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(... Like you never knew it.)

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Missy is comfortably tangled in bedsheets, half-dreaming in the warm, living glow of the TARDIS. She yawns and stretches, blinking awake.

Something's wrong.

The other side of the bed (that she'd crawled into last night-- uninvited, but not exactly unwelcome) is empty. The Doctor's clothes are still strewn all over the floor, so he can't have gone far. Well, not outside at least.

She hauls herself up on her elbows and sighs.

''Typical.''

He's clearly not within hearing distance as he doesn't appear immediately after she speaks, as he ought to.

What's he doing just wandering off like that? Doesn't he remember that she has a serious abandonment complex, especially after he left her all alone to play ''Let's Save the World'' with his stupid pets for six months? And then he came to her, asking for help, which he then spurned -- truly she must be a saint for putting up with him, the bastard, the ingrate, the good-for-nothing wretched little toad --

"Morning."

Oh, there he is. In the doorway (and distressfully ill-fitting pajamas) munching a slice of toast. Entirely too cheerful-looking, especially for this face.

She glances up from under her eyelashes with the kind of look that makes mortal men turn to stone; unfortunately it doesn't work on him at all. As a matter of fact he doesn't even seem to notice. He proceeds to shamble over and flop on the bed, right across her legs, like a big dopey labrador.

''Oof-- you tit!'' Missy cries, her cozy sulk disrupted.

And he's not even slightly apologetic for having vanished like that. ''Shorry,'' he says through a mouthful of toast, which is too little, too late.

''Ugh. I suppose you didn't make me any toast, either?'' she asks, pointedly.

''Yer wuh shleeping.'' He waves his half-eaten toast at her. ''Y'wan'shom?''

''Not when you've been slobbering all over it,'' she sneers, not trying to keep the disgust out of her voice even a little bit.

The Doctor shrugs and takes another bite of toast, before changing the subject. ''Geush wot.''

''What.''

''Had'n idea.''

''Really?'' Missy raises an eloquent eyebrow. ''Is it as clever as jetting off to Mars in a broken TARDIS?''

''Worsh,'' he states proudly, before promptly choking from the combination of talking with a mouthful of toast and laying supine. He sprays toast crumbs everywhere.

''Oh, good.''

As if her morning wasn't bad enough already. He's about to gag himself into his next regeneration.

Composing himself and swallowing the final bit of toast -- without incident -- he elaborates:

''I think you should come with us.''

Missy figures the TARDIS translation circuit must have misfired and somehow overwritten his actual words. Or he's temporarily hypoxic and giddy from choking on his stupid toast. One of those surely explains what he just said-- but she still has to ask.

''What?''

Apparently he's just cracked, because he keeps going. ''Outside, y'know. On an adventure. You, me, Bill, Nardole--''

''Why?''

''Why not?'' he says, as casually as if he were suggesting a stroll in the park. Or a trip to the zoo. Or any multitude of things that generally don't end in screaming disaster.

Missy blinks at him. Her brain is scrambling for some kind of rational explanation for this nonsense. ''Have you been sniffing engine fumes, or --?''

''Okay, yeah, kind of a dumb answer.'' He admits. ''But--'' he adds, motioning to the ceiling, ''-- she trusts you.''

The boy and his box. ''She's dumber than you are.'' She scoffs, with something like a fond smirk.

''I thought you'd be pleased.'' And now he looks quite put out. (Finally.)

''Yeah, well.'' Missy snorts, rolling her eyes. ''I don't trust me.'' She's aiming for some combination of flippant and caustic, but it sounds uncomfortably close to an admission. She flicks a distracting piece of lint from his pajamas.

''You've been onboard for months--''

''I could chop your little friends into bits, you know,'' She snaps, cutting him off. ''I mean, balance of probability, that's quite a likely scenario, isn't it? That's kind of the whole point of this-- situation-- ''

''If you were going to, you would have.''

Not a bad point, she has to give him that. She had somehow never got around to making saucisson out of Whatshername and Egg Slave; despite tossing the idea around whenever one of them referred to her as ''your mad ex'' or some other impertinent nonsense.

