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Your Offering to My Dust

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With a nice cup of tea in hand Missy asked the question she had been dying to know the answer to, “What happened to her?”

He got a ridiculous, faraway look in his eyes.

“You should talk about it. It’s healing and all that nonsense. Was it slow, was it painful? I need details.”

“I couldn’t tell you if I wanted to,” he said in a hushed voice.

His tone was so sad, it made her want to dance. “Oh, dear. Did something happen to all those memories of our Clara? I bet that stings,” she purred. "Well, have you selected your next target? Who will the lucky Earthling be? Traveling the universe, seeing the sights, getting killed."

When the door closed behind him and she was left to the quiet of the vault, she almost regretted pushing him away.

 

“As a human once managed to figure out: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” Missy observed to the Doctor and his bald friend as they tried to move her piano into the vault. They had pushed it into one of the doors and stumbled back from the force.

“For every comment from you there is one step closer to no piano,” the Doctor threatened.

“Bleh,” Missy rolled her eyes at him.

They succeeded in shoving the piano through the vault doors. The Doctor pointed his little screwdriver at the door and locked it behind them.

“Next time we’re using the Tardis,” the Doctor huffed.

“We can’t let the Tardis be near her,” the bald one said. “And what do you mean by ‘next time’? She doesn’t need anything else. She doesn’t need this.”

“Time is wasting, boys. The Master must compose,” she tapped her foot.

They got the piano to the glass cage and stared at the steps that led up to it. If nothing else it was all a very entertaining display for her amusement.

“Stand back,” the Doctor warned.

She maintained eye contact as she backed up to the wall and then she watched them bring the heavy piano in. “Why have you left it there? I want it here,” she pointed at the floor in front of her.

They grudgingly moved it to the center of her cage with much grunting and strain. It was a small victory but she cherished it. A lady did what she had to do to stay amused.

 

“Tell me, old friend, do you think about how you will end?” Missy asked as she played a scale. “Your terminus ad quem.” She could detect the Doctor’s every move though she gave the appearance of being completely unconcerned with his actions. It was a habit she had picked up long ago, so she knew her question had startled him and made him furrow those eyebrows at her without even looking at him.

“What’s brought this on?” he asked, suspicious as always. She could see him trying to figure out what she had planned with this line of questioning.

“You are quite old, is all. It’s only natural to consider it.” He stared at her until she relented. “Oh, fine. I simply had the subject on my mind.”

He wrinkled his forehead, “You’ll never die, Missy. It never does stick with you, does it? You’re far too difficult.”

“Oh, never say never. To spite you, I very well might.” Inwardly she was pleased with the compliment.

That I believe.” He finally put his suspicion away and said, “I suppose you mean a permanent end? No regenerations.”

She looked out of her cage. The orchid was dropping its leaves in the false light of the vault. A silly gesture to bring life to the room. As though she needed an inferior life form there to remind her of the passage of time. “Yes. Do you imagine it will be grand and glorious or will it be with the dreaded whimper?”

“After everything I’ve seen, including the end of the universe, and everything I have yet to see, that is one thing I’m not in any rush to get to. But, I think even a whimper can be grand and glorious.” He just had to say those last words as though he could see right through her.

The conversation had taken a turn for the uncomfortable. A little too much honesty and far too many feelings had occurred. She needed an exit. “I imagine you’ll find out soon enough,” she said in an agreeable tone.

There was a moment where he considered if he should take the bait or not. The gracious sod did when he asked, “Are you planning something? Going to kill me and run away?”

“Yes, I’ll just reach through this glass and strangle you then pop out of this aquarium and run away. That’s your style, dear. Where could I run to, hm? Where would you not follow?”

A dramatic sigh was called for when he only gave her a meaningful look in response.

 

“When are you going to let me out of this cage?” she asked when the Doctor entered the vault. She had been idly poking at the piano keys, making noise. She was relieved when she heard the door open. The company would help with the boredom.

“When you demonstrate a change.”

“I’m quite changed.”

“Deeds, Missy, not words.”

She rolled her eyes, “Deeds will be rather difficult locked in here. Unless you had something else in mind.” Missy blinked at him innocently.

He only looked at her. His gaze was steady and inscrutable. For some reason it made her uncomfortable. She brought an end to the moment, whatever it had been. “How long has it been, Doctor? How long have I been your prisoner? Five years, ten, twenty?”

“Not long enough.”

Instead of belaboring the point she asked, “Well, are we playing or not?” She mostly asked him out of habit at that point. There would be no early release on that day and there was nothing to be gained by angering him.

He unlocked the cage and joined her inside. It had been an exciting bit of progress to have him enter it the first time. She had to be careful though—he was skittish. They sat on the bench and there was the occasional brush of arms. The song they improvised was playful and lively. It danced around the space.

Of course, it somehow became a competition of who could play the fastest that devolved into a crashing of keys that filled the vault with discordance. They let the clamor fade away.

“That was a bit of a mess wasn’t it? Delightful,” she declared.

“History repeats itself,” he smiled to himself while he looked down at the keys.

“Is that supposed to mean something?” she asked but had a fairly good idea he was referring to their storied history. He turned his eyes on her and she almost gasped at the intensity there. “Are we only speaking in aphorisms now?” discomfited by the sudden intimacy, she deflected. “If so, I know some wonderful ones. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. If the skin fits, wear it.”

“You can’t touch without being touched,” he practically brogued at her and that was simply unfair. How could anyone remain unaffected by that voice?

It was his fault that she took his closest his hand away from the keys and held it. He surprisingly let her do it for a moment before he retreated. She made sure her nails scratched across his skin as he pulled away.

Hopefully it would leave a mark.