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Synthesised

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Missy walked back toward the farmhouse, a clear view of the building and surrounding fields. It appeared so peaceful, until she moved closer and could make out the figures standing near the barn. She stood from a distance and watched, taking a breath of the artificial air. She had really had her fill of synthetic environments. It had been decades of living in a room with the equivalent of a life support system supplying breathable air. Vault - TARDIS - ship. Just switching between synthesised systems. This one was the worst in a way.

Miles of fields, trees and farmland. A very authentic simulated world. It almost felt real - she could look around and let herself believe she was outside. She didn’t like to let herself fall into illusion. It was important to keep hold of the facts. However, she appreciated that the air in this new form of contained environment was better - clearer, filtered and carefully cultivated.

She shook her head, decades in one place had made her an expert on the strangest of things.

She walked on, much closer now to them. Bill stood next to the Doctor - or what remained of Bill. She could tell her younger self had said something harsh, and she felt tension and anger build inside her. He had the capacity to be the cat amongst the pigeons with these frightened people. She willed him to not upset Bill and risk her accidentally harming anyone. The chaos that would undoubtedly ensue was the last thing they needed.

As she got closer she could make out their expressions and see the look of enjoyment on his face. Why couldn't he just back off, just this once?

She didn't know why it was bothering her so much.

She turned and headed back to the woods. She needed to find those lifts and watching him torment the Doctor and his pet, wasn't helping.

Before long he joined her, and she said nothing of her annoyance about his goading behaviour. There was really little point in discussing it - calling him out on it would only provoke him to do it even more. They worked well together when he was focused, she’d give him that. He did have a tendency to drop not so subtle comments about how..distracting he found her however, but she dismissed his remarks, pushing her own curiosity firmly away.

Before long the Doctor approached with Bill. Missy tensed, knowing the Master would remark, and it was getting increasingly more difficult to hide her reaction to his comments.

“You absolutely had to bring her, did you?” 
“Her? It's a Cyberman now.”
“Yes, sorry.”
“Becoming a woman's one thing, but have you got empathy?”

She had thought she sounded heartless until he started speaking, and then she realised how large the gulf between the two of them actually was. She’d have stood up to him more after his irritating misogyny if she hadn't felt so confusingly guilty for the fact that she did indeed have empathy. Being there with her past self unsettled her tremendously - her head felt like it was spinning at times.

She called the lift. She hadn't intended to bring any Cybermen straight to them, she was angry at herself but kept her cool. They had found the lifts after all. That was progress.

“Do as she says. Is the future going to be all girl?”

She really, really  wanted to smack him with her umbrella again.

Later that day she sat a short distance from the farmhouse and stared out across the fields, the trees now dark shapes in the distance with the fading light. His words replayed in her mind. Empathy. Compared to him she had buckets of it, but that wasn't exactly difficult.

Her thoughts moved to Bill, the Doctor was keeping going by not stopping, not pausing to take it in. He still held hope, hope that the impossible could happen and that Bill could somehow come back to him. He had promised her that he would save her, fix the impossible and get her back the way she was.

She sighed. If they got out of this mess alive, then he would finally stop and it would hit him hard when he accepted that she wasn’t ever going to come back. A cyber conversion wasn't something anyone came back from and she didn’t know what that acceptance would do to him.

She had retained some memories of the ship, nothing concrete enough to be of use as an escape plan, but enough to know that she had to give her younger self the de-materialisation circuit she had been carrying in her pocket for a very long time. How the Doctor never spotted it was beyond her.

He had taken several very useful pieces of jewellery from her when he put her in the vault, nothing she wore was purely for aesthetic. She liked the aesthetic of course, but everything had a function also and the Doctor knew that too. So he took her jewellery, two blades and a few items from her pockets - but he didn’t even look closely at her hair pins or spot the de-materialisation circuit, deeper, and long forgotten in the bottom of her jacket pocket, neither did he see the broken bracelet along with it. That was the trouble/benefit with Time Lord tailoring, the pockets were quite expansive.

The other thing he didn’t think of was her lipstick - and that was the most important item she possessed.

She had been used to using her considerable skills to extravagant affect, and having no access to vital tools in the vault was one of the hardest parts of her time there. She had found a way, very very gradually, to repair the bracelet. It involved the few low tech earth devices she had access to and the fact that there was actually a decent amount of technology holding the vault together in the first place. She didn’t once seriously consider using it though - she just wanted something challenging to do with her days.

She took it out from the depths of her pocket - and slipped it on. She smiled. It felt good to have some useful technology again.

She let her sleeve fall down to cover her bracelet as she turned her head, seeing the Doctor approach. He took a seat on the ground beside her and didn’t speak at first, so they simply sat together looking out across the fields. In truth they hadn’t been left with many opportunities to be alone since he had regained consciousness. She felt almost guilty enough about her actions on the rooftop to apologise - almost, but not enough. It wasn't as if she had planned a single moment of that, she really had just been enjoying her trip and her past self was the last person she wanted to bump into unexpectedly.

Eventually he turned to her, “do you remember now? What you….what he did to Bill? Are your memories of any of this still there?” he asked.

“No, I don’t remember anything about her, she didn’t even look familiar when I first met her. I’m sorry, if I had any leverage on this situation I would tell you.”

He sighed, “You would. You don't want to be stuck here either.”

She hesitated, “I do... have one or two theories.”

He turned to her, instantly interested, “go on Missy.”

“Well,” she began, “I can... try to call my TARDIS. I haven’t tried, because, well, I’ve been all cosy in the vault, and although there wasn't specifically a no TARDIS rule...well, I wouldn't be playing nicely if I recalled my TARDIS and popped inside for a swim when I got bored.”

“Missy...you could have brought your TARDIS to you anytime?” he asked, stunned.

“Well,” she shrugged nonchalantly, “I could recall her and disguise her with my beautifully operating chameleon circuit, but there’s some damage to repair before I would be able to move again. One trip is all she can do until I fix her.”

He turned to face her, “but you could have kept your TARDIS in the vault and worked on her. You could have repaired her and theoretically left years ago?”

“Like I said. I’m engaging with the process, now stop distracting me. We were talking about getting access to my TARDIS,” she said dismissively, trying to ignore the way his gaze had softened.

He smiled, and reached for her hand. She tightened her hand around his instinctively, and they looked into each others eyes. His gaze, usually so searching when it came to her, had shifted. She felt warmth directed at her, and her eyes brimmed with tears in response.

“I was...” she paused, railroaded slightly, “telling you my theories. It might take some work - this black hole is hugely problematic.”

“So you haven't tried, in all these years? But it’s a theoretical possibility - could you try it right now?” he asked hopefully. She felt uncomfortable with the hope rising in his voice. She didn't want to be the cause of crushing it. Hope wasn’t something she was used to anyone having in her.

Yes. I could press a button and see what happens, but why even attempt to bring her in here without knowing we could get out again? He got stuck here, I don't want to make the same mistake. It would take too long to rebuild a damaged component, and we don't have the luxury of time.”

He turned fully from his position on the ground, facing her, “what do you need to try it?”

“Nothing, I have everything I need right here,” she said, suddenly feeling somewhat guarded at having to reveal the possession of technology she had kept hidden for such a long expanse of time.

The Doctor didn’t even question it, and so she didn't elaborate.

“Do it Missy. If you can get your TARDIS here, at the very least everyone will be safer inside it. Just try,” he said. “We can keep everyone inside safely, even if we need to repair something.”

She popped the cap off of her lipstick tube and applied it slowly and carefully to her lips as she contemplated his request.

“If I do this, we could end up with three TARDIS’s stuck here. This ship would become increasingly more dangerous if the Cybermen managed to get access to even one, yet alone three” she said.

“Well, the other two are stuck, so we have to try something - I know it’s not without risk, but we are limited with our options here, and this situation is looking bleak,” the Doctor said.

She sighed, before looking intently into the Doctor’s eyes, “ok.”

She pressed a concealed button underneath the tube and waited, until the sound of materialisation filled the air. A shred of joy rose within her at the sound of her TARDIS, but she could not saver the feeling as it quickly stopped short of finishing. She stood up and cursed, staring hard at the slight breeze billowing on the ground ahead of them. “We need a clear pathway for her to travel down. She can't get in here, and i'm not risking my TARDIS being torn apart with the effort.”

“Try again,” he said, “please Missy, just try .”

She gave him an exasperated look, “If this is our ticket out of here, then tread carefully. You are going to owe me a TARDIS if this goes wrong - I don’t keep mine out of the line of fire just to drag her straight in.”

She stood up, and he followed suit, watching as she pressed the button again, and again. Each time her TARDIS tried hard to reach her but couldn’t materialise. Eventually she put her lipstick back in her pocket and sighed.

“I could easily give her precise calculations to get here safely, avoid the pull of the black hole and arrive right in front of us, but I don’t have any way of modifying the mechanism. The technology the humans here have isn’t as basic as some colonies, but still, nowhere near the kind of engineering I need,” she explained.

“We could enhance a little with a sonic…” he began.

“That's all well and good but the physical hardware isn't there. It's very basic. I designed it that way so it was less likely to be detected for what it was and fall into the wrong hands,” she said.

He remained silent, looking out across the fields as he considered the possibility, however remote, of bringing her TARDIS to them.

“There’s one other possibility,” she said, as she watched him, her expression again guarded. “Teleport further away to try again, or if we got lucky, landing right by one of the other two TARDIS’s, but that would involve consecutive hops in the right direction.”

“I doubt we could build a teleport device from the kind of technology they have here,” he said, shaking his head dismissively.

She smiled, extending her arm to reveal her bracelet, “oh, would you look at that!”

His eyes grew wide, “Missy? You have a teleport device?!”

She raised her hand, gesturing for him to stay calm, “don’t go getting excited. It was an ongoing project and limited to the tools I had in the vault, meaning the end product isn’t refined enough for my liking. Short hops only - three at most before it discharges.”

He looked at her in amazement, “how long have you had a working teleport bracelet?”

“About five years, now stop throwing in questions like that, you’re distracting me again,” she said, deciding to keep very quiet about the Tissue Compression Eliminator she wore, beautifully disguised as a hairpin. 

“Ok,” he said, his mind racing with thoughts and theories, “three teleports - two guaranteed. What ranges? …..And what tools do you have in the vault?”

“Maybe 200 floors at most if  we went straight up, but not road tested, potential for unpredictable shortfalls,” she replied, “and nothing but simple toys , I'm not planning world domination...well not today.”

“Can you refine the direction? Push it up, or is it a radius?” he asked, “and how didn’t I know you were doing that ?”

Because you don’t see what’s right in front of you at times. Just a radius i’m afraid - we could exhaust the charge and not even leave this floor. If I had the tools…” she said.

“I know, we could easily be off here if we had the right tools, but we don’t. We have to work with what we have,” the Doctor said.

“If we go up, we could reach your TARDIS,” she said.

“Or we could land right back in the city, with little time to locate his TARDIS - If you have no memory of the city at all, it would take some time to locate it. Or face a very slow journey getting the rest of the way up - the further up we go the longer the time is passing here. We can’t risk that,” the Doctor said.

“Of course, if we did land towards the bottom of the ship...we can take his TARDIS. He won't help - if he reaches it first he will just go and leave us all here,” Missy said.

“Maybe not you though..” he paused, looking thoughtful. “You could take him with you - get you both inside his TARDIS, then knock him out and take it.”

 Missy looked at him with a mix of admiration and amazement, “my, my, Doctor, such a devious plan,” she laughed. “I love it.”

 The Doctor questioned his own words as soon as he saw how delighted she was by his suggestion. It was instinctive - what she took delight in was normally questionable after all.

“Now don’t go and do that Doctor, it’s a perfectly good plan. You look all guilty and all you’ve done is come up with a great idea,” she said. “Up or down, it’ll get us closer to a TARDIS that we can pilot back to this floor, but it’s unpredictable because it’s basic, embarrassingly so. With the added complication of the effect of the black hole, it could make it risky. ”

“If we could extend the range then it could be an answer,” he paused, running his hand over his face, even just to get you to a better location to call your TARDIS.”

 It struck her then that she had never seen him look so tired.

“Except we have no useful technology here to accomplish anything helpful like that - welcome to my world . We could just risk it - see where I land?” she said.

 He looked at her thoughtfully, “he can’t be here alone…..I have to stay, you’d have to go by yourself...”

“Having a crisis of confidence are you Doctor? Worried I’ll get in my TARDIS and leave - abandon you here,” she said, feeling suddenly saddened that he might be thinking exactly that.

“Anyone remaining here will face a fight to the death and I think you have more compassion in you that that. You'll come back.”

A small burst of happiness rose at his words and she wondered  if he had any idea how much it meant to her. She wasn’t entirely sure that his trust was warranted - she couldn't predict what her instinct what drive her to do if she gained access to her TARDIS, but all she could go on was the intent she had at that precise moment - and that was only to find a way to to get off of the ship somehow.

 “Try it Missy, I can make excuses about where you are if he asks - if you were to get lucky and reach the top though, can you get past the bio locks?”

 “Of course I can,” she said, slightly offended at the question. “It’ll take me fifteen minutes or so as long as your TARDIS doesn’t fight me,” she said.

 “She likes you, you make her better,” he said and paused raising her hand and placing a light kiss against her fingers. “As you do with me.”

Missy felt a sudden flood of emotions, most of which confused her - emotions were confusing and troublesome the best of times, but here she was, the Doctor being nothing but kind and caring toward her and she felt like bursting into tears.

Taking an unsteady deep breath she looked into his eyes, her gaze full of honesty and her hearts thudding in her chest as she realised there wasn’t much that she wouldn’t risk for him.


 

All she had was a very limited and basic teleport bracelet and her umbrella, but minutes later she stood in the woods, the Doctor standing inches from her, their hands intertwined as he leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

She closed her eyes, wanting the moment to last as long as possible. It was difficult enough for them to be alone with the Master and so many humans around, not the least the impending danger of the cyber army. Alone together in the woods, she wanted to just remain there - at least for a while but she knew that time was running out fast for all of them.

“Be safe Missy,” he whispered, “if you end up half way - up or down….”

“Then i’ll be stuck on my own with nothing but an umbrella, yes Doctor, I have thought of that.”

“If that happens…” he said.

“Then I wing it. I will come back to you, somehow ,” she said, her words a promise left between them as she smiled, closed her eyes and activated the bracelet.

 In an instant she was falling.

Chapter Text

She landed heavily - far too fast to adjust and break her fall with her hands. A sharp, intense pain tore into her head as she struck a cobblestone wall, her boots slipping in the damp mud.

It had started to rain, and the mud beneath her became wetter - making it harder to get to her feet. She cursed and brought a hand to her head for a moment, pulling it away only to see it covered in blood.

She used the wall for leverage and stood slowly and cautiously, a wave of dizziness swarming in her head once she was upright. She blinked, grabbing the wall for support and looked up at the sky, wincing at the pain as a trickle of blood ran down the side of her head.

“Fifty floors up,” she said, as she leaned heavily against the wall.

She looked around for shelter and quickly assessed the immediate vicinity. She knew she needed to patch herself up before she attempted another jump, yet alone try to explore and check for anything that she could use to assist her on her journey.

This level appeared to be a small village, abandoned now, suggesting that the Cybermen had already taken control of that level and moved on.

She made her way slowly to the nearest building - a small house, appearing to carry less damage than many of the other buildings, most of which had broken windows and large holes that had been blasted in the walls. Pushing open the wooden door with no resistance she ensured that it was firmly closed behind her. Glancing around, she determined quickly that the building appeared structurally sound and empty - it was probably as safe as it was going to get.

Looking at the steps to the first floor, she suddenly felt nauseous and instead of searching for anything useful in her surroundings, she stumbled to the couch placed against the far wall, only just reaching it before the dizziness became overwhelming.

Falling onto it awkwardly, she quickly lost consciousness.

She stirred suddenly, an hour later, her hearts racing as her breathing became rapid and shallow. There in the background, faint but constant - threatening to remind her of the way she used to be. The haunting sound that she never really thought about anymore. Her hearts beat so heavily in her chest that a flash of panic began to shoot through her - it was too rhythmic, too ordered - she would not hear the drums, not in this body. This wasn't what haunted her world, this was an unwelcome memory, long, long into her past.

Missy did not hear the drums and would not let it into her mind. 

Her eyes snapped open and she stared up at the unfamiliar shadows on the ceiling. It took her a moment to realise that she had woken to darkened skies. She tensed as she realised that she could still hear the noise, the repetitive tone seeming to magnify the pain in her head. She pushed aside the flash of dread and panic when she finally roused fully, and realised that the sound was coming from outside of the building and not in her head at all.

