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A book.

Three hundred, seventy-five sheets of paper, held together by a thin binding and cradled in rough, black leather. She can still feel the texture of golden characters under her fingertips, if she concentrates.

That book is what put Yasmin Khan in enough trouble to spend the rest of her life in prison, if she gets caught.

Not that she intends on getting caught, not when a long hallway and a locked door is all that stands between her and freedom.

Whispering a countdown in the dark, she holds her breath when a shadow passes across the nook she's hiding in, - a narrow closet full of strange tools - screwing her eyes shut.

According to her own scouting, the guard will patrol the corridor for the next ten minutes, before returning upstairs to the main part of the repair shop. That's when Yaz will strike.

With a stifled sigh, she drops her head against the stone wall. The ten minutes of uninterrupted silence she abruptly finds herself in makes the churning of her stomach returns, when memories she failed to push away emerge from a dark corner of her brain.

"Not now."

The whisper echoes loudly in the empty hallway. Yaz's eyes grow wide with worry, as she presses the side of her head against the closet’s door. Hearing no sound coming from the other side, she blows out a controlled breath, rubbing her temples and cursing her own lack of self-control.

For someone who prides herself with her level-headed responses to stressful situations, the emotional turmoil of the last few days tipped her whole world out of balance.

Losing every certainty she had about her life left a bitter taste in Yaz's mouth, the lone tear sliding down her cheek a sad reminder of her sinking prospects of a normal future.

Everything began with a family dinner, eight days ago...

"They know." Hakim says, pale face and trembling fingers gripping a piece of paper. He falls down into a chair, burying his head into his hands as Najia slowly approaches him.

"What happened?" She asks, gently. The haunted shadow in her husband's gaze brings back a dreadful burden on her own shoulders, a weight she spent so many years fighting. Ignoring the ominous hunch crushing her chest, she sits on the opposite side of the table.

"They know. About our daughters." He breathes out a panicked gasp, crunching the sheet in his fist. "They left this for me, at work."

Najia pries his fist open, before scanning the handwritten message on the crumpled paper, the air slowly seeping out of the room as words sink in. "H... I don't understand."

"They want one of them." He whispers, and Yaz only catches his reply thanks to the heavy silence sneaking in every corner of the family house. "They're giving us tomorrow to say goodbye, and I have to take one of the children with me to work the next day. If I do it, they'll leave the rest of us alone."

"Why?" Najia breathes out. "Yaz and Sonya are too old for the military, I thought we were done with this. I thought our family was safe."

"You know we're getting a new president." The older woman's confused frown echoes Yaz's thoughts, prompting a bitter smile from Hakim. "He's not married."

"Wait, wh..."

Najia's violent protest buries Yaz's low attempt to cut into the discussion.

"I'm not letting one of my daughters ruin her life by getting married to a stranger." Najia shakes her head. "I knew the risks when we decided to go against the laws, but I'm... No. It's not happening."

Yaz blinks, wetting her bottom lip with the tip of her tongue. Despite her limited grasp of the law, she always knew it allows one son and one daughter to each Gallifreyan family. Any other children has to be sent away to military training on the eve of their twelfth birthday, with the army's dire need for reinforcement since the quick succession of wars started.

Clinching her hands around the edge of her sleeves, Yaz slowly realizes her parents were never granted the legal exemption they claimed to have. She pushes away a burst of fear - tinted with a hint of anger - forcefully considering the impossible choice her mum and dad need to make.

"I'll do it." The words tumble out of her mouth, drawing a sharp glare from both of Yaz's parents. "Sonya is twenty, I'm twenty-three. I should be the one wh..."

"Stop." Hakim shakes his head, gulping. "You're not going anywhere, there has to be a way to keep both of you safe."

"Your father is right, we're not l..."

"It's a good offer." Yaz states, vaguely wondering how she can be thinking so rationally. "On any other day, you would both be going to prison, and Sonya and I would be leaving for army training. I don't want to fight in a war."

"Yaz, no." Najia argues, fiery determination igniting her words. "I'm not losing either of you." She turns to her husband. "Can we leave? Run away?"

"Yes." Hakim pauses. "That's a good idea, we have a day before they realize we won't be acce..."

"To go where?" Yaz interrupts. "To the DryLands? It's the only place they won't look for us, and I don't want to live in the middle of a desert. Sonya would die." She adds, with a strained chuckle.

