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Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

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After all this time, she really should know better than to rush in. Mind you, after all this time, she knows herself well enough to know she always will.

Eventually Me will come looking -- eventually. Her version of eventually, however, is a flexible concept, and Clara has many, many more things she'd like to do between this heartbeat and her next (her last, her last), so she keeps running her hands over the rough stone wall till her fingertips feel raw. It's pitch black, and touch is all she has to go on, and she is not keen on the idiots who dumped her in here just because she took exception to their insistence on implanting biosuggestive controls into all offworld visitors. Especially when they've advertised the damn things as universal translator chips, which had sounded rather useful, given that they haven't figured out how to use that circuit in the new TARDIS yet. It's not like the Doctor remembered to steal the manual. Or if he did, he certainly hadn't left it anywhere useful.

“Well.” She lets her arms fall, surprised at how tired they feel. The stone's apparently flawless, not a chink left to explain how it had knit itself back together after she'd been dumped here. “That's just…”

“Inconvenient,” a voice drawls from behind her, and really, Clara thinks, she does need to remember about things like looking over her shoulder, even in the dark, even if she had been a little busy shouting at the time, because the last time she'd heard that voice, she'd been strung up and pushed into a sewer and abandoned to the Daleks, in that precise order with not really all that much in between. “Oh, kitten,” Missy trills, and Clara feels her jaw set despite herself. “You pretty little puss. How delightful to see you.”

Clara reminds herself that she has spent significant quantities of her life as an ostensibly responsible adult among school children, and that this is not really all that different. “Missy,” she says, and forces her shoulders down. “What a surprise to hear you're not dead.”

“Isn't it just?” comes the response, and there it is, the sharp tapping of bootheels on stone and the rustle of fabric. Missy, Clara considers, would, in fact, sashay in the dark. A particularly vigorous swishing suggests a pirouette. “I suppose himself will want to know all about it when he comes to claim you. Poor little kit - whatever did you do to annoy Animal Control?”

“I objected to being microchipped,” she answers, pleased to note that her voice is steady. She still dreams about being trapped in that casing, some nights. “And I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I've run away from home.”

When Missy answers, she's inches away, her voice slippery in Clara's ear, and she can't help it, she'd defy anyone to keep from gasping and jumping out of their boots in fright. “Oh Clara. Don't lie, you precocious little thing. I can smell the artron energy on you.” Clara feels breath against her cheek, the quick, wet warmth of lips -- please, let it have been lips, because licking is just a little too Silence of the Lambs in this moment. “It's positively delicious.” The whisper of moving skirts withdraws.

And that's it, that's enough, Clara's tired of the games. She's alone, in the dark, on an alien planet, millennia and light-eons from what once was home. Her only hope of rescue is an immortal woman-child that Clara is about seventy-five percent sure she trusts, but who is even more alien than the Doctor ever was, for all she started out human. She's alone, in the dark, and the Time Lord she's wishing for is not ever coming for her in this lifetime. Instead, she gets Missy, the person he trusted with a confession dial but can't trust with his life and that certainly means Clara can't either. Missy, the reason she met the Doctor and the reason she had to leave him. “It's not a lie,” she says. “He's. Not. Coming.” It cracks in the dark like a shot, and Clara means it to.

“I don't believe you. He'd hardly abandon you.”

Maybe, Clara thinks, just maybe, she'd scored a hit. In the daylight, amid distraction, she'd never have heard that extra little bite. In the dark, it sounds almost like jealousy. She draws a breath, trying to steady herself. “You have no one to blame for that but yourself,” she says. “You set us up, after all. No fair blaming me for pinching your ex.”

And just like that, there's a finger tracing the line of her nose, utterly certain in the dark, and the lack of warning shocks her cold, freezing her against the wall. It's a ferocious point of warmth against the damp of the stone and the chill in the air. “Poppet,” Missy purrs, “haven't you wanted to light something on fire just to watch it burn? The Doctor and I,” and her voice curls over the phrase,”we've had centuries. And you'd never have flared that hot for me.” She sighs, settling her palm against Clara's neck, tucking her thumb against her jaw. “Moral codes are so stultifying. You really should try immorality.”

Her hand presses more firmly, then. “Although immortality is an interesting alternative. Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? And what kind of tricks is the Queen getting up to in London these days?” Clara realizes she's being held now, pinned at shoulder and wrist, fingers on her non-existent pulse points, searching, searching. “Or should I say, on Gallifrey? Those extraction chambers do leave a mark.”

Clara's rigid. Even if she needed to, she wouldn't be breathing now. She can feel the anger in her belly. She doesn't trust it any more than she trusts Missy.

“I'm surprised he isn't burning down the gates of hell to fix you,” Missy says, her voice cool, but even in her fury, Clara feels the tremor in the hands holding her against the wall.

Suddenly, she finds, she has a voice after all. “He already has,” she rasps. “He knocked on their doors and he pulled me out of time and he tried, oh he tried.”

“And?” Missy is pressed against her, flush. The word is barely whispered -- Clara feels it slip down her throat as she forces a breath, just for the sheer relief of it.

“And he failed. We went to the fires at the end of time, and he couldn't wrestle me free forever. Not free enough. He would've burned the universe for me.”

“Yesss.” The heat of Missy's skin is astonishing. Clara wonders if she's been cold since Gallifrey and has only just had time to notice.

“No,” Clara snarls. “No. He used a neuroblocker. Russian roulette, and he lost. He erased me.” She's crying now, and it's fire on her cheeks.

“And Gallifrey?” Missy's thumb tracks through the dampness on her face. “Do they know?”

“No,” she answers, and feels the bitter taste of satisfaction on her tongue. “And I hope they burn.”

She has only a moment to register Missy shaking against her, less than that to identify it as laughter. And then there's a hot mouth on hers, hot hands against her jaw, against her hip, running up her sides. It's hard, it's furious, and Clara would fight against it except that she doesn't entirely want to - she wants it to stoke her rage, to warm her bones. “Kitten,” Missy murmurs against her ear as she pulls away, “those claws of yours might be worth something some day.”

Clara can't speak, can't think, in the dark - and then it turns out she doesn't have to, because there's a sliver of light, growing wider and wider until Missy lets go, until it's a door Clara doesn't quite fall backwards through. When she turns round, Me is standing in it, looking from one of them to the other, one raised eyebrow speaking volumes. “Well?” she says, and there's an explosion behind her, more or less on cue. “Are you coming?”. Me pauses, looks past her. “And is she?”

Missy is silent. Clara steps forward. She doesn't look back at the sound of sliding stone.