It had taken her a long time to get used to the space in her head - in his head , once the drumbeat had stopped. She would never describe it as silence, her mind then, was always full of thoughts, plans, concepts - never silence, but when the drums stopped, there was more room. That space was alarming at first - and she had pondered how odd it was to desperately want something to end, but then feel so wrong without it. Once she had got used to it, her thoughts felt so much more ordered - and then she had woken with a new body and a fondness for hats, and she didn’t think about it. Her mind, while jumbled and chaotic at times had so much more room for creativity that she had been able to embrace on a whole new level.

Sitting up she blinked, focusing her eyes and moving her head from side to side slowly. Satisfied that she did not appear to have any significant head injury she stood cautiously.  

Her hand moved to her wound, and she was satisfied to feel dried blood caked to her head, but the stickiness of a still open wound. Happy that the bleeding had stopped flowing she felt an instant annoyance that her hair was now matted with blood. She could see no mirror in the room so she just resigned herself to the fact that whatever state she was in, it was unlikely that anyone was going to see.

Moving to the window she looked through the cracked pane, out to the fields beyond. The thumping noise was continuous and familiar as she tried to place it. It was significant but her head was still throbbing with pain and she fought the urge to lay back down.

Pulling out her lipstick she tried again, and felt a wave of disappointment when she had exactly the same results as she had fifty floors below. She would need to go higher, but there was no way of controlling the direction. It was a gamble that might not pay off.

Movement caught her eye and she stared intently out of the window at the horizon. There were definite signs of life, and lots of them. She tensed. The thumping sound was louder - growing closer. She walked to the door and stepped outside, the wooden frame creaking with the motion. The rain hadn’t let up, and she remained under the small porch, wanting to gather her senses before going out into the pouring rain. She concentrated as she tried to decipher the source of the sound, keeping her eye on the horizon  until all at once she had a sudden horrible crash of realisation.

It was Cybermen - a very large army of Cybermen, approaching from the distance. They were moving fast, and while still a safe distance away, she wouldn’t have long before they were too close for comfort. She couldn’t possibly stand a chance against them alone and unarmed. Whether the other buildings contained anything of use would be of little importance if she wasted time and allowed the Cybermen to catch up with her.

Left with little choice, she hit the button on her bracelet, hoping the next jump would take her further away from a cyber army and not leave her right in the middle of one.

 


 

The Doctor felt that he had left Bill for all together too long and he was worried that the locals would be getting nervous, or worst still - trigger happy, so he paid her a visit. She had returned to the barn - or rather retreated, and the Doctor was concerned about her being alone for any length of time.

They sat and talked, and he communicated with her as best as he could - trying to look past the metal prison she was trapped in and visualise her. It hadn’t been easy - Bill was struggling so much with the way the locals viewed her - the fear she saw every time she stepped outside. The Doctor hated that he couldn’t look into her eyes and see emotion - there was still something of her left - so there was hope. Whatever he did he could not let go of that.

He eventually left the barn and was instantly accosted by the Master, demanding to know where Missy was. He had deftly skirted around the subject of her whereabouts but the Master had appeared instantly suspicious regardless, and wouldn’t let up.

“Maybe she’s avoiding you,” the Doctor said, knowing winding him up wasn’t the best move but feeling tired of the probing questions.

The Master looked at him and laughed, “now why would she do that, we are the only two people who truly understand each other. But I suppose I shouldn’t be too bothered  - at least she’s not with you .”

The Doctor took a deep breath and ignored him.

“Doctor, once we work out how to get out of here - and by we, I mean myself and my very attractive future - she’s going to leave with me. Don’t think for a moment she’s going to let you lock her up again.”

“You don’t speak for her, and we don’t have time for this - why don’t you go touch base with Nardole - he had a theory about setting explosions,” the Doctor said.

The Master laughed, “she’s a very sensitive topic for you, interesting .”

The Doctor couldn’t help the flash of uncertainty that struck him at the Masters words. He knew how to tap into his fears, and it was clear that he recognised that Missy turning on him was a topic that played on his mind. That didn’t make it fact, and he reminded himself of that. Still, his thoughts returned to the rooftop - she had been honest about feeling torn, telling him, however lightheartedly, that she was in two minds quite literally. It concerned him but all he could do was hang on to the hope he held for her.

She would come back to him.

Chapter Text

She hit the floor hard, letting out a groan of pain as she felt the impact - this excursion was just getting worse. It had all started so well, when she stepped out of the Doctor's TARDIS. She would never have let them know, not the Doctors pets, but she was full of anticipation and so excited - it was her first proper trip outside in all the decades she had been in the vault. The TARDIS was one thing, but actually going somewhere and not just watching on a screen was exhilarating. She was having so much fun until it all went to hell.

Getting to her feet slowly, all of her senses told her that she had landed somewhere quite different. She was inside, and this time it seemed considerably more promising. There was a low hum and a slight vibration surrounding her, and as she glanced around she took in various panels and empty chairs in front of abandoned workstations.

This floor was likely deserted too, but a far better place for her to land. She only needed a glance around the room to determine which station would give her what she needed, and she sat down, setting about accessing a panel with a quick sonic intervention.

She was soon searching through a database of information, and realised that she was in a weather control station. This was much, much better - there was definite potential here.

Wasting no time she put her hand in her pocket and pressed the button on her lipstick, this time seeing the form of her TARDIS attempting to materialise. The form of her TARDIS shimmered in and out of sight as the air surrounding it swirled into a strong breeze. The sound grew louder and Missy closed her eyes and smiled - that sound made her see the stars in her head, taste freedom and yearn to travel. She felt an instant connection to her TARDIS, a strong pull to get inside, the closer she came. Time Lord's were, after all, meant to be among the stars - it was against the very core of her being to be stuck in one place, in linear time. 

Opening her eyes, she focused. She couldn't get sidetracked, whatever she did from this point on, the first thing they had to do was fix her TARDIS and get off the ship. Without an accessible working TARDIS, she would continue to only see the stars in her head.  

This was progress, considerably so. She couldn’t risk using her final jump, so this was where she needed to be.

As her TARDIS failed to materialise again, she glanced at the control panels and realised what she needed to do.

 


 

The Doctor walked across the field, emerging from the trees as his eyes fell cautiously on the Master as he approached him. He was well aware that caution was the best approach when Missy’s younger self was present. She seemed to be irked by him too at times, although they frequently fell into a comfortable symmetry. Missy had been gone for five hours at that point, and he felt as if the Master was constantly hounding him, questioning what she was up to.

The three of them had fallen into an unspoken, tense common ground. They each wanted out, but so often since he woke on the farm, he had questioned who Missy would actually leave with if they did find a way.

“You didn’t answer me. Where is she?” the Master asked. “Because if you don’t know, then maybe she’s found a way out and left you. She’s hardly going to hang around and wait for you to lock her up again.”

The Doctor tensed and it did not go unnoticed by the Master. He smirked, enjoying the reaction and the knowledge that he could get the Doctors back up so easily where Missy was concerned.

He shook his head, “she must have had countless opportunities to murder you where you stood. Yet she was in there, playing games with you.” He glared at the Doctor, “why did she stay there?”

The Doctor sighed, “because she chose to. Just as you will.”

The Master balled his hands into fists, infuriated by the suggestion. “She has this perfect capacity for cruelty and destruction and you've locked her, a Time Lord, up on earth for decades. She should kill you for that. Why hasn't she?”

“She asked for my help..” he began, before realising he would be sharing too much of the Masters future. “You'll know eventually, what her reasons are.”

They stared at each other in silence until the Master spoke, “she won't leave here with you. When the end comes, she’s going to come home.”

They began to walk, heading slowly across the field, the woods ahead of them in the distance.

“Don't presume to know her. You have so long to go before you get to this part of your timeline,” the Doctor said.

The Master turned to him, the anger he felt was abundantly clear, “no Doctor, you shouldn’t presume that she’s not playing you. Don’t let her fool you - she’s still me.”

The Doctor stopped, turning to the Master and did his best not to get into a full blown argument, but his restraint was not to be tested as a dramatic and abrupt change in the weather was suddenly upon them.

The clear blue sky turned to dark grey in an instant and the pleasant summer day was plunged into the darkness of night. Without a pause lightning flashed across the sky.

The humans stared in surprise at the bizarre weather change and then made a hasty retreat inside, scared at what could be approaching. The Doctor and the Master remained still as the humans ran past them to the relative safety of the farm buildings. From the farmhouse, Nardole watched from the window, hoping that the humans weren’t all going to start panicking, it was a delicate situation and all it would take was one of them to panic and they would all follow.

The entire sky was ablaze with lightning, flashes of light so fierce that the world around the Doctor and the Master was lit up, the sudden plunge into darkness quickly replaced. Hope filled the Doctor’s hearts at the sudden light show - aware that a massive electrical storm was happening above them.

The Master turned and looked at him with a growing suspicion, “where’s Missy?”

The Doctor tensed as he spotted movement deeper into the woods, and kept his eye fixed on the distant shape approaching. The movement fluid and unaccompanied by the sounds of machinery, so he relaxed. If she had found her way back then something had worked.

He smiled as her form became clearer as she emerged from the woods, relieved to see her.

The Master watched her warily as she approached then stopped once she was out of the cover of the woods.

Standing with the trees behind her, closer now to observe their expressions, she smiled biding her time for 3.5 further seconds, before raising her umbrella in the air and waving it in a dramatic show, her timing perfect as she spun around with a laugh.

Instantly the lightning stopped and the sky returned to a clear blue once again. She smiled, seeing the expression on her younger self’s face. He was impressed with her light show, but deeply suspicious. She felt a flash of satisfaction that she had given him even the smallest taste of what she was capable of, but he still had a lot to learn. 

It had been so long since she had been able to really use her skills to any large scale effect, and it felt exhilarating. She couldn't help the skip in her step as she hurried to join them.

She stopped in front of them both, turning her gaze to the Doctor and feeling proud of herself for the expression he wore. Oh she had impressed him, and that always pleased her.

“What did you do?” the Master said, a definite and growing mistrust lacing his words.

She laughed as she looked at him, filled with a playfulness.

“Just a few parlour tricks with a panel I got access to,” she said as she raised her umbrella and pointed in a vague direction, “deep in the woods over there, but it’s no use for much else.”

The Doctor took in her appearance, the dried blood on her hair and face and the dirt on her usually immaculate clothes. He wanted to scoop her up in his arms, kiss her and tell her how proud he was of her for getting back - she was clearly in control and that could only mean she had been successful. He knew that look in her eyes, it was the excitement she wore when her plans were playing out to her design.

The Master frowned, “you really messed yourself up just for parlour tricks?”

“Well, if i’m going to go to all the trouble of investigating something then i’m going to have a little fun with it when I get there, besides, electrical charges like that could be very useful against hoards of metal men, don’t you think?”

The Master appeared thoughtful as he stared at her, before turning his attention to the Doctor, “Oh now we are onto something with that, let’s see what that one that’s been experimenting with charges on the ground can do with it.”

“Nardole you mean?” the Doctor said, good idea. “I think Missy needs some medical attention, so we will catch you up, but there’s is potential to direct an electrical storm...if we had the tools.”

The Master turned and walked back towards the farmhouse with a curious glance over his shoulder just as the Doctor took her arm and his hand moved to the bloodied area on her head. He shook his head, unable to fathom what made her not just slap the Doctor and tell him she could sort it out herself. The look in her eyes was too warm...too happy when she looked at him. He did not like the comfortable ease they seemed to have around each other, she was too close and that wasn’t how he wanted his future playing out.

Shaking his head, he stepped into the farmhouse in search of Nardole.

MIssy’s eyes were alight with adrenaline and excitement, “well, what did you think?”

He smiled, despite his concern for her appearance, “you certainly made an entrance - weather control was exactly what you needed.” He took her hand and watched her with warmth, “you enjoyed that.”

“Of course! I haven’t got to play with anything that much fun for so long. See Doctor if you get me the more exciting toys I ask for, then spectacular things might happen!”

The Doctor felt a flicker of sadness, “I do try to give you everything you need Missy,” he said, suddenly feeling the urge to pull her into his arms and hold her. “I just need to keep you safe…. as well as everyone else, ”

She felt a pang of emotion that she did not want to explore and pushed it away, not wanting to bring the myriad of emotions that the vault held for them both out into the open at that precise moment. So she instead maintained eye contact with some degree of difficulty, before rolling her eyes dismissively and leaning in, her lips so close to his that he felt the heat of her breath against his mouth,

“Do you want to see?” she whispered, excitement dancing in her eyes.

“Your TARDIS?” he asked hopefully.

“Come on,” she said, “before I forget where I left her and have to start pointing my umbrella at every tree in the woods.”

It was close by, very close and she took his hand as she paused, turning to him. “I should warn you, she's not looking her best, but she got back to me and she managed one extra trip to bring me back to this floor. I’m just….not sure she can do anything else for us now.”

She pushed the door open, and led him inside, “We did agree you would owe me a TARDIS if this happened, didn’t we?”

He felt a distinct wave of regret as he entered, surveying the damage and wishing he knew what it looked like before it had sustained what looked at first glance like irreparable destruction. The walls and most of the console were blackened, with the strong smell of burnt electrical components indicating that Missy had probably managed to extinguish a worryingly large fire.

She dropped his hand and walked to the ruined console, turning around and leaning against it, her hands gripping hold of it either side of her. “I meant what I said, she could only manage one trip, that extra hop was a bonus, so she’s stuck here now. The electrical charge carried her through to me, but she took heavy damage,” she sighed. “I only had a power issue before, now i’m left with serious damage and I can only access 30% of my TARDIS - but structural integrity is sound from what I can tell, despite the console taking considerable damage, and I got the chameleon circuit stable so she’s safe here.”

The Doctor frowned, stepping closer to her and placing a hand on her shoulder as he looked into her eyes with sincerity, “we will find a way to repair her together Missy, even with this level of damage we now have considerably more technology than we did previously.”

She smiled somewhat sadly, “I don’t know if she’s recoverable after this, but i’m going to work on her and i’m not leaving this floor now, not unless I lose that much outer integrity that there really is no chance to save her.”

He sighed, already running scenarios through in his head, and realising that she would try until the last moment to save her TARDIS. She wasn’t going to leave without being forced to and he didn’t want it to play out that way. “I’m sorry, I didn’t want this to happen, but if she’s shut down as much as 70% she could be redirecting power and repairing - there could be considerable recovery yet - and we have a safe haven if this floor becomes breached.”

“Yeah,” she said, emotion lacing her words. “Adopting a farm full of pets and bringing them to live on my dying TARDIS - not quite what I had planned when you let me out to play.”

He reached out for her,hearing the sadness in her words as he pulled her to him. She leaned into his hold and they remained just apart enough that they could see each other, -Missy wondered if he also felt as lost in her eyes and she often did in his. At times a spark shone from him when he looked at her, and it reached the part of her that drove so many of her choices. She wanted his friendship - the way they once were together, so long ago - she missed him. Pressing her face into his shoulder she wasn't even aware that she had started to cry.

He tightened his hold, one hand rubbing her back gently as the other moved up to her hair, stroking almost instinctively, wanting so much to ease her sadness. She had kept her TARDIS safe for a long time, and now the damage looked at first to be irrevocable. He had been there before. It occurred to him then that she was right - they really weren’t that different.

Pulling back he kissed her head and glanced over the wound on her head. It wasn’t showing signs of healing yet and that concerned him.

“Are any of your medical systems functioning?” he asked.

“Yes, my emergency protocols kicked in, essential rooms have survived,” she said as she took his hand and stepped away from the console, giving a slight smile. “She saved my music room too, can’t quite find the cinema though.”

“Let’s see what supplies we can access now and patch you up - lead the way,” he said.

He squeezed her hand and let her lead him from the room. The feel of her hand in his warming his hearts, as they made their way through the darkened corridors together.

Chapter Text

The medical room had fared better than the console room, and after a brief argument, she agreed to sit on the bed and let him help her.

He scoured the drawers and cabinets until he was satisfied with the supplies he had pulled together. When he turned around and saw her grimacing in pain as she tried to shrug her jacket off. Crossing the room quickly, he met her eyes with a deep concern.

“What’s wrong?” he asked as he helped her remove her jacket, before folding it and placing it on the chair next to the bed.

Turning back to her he was drawn immediately to a very significant burn covering most of her forearm and wrist. He got to work without hesitation, carefully rolling up the badly burned sleeve of her blouse and feeling relieved to see it was beginning to heal.

“Oh Missy, this is a bad burn, it must have hurt to wear your jacket over it,” he said.

“Well I hardly wanted him to see me in this state. It's bearable Doctor, I've lived through worse.”

He produced an anaesthetic pad and placed it over her wrist, realising he needed several, he tore open six packets and placed them all until they covered her arm. She smiled as the pain reduced significantly.