Najia's shoulders sag as she glances down at the table, willing away droplets of water blurring her vision. Hakim is in a similar state of despair, leaving Yaz to hold the shattered pieces of their peaceful family life.

"It's just a marriage." She says, weakly. "I can still come visit you, and Sonya." Sparing a thankful thought for her sister's week long trip to the Capitol with her work mates, Yaz continues. "And we have tomorrow."

When two resigned gazes raise, shining with compassionate anguish, Yaz feels a weight drop in her stomach.

The next day is a blur, a mix of tearful reassurances, encouragement, and affectionate memories, ending with a book pressed in her hands by her father, once they arrive to his workplace and she sees two uniformed women patiently waiting for her.

Eyes flitting between Hakim's solemn features and the object in her hands, Yaz finds herself caught in a crushing hug, hurried words whispered against her ear.

"I want you to have a choice." Heart racing, the younger woman scans the black cover. Mechanics of the Type 50 TARDIS.

"What am I supposed to d..."

"They will take you to the Capitol. There's a little repair shop." His voice speeds when he notices one of the guards approaching them. "I wrote down the address in the cover. I don't think there will be much surveillance, if you go at night." Cupping his daughter's cheek, he presses their foreheads together. "This book is your way out. Don't let anyone see it."

Yaz remembers nodding numbly, gentle but firm hands gripping her shoulders and backing her away from Hakim's embrace. The image of his mustered up smile and teary brown eyes is her last memory of him.

The next seven days were spent traveling in stubborn silence, until they reached a castle where Yaz was locked into comfortable quarters.

Her new living space includes a bedroom, adjourned bathroom, and a balcony bigger than her family home. Her only company has been an older man who brought her food, but possessed very little information about her situation, leaving her a little more frustrated with each visit.

Today's lunch came with news, a long parchment detailing the coronation of Gallifrey's newest Lord-president.

Yaz had to force herself to breathe, knowing enough about Time Lord protocol to remember presidential weddings happen the days after the coronation.

A brief bout of panic - and a frustrated thought for the man she's supposed to marry, who still hasn't taken the time to meet his future wife - reminded her of the book hidden under her mattress.

Yaz skimmed through Hakim's scrawled message, she spent the afternoon scouting the repair shop, spotting the fleet of ships tucked into the basement. Sprinting back to her room before she could be reporter missing, she ate her evening meal while trying to memorize the chapter about piloting a time ship.

When the usual guard knocked on her door to take away the leftover food, Yaz pretended to be asleep, smiling as he made his way out of the room with a whispered, useless apology.

The climb down from her window left her with bruised wrist and a twisted ankle, but Yaz managed to make her way back to the shop once the suns set.

A fading pattern of leather thumping against stone interrupts Yaz's wander through her memories. She raises her head to see the shop worker's shadow disappear back up the stairs. Ignoring her heart pounding through her ears, she pulls open the door of the closet and peers across the hallway. Empty.

Her eyes crinkling with a smile, Yaz dashes through the narrow space, jumps over scattered objects on the ground and freezes in front of a heavy, black door. She fumbles for the pin tucked against her ear, making quick work of the lock and slipping through the threshold.

When she hears the click of a lock sliding back into place behind her, Yaz turns to examine the room.

And she finds herself facing a pair of stunned, emerald eyes.

***************

"It's barbaric." The Doctor sighs, twirling the last sip of amber liquid around her glass. "And cruel, and primitive, and sav..."

"I get it." The Mistress rolls her eyes, sighing. "You don't need to list every synonym of the word barbaric you can think of."

The Doctor's answering scowl earns her another sigh.

"What's wrong with you? You might get to marry a beautiful woman, and do something about all the laws you always complain about." She shrugs, smirking. "Even if she's ugly, you can just ignore her for the rest of your lives, and rule Gal..."

"It's the principle of it!" The Doctor exclaims, reaching for the forgotten bottle of wine and scrunching her nose when Missy slips it away from her grasp.

When her friend stares at her with a raised eyebrow, The Doctor relents and lets her hand falls back against the table.

"I don't mind giving my life to help Gallifrey. Someone has to stop all the wars." She whispers the last part, thoughts drifting to the planet's twisted political situation. "But nobody else should be forced to sacrifice their future. I know what I'm getting into. This woman doesn't."

"Rassilon." Missy swears under her breath, frowning at the woman on the other side of the table. "Have you always been such a martyr?"