How odd.

''I suppose so,'' she eventually admits.

There is a somewhat pensive pause, as neither quite knows how to continue down that road.

''You want breakfast?'' the Doctor finally says. ''I can--''

''No, stay here.'' She says. No more running away.

''Okay.''

And just like that he shuffles up in the bed beside her (where he should have been the whole time) and she curls into his side, exhaling a sigh.

''Thank you.''

He curls his fingers around hers and smiles.

 


The next day...

 

Missy may be having some misgivings about the Doctor's so-called ''plan'', but she is -- obviously -- not going to show it. No, she's strutting down the mezzanine steps, wrapped in a feather boa as if she were descending upon a stage, in a calculatedly sinister impersonation of Diana Ross.

If she can't turn Flopsy and Mopsy into haute cuisine, she's still going to make this ridiculous class excursion as psychologically traumatic as possible -- within the bounds of her (nascent) conscience, of course.

So she bursts into song.

''I'm. CO-MING ...'' a dramatic flourish, ''... OUT!''

Regrettably -- that is to say, hilariously -- her audience isn't receptive to her performance. The One With The Big Hair is literally gritting their teeth with irritation.

''Why. Why is this happening. Why are we doing this.''

''I've no idea.'' The Bald One shrugs. ''But think of the upside...''

''There's an upside?'' Big Hair seems doubtful.

''Yeah. She'll probably kill us … well, immediately, I'd say.''

''I'm spreading love, there is no need to fear~!'' Missy continues to sing, lacing every syllable with cheerful menace.

Big Hair frowns. ''How exactly is that an upside, Nardole?''

(Missy could easily supply a list of positives. Firstly: she would no longer have to hear them carry on with their slanderous conversations...)

''Well...'' Baldie starts, and Missy casually flicks the feather boa at its head as she twirls past them. ''... We won't have to listen to her anymore?''

(So near, and yet so far.)

''Yeah. Good point, actually,'' Big Hair replies.

For people who expect to be thoroughly disemboweled in the next five minutes, they are far too calm. Missy snaps her fingers at them.

''I'm co-ming OUT. I want the WORLD. To. KNOW. Got to LET. It. SHOW.''

''Christ.'' Big Hair says, covering its face with its hand.

''Cheer up, we'll be dead soon.'' Small Round says.

(And he's not wrong. That is how these things tend to play out, even without her creative interventions...)

At this point the Doctor strolls in to the party, but by now he's habitually oblivious to Missy's histrionics. Unfortunate.

''You lot ready?'' he asks.

The dimwits reply in unison: ''No.''

Missy just snickers.

''Good.'' the Doctor replies, tossing them each a white, cylindrical little gizmo. ''Put these in your ears. I'll be monitoring you.''

(Supervised parole, then?)

Missy peers at the device, turning it over in her hand; for the moment, she forgets her performance. The stupid plan is really happening. And even she can't skip around the looming reality that whatever is beyond those doors changes everything, for better or -- almost certainly -- worse.

Shrugging off the feather boa, she secures the gizmo in her ear, taking slightly longer than necessary. Deep breath; she can do this. Definitely. Maybe. Hopefully?

(She's familiar with terror, but there's a twisty sort of ache here that is altogether novel ... the worst part of it all is that he believes she can do this. Somehow she felt steadier walking back into a Dalek-infested wasteland than she does knowing that. Why?)

She leans on her umbrella, and eyes up the door. Same old wooden TARDIS door; a strange, new, and as yet undefined Time Lady before it. She can easily think of a thousand different ways to take control through flagrant violence -- but something else is called for. And she is not entirely sure what, or who that is supposed to be.

(Maybe it will all magically work out fine, no one will get chopped up, they'll all go skipping off into the sunset singing songs, and -- oh, yuck. She's started thinking like him, hasn't she?)

She mentally scrolls through every possible scenario and modus operandi in her arsenal, before settling on the most delightful idea she has had in a very long time.

The door swings open, and Missy swaggers out of captivity, grinning.

''Hello,'' She purrs into the strange ship's empty bridge. ''I'm Doctor Who.''