“Thanks,” she whispered.

He turned his attention to her head, examining carefully as he frowned, not happy that the healing was so slow.

“This is taking too long - your body is prioritising where to heal.”

“It was healing fine until I hurt my arm, I’ll just go easy,” she said. "Don't make a fuss, it's nothing."

She closed her eyes momentarily and he instantly put his hands gently on her head.  Her eyes snapped open as she felt the tingle of regeneration energy beginning to seep into her wound.

She slapped his hand away in annoyance, “don't you dare Doctor. You can I'll afford it, you're barely back to full strength yourself, and i'll be fine.”

He sighed and kissed her forehead, the urge to take care of her far too strong ignore.

Feeling the need to do something for her regardless of her protestations, he brought over a bowl of warm water and a cloth and after soaking and writing it out, began to dab gently at the dried blood on her face.

Their eyes met and her hearts hurt at the sorrow she saw deep within him.

“You think we’re going to die here Doctor,” she whispered, “but I won't go out easily. I’ve commanded a planet wide army of Cybermen - I won't let them end me, or you. They're puppets, we just have to seize control of their strings.”

He leaned closer as he began sponging the dried blood from her hair, taking time to use just enough water that it would shift the blood without soaking her blouse.

His eyes met hers as he cupped her chin before turning her face to one side, tilting her head up as he worked carefully.

She hadn't realised how much blood there was until he began washing it away. She closed her eyes, feeling him dabbing her face with a dry cloth with such care that she felt like kissing him.  

The feel of the warm cloth wiping so gently on her skin was soothing, and she let her eyes close once more as she focused on the warmth of his care. Lost in the moment, she didn’t even realise he had stopped until the hand holding the cloth dropped it to the floor and began to stroke the back of her head.

She smiled and opened her eyes, her hearts racing at his close proximity to her. There was really nothing else she wanted to do at that moment, so she leaned in, demolishing the remaining inches between them as she pressed her lips against his.

He closed his eyes in response, startled at first before a flood of feeling poured through him. He wrapped an arm around her waist as his hand tangled gently in her hair, aware that she was injured and wanting to be cautious with her as he returned her kiss softly.

She wrapped her arms around him, and pulled him closer as she spread her legs around him, smiling at him as he stumbled slightly and realised how close he was standing to her.

“Missy, we shouldn’t be doing this,” he began, his voice sounding in complete disagreement with his words. “You’re hurt, and we…”

We , Doctor,” she said, cutting him off before he spouted any nonsense about them being in the middle of a desperate situation or her being technically his prisoner, “are not complicated in the slightest. We, are you and me. And I have wanted to do this for a very long time.”

She cut him off as she grabbed the lapels of his jacket and pulled him back in with a firm kiss, her lips parting - his following as their kiss deepened.

Despite his protestations he responded instantly. As soon as he had a taste of her he wanted more - he wanted to be gentle and caring and place her down on the bed, slowly undressing her as he gradually revealed every inch of her. He also wanted, with equal intensity, to haul her up against him, her legs around his waist and walk over to the nearest wall, pinning her against it as he ravished her.

It was charged and intense - once they each had a taste of the other they just didn't want to stop. Missy was completely oblivious to any pain she had been battling to minimise just moments before - inching against his mind just a fraction as she let him have a taste of just how aroused she was feeling - of how much she wanted him.

She could see no need to stop so she groaned in frustration as he pulled back, both out of breath as they held each other.

“Doctor, please - don't start over thinking this. The cyber puppets out there, the humans you want me to adopt, my TARDIS...Gallifrey, every life we lived and every lie we’ve ever told each other - we, Doctor exist above it all, we are more - more than any of it. When all is said and done what we really have is each other. So just stop all that deafening doubt and worry that you have in your head and take a moment out of this madness to just...be together.”

He looked into her eyes, seeing only honesty reflected back and he smiled at her, inching in to place a kiss on her forehead.

She felt a flash of doubt from him and in an instant she felt her confidence flagging.

“My…” she said, her voice wavering, hating the vulnerability she heard in her own words, “bedroom is completely undamaged.”

She stared at him, wishing he would just kiss her again and feeling ridiculous for stumbling over her words - she’d settle for the bed in her medical room if need be. She just wanted him.

“You,” he said, his voice wavering much more than hers had,“do need to change your blouse.”

She laughed, “my, Doctor you are good at talking dirty.”

He felt instantly awkward and she found it absolutely adorable, and grabbed hold of him, quickly, giving him no time to stop her as she resumed right where they left off.

It was hopeless resisting her - he had been able to in this regeneration, despite opportunity after opportunity alone together in the vault, but despite her flirtatious suggestions she had never crossed that line and he knew the sole reason was that she knew he wasn't comfortable with it. She couldn't bear him feeling guilt after being intimate with her, or worse, regretting it because his definition of morality told him that he couldn't visit her, be intimate and then close the vault door afterwards and keep her imprisoned inside. 

Damn his morality. She wouldn't have minded one little bit.

She did find him incredibly frustrating at times  He didn't seem to grasp that she hadn't tried to escape - and she had run several scenarios through her head. She really could if she chose to.

It it had been so long since they had been that physically close, in a loving intimate way. Lifetimes upon lifetimes had passed them by while they circled each other, playing, fighting, seeking each other out but never being truly honest.

He felt her mind opening allowing him to enter but making no move to push against his any further. He appreciated her going slowly for him, it wasn't something she was used to. She waited, a silent invitation to connect deeper with her.

He stroked the side of her face lovingly and touched his forehead against hers, letting out a slow expectant breath as he dropped his barriers just enough for them to feel mentally connected. It was overwhelming at first, her hands on him and her mind in his, but soon he relaxed and began to enjoy the sensation - intimacy with other species just was never the same. 

She dropped her forehead against his shoulder, breathing slowly as he moved slightly to carefully undo her buttons. It took a moment for him to slip her blouse off as he took caution around her burned arm. Once he finally had the ruined material discarded to the floor he ran his hands up and down her upper arms slowly.

“You're beautiful - have I ever said that?” he said.

Missy broke eye contact and he instantly moved to cup her chin with his hand and nudge her to look at him as his thumb caressed the edge of her mouth, almost ghosting across her lips.

She wasn't used to that. Her physical encounters were never tender and gentle. She had needs and had never lacked for companionship when she sought it, but she always played it as her game. Always in charge and never caring for feelings or a connection beyond the physical need.

With the Doctor, she felt wide open - and with that came vulnerability.

He tenderly brought his hands to cradle her face, feeling her uncertainty and well aware that she was not used to feeling cared for so intimately.

“We do Missy. We have always existed on another level - just us, together. We played all those games, but only because we’re both so stubborn.”

She smiled, “yes, we are. All these lifetimes and all we really wanted was this. Just the Doctor and the Master holding each other.”

He wrapped her in his arms tightly, losing himself to the feel of her in his arms, his mind, his hearts - it was a perfect moment where everything just felt right. He longed so much for moments like those.

She wrapped her legs around his waist, ensuring there was as little space as possible left between them and sighed happily

Vulnerability might be worth the risk with him.

Chapter Text

Two hours had passed and the Doctor felt a pang of guilt that he was in the safety of a TARDIS, enjoying intimacy with his closest friend, while everyone outside were preparing for a fight which would likely lead to their deaths.

Missy on the other hand, didn't look remotely guilty.

The Doctor sat in a luxurious oak framed armchair as he watched her. She was standing in front of a full length ornate swing mirror, angled slightly as she surveyed herself. He smiled and she caught his gaze in the mirror.

“Your TARDIS has prioritised curiously,” he remarked.

“How so?” she asked, pinning a stray hair into place.

“You have 30% and she's diverted resources to your bedroom, your wardrobe room to give you an identical blouse, medical bay is a good one, but I glimpsed your music room nearby too.”

She smiled proudly, “she knows what I need, I found my cinema too.”

He stood up and stepped closer as she fastened her buttons, smoothing down her jacket and ensuring her appearance was perfect.

His hands crept around her waist as he stepped closer behind her.

“Doctor,” she said, her voice making it unmistakable that play time was over. “We have a very large cyber army who are upgrading fast to defeat. My attire is immaculate and I don't want to take out Cybermen with creases.”

The Doctor met her eyes and wasn't sure whether she was joking until she winked at him and he laughed, but he still felt a flash of concern. “We had better get out there, your younger self will start thinking he's running the show.”

“Oh I'm sure he thinks he is anyway. Let him pretend he's in charge, he's less difficult that way.”

The Doctor placed his hands carefully on her shoulders and met her eyes through the mirror, “Missy, if we come out of this…”

“Now, now Doctor, it’s when, we come out of this.”

He closed his eyes for a second, hoping those words were true, “when. Are you leaving with him?”

She froze and he felt her tense under his hands.

“Doctor, I've travelled his path and have no wish to return and relive my past. If you mean am I going to use him as a means to leave - a quick rampage through the stars causing destruction and beautiful chaos wherever we go before I fly off back to my own brand of chaos….or will I willingly return the vault for the next few hundred years?” She paused with a playful smile, “well Doctor, Isn't It obvious?”

He frowned, wishing she had answered him directly, “just remember who you are now, Missy. Be careful around him.”

She laughed and turned to face him, leaning in to place a quick kiss on his lips, “and who am I Doctor?”

He met her eyes with a look of such honesty and intensity that she froze. “You're a brilliant and wonderfully creative Time Lady, who sees and feels more goodness than she cares to admit, and is capable of things she can't even imagine yet,” he paused with a slight smile and closed the distance between them with a loving kiss, before inching back, his voice dropping to a whisper as he spoke her name with reverence, “you're Missy.”

She felt her breath hitch as an instant flood of emotion caught her by surprise at his unexpected words.

Damn him when she had just finished perfecting her makeup.

He took her into his arms and she returned his embrace, glad to have a moment without eye contact - she really wasn’t used to such personal, caring declarations from anybody, but it meant so much when it came from him.

She stepped away, continuing to avoid eye contact, “can you make sure he’s not scaring the locals? I need to spend some time here and see what I can repair.”

He paused as he looked at her, contemplating briefly whether she would leave if she could get her TARDIS operational enough to de-materialise. He hated that the thought crossed his mind, but he couldn’t help it as he remembered just how short the time span was since she had left the vault with him. “You need to put in an appearance, we’ve both been gone too long. Let’s come back here together later.”

She stared hard at him, a flash of hurt at his words, “you think i’ll run and leave you here.”

He closed his eyes briefly as he tried to refocus - the fact that she had her TARDIS key bothered him, but taking it from her would not be easy. Even inoperable, her TARDIS symbolised her freedom, and taking her key would not only hurt her but drive a wedge between them also.

“I do have faith in you Missy. I just...” he paused, hoping he was wording it well enough. “I worry about you. I hadn’t anticipated any of this, least of all being thrust into this situation with him. I wanted to put you somewhere low risk, this went very wrong. I want you to come back to the farmhouse for now - we can come here together later and devise a plan to use the technology we can access now.”

She shook her head and her gaze hardened, “in other words, i’m not allowing you out here by yourself Missy. She paused before responding, her eyes meeting his with a glare, “your test ended the moment Bill was shot. I’m not taking instructions from you. I’m staying here - you can go and keep my past out of trouble.”

She turned and walked out of the room, leaving the Doctor feeling like he had somehow colossally messed up, but not entirely sure how. He decided not to follow her, giving her space as he made his way out, heading back toward the farm.


 

He had kept his eye on the sky, noticing it grow darker and darker, and keeping a mental note of the passing of time. She hadn’t returned over four hours later. He needed her back - partly because he did want to keep an eye on her, but mostly because he needed her.

He tried to pretend he wasn’t keeping watch for her at the window, his concern growing by the minute. He wasn’t sure what was bothering him the most in truth. She was safe in her TARDIS, and he doubted she would just leave - not that her TARDIS was going anywhere anytime soon. He felt a flash of guilt as he wondered whether it was simply that he had spent decades knowing exactly where she was, and the sudden independence she had was the issue. If that was the source of his concern then he wasn’t sure if it was justified or healthy. He eventually chalked it up to needing to know she was not slipping back into the mindset of her past.

His hearts rose as he finally spotted her walking back to the farmhouse, but he grew instantly tense when she was joined by the Master, the two of them standing close together and talking.

The Doctor watched them intently - it was impossible to tell what they were saying, but Missy had quickly gone from looking intrigued to irritated. He tensed when he saw the Master grab her arm. She shook him off but he grabbed her again, this time attempting to pull her toward the barn.

He tensed, ready to go out and intervene if the Master took it too far, but relaxed as he saw her jab him hard in the stomach with the tip of her umbrella before walking quickly back to the house. She would not have been at all happy with him for rushing to her aid, but it was hard to fight his instincts.

He heard the door creak on it’s hinges at it opened and then closed behind her. She rounded the corner and hesitated briefly at the threshold to the main room when her eyes lay on the him. He felt for a moment like he had been caught spying on her - which in some respects he had, even unintentionally.

She entered the room and walked up to him, hesitant initially. “I came back - see? Didn’t run. I don’t know if we’re going to live through this, but I want you to know something,” she paused, taking a deep breath. “I want to leave with you.”

He stepped closer and took her hands in his, her eyes instantly meeting his own, the hope she saw that he held for her was overwhelming at times.

“I can’t let you go Missy. I need to know you understand that leaving with me doesn’t mean you will be free, at least not yet.”

She nodded, tears glistening on her eyes, “I know that,” she said, her voice wavering, the vulnerability he saw really striking him, “but maybe you let me pick the destination on our next excursion.”

He raised a hand, cupping her cheek before he turned his hand around, the backs of his fingers brushing tenderly at the side of her face. “Yes, you will, and we could start going on excursions regularly. I’m not going to just lock you back in there day after day, not now. You’ve come along way.”

She smiled at him and he leaned in, kissing her gently. She loved it when he was so attentive to her and he in turn felt his guard slipping rapidly down. He pushed that voice in the back of his mind away - the one that always stayed there, even when it was buried with the hope in Missy’s eyes. He had never completely let it go - the concern that the Master would always turn on him, abandon him and leave any hope he held in shreds. As her lips parted, inviting him to deepen their kiss, he pushed his doubts as far away as he possibly could.

The Master stood outside as a light rain began to fall. He stared in anger at Missy  - he couldn’t hear them, but what he saw spoke for itself. She was far too close to the Doctor, and that was his future.

He stepped away from the window and silently made his way into the farmhouse.


The Master waited patiently in Missy’s room, his back to the wall next to the door, ensuring he would have the element of surprise and catch her with her guard down. He was glad to hear her approach alone. Good. They didn’t need the added annoyance of the Doctor’s humans trailing after her.

She was inside and pushed the door closed before she noticed him. He made his move fast, his hands moving straight to her throat as she tried to process what had happened. He took a strange delight in the way her eyes widened in shock at his actions, and tried to push away the bizarre feeling that he had his hands round his own throat.

He knew he wouldn’t have long, she looked almost defenceless at first but she would pull herself together fast.

“You’re kissing him. Kissing him . He’s stroking your cheek! I won’t let you do this to me, where the hell do I go wrong to end up like this?” he said, his voice laced with a dangerous edge.

She kicked him as hard as she could on his leg, and he loosened his grip enough at the impact that she backed away and ducked out from underneath his arms. He didn’t quite counter her move quickly enough as she grabbed her umbrella and smacked him across his stomach.

He doubled over in pain instantly, and wondered once again what that umbrella was made out of, as it had the ability to immobilise him pretty instantly.

She shoved him, hard, and he fell back, only just managing to land on her bed. She wasted no time as she straddled him, her hands moving to his throat and not afraid to squeeze hard enough to alarm him. He retaliated by shooting his arms up, his hands gripping her throat even harder. She winced in pain and struggled to take a breath, but only tightened her grip further.

“MISSY! Get off him!”

They both looked round, almost annoyed at the interruption, to see Nardole standing in the room, looking more cross than worried at the scene in front of him.

He shook his head as they ignored him and returned to glaring at each other, their hands each squeezing the others throat threateningly hard. Nardole stepped closer, prising the Masters hands away from her throat, before doing the same with hers, and physically lifting her off of him, standing her back on the floor.

She glared at him, “he started it!”

He shook his head again in amazement, “we have a fight to the death situation pending, and you two are trying to strangle each other! I hope you’re both ashamed of yourselves!”

The Master propped himself up on his elbow and glanced at Missy, with a questioning look, “i’m not.”

She met her younger self’s eyes, and shrugged, “neither am I. He’s an idiot.”

“And she’s getting,” he paused, his voice changing to one of total disgust, “snuggly, with the Doctor.”

