm doing?" Bill asks, making a face. "I might make a habit of making a fool of myself in front of attractive women, but that sort of makes me all the more keen to not do it any extra times if I can help it."
Missy lifts an eyebrow, and Bill curses herself.
"Don't read anything into that, just because I have eyes doesn't mean I don't like my women human and without a body count," Bill tells her firmly.
"Wouldn't dream of it," Missy assures her, seriously, but there's a tiny twinkle in her eye.
Missy turns around so that she's facing the piano, and Bill turns her attention to the video playing on the screen and lifts herself onto her toes just enough to sway to the beat of the music, letting her hips sway in time.
"Okay," she breathes, and starts properly trying to copy the video.
It's awkward at first, but as she goes on, she starts getting a feel for it and getting a bit more confident in the movements, even if this kind of dancing really is something completely new to her.
"There you go, you're getting a feel for it now."
Bill whips around to see Missy sitting watching her with a little smirk on her face. "Hey, you said you would turn around!"
"I did, didn't I? I never said anything about not turning back around at some point," Missy replies, chuckling at Bill's semi-outraged expression. "Sorry. I couldn't resist. You're so precious."
Bill isn't sure whether it's a belittling or complimentary description, but she flushes a bit regardless. She isn't sure what to say, and is both exasperated with herself and annoyed at Missy for rendering her unable to find a response.
The Doctor's weird evil friend/secret rehabilitation project couldn't have been a bloke. Nope, that would have only made my life that much simpler. Then again, maybe he wouldn't have liked Little Mix, and I really do need the dance space.
Bill shakes her head and gets back to dancing, trying to ignore the feeling of Missy's eyes on her.
It's going well until a couple of minutes later -
"No, no, that's not it at all," Missy says, clicking her tongue with disapproval. "You're doing it wrong. You need to loosen up a bit."
Bill turns to lift an eyebrow at her skeptically. "I'm sorry, and you'd know better? You can't even see the screen from there!"
"I don't need to, I'm familiar with the choreography."
Bill's eyebrows nearly disappear into her hair. "You what?"
Missy lets out an impatient huff. "Why don't I save us both the time and just show you how to do it right?" She gets to her feet and gives Bill a faux-innocent look. "Of course, you'd need to let me out of the containment field."
"Right, and that doesn't sound like a trap at all," Bill says, narrowing her eyes.
"Look, do you want my help, or not?"
Bill knows that it is a bad idea. That, after having actually gotten Missy to get into the containment field in the first place, she should simply appreciate her genius idea to use this as a practice space, and work on getting it right herself.
But also… the idea of this bizarre, entrancing woman knowing the choreography to this song is too ridiculous and quietly appealing for Bill to have the self control to say 'no'.
"Where are the controls?" Bill asks.
Missy smiles, just a fraction. "By the door. You just want the little green button."
"And this isn't a trick?"
"Cross my hearts, both of them," Missy tells her, with a flutter of her eyelashes that Bill is not remotely affected by (something she is quite proud of, actually, all things considered).
"Fine, but if you try anything-"
"You'll do what, exactly?" Missy asks, cocking an eyebrow. "No offense, poppet, but if I did want to do anything, you wouldn't have any chance in the world of stopping me. But I'm here. I put myself in here, for you. So you'll just have to trust me."
Bill takes a deep breath, and apologises to her mother in her head if her truly terrible life priorities happen to lead to her tragic murder by the hand of her best friend's weird prisoner/pet/ex-friend/possible lover (the last one is just a suspicion at this point, but it's a strong suspicion).
She crosses to the controls by the door and hits the green button, and the containment field fizzles out.
Missy beams and clasps her hand together. "Lovely. Now, for something a little more appropriate." She unclasps her skirt, which makes Bill panic for all of half a second, before it drops to reveal perfectly modest leggings underneath, her blouse hem ending around her hips.
She has rather nice legs.
Oh my god, brain, shut up, Bill thinks hopelessly, fairly sure for at least the tenth time that how gay she is will be the actual cause of her death. Given that part of the reason she wants to learn this choreography is to impress cute girls, if Missy kills her now, it would certainly be true.
"Now then, start the video again, show me what you've got," Missy tells her.
"Quick question: why do you know the choreography to this song?" Bill can't stop herself from asking, since keeping in questions goes against her entire nature.
"Because it's art," Missy replies without missing a beat. "Why do you want to learn it so badly?"
"Same, really," Bill says, shrugging. "Also, you know, I'm never gayer in my life than when I'm watching this video. Watch it like three times a day. Religiously. It's genuinely probably my religion."
Missy tilts her head slightly. "Fair."
"Okay," Bill says, letting out a deep breath. "Let's give this a go."
She puts the video on, and Missy moves to stand on the side so she can evaluate as Bill begins to move in time with the music. Watching Missy watch her is beyond offputting, so Bill does her best to focus on the moves.
While Bill is no virgin, she's never considered herself a particularly sexual being before. Or at least, she's never done anything that's made her feel this good about herself. But feeling herself get the beat of the song, and move her body in what feels like a similar enough way to the beautiful girls on the screen, it makes her feel strong and sexy in a new way that she loves.