"I don't know, have you always been such a self-centered game player?"

Silence lingers as they glare at each other, before the corner of Missy's lips twitch upwards. "Yes." She raises her glass, downing the last sip. "And you know it."

The Doctor hums, conceding the point.

"You could always step down." Missy shrugs, reaching to fidget with the bracelet adorning her friend's wrist since the coronation ceremony held earlier.

"How's that going to help?" The blond objects. "If I step down, the General will take my place, and the wedding will still happen. She's only going to be free if the president disappe..." A sudden spark brightens shadowed hazel eyes, drawing a confused shake of Missy's head.

"What do you mean, disappear? Do you want to die? Because I can help with that, and there's a perfectly good window that I can push you fr..."

"Shut up." The Doctor rolls her eyes. "I was just thinking. Run me through our alliance with Dacoma again?"

Missy's piercing stare finds the Doctor's as she ignores the question. The blond woman's fingers are tapping a distracted rhythm against the edge of her glass, her eyes shifting around the room. She sighs. The Doctor doesn't 'just think', and she wonders what scatterbrained, self sacrificing plan her friend came up with.

"Missy?"

"Doctor." She fires back, and their gazes meet in a split second of mutual understanding. "You know, you could just listen in High Council's meetings, and I wouldn't have to catch you up with our allies."

"Are you done complaining about me?"

The Doctor sighs remembering Missy's snicker, a sound of genuine amusement that registered in her brain once she realized it was the last evening they would spend together.

Her oldest friend and their genuine, if troubled, relationship might be the only thing she will miss about Gallifrey. The prospect of forcing an innocent woman into a life of politics, stuffy protocol and impossible decisions makes her stomach churn.

So, the Doctor will leave. Hop on a TARDIS, run away from the stiffening planet and become a renegade. Her coronation as Lord-President means she will wear the title until she either steps down or dies, leaving the Council unable to simply replace her.

Without a leader, the other members will have to rule as a single entity, effectively binding their hands.

Day-to-day administration of Gallifrey will fall to the General, as will most of the mundane decisions. But official declaration of wars, or history-altering choices require unanimity, which she knows Time Lords can never obtain. They're too power-hungry, too stubborn to even consider a compromise.

The heavy burden of responsibility wearing her down since the Lord-President bracelet was clasped around her wrist lightens, as she dips her head, crossing path with another woman strolling through the dark streets of the Capitol.

The members of the High Council have too much pride to let her get away, the Doctor acknowledges. Sentinels will be sent after her over the next few days.

She grins to herself. In order to kill her, they'd have to find her, and she intends on traveling to the furthest corner of the universe, where no one will know her identity.

The plan starts here, in a little repair shop nestled in an alley of Gallifrey's most important city. Ducking further into the hood of her coat, she pushes against the door and smiles at the man standing behind the counter.

"Jack."

"Doctor!" He grins back. "Trouble sleeping again?"

"Yep. Is it all right if I take a look at the fleet?"

"You're the President now." He shrugs. "You'll have to find another hobby at some point."

"Hm. Not tonight." She steps passed him, as he chuckles.

Walking around the counter, she slips through another door left ajar, jogs down a short set of stairs and inhales sharply when she finds herself facing rows of broken TARDISes. Her fingers itch for the familiar weight of her tools, and she fights the urge to take a closer look at a long boat parked in a corner.

Slowly, she circles the room and gauges the state of each ship. The Doctor frowns, making a conscious effort to look through the fleet with her escape plan in mind, not as a mechanic looking for a challenge.

The slow updating process of the oldest models leaves her with a wide variety of choices and she tilts her head in deep concentration.

Drifting towards the back of the shop, she falters when she catches a glimpse of a dark blue box.

With a gasp, she rights herself and follows the magnetic pull tugging at her hearts. There's an odd lump in her throat as her fingers find the back of the Type 40 TARDIS, all smooth wood and sharp corners. She makes her way to the front, reading the sign on the door with a breathless chuckle.

"You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." She whispers reverently, before stepping back to take in the entirety of the ship.

When she stumbles into the room's wall, she flinches, suddenly aware of another presence next to her, breath heavy and heartbeat racing. The Doctor blinks, glancing to the side.

And she finds herself facing a pair of stunned, brown eyes.

***************

The Doctor gasps, snapping out of the dazed shock first. "Who are you? You're not supposed to be here." She whispers, through gritted teeth.