“So strangling each other seemed like the best decision...wait...there’s snuggling going on now?” Nardole said.

Missy rolled her eyes and glared at the Master, “just get out of my room.”

He stood slowly, “good idea - I could be doing far more productive things - such as sorting out the walking toaster. The Doctor wants to save all these people, but they’ll all die because he’s too sentimental about his new tin dog in the barn.”

Missy tensed.

“Stay away from Bill,” Nardole said, staring hard at the Master.

“That ex human is a liability. Someone has to take action - sentimentality will kill everyone here long before the Cybermen make it up here,” he said, turning and walking toward the door.

Missy glared at him, “concentrate on something useful like how to stop them getting up here in the first place.”

He smiled at her, before turning to Nardole and casting him a glare, and then pulled the door open and walked out.

Missy looked at Nardole, “I didn’t need your help, I can handle myself.”

Nardole frowned, considering the double meaning, “yes, you can. I was more concerned for him - but who’s going to clean up the mess? You’ll kill him and then we’ll have two Missy’s walking around, and I don’t know if that’s going to improve this situation or not, or just cause the whole ship to explode. There’s not exactly a manual on how to handle multiple versions of the same person.”

“Two Missy's wold be far more productive! You're not exactly discouraging me here, but we can't get sidetracked - we need to stop him. He’s going to kill her first chance he gets. She gets his back up.”

“Why?” Nardole asked, “I get the worry everyone has around her, but why does he have such a problem with her?”

Missy paused, her hand moving up to her neck as she massaged the tenderness away, “it’s not really her.” She sighed, “the Doctor just doesn’t give up hope that she can be saved. He hates that - all that hope and compassion spilling out of the Doctor.”

“And you don't hate that?” Nardole asked curiously.

“No, well...yes, but not like I did when I was him. What if she could be saved? It’d be an engineering masterpiece to reverse a cyber conversion, and immensely difficult, but maybe he’s right not to lose hope that she can come back.” She paused, glancing out of the window again to ensure he had not headed to the barn, “or maybe she cant and the Doctor’s hanging on to false hope. Sentimentality can get in the way of common sense sometimes.”

“The Doctor doesn’t give up on people - you should know that better than anyone,” he said.

“What do you think will happen to the Doctor when he realises she can't be saved?” she said, pushing his remark firmly aside.

“It’s best we don’t think about that Missy,” he said.

“He meant what he said - he won't wait to kill her until she’s a fully fledged Cyberman. It goes that far and we could all die, either when she starts shooting or she brings them all to us. But right now, she’s still in there - somewhere. There’s something of her left,”

“How long for?” Nardole asked.

“I don’t know, but she’s been living on borrowed time for a decade now already - the clock is ticking and he will not risk her existence for much longer. He’s not just talk - he will end her.” She paused, thoughtful, “do me a favour,” she said.

He hesitated, frowning, “is this something the Doctor wouldn’t be happy about?”

Oh most probably, but it’ll all work out and there’ll be sunshine and rainbows and lollipops at the end. Just keep my trigger happy self busy, that’s all you need to do.”

Nardole didn’t quite know why he was agreeing to a plan that didn’t have the foggiest idea of the details of, but he found himself, nonetheless, making bizarre small talk with the Master while Missy left the farm house unnoticed. He regretted every single second, realising he had been roped into a distraction, but it worked for long enough before the Master snapped at him and told him to leave him alone - with quite some colourful language and mild threats of violence.

Missy made her way quickly through the woods, heading straight to her TARDIS and she had just reached it, using her umbrella to emit a sonic pulse which swung open the doors, as she heard the crunching of twigs as someone stepped towards her.

She closed her eyes and cursed as she heard his approach, not knowing which one of them it was, but not especially wanting either of them at that moment.

“Missy,” he said, an unmistakable disappointment to his voice, “where are you going?”

She remained at the open door, but turned to face him, “you’ve seen the state my TARDIS is in, i’m hardly able to run now am I? I want to check the status of some of the main functions that’s all, don’t go getting suspicious. As exciting as you chasing after me would be, I am not leaving.”

He frowned, stepping closer, growing concerned at the way she inched closer to the door in response, “I can help you…” he began.

“Oh Doctor, you are so transparent, I don’t need an escort into a damaged TARDIS, i’m going to put some hours in trying to repair her -  i’ll be back before light, now go keep an eye on the other me - he’s the one you need to be concerned about.”

The Doctor, realising that the ground between them felt quite fragile at that moment, decided against his better judgement to back down. He nodded with sincerity and turned away.

She stood at the open doorway, watching his retreating form as he moved further back towards the clearing in front of the farmhouse. He didn’t look back and she was glad for that. She hated the suspicion and disappointment directed at her by him. She wouldn't have minded if it were actually deserved but she hadn’t done a thing to warrant it - yet.

With the Doctor’s mistrust and the continual conflict with her younger self filling her thoughts, she got to work.

 

Chapter Text

It was not a fix by any means, that would take far longer and involve weeks of solid work at the very least. Losing her cinema was the sacrifice she had to accept, but she wanted to remodel anyway, so she shrugged off her annoyance. It gave her the power boost she needed to create a localised containment field in her laboratory, which her TARDIS had relocated just outside of the console room.

With enough power for a short shift of location, she de-materialised.

The doctor had entered the barn moments before - wanting to check on Bill before heading back to the farmhouse. He had only just entered and was about to speak to her when the sound of a TARDIS  filled the room. He froze as Missy’s TARDIS materialised around him, taking a moment for his senses to adjust to the the abrupt change of environment as he realised what had happened. Looking ahead of him, he noticed to his dismay that he was a mere two meters outside of a containment field.

Missy stared at him in surprise from inside the containment field, then glanced around with a disappointed glare. "Why would you do this? Did you bring the Doctor in here on purpose?  I don't have time for disobedience from a TARDIS."

She shook her head, but wasted no time. Stood next to her was Bill, who was looking around at the inside of Missy’s TARDIS, not understanding what had happened.

Missy didn’t give her chance to react and pointed her umbrella, sonicing with precision until Bill crumpled to the ground.

The Doctor stared in horror as he watched Bill hit the floor. Missy stepped closer to the containment field and met his eyes with determination and the slightest shred of guilt.

“Visiting her for nice chats and hoping the inevitable completion of her cyber conversion miraculously doesn't happen is a foolish approach. The other me is right - she will ultimately cause inadvertent death, or bring the rest of the Cybermen to us. Someone has to do something and as my previous self has a plan to solve this problem by killing her, I think mine is more palatable. You would never have agreed to this, but she’s my project now. You go back to playing the hero - go off and save all the other squishies out there.”

“Your project ? Project!” he said, appalled, “she’s not a project shes my friend, and I don't want her hurt!”

Missy felt a flash of hurt and stared hard at him, “one of those humans out there will kill her eventually, if my younger self doesn’t do it first. She has little time left before there’s nothing left of her Doctor. You make promises without thinking it through, promises based on blind faith that somehow you will fix it. You CAN’T fix her! But maybe, with enough time, I can. She’s the ultimate project - reversing a cyber conversion!”

“What are you going to do to her to even attempt that? You could kill her Missy - you haven’t asked her if this is what she wants, if she dies because of what you’re about to do, then she never had a say. You are taking her choice away.”

Missy shook her head in amazement, “her choice? What does her choice matter when all that’s left is to wait until she’s nothing but a robot, truly dead in every sense, or let me try ?”

“Missy, please, just take the containment field down, and put her back in the barn. We can sit down and talk about this, about why this isn’t right, about why her choice needs to be a factor.”

“This isn’t a test i’m failing Doctor - this is a life I am going to save. If you get down from your moral podium for a moment you’d understand that. Now I have no power to move again for a long while, so please leave my TARDIS as I am activating a time distortion inside here and you are about to get quite unwell if you stand there.”

“A time distortion? Why?” he asked.

She sighed, impatiently, “because Doctor, this is going to take a considerable time, and time is something we not only don’t have, but ridiculously for Time Lord’s, we currently can’t manipulate on any kind of scale to get us out of all this, so i’m slowing it down inside here so I have time to work. Leave. Please .”

He stared at her in desperation, willing her to stop, but it was clear that she was intent on going through with her plan. Eventually he did as she asked, holding back from saying or doing anything that would get her back up. He needed her to stay calm and focused. If he couldn’t stop her then he needed to ensure she wouldn’t be distracted by him threatening to never let her out of the vault again, or attempting to break inside the containment field to stop her. It was hard to turn away, but he did, assuring her that he would be back at first light.


 

The Doctor wasted no time, and returned the next morning, having had time to regain some calm and order his thoughts. He had a small battle on his hands to get access to her TARDIS - but the ship appeared to want him to come inside, and eventually, after letting him try and fail to break in repeatedly, just opened the door. He smiled his thanks, and went inside.

He went straight through the console room, glancing around as he was struck by the remarkable difference. The console had considerable more functionality, with one entire panel no longer showing any damage. The walls appeared to have recovered significantly from the fire, and there was a low hum all around him. Whatever she was doing, something was certainly working, and at quite an impressive speed.

He opened the door and froze when his gaze moved straight to the table where Bill lay. He didn’t have words for the sight he saw, the helmet was open, along with other sections of the cyber armour which had been cut out, and wires and tubes were feeding into her with machinery all around the bed. Bill showed no sign of life and he felt instantly sick as he stared at her - taking in the way her head was still partially connected to the circuitry of the cyber helmet. She appeared lifeless in every sense and he felt a huge wave of grief and horror as he tried to drag his eyes away from her.

Gradually, his shocked gaze moved to Missy who was asleep in a chair on the other side of the lab. He called her name and first got no response, so he called her again, louder and with more purpose.

Missy roused, blinking as she looked first at Bill, standing up and quickly moving over to a monitor and checking the readings before realising the cause of her sudden waking. She turned to the Doctor and walked toward him smiling warmly, “Doctor I missed you, i’m glad you came back I wanted to show you my progress.”

“Of course I came back!  You’ve abducted Bill and you’re doing a dangerous experiment on her!”

Missy sighed, “please Doctor, I don’t need this, it;s a futile argument so I won't discuss it. Save your anger and outrage for something else, i’m sure the other me will give you something to focus it all on. I was so looking forward to seeing you, please don’t spoil it.”

“Missy…” he began, then paused, “wait - you were creating a time distortion.”

“Yes, and my TARDIS is being very kind to you, but very disobedient, in letting you in and reverting time to the outside speed. It’s an interruption I don’t really need, but i’m glad you’re here.”

“How much time has passed in here?” he asked.

“About three months,” she replied, the weariness in her voice striking him.

Three months ? I’ve been gone for a few hours - you’ve been working on her for three months?” he exclaimed.

“Give or take a few days, but look, I have made progress. It’s doesn't look like much, because much of what i’m doing is happening inside her. I need to regrow tissue, make a heart that will work in a human, repair her damaged neural pathways - then there’s flesh and bone and nerves and ALL the things that the cyber conversion tore right through. I am regrowing her! It’s exhilarating!”

The Doctor closed his eyes, “please tell me you haven't activated pain receptors.”

“Do you think I'm trying to be cruel here Doctor? That I'm doing this to cause pain - to torture her?? I am not trying to hurt her. I have no reason to harm her! ”

“No, I don't think you are, but you could do inadvertently. Please Missy, I’m begging you to be careful - don't kill her with this.”

“I did that once already Doctor and I won’t let it happen again. I can change this, I can fix her - help you keep that ridiculous promise you made that you would save her.”

He stepped as close to the containment field as he could and watched her, “please let me come inside Missy, you’ve gone too far to go back without killing her now so I can’t stop you. Let me help.”

She raised her hands and closed her eyes as she shook her head, “i’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

“I won’t stop you - I promise you, you don’t have to stay inside there. Three months is a long time to be in there alone doing something of this magnitude.”

She shook her head and gave a sardonic laugh, “oh don’t worry Doctor, I’m well used to being alone in sealed room. Three months is only half of the time you left me without company or anything more than the basic supplies I had to exist on.”

The Doctor felt awash with guilt, she had never brought it up and he realised he had just moved on, happy that she didn’t talk about it. He had worried about her - he had given her only the briefest of a heads up that something was coming, but then left her for six months with no hint as to when he would be back. She accepted his brief apology too easily in hindsight. His own guilt was the reason he hadn’t talked to her about it any more, and he instead resorted to bringing her extra gifts, becoming far more lenient with the things he let her have. Once he had established a certain level of gifting, it was hard to draw it back again - he had a responsibility to her and couldn't toy with her like that. So the new norm had quickly changed to her testing the boundaries with more and more extravagant requests, and he allowing almost every one of them. He knew it was cowardly but he hoped that she realised he was trying to make it up to her - albeit with cake and technology.

“I’m sorry Missy, I failed you and I realise that. I could have found a way to communicate or at least prepared things better. I messed up - and you can thank Bill for helping me realise just how much. She was appalled that I’d left you alone in there for that long.”

“Yes, I remember, you told her I was a monster,” she said nonchalantly.

“She has no idea of your history Missy - I know how much you’ve changed, how far you’ve come, but she doesn’t. If she starts to think you’re the victim here and let you out…”

“Then I’d murder everyone who stood in my way while I located your TARDIS and broke in, stealing her and making off across the galaxy, burning worlds for fun. Is that it? Is that what you think i’d do? Because i’ve not laid a hand on your pets or any of these humans, and spent a painfully difficult time convincing my younger self not to either. I spent six months, just waiting for you Doctor. I could have left, believe me - but I just waited, because we have a promise to each other.”

“Then let me hold up my end of that promise to help you - to guide you, because this is dangerous and impossible. Drop the containment field and let me in. We can make her stable, patch up the cyber units connected to her and let her have the smallest shreds of her humanity that she still has left.”

“No. That Doctor, isn’t helping her or me. I’m sorry but i’m not going to do what you want me to. I’m not giving up on this.”

“Why?!” he exclaimed, frustrated. “Missy, why are you doing this?”

“I don’t UNDERSTAND you sometimes!” she said, her voice raising in irritation. “I raise humankind from the dead and hand you a cyber army and you ask why?  I do the opposite and try and save your pet and you still tell me i’m wrong and ask me why?! I just can’t do right in your eyes can I Doctor!”

He looked at her, acceptance that she was fiercely in control of the situation rapidly closing in on him, “please Missy, be careful. She’s a good person.”

“Yes, aren't they all. Don't worry Doctor, I don't plan to torture your current favourite pet,” Missy said, breaking eye contact and turning away from him. “I think it’s best you leave me alone to work uninterrupted.”

As he reluctantly walked away he held on to the fact that Missy was the only person he had ever known who would even have attempted what she was doing. She was capable and brilliant, but the risk that Bill could die, and the fear that he would never have been able to be there for her final moments outweighed the possibilities Missy was offering him. He couldn’t support what she was doing, and would, if she gave him as much as a sliver of a chance, stop her.


For Missy, a further two months had passed when she felt the presence of another Time Lord again. She was marginally disappointed when the Master entered, but somewhat relieved to see he had come, as at least she knew where he was and what he was doing for the time being.

He watched her in confusion, “sis, how long have you been in there for?”

She shrugged, “months, I think. I’m regrowing her motor cortex at the moment, it’s fascinating.”

“How are you doing that?” he asked, unable to hide his fascination as he cast his gaze over the machinery connected to Bill. “This is incredible - you know, you could create clones this way if you could speed the process up - imagine what we could accomplish if you grew copies of people in here.”

“Don't be ridiculous, this is delicate work, i’m not working for months just to create clones. If I succeed, I will have the processes to do this on a wider scale - imagine what a powerful tool against the Cybermen this would be - how we could control them - connecting just the right neurons to seize control of established cyber armies. I could reverse cyber conversions en mass - no-one has done this before.”

“Why do you care? The girl died when we took her to the operating room and converted her, she was living on borrowed time for the decade before that - my time. Are you on some kind of guilt trip? Because if you are Missy, then I really despair for my future. Let her die and use that time bubble you've locked yourself in to repair your TARDIS and get us off of here...unless you feel some urge to be in there. You’re so used to being kept in a cage that you put yourself back in one.”

“Get out,” she spat, turning back to the monitor and ignoring him.

“He’s appalled with what you’re doing, so don't think for a minute that any of this is impressing him.”

“I’m not doing this to impress him!" she said, spinning back to face him in anger. "I’m doing it because it’s right, whether he thinks so or not, and because it’s the biggest challenge i've had in 70 years! And because I know I can accomplish this and what i do here can be used in so many other ways. The Doctor is ignoring all that because why? Because I didn't seek her consent first!”

“She was just a human, and now there’s just a wreckage of metal. Leave her to die and come out of there," he said.