"You need to go a bit deeper, there," Missy comments, and Bill drops out of the dance to go back to the move she thinks Missy is referencing. The move involves planted, slightly spread feet, and the sinking down into what is essentially a sexy version of a plié in second position, with her hands on her knees.
"Like this?" Bill asks, doing it again, making sure to sink lower even though it puts a slight stretch into her muscles. Missy nods. "Okay, cool."
She takes the video back a bit, and keeps going.
"Actually, on the note of corrections, go back to the bit where they first dance as a group," Missy says, interrupting again. "The backwards lean, you're not quite getting the angle right."
Bill feels a little disgruntled, but takes it back further, and does the move.
Missy watches her intently, her gaze analytical in nature more than anything else. "May I make a more… hands on correction? Easier to show you."
"I guess," Bill says, already uncomfortable from holding the position. Missy moves to stand behind her, and then her hand is on Bill's back, her other at the top of Bill's stomach, and Bill realises she might have made a small error in allowing this.
"Here, you need to arch a little further, but not too hard, like this," Missy tells her, hands surprisingly gentle as they direct Bill's torso.
Bill directs all of her concentration into following the guidance and instructions and not thinking about soft hands that belong to a now very close very attractive woman and her soft, compelling voice that could probably charm the most asexual being in the universe into doing its will.
And then the hands are gone.
"Much better," Missy says brightly. "Now, keep going."
She hits play for Bill, and Bill gets through to near the end of the song, to the part of the routine that's on the floor, and Missy starts shaking her head again.
"You're just wonderful when it comes to moving those hips of yours, dear, but the arching seems to be your problem area," Missy says, moving to join her on the floor. "Here, it's more like this. Put the music on."
Missy demonstrates, and whatever part of Bill knows it should be laughing at one of the most evil creatures in the universe doing this kind of choreography is overshadowed by the hopelessly gay part of her, which is always the most prominent.
Missy is so graceful. Even with the fast movements, every single one of them is fluid, and she arches her body with the ease of a cat. When she throws her head back and tips Bill a wink at the same time, Bill feels her mouth go dry.
Oh boy. This was a mistake.
"There, try it like that," Missy says, getting back to her feet, only to smirk when Bill is frozen. She does that thing again, that miming of closing her jaw, and Bill realises she is staring, and rushes to get back to dancing.
The only thing worse than accidentally being way too gay for your friend's weird evil frenemy is being caught being gay by said evil frenemy. Bill focuses on the dancing to get over the mortification, and is happy to realise that she's almost got the whole thing memorised, and feels like she's doing most of the movements right.
"Not bad, Pottsie, not bad," Missy comments. "Now, again, from the top."
Bill starts again, and nearly jumps a mile when she feels hands on her hips about twenty seconds in. She does jump instinctively away from Missy, though.
"Woah, what the hell are you doing?" Bill demands.
Missy holds her hands up defensicely. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're supposed to have backup. Just trying to help."
"By grinding on me?"
Missy blinks at her, the picture of innocence but for the gleam in her eye. "Just following the choreography, poppet. You've got the feel of it all down, but you need to practice moving with another person. If that is in fact, the aim of all this. To impress some pretty thing, yeah?"
Bill blushes. "Maybe."
"Well then. Come on."
This is definitely a bad idea. A very, very bad idea. But Missy is making little motions of come on, come on, and she does have a point about the coordination thing, and maybe Bill is just making excuses for herself because she's not been making quite enough progress in the Penny area, but oh well.
They start the dance again, and this time Missy's body moves in counterpoint to hers, and it's astounding how well they work together. Missy really does know the dance.
Bill's hair is up in her simple, classic bun, meaning that she can feel Missy's breath on her neck. But that's nothing compared to when Missy's arm snakes around Bill's torso to press her hand to her sternum, holding their bodies that little bit closer together.
Bill's breath hitches. She makes the mistake of glancing back at Missy over her shoulder as they keep moving together, and meets those intense ice blue eyes.
She looked at you and you perved. Every time, automatic, like physics. Eye contact, perversion.
Missy seems similarly captivated, holding her gaze while a strange little smile plays on the corner of her lips. But just when Bill is wondering whether she should allow this to continue or get away before Missy gets any more ideas - because while this is a time, she really doesn't want it to go any further, she isn't that lacking in self-preservation - the door to the Vault swings open.
Bill and Missy freeze in unison, Missy's nose still against her neck, her hand still on Bill's chest, and stare at the Doctor and Nardole, who both look so bewildered it would be hilarious if Bill didn't know she is about to be in deep, deep trouble.
"Shit," Bill says, and she jumps out of Missy's hold, opening her mouth several times to make some kind of excuse, while gesturing vaguely in Missy's direction a few times. The Time Lady meanwhile just cocks an amused eyebrow at her attempts. "Look, this isn't what it looks like."
"Really?" The Doctor replies, looking severely unimpressed now that he seems to have recovered from the shock. "And what do you think it looks like?"
"She was helping me with the choreography."
Nardole scoffs. "Oh, is that what we're calling it, now?"