"Because you are?" Yaz fires back, voice raising on the last word.

"No." She shakes her head. "I mean, yes! Yes, I am. I... work here."

Yaz snickers. "You're a Time Lord. Have you ever worked anywhere?" Pausing, she ponders her own words. "Or Time Lady, I don't know which one you pref..."

"Either is fine." The Doctor shrugs, raising an eyebrow at the surprisingly considerate question. Yaz notices.

"What? You're ruining my escape plan, it doesn't mean I want to offend you."

"Wait, you're running away too?"

Yaz opens and closes her mouth, grasping for an answer. "Wh... What do you mean, running away too?"

"Come on." The Doctor ignores the question, sizing Yaz's wrist and tugging forwards. "We're taking that one." She states, pulling the door of the police box she was admiring earlier.

"We... Are?" The younger woman repeats, finding herself yanked into the TARDIS.

The ship's interior leaves them both breathless.

Yaz understood the concept of a TARDIS. She learnt about engineered dimensions, time travel and sentient matrix. Yet, there's something about this dimly lighted room, mix of warm colors and textures, and the mint-green columns scattered around the narrow space, that draws an awed gasp from her lungs. "Wow."

"I really like it." The Doctor smiles, stepping across the two steps as she takes in the console, hands on her hips. "Ready?"

The question abruptly pulls Yaz out of her dreamy observation. "Wait, hold on. I'm in charge here." She declares, squaring her shoulders in an attempt to sound more confident. The Doctor regards her with an unreadable expression, shrugging.

"All right."

"I was here first. You just showed up and I'm not comfor... " Yaz deflates once the other woman's answer sinks in. "Wait, really?"

"Sure." The Time Lord repeats, motioning to the controls with the hint of a smirk. "Guessing you know how to drive her then."

Yaz pads closer, frowning when she realizes the design is not even close to the one in the book her dad gave her. "That..." She gulps, uncertain. "It's not a Type 50 TARDIS."

"Nope. Type 40, hasn't been updated yet." Glancing down, she takes in the display. "Probably won't be. Huge mileage, the Artron energy carburetor needs changing, couple of wires to tighten up, and I'm not sure we can rely on the readings at all. The Chameleon Circuit is broken too."

A loud whir interrupts the inspection, drawing the Doctor's hands up. "All right, no shouting. You need some work, is all I'm saying."

The blond turns her attention back to Yaz, expectantly. "So, where are we going?" She asks, the corner of her mouth twitching. "When are we going? What about the recall circuit, do you have a plan for th..."

"Fine." Yaz snaps. "You can drive. But I'm still in charge." The last muttered words turn the Doctor's smile more sincere.

"Of course." She approves, already sauntering around the console.

A couple of flicked switches later, she checks on Yaz who's drifting around the room, fingers reverently ghosting along the walls. "Might want to hold on."

The warning comes too late and the dark haired woman falls across the platform when the ship abruptly takes off. The entire room trembles, before the chaos somewhat settles, a welcomed pause that allows Yaz to scramble up and sprint to the closest column, wrapping her arms around it. "I hate you."

The Doctor glances over her shoulder, grinning before she reaches for another lever.

Once the ship stabilizes in flight, Yaz pries one arm away from her improvised anchor. Tentatively putting one feet in front of the other, she lets go and approaches the console.

The Doctor's fingertips travel across cold metal, her eyes growing wide as she takes in the variety of controls under her hands. Yaz watches her curious exploration for a second, before she breaks the silence.

"We left." She whispers, the dread twirling into her stomach fading, for the first time since she left her family home. "I'm... We really left."

"We did." The Doctor nods, eyebrows pinched at the startling, lone tear sliding down Yaz's cheek. "Is it... Are you all right?"

A sure hand scrubs the tear away. "Yes." Yaz's automatic, cold answer pulls at the Time Lord's hearts, intimately familiar with the reflex of denying potential weaknesses. "I'm fine. Where are you taking us?"

"We're just drifting through the Time Vortex for now." She explains softly, running through a mental list of steps she has to complete while getting more comfortable with the design of the TARDIS.

"So, what brought you to a repair shop in the Capitol?" The Doctor asks absentmindedly, considering her options to deactivate the recall circuit as she rummages through her coat for her Sonic screwdriver.

"They were going to force me to get married." The dark haired woman breathes out, empty gaze staring at her feet. "I had to run."

The Doctor freezes, hand halfway out of her inner pocket. "W... What?"