“Leave. I’m working,” Missy simply said, and stared hard at him until he turned around and walked out through the doors, uttering a curse as he left a parting comment about the mess his future was in.

Missy sighed and glanced round her TARDIS, “that was very disobedient of you - I made it clear didn’t I? Only the Doctor - don't go letting anyone else in.”

With some further adjustments to the barrier, Missy created an even great gap between the movement of time outside her laboratory and the rest of the floor. It was patchy going through the TARDIS doors, but the worst that would happen as anyone approached her lab would be headaches and nausea - the trade off was that it would be a rougher ride going in the other direction, but she wasn’t planning to leave any time soon. It worked brilliantly, very localised - nowhere near enough to be of use to the latest collection of humans that the Doctor was desperately trying to save, but for her purpose, it served her well.


 

It had been over six months inside the containment field, but in truth she had stopped observing the passing of time.

Missy had only left briefly to get supplies and divert amenities from other areas of her TARDIS, and had then made it her home. She didn’t want to risk anyone interfering so she had stayed firmly inside - in time she had been able to increase the size of the lab slightly - not to an impressive degree, but enough that she felt less claustrophobic.

She had decided to activate pain receptors at that point - the Doctor would be disgusted and furious with her, but she needed to measure reaction and it was an essential part of the process.

Bill was looking considerably more human then - few metal components were left and Missy cast her eyes over her with determination. The exhaustion that had been gradually catching her up was not winning when her excitement and drive were in full swing.

She had begun to view her as a complex puzzle as she connected and grew the physical strands of humanity, weaving her back together. She was pleased with her appearance - spending a little time styling her hair in case the Doctor came in - knowing it would stop him in his tracks to see Bill looking so close to her human form.

She smiled as she checked the metal panels that were next on her to do list - Bill had not regained consciousness yet, so she could assess her physical reactions by monitoring the activity caused by her pain receptors when she lowered the anaesthetic as she cut out the remaining cyber casing.

She had preserved the weapon, considering it’s potential for use when she eventually went back outside - to a world that had barely moved a day since she had confined herself inside her laboratory. It sat on the table next to Bill as she removed other useful components and considered how they could be used together to create weapons that she could reproduce to help with first line defence if it came to it.

She hadn’t realised just how far her work had progressed, as she took a laser blade and began cutting into the metal plate surrounding Bill’s in progress heart. It was the most delicate part of the process and everything else had been relatively uneventful. She had begun that stage at the very start of the process, and given her new heart the longest time to grow and merge with the organically grown segments.

As she examined closely, she could tell she needed more time for the ventricles to have a chance to work as efficiently as they should, but it was working in cohesion with the rest of Bill’s system, and that was encouraging. It was the part of her which was totally obliterated and so she had needed to use a different specimen - from a rather gruesome cabinet in her lab. In truth it had been there prior to her regeneration and she really didn’t remember why that collection of body parts was there. There must have been a reason - a plan, but it was lost somewhere in her past and so she just gratefully used the contents as she rebuilt her non consenting patient.

Missy continued to cut away the remaining cyber plating, looking intently at the healing wound, happy that the rest of the plating could now be simply removed given that Bill’s nervous system was working independently of the machinery now.

She was completely immersed in her work, and failed to notice the activity spring to life on the system monitoring brainwaves.

With no warning, Bill’s eyes flew open and she stared in shock right at Missy. Missy didn’t notice until the monitors all instantly let out alarms. She looked up to meet her eyes and froze.

She realised that she should explain what she was doing, offer some words of reassurance, but she really wasn’t sure how. Humans were not her speciality, and she needed time to formulate a plan on how to convince her she meant no harm. Hypnotism was probably the best way forward to keep her calm but Bill waking so suddenly had taken her by surprise.

She took too long.

Bill opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out, and as fear consumed her, she raised her head slightly, just enough to see Missy, her hand holding a blade against her, and she panicked. She tried to sit up, making it only just enough to catch sight of the weapon on the table beside her. She flew her arm out in a blind panic, grabbing it and pointing it roughly in Missy’s direction.

Missy stepped back, raising her hands in defence, “i’m not hurting you, i’m fixing you. Listen. You were a Cyberman - I brought you in here to turn you back. I’m not…”

Her words were cut short as Bill, in her panicked state, gripped the weapon tightly and unintentionally pressed the button.

 

Chapter Text

Missy’s eyes grew wide as her hands moved straight to her stomach and she cried out in pain.

Bill groaned in pain as she eased herself up until she was half sitting. She couldn’t manage any further movement, her body feeling sluggish and numb in places. Staring in dismay at Missy who had dropped to her knees on the floor and doubled over in pain. Bill began to hyperventilate.

“Missy? Missy? I didn’t mean to shoot you!” Bill said, her breath coming in rapid, gasping breaths, “are you ok? Missy?? Where’s the Doctor?”

Bill had been forced to lay back, her energy totally depleted, but she could see Missy in her peripheral vision as she tried to stand. She felt absolutely sick as Missy grabbed a ledge on the adjacent wall, pulling herself up slowly and with obvious pain, as she forced herself to stand. Blood seeped steadily through her fingers from a wound on her stomach, soaking her clothes as she let out a strangled cry.

“Missy,” she whispered, crying, “we need help. Can you get the Doctor?”

Missy shook her head, unable to speak as she leaned heavily against the ledge, reaching up with her other arm as she swung open a cabinet, swiping blindly at the contents and grabbing at some of the objects that had fallen down. Her hands gripped a small device firmly as she slid down the wall back to the floor, holding it against her stomach and crying out in pain as she activated it.

Bill could only watch as Missy lost consciousness on the ground.

She had no idea how much time had passed when eventually Missy had roused. She watched her get slowly to her feet somewhat breathlessly, and winced in pain straightening up. She leaned her hands on the edge of the bed and took a moment to focus and try and assess her own condition.

Missy’s eyes met Bill’s and she realised that for however long she had been unconscious, the human had probably spent that entire time in total distress and was now utterly terrified. Reassurance, that's what human's needed, but this one had already had her fill of false reassurances, so Missy dismissed the notion to sugar coat.

“I’m not intending to kill you, that's not my agenda for today,” she said, pausing to take a steadying breath. “I can't promise I won't kill you, but it's looking less likely you've come this far. I won't lie and say I wont hurt you either - I probably will, because this is hardly a painless process. But you are almost finished - then we just need to rebuild some strength and we can go outside...where we face a fight to the death with a continuously upgrading and growing cyber army. Sorry ,” she said, waving her hand dismissively, and flinching at the stabbing pain in her stomach. “I hope you’ll live for at least a while - maybe even get off this ship. While I was working on your brain, I was very tempted to leave some of the cyber components in  - upgrade you a little - open up all those unused portions of your brain and really recreate you...but I didn’t, you are the same basic human you were before the Doctor took you on this ill advised excursion. You’re welcome.”

Missy closed her eyes, feeling exhausted by her explanations as she took a slow, steadying breath, fighting the burning pain in her stomach as she attempted to focus.

“You...did brain surgery on me?” Bill asked in horror.

“Oh please, nothing as simple as that,” Missy replied, opening her eyes as he stared at Bill, somewhat offended. “I’ve worked on you for a solid six months, cyber conversions have a habit of tearing through the people they convert, there was enough of you to regrow and reconnect, but some parts...well I got creative.”

“Creative?!” Bill exclaimed as she eased herself up, glancing over herself in a panic.

Missy laughed, ignoring the stab of pain it gave her, and the steadily increasing nausea, “relax, I didn’t give you wings - oh, there's an idea though. If you want wings , there’s still time, I think they’d suit you. Do you want wings?”

“No, no I really don’t think I want wings. Please don't do that. Six months….you’ve been fixing me for six months?!”

“Yes, and then you shot me. That’s what I get for helping,” Missy said, shaking her head.

“I...I’m sorry,” Bill stammered, “can you do some sort of Time Lord thing to fix it?”

“Some sort of Time Lord thing?” Missy shook her head, “And he says you’re his best student? No dear, I can’t do a Time Lord thing - we heal much faster than you do, but I will heal very very slowly because of this time bubble we are in. My whole TARDIS is regrowing around us at the same time - it means I have the healing ability of a human about now.”

“The Doctor will help us - where is he?” Bill asked, closing her eyes momentarily as she tried to organise her thoughts, her memories brief, confusing flashes of the rooftop, fire and the sound of an engine rising to meet them. “Is he ok?”

“Oh he’s fine, he’s always fine,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “Just a teensy bit cross that i’ve been cutting you open and experimenting on you. I won’t make it easily through the localised pockets of time distortion to leave my TARDIS, not with this wound you so nicely gifted me, and I don't want to turn it off yet, but he will come. He will be back to check on us soon - but his soon and our soon, are not quite the same at the moment.” Missy sighed, ”listen dear, let’s keep this latest development to ourselves, I don’t want the Doctor getting all protective, or the other me thinking he’s in charge if i’m injured. Comprendre?"

“Ok,” Bill said with uncertainty, “but you do need help, you should tell the Doctor.”

“Not until we’re ready - I can’t have him playing carefully because i’m hurt - we need to get my TARDIS ready to travel, and while he could do a lot of the work, i’ve got a lot of enhancements he won’t know what to do with...and, well...traps specific to a type 45.”

“Traps? Why do you have traps?” Bill asked.

“I used to be quite complacent at times. The Doctor was quite naughty and walked right in and stole my de-materialisation circuit once - we danced quite the dance with each other back then. I stepped up security after that as I wasn't going to make the game too easy for him, and i’ve become quite creative with it over the centuries. Plus, well - I don’t like anyone else interfering with my TARDIS operations. I’m protective like that,” she said. “So we’ll just let it be our little secret . Oh! I braided your hair too when I was bored, so we’re besties now,” Missy said with a conspiratorial smile.

Bill’s hand’s moved to her hair, and she looked in amazement at Missy she felt the braids in her hair, “uh, thanks…” she said, bemused.

Missy turned away nonchalantly, “I have to change my clothes before anyone sees this mess. Thankfully I can reproduce my outfit easily enough, although it’s never quite the same as an original.”

She grimaced as she tried to straighten her back, her stomach seeing waves of pain through her. She grabbed the doorway tightly and pressed her forehead against the frame as she tried to regain her composure, waiting for it to pass.

“Do you need...the thing you used before? It looked like it stopped the blood flow,” Bill said.

“No dear,” she said breathlessly, “all that thing did was close the wound, stop me from losing any more blood. The internal damage is not good...it will heal, but at a much slower rate than normal for my kind.”

“I’m..” Bill began.

“Sorry,” Missy hissed, turning her head just enough to meet her eyes as she cut her off impatiently, “yes, I know. You might have mentioned it.”

It was several days of an awkward relationship as Missy kept going, finishing the last of her work on Bill. Bill had been quiet and had moments of feeling tearful, knowing that Missy had worked for so long to save her but was now doing so through the agony of a stomach wound she had caused. The guilt was immense, but Missy did nothing to reassure or ease her guilt, which only made Bill feel worse. She wasn't entirely sure what she expected Missy to do - she wasn't directing any anger at her, but Bill had no clue what to expect from her so it was almost unsettling at times.

She wasn't sure how often Time Lord’s needed to eat, but she felt horribly responsible when she saw Missy attempt to eat and end up in intense pain. Missy said nothing of the experience and Bill assumed she had other ways of getting sustenance. She would have become ill quite soon otherwise if she physically couldn’t eat. Bill began to realise how little she actually knew about Time Lord's - and began to have a growing stack of unasked questions in her head.

Soon, Bill was strong enough to walk around the TARDIS for short periods, and she began to expect she was now in better shape than Missy was. She really didn't know what to do about that. Missy tried to hide the pain she was in, so Bill really didn’t have the ability to gauge whether her condition was improving or worsening.

As Bill began to walk longer stretches of the corridors, so Missy began to walk less. It bothered her more and more but she wasn’t comfortable enough around Missy to address it with her. She watched in alarm as Missy broke into a sweat merely walking from the library to the console room, and wanted to strike up the courage to ask her what to do if she were to collapse. She simply held back, knowing Missy would not appreciate physical assistance, but really not sure what to do.

It scared her a little - the thought that Missy might become so ill that she would be stuck on a TARDIS with no one to tell her how to get outside. The time bubble surrounding them meant that it wasn’t possible to just walk out, and she had no clue what any of the equipment in the lab or medical room was for. She didn’t even know if the TARDIS had an unlimited supply of the unfamiliar food Missy offered her once a day - despite Bill trying to explain how often humans needed to eat.

They had relocated to the console room as their base, and Missy was thrilled to realise that she now had enough power to expand her containment field to surround the TARDIS completely. She was pleased to be able to start assessing her systems and see so much improvement, her TARDIS really had been working just as hard as she had.

“Oh you are clever,” she said as she smiled appreciatively at her console, “you will be able to get us off of here soon.”

“Really?” Bill asked, as she sat on a comfortable armchair that Missy had moved into the room for her, but in truth she suspected she had brought it in as much for herself as for Bill. “You mean get off the ship?”

“Yes my dear,” she said with a smile. “Off this ship, and you can go running off with the Doctor to see the stars, just like he pretends not to while i’m locked in the vault.”

Bill felt a sudden wave of guilt which only intensified when she saw Missy tense and grip the console for support.

“Are you…”

“OK?” Missy snapped, “for the hundredth time, no I'm not OK, you shot me. Why would I be ok?!”

Bill hesitated, her instinct telling her to go to someone who was in obvious pain and help them, but Missy had made it abundantly clear repeatedly that she did not want or need any help. Bill was left feeling floods of guilt with every interaction she had with her, and the occasional throw away comment cast in her direction about shooting the person who saved her, only made Bill feel worse. She started to realise that humour was likely masking Missy’s pain and concern at what had become a long recovery from a debilitating injury. She didn’t understand much of what Missy explained to her, but she knew that once they were out of the time bubble her TARDIS was currently encased in, Missy would be able to heal much more easily. Until then, she had probably been in pain for a lot longer than Time Lord’s were used to.

It was a strange situation  - Bill felt a constant mix of apprehension and guilt around Missy, and she wasn’t sure which was the worst feeling. So she endured the nagging guilt, and focused on doing what Missy told her - she had no choice but to trust her.

It was completely over her head - almost every instruction Missy gave her as they both sat on the floor by the console, Missy trying to teach Bill some basic TARDIS engineering operations so that she could assist her in managing the time distortion field. She only understood 20% of what she was being told, but Missy was surprisingly patient, trying different ways of explaining until Bill had enough of a grasp to begin to be of some use to her.

Bill didn't really know if they were making much progress or not, but Missy seemed happy, and her TARDIS seemed to be humming in a pleasant, soothing manner.

Bill could only mark the passing of time by how often she ate or slept, and assumed to have been in the console room for around two weeks when Missy walked into the room, leaning heavily against the console but casting her a smile. Bill noticed that she gripped the edge of the panel quite tightly as she stood, but made no comment. Missy would only ignore it or respond with a biting comment about how Bill should  feel guilty for shooting her.

“My TARDIS is 85% operational, do you know what that means?” Missy asked.

Bill looked at her hopefully, “you can travel? Get us off out of this place?”

“Yes my dear, I most certainly can. I really am quite pleased with myself!”

Bill couldn’t help but return her smile - Missy had a way scaring the life out of her then making her smile the next minute. Bill found it quite disconcerting at times, but nevertheless she felt a certain affinity with her. She had saved her life after all - and Bill could not be anything less than grateful for that.

At times she felt like taking Missy's hand - it was an action her rational mind told her not to attempt if she valued her continued days, but she wanted to just reach out and touch another living breathing person. Encased in metal, she had felt so utterly hopeless and detached from the world - now though, she could feel sensation again and found herself running her hands over the buttons and levers on the console, feeling the vibration of the machinery. She knew Missy eyed her cautiously when she spotted her doing it, but she assumed there was enough security in place that even if she pressed a button nothing would happen.

Human contact was a thing she never thought she would miss, but Missy wasn't human, and she also was someone the Doctor and Nardole considered to be dangerous - she had to keep reminding herself of that.

Taking a deep breath, Bill stepped closer to Missy, throwing caution to the wind as she gave her no warning, and therefore no chance to back away. She smiled as she threw her arms around her.

As she expected, Missy froze - but didn't exact any acts violence in response, so Bill considered it a successful mission. "You didn't just save my life, you brought me back - thank you."

Missy remained still, casting her eyes around her console room, taking in the readings on one of the monitors while she waited for Bill to release her. Human's throwing their arms around her was not something she was used to and definitely not something she wanted to become a regular occurrence. Despite herself, Missy patted her on the back, not certain if that level of affection would suffice but refusing to let sentiment creep close enough to find out.

"You're welcome. This might be a good time to remind you that you did agree to get me a pony, so I will be holding you to that of course once we leave."