The Doctor, meanwhile, is glaring at Missy. "I told you to stay away from my companions when I'm not around to supervise."
"She came to me," Missy says indignantly. "I've been nothing but extremely helpful."
"She's telling the truth, Doctor, she's been helping me with learning this dance, that's all, I swear," Bill tells him, trying to keep her blush under control. "We just got a bit… carried away. By, you know. Art?"
Nardole rolls his eyes so hard she's amazed that he doesn't give himself a concussion somehow.
"Alright then, show me," the Doctor says, dropping himself into the armchair and looking at them expectantly.
The level of scepticism in his gaze brings up a strange sort of indignance in Bill's chest. Because, alright, her gay distraction aside, she's telling him the truth, and nothing actually sordid had been going on.
"Fine," Bill says, crossing her arms as she looks to Missy, who looks surprised for all of a moment, before her expression turns to one of deep amusement.
"Seriously?" She asks.
"Seriously. You said you know the whole thing. So let's do it. I'm not gonna let him stand here and accuse me of, well-"
"Your blatant homosexuality and attraction to moi?" Missy asks, lifting an eyebrow.
Bill flushes. "Look, just shut up and let's do this, yeah?"
So she takes the song back to the start, hits play, and does the most absurd thing she's ever done in her life - dance the entire choreography of a Little Mix song, with a hot alien villainess as her occasionally handsy backup dancer, while another two aliens watch.
Weirdly, the heated atmosphere that had grown between Bill and Missy doing their rehearsals is entirely gone now. Instead, Bill can't help but grin; it's actually super fun. Even Missy seems to be giggling and enjoying herself.
It feels like they're friends, as they dance together. Which they're not, and Bill knows that, really, but right in this moment, it's actually really nice. Of course, perhaps the reason the heat is gone between them is because when she's not grinning at Bill, Missy is making eyes at the Doctor as she performs the provocative moves.
The Doctor swallows and crosses his legs as the song draws to an end. Several times. Bill tries not to think too much about the implications of that, but her 'lovers' theory about the two Time Lords is seeming more and more legitimate.
They end the song on the floor, and Missy springs up first, offering Bill a hand up and pulling into a strange half-embrace that really is too close for Bill's more delicate sensibilities.
"So, tell me, Miss Potts, what sort of girls are you hoping to impress with this routine?" Missy asks, voice low and eyes far too intent.
Bill tries to wiggle out of her grip, but Missy retaliates by twirling them a little so that she's holding Bill closer, her lips now at Bill's ear.
"Go on, I'm curious, indulge me," Missy murmurs, making Bill shiver because holy fuck her voice my god I'm so gay. "What is it that you look for in a woman, exactly?" Thankfully, it only takes half a moment for Bill to collect herself. She manages to spin Missy around so that she has an arm around the Time Lady's waist, now in control.
"Strong moral compass," Bill says, smirking, before letting go of her, letting her lose her balance for all of a moment and fall back onto her other foot.
Missy pouts. "Spoilsport."
Without any music playing, Missy keeps dancing, an odd but undeniably captivating picture of graceful - if erratic - sensuality, and Bill finds herself mesmerised again, because she might have a moral compass strong enough to keep her ovaries in check in dire circumstances, but she's still so fucking gay and jesus christ how is this woman real and how is her absurdity not a turn off?!
"Are you two alright? You've both stopped… functioning," Nardole says, breaking Bill out of her gay reverie and making her look at the Doctor, who is still watching Missy, whose eyes are locked with his.
Urgh. God. They're definitely having sex. That's not something Bill needed to be aware of. That's fucked up on so many levels, all other things considered. This isn't just a Vault. This is like… a Sex Vault. Where the Doctor has done things she never ever wanted to think about the Doctor doing.
She looks at Nardole with disgust, and he gives her a yep, I've been dealing with this shit for decades sort of look. She feels a new sympathy for her strange little friend, and finds herself a bit impressed he's kept his sanity this long.
"You're a very good dancer," Nardole tells Bill with a little smile. It's possibly just to undercut the awkward sexual tension near them, but he seems genuine enough.
"You reckon? Thanks, man," Bill says, blushing a bit, pleased.
"It looked quite fun, actually."
"Yeah?" Bill laughs. "You want me to show you some moves?"
Nardole considers this, before brightening a little, nodding his head. "Alright then. Could be fun. I've been meaning to try a new hobby for ages. A man can't get by on only knitting, you know."
He's so odd, Nardole, but once one warms up to him, there's something rather nice about him that Bill can't put her finger on. Something comforting.
Trying to teach Nardole the dance moves proves to be hilarious, even more so when he actually gets the hang of the movements. Missy collapses into giggles, and into the Doctor's lap, which Bill and Nardole very pointedly do not notice.
"I never want to hear this song again if I live for another 2000 years," the Doctor says, by the time Nardole knows all the moves and he and Bill are dancing through the routine with perfected timing. (Missy having watched them all the while, and now finally stopped correcting their form.)
"Too bad, I've gotten very fond of it," Nardole tells him, and Bill grins with triumph.
A week later, Bill impresses Penny with her flawless execution of the routine. She makes a note to get Missy a little thank you present.