"To the President." Yaz sniffles. "The new one. Do you know him?"

The blond opens her mouth, words slipping out of her grasp as her brain scrambles to gather her thoughts.

Yaz shakes her head, dismissing her own question. "Never mind. You don't know all the Time Lords, that was stupid. Sorry."

Hands splayed against the TARDIS' metallic panels, she fights a pang of longing for her family. "What's your name?" Yaz prompts, a poor attempt to distract herself.

"N..." The Doctor stutters, still reeling from the realization that the woman she ran away to protect followed her. "What?"

"Name?" Yaz hesitates, dropping a hand against the blond’s forearm "You do have one, yes?"

"The Doctor."

Rolling her eyes, the younger woman sighs. "Why can't any of you choose a normal name?"

"What? Doctor is a perfectly good na..." She objects, snapped out of her daze by the quip.

"Sure." Yaz shrugs. "Until someone gets sick - or injured - and ask for your help, and you have to tell them that you're not really a doctor."

"Rude." She frowns. "I'm not making fun of your name."

"You don't know my name."

"Good point." When silence lingers, and Yaz only smiles, the Doctor sighs in exasperation. "Well? Share with the class."

"Yaz." Eyes glazing over, Yaz shakes her head. "Yasmin Khan. My mom chose it, for her aunt."

"Well, Yasmin Khan." The Doctor hesitates, nerves fluttering in her stomach. "There's something I need to tell y..."

Her reply is cut short when the ship comes to a scratching halt, tossing them both across the room.

The Doctor lands first, grunting when her back hits the edge of a step as she wraps her arms around the shorter woman, making sure Yaz lands on her chest, instead of hitting the hard floor.

"That was not fun."

Confused, Yaz shakes her head and rolls off the Doctor's body. "It feels like we stopped. What happened?"

Before she can answer, the Time Lord flinches with the sound of a bell blaring. She finds her feet and dashes back to the center of the room.

"What's that?" Yaz screams, to be heard over the chaos shaking the TARDIS.

"No idea." The Doctor circles the console, hands jumping from one handle to the other. "I'm not used to these systems, it's diff..." She interrupts herself when she catches sight of a bright green light flashing, right next to the telepathic interface.

"It's the recall circuit."

***************

"The recall, what?" Yaz frowns.

"It's a built-in system." The Doctor explains, running back and forth in an attempt to counter the pull on the ship. "Someone is trying to bring us back."

Yaz bites her lip, struggling to get a flare of pure panic under control. Returning to Gallifrey means spending the rest of her life in prison, her family left to a similar fate if the book now tucked into her leather jacket is ever discovered. The tang of blood in her mouth springs Yaz into action, as she hurries to the console.

"Can I help?"

The Doctor glances to the side, their eyes meeting in mutual understanding. With a swift nod, she slips off her coat and hands it to Yaz, one hand still gripping a lever that looks like a wheel. "Inside pocket. Get my Sonic."

"Your what?"

"Looks like a flashlight to you."

Yaz finds the inner compartment and blinks as she takes out a deck of cards, a bag of jelly babies, a rock and a crayon, before her fingers hit steel. "How do you fit all that into your po..."

"I'll explain later." The Doctor grinds her teeth together, putting all her weight against the force trying to move the controller in her hands. "On the floor, there's a trap-door. Open it."

Yaz scans the ground, falling to her hands and knees as she spots a few screws locking down a small door. She frowns, pulling at them until the Doctor's breathless chuckle interrupts her efforts.

"Use the Sonic. Blunt end against the ground, and push the button."

Following the instructions, Yaz's eyes grow wide when the nails leap off the floor, leaving the trap loose in her hands. She throws the piece of metal and sticks her head down in the narrow opening. "Now what?"

"There should be wires."

Yaz twists her shoulders around, frowning when she spots the many bundles of wires covering the space. Carefully, she gets back to her knees. "Yeah." Her voice raises, trying to be heard over the multiple alarms now echoing around the TARDIS. "There are a lot of wires in there, Doctor."

The other woman gives a half panicked look from across the central column. "You're looking for red ones. Does that help?" She asks, swearing under her breath as her grip on the wheel loosens. Fighting off the pull of Gallifrey's recall circuit requires every bit of the Doctor’s concentration, as she adjusts to the magnetic grasp it has on the TARDIS.