Bill had no idea if she was joking or not.

 

Chapter Text

Missy had emerged from a considerable time in the medical room and was walking much more easily. Bill could only assume that she had taken some kind of pain killer, which she perhaps had a limited supply of. Noticing she was wearing her jacket, she felt her heart leap - they were going outside.

Six and a half months had passed for Bill and Missy, and yet when they stepped outside of her TARDIS, a mere two days had gone by. Missy had disabled the time distortion field, and they were able to leave with little side effects. She had explained that it was trickier going in the other direction but Bill didn't understand why, was just relieved to be outside.

They walked toward the farmhouse, Missy subtly using her umbrella for support as they approached the house, not showing any sign of pain but becoming rapidly less mobile the further they walked.

Bill knew Missy needed help, and telling the Doctor might risk Missy’s wrath, but if the alternative was her collapsing with a serious injury then she felt she didn’t have much choice, especially if Missy’s TARDIS might be full of traps to prevent tampering. Deciding to play it by ear she followed Missy into the farmhouse.

It was quiet at first, and Missy concentrated, hoping she would locate the Doctor quickly. She set about making a pot of tea and Bill sat down at a small table next to the window. Missy soon returned from raiding the kitchen with a tray laden with tea and biscuits that she had found, and set the table.

It felt very strange to Bill, to be sitting there sharing tea with Missy, and she soon realised with yet another flash of guilt that Missy had only sipped her tea and not drunk any significant amount. She pretended not to notice and just reminded herself that they would not be alone now, and that meant that if Missy collapsed then Bill wouldn't be the only person there - with no idea how to help her or get herself out of her TARDIS.

“Are we going to stay here for a bit to rest?” Bill said. "Just walking across the field made me tired."

“Yes, and you’re tired because we’ve passed through the barrier between the time distortion field and the rest of the floor outside the TARDIS. Sort of jet lag for time travel. It’ll pass and then we will both be back to normal. Might be a while though - it takes time to wear off, and we are going to have to go back into my TARDIS which means crossing back through the residual time distortion left over in that direction, and that will have some minor side effects. You just need to go easy - remember you’re not a Cyberman now, so no taking them on in hand to hand combat or anything ridiculous like that.”

Bill smiled, she had grown quite fond of Missy’s humour and was warming to her considerably. She knew Missy was far more complicated and had a history that spanned much greater than the brief time she had spent with her on her TARDIS, but she couldn't help liking her, despite being afraid of her on another level. She had never met anybody who she held such strongly conflicting feelings about.

The Doctor had explained enough about Missy's past that it unsettled her. She couldn’t shake the fear that crept in occasionally, but Missy really didn’t seem dangerous on the surface - although it occurred to her that looking dangerous probably wasn’t a prerequisite for actually being dangerous. 

She found herself shiver momentarily when it crossed her mind that she was sitting having tea with a mass murderer and enjoying her company, but she just couldn't help the way her guard dropped when Missy winked at her playfully. It was very confusing.

As the sound of a nearby door opening interrupted their thoughts, Missy sat up straight, flinching as she straightened almost un-noticeably as she readied herself, determined not to appear as bad as she felt.

As luck would have it both the Doctor and the Master entered the room at the same time, engrossed in what appeared to Missy to be pointless bickering. She rolled her eyes at Bill and eventually coughed in a dramatic fashion to get their attention.

“Well a hello would be nice! How nice to see you again Missy? Oh look, you did a very clever thing?” she sat back, shaking her head at Bill. “Tough audience these two.”

She turned her attention solely to the Doctor as she watched him in excited anticipation. He stood motionless, staring at Bill - stunned.

“You actually did it?” the Master said as he moved quickly to the table and leaned down grabbing Bill’s shoulders as he moved to haul her up and take a closer look.

Missy reacted instantly and stood, swinging her umbrella down hard across his arms.

Ow ! Was that completely necessary?” he said.

“Yes, it was. I’m not having you ruin my big moment.” She turned to the Doctor with a proud and expectant smile, “well? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

The Doctor stepped closer to Bill, staring at her as if she were a mirage. Bill felt suddenly overwhelmed by all the attention focused on her and her eyes filled with tears.

“You actually did this sis. I’m even more of a genius than I am now!” the Master said smugly.

I did! She’s all fresh and newly grown! What do you think Doctor?” Missy said expectantly - as far as gifts go, it had to surely be the best she had ever given him.

The Doctor stepped toward Bill, speechless at first, and held out his hand. She took it with a smile despite the tears beginning to fall and he pulled her into his arms wordlessly. Neither of them moved at first until the Doctor eventually spoke, “I didn’t think this was possible - this is incredible. Are you ok? How much do you remember?”

Bill shifted in his arms, her eyes meeting the Master’s briefly, before she looked away, uncomfortable, “I remember pain. I just remember pain, but not much after that - it's like flashes of memories. I feel ok, just tired.”

His gaze moved to Missy, “is she completely healed?”

“Yes, of course, she’s probably gained a few extra years in her lifespan too - which is good given how few years humans live for in the first place,” Missy smiled proudly.

The Doctor shook his head, “you brought her back to me Missy - I didn’t think this was possible.”

Missy glanced at the Master with a victorious expression, “and you said he wasn’t impressed!”

He shook his head as the Doctor stepped back, smiling at Bill before moving to Missy and pulling her into a hug. She laughed at the unexpected move and he kissed her on the top of her head, his arms encircling her with love and appreciation.

The Master took a few paces back, looking in disgust at them all, “before anyone gets any ideas, I’m not hugging any of you,” he paused, glancing at Missy. “Well maybe her - and maybe a kiss too, but no one else.”

It was a very odd scene when Nardole walked into the room, immediately dropping the cup of tea he was holding, the cup breaking into pieces on the floor.  


They made the short walk to Missy’s TARDIS, with her doing everything in her power to disguise how hard the walk was for her, and Bill covering for her like a guilty accomplice. When they finally reached the doors, she went through quickly, relieved to be home, and invited the Doctor to explore, reminding him that Bill needed to rest a little having crossed back through the residual time distortion. The Master, alone in the console room with Missy, watched her with suspicion.

Missy felt his eyes on her, but tried to keep busy, ignoring the way the pain had intensified when she had crossed back into her TARDIS.

“You ok sis?” he asked, with more suspicion than concern.

“Of course I am, we need to start evacuating the humans out there and then try and reach your TARDIS, then the…” she cried out in pain as he stepped toward her, grabbing her shoulders and shoving her against the wall.

“What have you done? Don’t tell me you’ve risked your own life for one of the Doctor’s pets,” he spat.

“Get. Off. Me,” she hissed. “It was an accident, i’ll be fine once the effects of the time distortion wear off. I can’t heal until it does. Now get off .” She pushed him with enough force to cause him to step back and he relented but remained in front of her in close proximity, before slipping his hand around the back of her neck and pulling her close to him.

"As soon as I can, i'm leaving. You need to come with me," he said.

"I'm sure we could have all kinds of wicked fun, and that thought is appealing, believe me, but i'm staying. Sorry," she said.

"For him? Really Missy? He will never accept you for who you are. Leave. You've wasted decades with whatever game you're playing with him - stop acting like one of his pets and walk away. It'll break his heart," he smirked. 

She sighed, "I don't want to break his heart, but it's not just that. I'm not going to explain myself to you, but i'm staying with him."

He sighed, his hand sliding up her neck and tangling into her hair as he tugged, tilting her head back. "Shame. We could have had a lot of fun."

She smiled, "I'm sure we could."

Releasing her hair, he narrowed his eyes as she shifted to straighten herself and winced in pain.

“Don’t end us by sacrificing yourself for a human, we’re worth more than that,” he paused, taking a deep breath, aware of the way he had reduced the distance between them quite suddenly. “The Doctors humans aren’t worth our future for. You, Missy….you are better than that, so much better .”

He brought his other hand up and cupped her chin as their eyes locked and they both fell silent.

“I really need to kiss you,” he said, looking into her eyes intently. He had a strong impulse to just pin her against the wall and ravish her, but he pushed it away, his future was after all, as brilliant as he hoped he would be. “May I?”

They stared into each others eyes, an unusual affection in his, and a questioning uncertainty in hers. He waited, not overstepping boundaries any further - wanting to demonstrate that he did have respect for her. The look in her own eyes moved from questioning to suspicious, but then a fleeting surprise when she realised his respect was genuine.

After long moments of silence, she nodded. They moved in unison as they inched closer and their lips touched, softly. It was brief and fleeting but they each kissed the other with an uncharacteristic affection and gentleness. It was curiosity coupled with an unmistakable pull to each other - a boundary that needed to be crossed. There was no time to even contemplate how far they would go, and both aware of this, they simply enjoyed the moment.

 When the Doctor reentered the console room he watched them, confused at the way they both stood, an arms length apart as they looked at each other. He had not seen them look at each other with such genuine admiration when it was not a show put on for him. This was different and it stopped him in his tracks at first.

“We….should get to work on an evacuation plan,” he said, feeling like he had interrupted something as he turned his attention to the console monitors, quite uncertain as to what was going on between the two Masters. 

Missy watched him, suddenly breaking into a laugh and skipping away from the Master before circling the console until she stopped in front of him.

"I wouldn't touch that panel - not if you want to keep your lungs working," she said with a smile.

The Master laughed and looked at her with appreciation, "oh, we haven't done that in a long time."

The Doctor's hand froze over the controls as he looked at Missy, "please switch off your safeguards, every push of a button is hazardous!"

Missy laughed as she got to work, doing her best to ignore the steadily increasing pain radiating from her stomach.

Chapter Text

Missy sat on the chair in the console room, her eyes on the Doctor as he paced back and forth, working through possibilities. She was exhausted, but made a concerted effort to lounge casually in the chair. She had only slipped off to her medical room to increase the level of pain inhibitor an hour previously. It wasn’t working well at all, and she knew she would have a hard time convincing the Doctor that she was fine. She also began to feel a creeping sense of urgency.

“We need to do this now - just load these people up and get out of here, no point hanging around if  we are going to try and retrieve your TARDIS and reach his too,” Missy said.

The Doctor stopped and looked at her, “it might be risky to reach his.”

“What’s the alternative? He comes with us? We leave his TARDIS here and risk rapidly upgrading Cybermen gaining access to it?”

“Good point,” he said. “Ok, we drop him off as close as we can to his TARDIS, make sure he can actually get out - if he needs an electrical charge - can you access the weather system from another level - tap into the network?”

“Of course, but I can go one better and access the entire system from my TARDIS - they didn’t expect to need high levels of security, it's a relatively easy system to push over and gain control of, even remotely from within here.”

“Good,” the Doctor smiled, obviously impressed. “Then we can pick up my TARDIS, and navigate both together. Have you calculated contingencies for the black hole? The way out might not be smooth.”

“Of  COURSE I have,” she said, rolling her eyes. “We hit so much as a bump and my TARDIS will change the formula, she will keep on rerouting and sending out electrical charges until we find a way through.”

He smiled, “I’ll make sure Nardole is ready to get everyone inside.”

“This may leave me with some damage again - shouldn’t be on the scale as last time as I fixed the power issue, but we need to be very careful.”

“We will - we can route power from my TARDIS too - that should create enough of a power surge without risking yours taking the full impact of breaking away from here.”

“I appreciate that,” she said with a smile.

He couldn't help the way he smiled in response to her. Every moment of warmth he saw within her, however fleeting, filled him with the kind of hope he had never felt before. He felt afraid of that at times - remembering their long history, but when he saw the hope in her own eyes reflected back he couldn't ever turn away.

She held his gaze and was struck by the fire she saw within him - it was passion, drive and confidence. The fact that she was at the core of it all was not lost on her. His hand reached for hers and she took it instantly, the warmth of his hand against hers sent waves of emotion through her. She wanted his friendship - his love, and his acceptance, she always had, but for the first time she finally saw an honesty within him. He wanted their lives to intertwine just as much as she always had, and he was finally allowing his heart to be honest about that.


 

They began their journey - Bill sitting in the chair, casting the occasional somewhat awkward glance at the Master. He in turn paid her barely the fleetest moment of attention, more interested in watching Missy’s calculations as she tapped into the weather control panel.

Initially the TARDIS moved smoothly, but before long, Bill held tight to the chair which thankfully seemed to be firmly fixed to the floor, as they hit huge turbulence.

The Master swore, moving to the console and working on a different panel opposite Missy. Bill heard her giving him some coordinates but didn’t know what they were doing - the Doctor seemed to automatically move to the console and start doing something too. She was fascinated as she watched the Time Lords working seamlessly, each instinctively operating the multitude of switches and levers.

Suddenly, a huge jolt shook the room and the Master and the Doctor were flung backwards but each regained their footing and held on to the console as a bang followed by a small explosion came from an adjacent panel.

Missy hit the ground and began to try to get up, the Doctor not noticing until the TARDIS began to stabilise. Turning to see her hauling herself up, her hands gripping the edge of her console, he felt instantly worried.

As he moved round to help her, he was suddenly struck by how pale she appeared and the great effort it was obviously taking her to try to stand up.

“Missy, what happened?” the Doctor said, as took her arms and eased her upright. She instantly fell forward and he held her carefully in his arms.

“I shot her,” Bill said, standing up and stepping closer to her, her heart racing with anxiety as she watched Missy fearfully.

The Doctor turned his head, “you shot her?”

“I...woke up when she was operating on me. I panicked and I grabbed something and pointed it at her. I didn’t know she was helping me and I didn't mean to shoot her, it just went off. She didn’t want anyone to know. I’m sorry - I never meant to hurt her, i’ve never even held a gun before.”

The Master rolled his eyes and glared at her, “first time you fire a gun and you shot the person trying to save you.” He turned to the Doctor, “is this one your current favourite?”

“Shut up,” the Doctor said, casting him a brief warning glare.

The Master merely laughed in response and watched as the Doctor moved Missy over to the chair, sitting her down. He crouched in front of her, his hand stroking her cheek as he watched her with grave concern.

“Missy, how bad is it?” he asked.

Missy shifted uncomfortably and winced at the pain shooting through her. “I won't last much longer in here - we need to get away from the black hole so I can land and heal - discharge the time distortion properly, I was exposed to it for too long, and my TARDIS is full of it, it's preventing me healing.”

“I’m so sorry,” Bill said.

“You were scared, it’s understandable, but you should have told me,” he said, focusing on Missy, “and you would have told her not to. That’s not helpful - I’m not risking travelling further while you’re in this condition. We can find a way to discharge the time distortion from at least one room, lock it down and you can heal in there.”

“This is exactly why she didn’t tell you,” the Master said, annoyed. “You will want to go some long convoluted route now and make her recovery a long drawn out process of slowly working medicine. You’re a hypocrite if you preach about doing the right thing and then put her through what you’re about to. Just keep going, she won’t get better until you’re far enough away from this place that you can land. She’s not made of glass, she can handle the journey.”

The Doctor contemplated his words for a moment and then nodded, “you’re right.”

The Master laughed, “oh, now that is music to my ears.” He paused, his gaze falling on the scanner, “you’ve stopped close to the city.”

Missy moaned in pain as she reached into her pocket, her fingers closing around metal. The very shape of it pressing against her skin felt like freedom. It quickly warmed in her hand, and she could feel an irresistible pull to be amongst the stars. She tensed, shifting awkwardly in the chair as she tried to find a comfortable position. Pulling out the de-materialisation circuit, she held it out to him as she smiled with considerable effort, “take it. Go.”

He crossed the room and stooped down, taking it from her before entwining her hand in his and lifting her hand to his lips where he placed a lingering kiss. “Thank you dearest, I trust you can pilot your TARDIS out of here also?”

Yes, I can. Now go ,” she said.

He turned to the monitor, then moved his hand straight to the console and opened the doors.

“So, you’re just going to leave? Go your own way and leave us to it?” Bill said, her voice lined with contempt.

“Yeah, that’s about right,” the Master said with a shrug, before turning his attention to the Doctor. “Do you have a workable plan to reduce the healing inhibition?”

“There's too much residual interference inside here - she has what I need in her medical room but it’s limited and will be wasted if I use it now. I land…... somehow , get her outside and she takes it then. We can stablise the environmental systems after that.”

The Master nodded, “you’ll fix her. Now don’t waste time and do that “

“I will,” the Doctor said with sincerity. “I promise you.”

“There’s a lot of Cybermen out there….” Bill said, as she watched the monitor.

“Are you worried about me? How...sweet,” he said with a patronising smile before turning his attention back to Missy.

“No,” Bill said, taking a deep breath as she stared hard at him, waiting for him to look at her before continuing. “I was thinking that it would be poetic justice if you didn’t make it past them.”

The Master paused, stunned momentarily by her boldness, before smirking at her. He immediately turned his attention to Missy, closing the distance between them as he picked up her hand and placed a kiss on her knuckles - focusing solely on her with intensity. They both remained silent as they looked into each others eyes - Missy taking a long hard look at her past, and the Master focusing hard as he pushed at the edge of her mind, slipping in with ease as she relaxed.

‘Remember who you are sis.’

They both continued to remain silent as she held his gaze until she eventually nodded in response. He appeared satisfied and dropped her hand before turning to leave, raising his hand in a dismissive wave.

Missy watched as he cast her a parting glance as he walked away, before the TARDIS doors closed firmly.

Her gaze was still focused on the doors for a long moment after they closed.

“Poetic justice happens in...oh, about ten minutes dear. I regenerated here - in my TARDIS. He will get a direct hit from a Cyberman moments before he makes it to the doors. He gets inside and becomes me while his TARDIS is racing through the stars.”

Bill found herself unable to avert her gaze from the monitor, staring hard at his retreating form as he headed with purpose through the city outside. She shook her head, uncertain of how to feel when the Doctor switched off the screen.

“You shouldn’t remember that, how is that possible?” he asked.

“I don’t know - i’ve got flashes of memories, but nothing else as concrete as that. I think maybe that’s why it was a cyberarmy I raised - I had this need to control them, make them my toys.”

“You raised an army of Cybermen?” Bill asked, astonished.

Missy smirked as she slumped back on the chair, exhausted, “oh, I have so many stories I could entertain you with my dear.”

“Maybe, you have some more pleasant ones you could share with Bill,” the Doctor said. “Right now though, time is of the essence.”

Missy smiled proudly at the Doctor, “oh but Bill’s all brand new again - a fresh lifespan with whole new centuries and I have lots of stories to share.”

The Doctor stared at her, puzzled.

“Missy, Bill’s human….”

“Yes, I did notice, aren't they usually, your pets?”

“Humans don't have centuries...a century would be exceptional,” he said, his tone cautious.

“Are you saying I can live to 100 now?!” Bill asked, amazed.

Missy laughed, “oh well yes, of course you could, but why stop there?”

Bill watched her curiously, “what do you mean?”

The Doctor, watched, tense as he processed her words, but was startled when she suddenly closed her eyes and bent over, the pain engulfing her.

He stepped closer and placed a steady hand on her shoulder, while his other hand stroked her hair. “I'm going to finish this journey and get off this ship, and land somewhere that I can help you. If you’re talking about extending human lifespans - that's a big discussion we can have another time.”

Missy eased herself up, “oh Doctor, you do underestimate me at times. I'm not talking about it, I did it! Look! I gave her a little boost. You don’t just have your current favourite pet back, I gave her to you for much longer than that. She will age so much slower than the others. Just try not to annoy her so she leaves or put her in too much mortal danger. Well? Aren't you happy?”

Missy stopped speaking and despite the way she now felt shockingly ill, needing to catch her breath after speaking, she still felt a flash of excitement.

The Doctor stared at her, speechless.

“Missy,” Bill began, uncertainly. “I will age slower? What does that mean?

Missy rolled her eyes, “exactly what it says on the tin. Why give you a ridiculous human lifespan when i’m practically recreating you? How boring!”

The Doctor moved his hands to her shoulders and looked into her eyes. She felt an instant confusion at the look he wore. He wasn't happy or grateful in the slightest, he just looked concerned.

“How long is her lifespan now? he asked cautiously.

Bill froze when she answered.

“About 300 years - aren't you pleased? She asked, frowning.

“Missy...what have you done?” he asked, shocked.

“It hurts to draw breath and you’re not even paying attention when i'm talking! Honestly Doctor, this is the most exciting gift i’ve ever given you and you're not even listening!”

“I heard you...I’m just, incredibly stunned,” he said, one hand remaining on her shoulder as the other moved to cup her cheek. “Missy, it’s not that straightforward - every human she knows will age and die around her….I don’t know what to think. Of course I want her to live for as long as possible but this wasn't a possibility for her. The natural order of humanity just doesn’t work like this.”

“Oh, since when do I care about that?” Missy said, waving her hand dismissively.

Bill, who had been listening intently to their conversation, raised her hand slowly, feeling somewhat awkward. “Um, Doctor? I really would like to not die for as long as possible. I was a Cyberman for a while there…..300 years as me sounds like a much better result.”

Missy beamed at the Doctor, who could find no response other than amazement, “see? She’s pleased! It’s not like I went and made her immortal now is it? Some of us wouldn’t go that far…”

The Doctor broke eye contact with her, not opening that avenue of discussion up as he turned to Bill, taking in the burst of excitement she clearly felt. Returning his gaze to Missy, he stroked her cheek as his gaze locked with hers. After a brief moment he closed his eyes, processing everything she had said, and considering the enormity of it all. When he opened his eyes she was still looking expectantly at him. He leaned forward and placed a brief kiss on her lips, his gaze softening as he understood her intent to be no evil scheme, but an act of kindness, and this time, a gift that was not intended to harm. Ethics and practicalities aside, he had almost lost Bill and now the situation had reversed completely.

He nodded and smiled at her. “Thank you Missy,” he whispered.

The joy that filled her hearts felt as if it could burst out and envelope all three of them. She attempted to move forwards to embrace him but found herself in far too much pain to move.

She smiled broadly as she did the only thing she had the strength left to do - and raised her arms, inviting him to embrace her.

The Doctor immediately moved into her open arms and wrapped her in a careful embrace, holding her gently, cautious of her declining condition.

He placed a kiss on her head, and she smiled contentedly.

Chapter Text

The Doctor had tried repeatedly to de-materialise but the TARDIS had barely responded. He had been focused completely on the controls and was frustrated. Looking in annoyance at the console he stepped back and glanced at Missy. “She won’t move - probably doesn't want to get ripped apart again.”

“There’s a fail safe,” Missy said, breathlessly as she clutched her stomach. “She will seek me out and return to me in a crisis. I’m here, of course, but if we activate the fail safe manually, she will throw all caution to the wind and do everything she can to travel to the nearest me she can detect. That should help us to get away from here.”

Missy tried and failed to stand up, and so was left with no choice but to relay instructions to the Doctor. He followed her fail safe operation step by step, intrigued at some of the barriers she had in place and how she explained how to get past them.

It worked, mostly. In the final moments the Doctor held on to the console tightly as all control of the flight was lost. The TARDIS jolted repeatedly, attempting to de-materialise and failing.

“She’s resisting because another version of herself is there. Her systems are telling her that this emergency protocol has already been completed. She’s confused. Force her to complete the journey - override the protocol and land manually,” Missy said, as she leaned back and closed her eyes.

The Doctor glanced at her in alarm, noticing the sheen of sweat now accompanying her pallor. He felt a creeping fear rising, knowing that she had already hidden her condition so may not be honest about how ill she was becoming. He began working, and in moments they de-materialised with a violent bang that shook the entire room. A final act of protest by Missy’s TARDIS at having been led on such a complicated journey.

The Doctor cast a glance at the screen with a slight frown, but was relieved to have made it away from the black hole.

“Bill, stay in the TARDIS, this is a military controlled area, they may detain us for a while if we don’t get back inside quickly enough. You’ll be safe here,” the Doctor said.

“Can I help? I want to - this is my fault,” Bill said.

“She will need repeated doses of something she’s synthesised in her lab,” he said, casting a concerned glance at Missy, who had become very quiet and sat slumped in the chair, unnaturally still. “It would be helpful to have the process to reproduce it at least started. I can show you what to do - leave instructions.”

“Ok, anything I can do to help,” she said.

The Doctor checked Missy’s vital signs and made her comfortable by re-positioning her at a less awkward angle that she had become slumped in. Satisfied, he felt able to leave her alone for a few minutes, and took Bill to Missy’s lab, getting her settled and laying out the tools she would need. He quickly inputted instructions and brought them up on a small screen in front of her.

He returned to Missy, and wasted no time in putting his arms around her before pulling her up to stand. He felt alarmed at how unresponsive she was, barely supporting her own weight as she slumped against him. He felt a flash of fear at her condition and scooped her up in his arms, hurrying outside.

The doors closed behind him immediately - Missy’s TARDIS clearly feeling cautious, but he was grateful that Bill would be safe inside.

He headed around the nearest corner, not wanting to do what they needed to directly outside the TARDIS and attract too much attention. He hurried on until he felt they had crossed a safe distance, and would no longer be affected by the residual from the time bubble.

Laying her down on the ground, he stroked her hair and whispered a promise that he would help her. He got as far as pulling out a small vial of medicine, when he heard the sound of a gun cocking and looked up to see that they were surrounded by UNIT soldiers.

The timing could not have been worse.

He expressed to them all what complete idiots they were being, but they paid no attention to his protests as they pulled him up and away from her.  

“No, don't do this now - I need to help her, she’ll die if I don’t!”

Missy turned her head slightly in the direction of his voice, barely conscious as she tried to speak, “not loving...your bedside manner...Doctor.”

He watched in dismay as she lost consciousness and the soldiers grabbed her, roughly rolling her over, cuffing her hands behind her back.


 

Bill had focused solely on the task she had been given and not paused at all, until she realised that she had successfully followed the instructions and created six vials of the liquid medicine that certainly appeared identical in appearance when she placed them in a sealed unit. Standing back, she glanced at the screen, checking the  instructions and realised that she merely needed to press two buttons, one to lock the unit and the other to start a process. What the process was, she had no idea, but she had set everything up and was content that she had achieved what she needed to.

Standing back, she took a moment to glance around the lab, noticing lots of unfamiliar equipment and technology. Deciding to return to the console room, she stepped outside and walked in the direction that she was certain she had come from.

She walked to the end of the corridor, pushing open a door, to reveal not the console room, but a large, high ceiling room that she could only describe as a very elaborate spa. Stepping back, she turned around and walked back pushing open the door she was certain was the lab, and stopped in utter confusion when she found herself looking at the same room - a fountain in the centre of a large swimming pool, lit with underwater lighting of some kind. In the expansive room, a pleasant steam filled the air with the scent of lavender.

She turned around, walking back again to the other door - only to find herself right back at the spa like room again. Bill was completely confused and sighed, accepting that Missy’s TARDIS was leading her in circles.

“There are worst places to be stuck,” she said, shrugging as she walked into the room, taking a seat with a degree of hesitation on a cushioned lounger. Looking out toward the fountain, the sound of the water cascading down filled the room as she took a moment to pause, her thoughts drifting immediately to Missy’s revelation.

“300 years….” she whispered. “Wow.”


 

The Doctor paced repeatedly in the small floor space of the Brigadiers office. Kate watched him, confused and impatient. “She doesn't get chances from us Doctor, our direct orders are to take the Master in if she or he, sets foot on our soil.”

“Arrest on the anticipation of crimes someone might commit - what would your father say about that Kate?” the Doctor said.

“My father was as committed to this uniform as I am, and he would not have just let the Master walk away either. She’s hardly innocent. She’s never been held accountable for the loss of life of a number of UNIT personnel - my people . Loss of life always accompanies her, we aren't giving her a chance to get that far a second time.”

“She is not who you think she is. She’s well over 70 years older than the last time you saw her and she’s not here with an evil plan to wipe out humanity. She’s spent months reversing a cyber conversion - saving the life of someone who I care about. I just needed to land here and help her. She’s seriously wounded and she will die if you keep me from her.”

“Doctor, she is the Master , and she can’t be trusted. She’s won you over by doing something to gain your trust for a few months. Think about this for a moment - the Master always knows your weaknesses and will always tap into them.”

“You won’t listen! She isn't recovered enough from what she was exposed to in her work. I have to give her treatment that doesn’t exist on earth - then her body can heal itself - she can't even regenerate until she can discharge all the residual time distortion she's flooded with - like radiation of sorts. You have to let me see her - otherwise she will die in UNIT custody, and tell me Kate - will you sleep at night knowing you did nothing and let somebody die?”

“She caused the deaths of my people Doctor. You stand there defending her as if she were innocent! Whose side are you on here?”

“It’s not about taking sides! If she wasn’t my friend - if she hadn’t changed, if I didn’t see the goodness she is capable of - I still wouldn’t agree with you throwing her in a cell and denying her medical attention!”

“I will send a Doctor to assess her - if she is genuinely that ill then she will get the basic care she needs,” Kate said.

The Doctor took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. He could not have felt more frustrated. “She’s a Time Lord , you’ll do more harm to her if you try to give medical care intended for humans. Just let me help her. I don't condone her actions but she has changed. She doesn't deserve this - she's achieved the most innovative scientific breakthrough I've ever seen - she can make an incredible difference to the universe with what she has accomplished. Yet you would drag her to a cell and leave her to die, refusing to allow the only person who can help to see her. I'm appalled.”

He felt a huge relief when she finally relented and agreed to let the him see her.

He felt incredibly frustrated with Kate, but not surprised. The Master was a major threat to earth and had been for longer than UNIT had been keeping records, they didn't take risks, and he didn’t expect anything less than a heavy handed approach from military personnel. He couldn't expect them to see Missy in the way he did. He knew she was capable of so much even before she worked on Bill. No-one would ever know her in the way that he did.

They walked through rooms the Doctor had not seen before, some containing artefacts from other worlds and some apparently containing nothing except sets of steps, leading them down even deeper underground. Kate spent the entire time detailing every incident that UNIT’s records showed the Master’s involvement in. He didn’t interrupt, as she was distracted enough that he was able to casually acquire some smaller artefacts as they walked through, slipping them into his pocket and hoping he had liberated something useful. There was undoubtedly alien technologies there that UNIT really should not be in possession of.

As they reached the lower levels, Kate stopped in a large open area, with doors leading off of the stone walls. She gestured to a door on the wall across the room and he breathed a sigh of relief that he would be with her in moments, but he was struck by the silence. It was unnerving, and also unnatural. Missy would not be so silent if she were able to vocalise.

He could only hope he could help her in time.

Finally, they stood outside the door, and Kate deactivated a locking mechanism before sliding open three large bolts. Pulling the door open, the Doctor pushed past her unapologetic and rushed inside.

His anger rose as he knelt down next to Missy, who was laying in the middle of the room, on the stone ground. Her hands now chained in front of her and secured to a bolt on the ground. She was mostly unresponsive, despite her eyes fluttering open periodically, and he felt a flash of fear at how still she was.

He carefully rolled her onto her back and his hands moved to her jacket, undoing the buttons before unbuttoning her blouse near her stomach. He wanted to check her wound, but was instantly confused by her clothing - they had shared an intimate moment, but she had been quick to divest of her clothing herself, faced with the task himself he found the waistband of her skirt was situated higher up than his human friends normally wore.

Fumbling slightly, he managed to slip his hands underneath her and find the zip, easing it down so that he could carefully pull her skirt down to her hips.

He then realised that she was wearing a full corset which would be difficult to open without moving her. He was forced to stop, not willing to loosen her corset or move her unnecessarily - her corset appeared to actually be a very firm material with heavy boning in its structure and might have the practical function of supporting her wound better than bandages could.

He began to re fasten her buttons, and tucked her blouse back into her skirt, wanting to ensure she looked her best, knowing that was important to her.

He settled for taking off his coat and rolling it up, before lifting her head enough to slip it under and give her some level of comfort. It wasn't much, but it was one act of kindness he could give her.

He looked up at Kate angrily, “let her out of here, this is unnecessary. You’re better than this level of cruelty.”

“Sorry Doctor, but the Master has a reputation for escaping and for deception. I am not going to be fooled into enabling her escape.”

“She’s dying, she’s not planning some elaborate escape! Look at her - do you honestly believe she is faking this? Kate, this is wrong.”

Kate stood and watched as the Doctor stroked Missy’s hair, whispering to her that he was going to help her. She shook her head, concerned that the Doctor was defending the Master so vehemently and showing such care and concern for her.

The Doctor glanced round briefly, “if you won’t unchain her then at least leave me with her for a moment. Grant her that much decency that you will give me some time alone with her!”

Kate stood her ground at first, but her resolve soon wavered and and she relented, telling the Doctor she would give them some time alone, but impressed on him that she would only be a short distance away, and he had exactly five minutes.

Finally, they were alone and the Doctor leaned down, stroking a stray lock of hair away from her face before leaning down and placing a kiss on her forehead. With no further delay he slipped his arm under her neck and eased her up.

Pulling out a small vial of medicine, he lifted her head just enough that he could place the vial against her lips, pressing slightly on her bottom lip until she opened her mouth enough that he could begin to tip some of the liquid into her mouth. Aware that he had a very limited supply with him, he let it flow slowly. In seconds she was coughing and spluttering, but he merely paused and waited for her to catch her breath before returning the vial to her lips again and continuing. It was slow and somewhat messy, but he eventually emptied the vial, and hoped that it would be enough to help her.