"Sure." Yaz mutters sarcastically, peering through the trap again. "Narrows it down to only fifty wires." With a sigh, she replies louder. "Not really."

Hanging her head between her shoulders, the blond's eyelids flutter as she blows out a long breath.

"I could cut all the red wires." Yaz suggests, catching the Doctor’s reaction from the corner of her eyes.

"I'm so sorry." The Time Lord whispers, before she straightens her back and faces her companion.

"Not unless you want to kill us."

Sitting back on her knees, Yaz gulps through the cold fear tightening her throat. She stands, wiping clammy palms against her trousers as she trips her way back to the Doctor, who's struggling to hold a time turner steady.

"I don't know which wires to cut." She states.

"I know." The Doctor closes her eyes, hearing the mirrored resignation in Yaz's voice.

"And I can't drive her."

The blond nods quietly, shifting her hands lower to grip a purple lever, pressing against the force that tries to pull it up.

"You can't do both." Yaz concludes, earning another grim nod.

"Yeah."

With a sharp intake of breath, Yaz circles the Doctor's wrist, gently coaxing her hand open with a soft pressure at the bottom of her palm.

The effect is immediate, sending the TARDIS into a tumble that would have thrown Yaz to the other side of the room without the steady, sudden grip around her waist, pining her against cold metal.

Caught off-guard by the Time Lord's proximity, Yaz's breath hitches. Gulping, she settles shy hands over nearby shoulders, earning a weak grin as they wait for the ship to stabilize.

***************

"So, they can't get in?" Yaz repeats, observing the doors from her seat on the lowest step. The Doctor joins her, sighing.

"They can't get in, but we can't take off. They've anchored us." She musters a sad smile. "Fancy moving into a TARDIS?"

Yaz snickers. "With you? I don’t think so." She glances to the side. "It would be better than going out there though. They'll arrest me, right?" When the Doctor purses her lips instead of replying, her stomach drops. "Yeah. Well, at least the wedding is off."

The Doctor's gaze snaps to hers, curious. "You'd rather go to prison than get married?"

"To a Time Lord." There's a hint of open contempt in Yaz's words that makes the Doctor frown as she continues. "I don't want a husband who's going to control my life. At least I get to decide what I do in my cell." She inhales sharply, voice lowering. "I don't want a husband at all."

"I'm a Time Lord." The Doctor points out, shrugging. She's running out of time to tell the other woman the truth, but the brutally honest conversation allows her precious insight into Yaz's thought process.

"Yeah, well..." Trailing off, she bumps the Doctor's shoulder with her own. "You're all right. For one of them, I mean."

"Thanks.” The blond tilts her head. "I think." Scrubbing a frustrated hand down her face, she lets her eyes fall to the floor. "Listen. Before we go out th..."

A heavy knock against the door against the door interrupts the beginning of the Doctor’s confession, startling both women. They turn towards the entrance, attention captured by the ray of light shining through the narrow window.

"Guess that's our cue. Thanks for trying." Yaz says, gloomy.

Springing to her feet, Yaz reaches a hand down. The Doctor accepts the wordless offer, hauling herself up and stumbling forwards. The shift leaves them standing in each other’s space for a long, lingering moment, fingers linked together.

Shocked by the spark of genuine warmth brightening hazel eyes, Yaz’s voice turns wistful. "You know..." She starts, scrambling to end her own sentence. “I think we could be friends.” Ruefully, she reminds herself of the situation they’re caught into. “Maybe we’ll get thrown in the same prison.”

The declaration pulls the Doctor off-balance again, as she struggles to make sense of the confusing hint of fondness in Yaz's tone. She manages to kick-start her brain mere seconds before the younger woman approaches the entrance.

"Yaz, wai..."

The late warning falls, useless. A hand reaches inside the TARDIS through the tiny gap Yaz already created, when she cracked the door open. She glances back, flinching as the solid grip fists into her shirt and yanks her out of the ship.

Landing on her knees, Yaz groans when a shadow looming over her sticks its flashlight in her face, batting the hand away.

A man - bald, old and clad in the ridiculous attire of Time Lords - steps out of the line of guards surrounding the blue box. "Size her." He instructs, before addressing Yaz. "We've been looking for you since you went missing, after dinner. How did you drive a TARDIS by yourself?"

Yaz sniffles, stubbornly staring at the stranger while he continues. "You understand the deal with your family doesn't stand anymore. You've tried t..."