Looking down at her he stroked her hair away from her face and smiled affectionately at her as finally, her eyes fluttered open, “feeling better?”

“Much,” she said with a smile, stretching her arms above her head slowly but with a degree of caution, as she yawned.

“Exhausted though. It’s been a quite the day - get these off me Doctor,” she said, leaving her arms outstretched above her head. It was easier to remain still than attempt to move again given the weight of the chain, and she had managed to rouse with some degree of elegance after all - she wasn't going to blow that by trying to raise her arms from that position.

He produced his sonic screwdriver and quickly released her wrists from the chains. Offering her his hand, he helped her to stand.

“You’ll have a burst of energy now, but it won't  last more than a few hours - you will need to sleep before long, so we can’t waste any time here,” he said. 

She smiled and thanked him, her hand remaining in his as she squeezed gently, “these soldiers are my least favourite of your humans, they’re always trying to knock me out or kill me.”

“Sorry, they’re on my list for least favourites too at the moment,”

“Oh, you have lists? Which list am I on?” she asked playfully.

He felt a flood of relief wash through him at her playfulness, finally admitting to himself how scared he had been of losing her.

“Ok, escape plan,” the Doctor said. “Unfortunately I don't have one.”

“Well that’s quite the anti climax Doctor, I thought you were going to be all heroic and save me - not patch me up and tell me to take it from here myself!” she said.

“I didn’t really see this coming - the timing was terrible. You're well versed in escaping - any ideas?”

“Well Doctor, we have one teleport left on my bracelet, and despite the overkill in locking me up in here they didn’t take my jewellery - they actually put me in a maximum security cell, with nothing but a teleport bracelet, Tissue Compression Eliminator and two other far more low tech concealed weapons. They are so easy to fool - just disguise a weapon as pretty jewellery and they barely glance at it!"

The Doctor stared at her, “Missy? You have a Tissue Compression Eliminator? Are you being serious?”

“Ah…..I was getting a bit carried away there and hoped you hadn’t heard that part,” she said. “Why are you delaying our grand escape with a sudden interest in my accessorising? Come on Doctor,” she said as she looped her arm into his, changing the subject and pressing the button on her bracelet. “Off we go!”

 

 

Chapter Text

They landed, thankfully with relative ease, but still inside of the UNIT building. It was annoying that they had not teleported all the way out, but Missy had previously explained that the teleport was basic and unpredictable. They were out of the cell and that was the most important step.

The Doctor didn’t recognise the area they were in - the UNIT complex became a maze of underground tunnels and rooms at the lower levels, and it was disorientating. He slipped his hand into hers without even noticing at first, the gesture feeling so natural to him. She turned and smiled at him in response as they made their way through the corridors.

Turning a corner, hand in hand they immediately caught sight of two soldiers approaching them quickly.  

“Now what?” he said.

“Easy! Let’s hypnoise them - you take one, i’ll take the other,” Missy said.

“I’m out of practice - you were always the more accomplished, but you hardly used that particular skill for the greater good, exploitng the fact that humans can be so susceptible to mind control is something we need to discuss...later," he said.

Missy laughed, rolling her eyes, “Doctor, this is hardly  the time to discuss why you think my use of hypnosis is wrong - it will get us out of this, watch!”

Missy dropped his hand and skipped down the corridor toward the soldiers who paused, stunned at the unexpected encounter and her sudden change of pace. She stopped directly in front of them and selected one, gazing intently into his eyes as the Doctor watched her, not confident that he could do it with the same ease that she had.

She smiled, and the soldier paused, his hand which had moved to his radio to summon help had wavered and dropped to his side, as she gazed intently into his eyes. It only took a second for the soldier to become locked in her gaze and she easily slipped into his mind, speaking softly and with an alluring edge that her previous selves hadn’t slipped into, “you want to help us.”

The soldier nodded slowly, and her gaze drifted to his colleague, who was inadvertently caught in the thrall of her gaze with very little effort on her part. The Doctor stood back and watched as she brought them both into her control with absolute ease. He wondered why she didn’t use hypnotism as often as she used to, it was clearly quite a talent that was very useful at times.

“You will obey me,” she said, her voice low and husky, as both soldiers fell completely under her control.

She inched closer, speaking directly to one of them before turning to the other, both times her lips almost brushing against theirs as she whispered, “obey, obey.”

Standing back with a proud smile she turned to the Doctor. “All done! You can do the next ones - give it a go it’s fun!” she laughed and turned her attention back to the soldiers, “right boys, lead us out of here!”

The soldiers led them up through the levels, thankfully in a quieter part of the building, until they reached the final door. They were soon outside in the bright sunny day, and after dismissing their non consensual guides, Missy took a slow deep breath as she put her arms out to her sides and turned around slowly with a delighted smile, “air,” she said, delighted, “real air!”

The Doctor couldn't help but smile, as he took in how happy she was at such a simple thing, but soon took her arm and hurried her out of the UNIT compound, not wishing to get caught aiding and abetting her escape when they were so close to freedom.

Missy seemed to know where she was going - and after glancing at her TARDIS as they passed it in the distance, they moved on, assured that Bill would be safe inside. UNIT had not detected her TARDIS, and he considered not for the first time, the advantage of how efficiently she used her chameleon circuit.

“Doctor,” she said, coming to an abrupt stop and spinning round to face him. “Where’s my present?”

“You...expected a gift?” the Doctor said, utterly confused and wondering if she expected flowers alongside the medicine.

“Your pet, silly! You don’t usually leave them indoors.”

She watched him curiously, when he didn't reply. “oh, what’s that hesitation for? Why didn't you bring her on this fun little excursion?”

“Ah,” he paused. “you noticed.”

“Not much gets past me love.”

“I just..look, she was lost to me. I failed her Missy. I wanted to just keep her on the TARDIS where she’s safe. So I gave her a job to do.”

“You gave her a job ?” she said with a look of amazement.

“She wanted to help you. She’s duplicating the medicine you made.”

Missy looked at him with an instant wave of sadness, “you can't wrap her up in cotton wool. She isn't stupid Doctor - i've had a very good look into her head, quite literally. She's quite a smart one for a human. Don’t think she wont know. The worst that could happen already has, she’ll be fine.”

He smiled at her and she watched him with amusement. “You're right.”

“I know.” she said, returning his smile.

They walked on, Missy then clutching his hand as if they were on a romantic stroll, and occasionally breaking into a skip which meant he had to lightly jog to keep up with her. She was feeling renewed with the boost the medicine had given her, and invigorated from being outside under a natural atmosphere and her reactions were endearing to him, but he was aware that when the boost wore ff she would need to sleep for a considerable time to allow her body to heal. He kept that fact in the back of his mind, considering that he would need to ensure she would be safely in his TARDIS to avoid any further ill timed interruptions.

He realised quite soon that they had emerged into an empty town square, and Missy was happily pulling him along by his hand toward an area of tables, where only one person sat, drinking tea. He would have frozen at the unexpected turn of events had she not been continuing forwards, enthusiastically propelling him along with her.

This was never a good idea - but her TARDIS had thrust them here and another point in her timeline might well be the only person likely to assist them. Missy did, after all have an incredibly long list of people who had cause to be quite upset with her. It made sense that this was their best option - as odd as it felt to walk toward Missy while Missy was also at his side, holding his hand,

“Missy,” he said, his voice stopping her in her tracks as she sat at the table.

“Doctor?” she said surprised, her eyes moving straight to look herself in the eyes - older and with different but, she took a moment to appreciate, fabulous hair.

“Now, what are you playing at?” she said, as she placed his confession dial on the table, her eyes moving to it, then up to him with caution.

Missy could only stare at herself - her eyes moved to the broach and she smiled before taking a seat opposite.

The two Missy’s stared at each other, neither speaking at they both visually inspected the other.

The Doctor moved to the side of the table, realising the pressing need for time, “Missy…”

He paused as they both turned to look at him, “Um, I mean, Missy one.”

They both tilted their heads to the side slightly in a questioning and amused gaze, and he almost laughed at the way they mirrored each other unintentionally.

“Ok, listen,” he said, directing his attention to the other Missy - the one who was unaware of everything that had passed between them; decades in the vault, talking, crying, screaming as their friendship gradually repaired. “We need your help, and if your piloting is as accurate as it always has been, then you can jump back here and pick right up where you left off with barely a moment passing you by. And I do need you too - you’re needed in what happens next in this part of my timeline.”

Missy contemplated his words as she lounged back in her chair, her eyes roaming appreciatively over her future, “I see we don't go back to hats - shame, but the hair. Love the hair - I will help you, of course - but I want three questions answered first.”

The Doctor watched as his Missy picked up a second teacup, joining herself casually sipping tea as though she hadn't just escaped from a UNIT prison and actually needed to get out of the vicinity fast.

“Go ahead,” she said, almost mesmerised by the sight of her past. “Ask me.”

“One. Did you break our TARDIS? Or just your teleport device?” she asked.

His Missy sighed, “she sustained slight damage but we are going to come back for her and fix that. I’m not risking taking her back and getting worse damage.”

Missy sat up straight, leaning forward, casting a suspicious sideways glance at the Doctor before focusing on her and whispering, “he might try and sabotage our TARDIS.”

His Missy mirrored her action, also casting a brief glance at the Doctor before focusing on herself. She leaned in, so close their lips briefly brushed, “I saved his pet, he won’t tamper with our TARDIS.”

The Doctor watched as they both paused, and his eyes grew wide as their lips met, pressing together softly and lingering until they both closed their eyes and began to kiss with more eagerness.

He watched in stunned silence, until they both eased back into their seats, each smiling with fondness at the other, the moment passing so briefly he wondered if it had actually happened.

“Two,” Missy said.

“It’s three.”

“No, two.” Missy said.

“You asked if I broke our teleport device. That was two.”

“That didn't count!” Missy exclaimed. 

“Yes it did count, ask your last question.”

Missy smiled at her future self, “fine but only because you are just so exquisite.”

“Thank You, we have done very well this time around,”

“Oh yes, we have indeed. Quite beautiful,” Missy said. “Now three. Has the Doctor learned to appreciate us yet?”

She opened her mouth, about to respond when the Doctor broke his silence and interrupted, “yes, he has.”

His Missy smiled, and her past self stood up, eyes widening in happy surprise as she offered her hands to them both. Neither of them could resist smiling as they each took her hand and the three of them walked casually away from the table. Suddenly they were teleported abruptly, landing straight inside the TARDIS from Missy's past.

They wasted no time once in her TARDIS and he couldn’t help noticing the differences. The decor was a much less detailed, black obsidian. It felt like it could easily have belonged to one of her other past selves and he wondered how far into her life Missy was when he met her at 3W. Age was a tricky concept with Time Lords - if she had only recently regenerated, relatively so for a Time Lord, when he first met her, then she may have aged decades more after Skaro. He suspected she had - wherever she had been and whatever she had done in the time between Skaro and her execution sentence, she had time to think about her path in the universe. The Master had never given him as much hope as held for Missy - he hoped she would talk to him eventually about her journey to that point, but he promised himself he would not push her about it. She needed to be ready to share her story.

He stood back and watched as both Missy’s stood beside each other, moving seamlessly together as they moved their hands over switches and levers, pausing intermittently to smile fondly at each other. It felt surreal, and he couldn't help the way his mind wandered to their kiss. He knew it was wrong - but he couldn't help the way his mind focused on that. He really hoped they couldn't hear his thoughts.

If they did they didn't let him know, their eyes were only for each other. The looks quickly progressed to little touches - their fingers brushing against each other as their hands danced across the controls.

He wasn't sure whether he was relieved of disappointed when they materialised. He thanked her, and froze as she approached him fast, her hands moving to his neck as she pulled him in and planted a kiss so briefly on his lips that he was barely sure it happened. She turned and walked back to the console, immediately facing her future self as they joined hands and looked into each others eyes.

Words were whispered between them, and the Doctor strained to hear, but they had both clearly decided that this conversation was just for them. Eventually they paused, their hands still joined as they both leaned forward and kissed. This time it was chaste, but lingering, and he knew he should probably look away but he doubted Missy - either of them, cared or actually wanted him to fail to witness them both together. Breaking away, they smiled at each other, his Missy returning to his side as she blew a kiss to her self.

He wasn't sure whether he was glad to be alone again or not - it was wrong to even question it, but they had certainly put on a show. Whether for his benefit or simply their pure appreciation for themselves, he wasn't sure.

“Let’s do this then,” Missy said with a smile, as they came to a stop directly in front of his TARDIS, taking a moment to consider that asking herself for help was an excellent idea. She really was an ingenious pilot to navigate the black hole so deftly.

It was simple using Missy's knowledge of the weather control systems and they moved his TARDIS down until they reached the farm, materialising right outside the farmhouse. Glancing at the screen they took in the familiar sight of the floor they had been stuck on. There was no indication that the Cybermen had breached the floor yet, and that gave the Doctor a wave of relief. 

Missy stood at his console and moved to touch the controls before pausing, her hand hovering over a switch as she remembered that she was still bio locked from them.

“Doctor, just set this to scan for lifeforms, then, well…” she paused, looking almost embarrassed, “program your TARDIS to stop at all lifeforms detected. Anyone here is going to end up a walking toaster. We can just pass through and scoop up all the survivors as we go.”

She paused, realising he was staring at her. “Doctor...we may be in a TARDIS, but time is of the essence here - the scanner? Just link it to the radar so that it automatically stops at life signs. Why aren’t you doing that?”

He shook his head and she grew quickly irritated, “Doctor, why are you just standing there? Have you forgotten how to do something as basic as linking operations?”

He smiled broadly and began quickly working, adjusting settings until he was ready. He then stood back and gestured to the console, “I do know how, but you can do it faster. Go ahead, she’s all yours.”

Missy hesitated, her eyes locking with his in confusion at first, until she looked back to the console and almost hesitantly touched the controls. She closed her eyes as she felt the TARDIS responding with a contented hum at her touch. Warmth flooded through her at the meaning behind the gesture. He trusted her.

She smiled as she got to work, moving quickly to link the systems and program the navigational settings to react to the heat signatures of lifeforms. Once she was done she stood back and paused, her eyes meeting his briefly. The warmth in his eyes made her hearts swell in happiness as she put her hand on the lever and pulled it down, materialising.

They found 400 people, mostly at the levels below the farm, and moved them all to safety - keeping them all in his TARDIS, before moving them to their intended destination.

Missy didn't like the fuss in the slightest - the excited, grateful humans spilling through the console room to their new futures. It was a noisy and excitable affair that she really didn't need to witness. Save them and move on, that was fine, but the Doctor had to stop and talk to them all - offer them reassuring words. She started to despair that he was going to personally get to know every single one of them. She couldn't fathom why he liked humans this much - all this conversation with them was boring, she had adventures to be going on and this was tedious.

She was grateful for Nardole’s presence - he was good at ushering the humans along and while the Doctor slowed the process down a little, he compensated and kept things moving. In truth she found herself quite happy to see Nardole again - it was an odd feeling, the way she felt a comfortable contentment at the presence of someone she was so familiar with. She decided to keep that to herself and continue to threaten him by throwing in comments about disassembling him. She had a certain reputation to keep up after all.

While waiting for the Doctor to finally finish pandering to the humans, she called her TARDIS, delighted to see that she was now indeed, fully functional. Her TARDIS materialised inside the Doctors and she went inside to update Bill and usher her out, back into the Doctor's TARDIS, with its swarm of humans.

She found herself smiling when Nardole and Bill hugged each other, and she looked away quickly, hoping no one noticed, and tried to find a biting comment to throw at them about how sickeningly sentimental the whole thing was.

Eventually the Doctor returned to the console room and she shook her head, “can we go now?”

He laughed and walked round until he was next to her, his hand moving to her shoulder as he turned her to face him, pulling her straight into his arms. “You know Missy, you’re actually the hero in this whole thing.”

She shuddered and he wasn't certain whether she faked it or not, “don't be disgusting Doctor. I’m not evil anymore, that doesn't mean i'm a hero. Don't ever call me that again.”

 He laughed, ok, i’ll keep those thoughts to myself then.”

“No!” she exclaimed, turning to rest her head comfortably on his shoulder, “don't even think it.”

“I love you,” he whispered, as he kissed her head and he felt her arms tighten around him.

She smiled and relaxed into his embrace, this really was all either of them had ever wanted.

They remained there for sometime. Neither bothering to move - the feel of holding each other too perfect to move away from. They were in no rush - the universe carried on around them, lives and stars and worlds dying and being born as they were meant to be. All of time and space awaited them, and they would not be rushing a single moment.