"Honestly, you lot." A voice interrupts the man's threat, snapping the general attention towards the TARDIS, where the Doctor is leaning against the doorway, hands deep in her trousers' pockets.

"You insist I get married, but you won't even let me take my future wife on a bonding trip before the wedding."

The bald man blinks, gaze darting between the two women.

The Doctor pads closer, narrowing her eyes. "General? Do you think you could tell your mates to stop treating Yaz like a prisoner."

"Y... Who?"

"Her." The Doctor tilts her head, glaring until the man holding a flashlight switches it off and steps back into the line of soldiers. "Thank you."

"You were with her." The General repeats, as he slowly pieces together the Doctor's version of events. "She didn't try to run away."

"Nah." The blond grins. "Just wanted to talk for a bit. We’re getting married tomorrow."

"Talk, in a flying TARDIS?"

The Doctor raises an eyebrow, unimpressed. "Wanted to show off, I'm a great pilot. Didn't know the Lord-President had to ask for permission before using a TARDIS."

The not-too-subtle reminder of her new status snaps the General's jaw shut. "Of course. My apologies." He turns to Yaz, who's silently dragging herself up, observing the scene unfolding in front of her eyes as she struggles to keep a sharp feeling of betrayal under control.

"You won't object if we escort you back to your room." The General’s statement doesn't leave much room to protest, and Yaz grinds her teeth together with a short not.

"You can wait upstairs with your friends. Give us a moment." The Doctor cuts in, earning a scowl from the General before he sends the guards away with a wave of his hands.

The crowd filling the space around the TARDIS lines up, the commanding officer leaving last with a long look towards both women.

Once they’re left alone, quiet seconds tick by, before a voice coming from the far away corner of the room cuts through the tension.

"Did you notice how I didn't tell them you were with me all night?" The Doctor rolls her eyes when Missy's familiar silhouette strolls between ships, the woman throwing a heavy arm around her shoulders.

"What do you want?"

"Oh, you know. I just wanted to take a look at your future wife." Yaz flinches at the term, drawing the newcomer's attention. "Now, that's interesting. I guess you were right after all."

Missy whispers in the Doctor’s ear, before leaning closer to the dark haired woman. "Hello, poppet. Do you have a name?"

Yaz gulps, fidgeting under the odd woman's intense scrutiny. The Doctor brings up contrasting emotions in her head - mostly anger and disappointment, with the thinnest hint of persistent trust - but the stranger fits the image she always had of Time Lords. Creepy, power-hungry and condescending.

When a stubborn silence is Missy's only answer, she grins. "Don't worry. We can get to know each other later."

"What do you want?" The Doctor repeats, exasperation seeping through her voice as she tries to redirect Missy's attention.

"Well, I got worried. I wanted to see if they would bring you back. I'd miss you, silly."

The Doctor's eyebrows hitch with the exaggerated affection. "All right, what's wrong with y..."

"I also wanted to tell you, I'll keep your little secret. But..." The taller woman trails off, lowering her voice. "You owe me."

The Doctor grits her teeth against the shudder running up her back. Being indebted to someone as volatile as Missy is never good news. With a silent, grim nod, she acknowledges the point. The nonverbal confirmation seems to satisfy her friend, who leaves the room with a glowing grin.

Silence falls again, a growing tension sneaking into the background, before the blond disturbs the uneasy truce. "I'm sorry." She whispers, failing to muster up the courage to face Yaz. "I never wanted to..." Sighing, the Doctor’s shoulders sag while her sentence hangs in the space between them, incomplete.

"I trusted you." Yaz scowls, eyes glued to the police box. "And you knew who I was the whole time."

“You hated the idea of me before you even knew who I was." The Doctor points out, throwing her hands in the air. "What did you want me to do?"

"Tell me the truth" Yaz snaps, fierce determination lighting up her pupils. "Or am I supposed to apologize for hating the person I'm forced to marry?"

"I..." The Doctor's short lived frustration deflates. "Of course not. I just.. I didn't know how to tell you."

The poor explanation only fuels the anger throbbing into the dark haired woman's chest, propelling her forwards as her loud steps hit the pavement.

"I was wrong." Yaz's tense voice states, as she makes her way up the stairs. "You're exactly like the other Time Lords."

The Doctor runs a hand down her face, shaking off the deep sting Yaz's last words cut through her hearts. Her open palm hits the side of the TARDIS as she's left alone with her conflicting thoughts.