An angry red sun was setting on the horizon and a cold wind was blowing down from the mountains. In an old wooden cart pulled by the local equivalent of a cow, Missy gazed out at the long line of refugees heading away from the burning city. She was cold, tired, slightly scorched, and Doctor was refusing to speak to her. One of these things was much more annoying than the others.
She turned away from the mass of homeless aliens to look at the Doctor. He was sitting as far away from her as possible, eyebrows almost colliding above his enraged expression. He was quite beautiful when he was angry, but this didn't seem like the best time to mention that.
“If you hadn't tried to stop me -” she began.
“Shut up,” said the Doctor, scowling.
“I'm only suggesting -”
“I said shut up.”
The man driving the cart glanced back at them and Missy smiled pleasantly at him. “Lover's quarrel,” she said, helpfully. She moved closer to the Doctor and said, “You'll talk to me eventually, we may as well skip all this petulant sulking.”
He glared at her, but he didn't say anything.
“Righteous anger doesn't suit you,” she lied. When that didn't get a verbal response she shrugged and turned her attention back to the scenery. It was almost dark now, and the stars were coming out. From sheer force of habit she looked at where Gallifrey should have been and then quickly looked away from the starless void in its place. “I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with... M.” She glanced back at the Doctor. “Misery,” she told him. “I spy misery. All those people who were perfectly happy to do my bidding until someone ruined it all.”
“I know what you're thinking,” she went on, “and you're wrong. Those people loved me. I'm actually quite a benevolent ruler when I get my own way.”
That at least got a disbelieving stare.
“When I ruled the Earth there was full employment and there were no NHS waiting lists. There weren't even any traffic jams.”
Oh, he was close to snapping, she could tell. He was probably trying to come up with some devastating insult. His silence was a fragile thing at the best of times and Missy was determined to break it.
“What's that thing people say? You can't make an omelette without breaking a few intergalactic laws about genocide?” She smiled broadly as the Doctor opened his mouth to speak. She'd always enjoyed their verbal sparring.
“Missy...” he began. He paused, either for effect or to keep control of his emotions, and said, “I forgive you.”
She glared at him, then turned away from him to stare into the darkness that now surrounded the cart.
Missy opened her eyes as the cart came to a halt in front of a small, quite ugly building. She must have dozed off, and she mentally kicked herself for letting her guard down.
The Doctor jumped from the cart without a word and Missy followed him if only because there didn't seem to be an alternative.
“Our driver said this is an inn,” said the Doctor as the cart trundled off down the dirt-road leaving them alone in front of the building. He knocked on the door, which creaked open a little at his touch.
“It's a hovel,” said Missy.
“As long as it's a hovel we can sleep in.”
The door swung the rest of the way open and a short green man with pink eyes looked out at them. “If you're looking for a room there's none left,” he said without preamble.
“Oh, what a shame,” said Missy, “I was so looking forward to sleeping in a pile of mud full of insects.”
“I'm sorry about my friend,” said the Doctor, “she thinks politeness is for common people.”
She slapped at his arm. “Don't you dare apologise for me, Doctor.”
The little green man's demeanour changed sharply. “You're a doctor?”
“Barely,” said Missy.
The inn-keeper beckoned for them to enter the inn-slash-hovel. “Come in, please. I'll find a place for you to stay, if you'll help us.”
Missy decided to accept the invitation for both of them. She stepped through the doorway, holding her skirt up out of the mud. “He's always helping people. It's a bad habit, if you ask me.”
“You can't help him.”
The Doctor ignored Missy and continued examining the feverish child. “We don't know that,” he said.
Missy stood leaning against the wall, watching the Doctor work. “For a start we don't have any medicine, and even if we did -”
The Doctor turned his head to look at her. “You just don't want to help people.”
Missy moved from her spot and went to sit on the end of the child's bed. “He's going to die, and then his father will be terribly upset that you gave him false hope.”
“I told him I'm not that kind of doctor.”
“Nonetheless, I imagine he'll be quite emotional about it. I'd rather not have to deal with that.”
“You're right,” said the Doctor quietly. “About the boy dying. I doubt he has more than a few hours left.”
“Such a shame,” said Missy without meaning it. “If only there was something we could do.”
“There is,” said the Doctor.
“What can...” Missy suddenly realised what he intended to do. “No,” she said.
“Just this once.”
“If you do it now then you'll want to do it every time. And then where will we be?”
“I promise I won't do it ever again,” said the Doctor.
Missy shook her head. “I won't let you waste regeneration energy on some stupid little brat who probably won't make it to adulthood anyway.”
“It's not a waste!”
“Yes, it is,” she insisted.
The Doctor turned from her and touched the sick child's forehead. His skin took on a faint golden glow.
Missy jumped onto his back, pulling him away with her weight. “Stop it!” she hissed.
He tried to shake her off, ended up lying beneath her with his hands on her wrists to stop her striking him. “I can do what I want,” he told her.
“I'll never speak to you ever again,” she threatened.
The Doctor managed to push her off and got to his feet. “I don't believe that for a second, and neither do you.”
“I mean it!”
He looked at her calmly, the golden light reappearing under his skin. “I'd like to see you try.”
“I'm surprised you've lasted this long,” said the Doctor conversationally when they stopped to rest on a riverbank.
Missy just looked at him, lips pressed together tightly.
“Really, I'm impressed. That's well over...” he glanced at his watch “four and a half hours of silence. I didn't think you were physically capable of that.”
She sniffed dismissively and brushed away a fly that had landed on her knee.
The Doctor started making a chain from some of the small yellow flower that grew among the grass by the river. “Oh, Doctor,” he said in a high voice probably intended to mimic hers, “I hate you so much and I'll never speak to you ever again until I inevitably do.”
Missy thought about killing him, which she did quite often and it always calmed her down at least a little.
The Doctor finished stringing flowers together and set them on his head like a pathetic little crown. He waggled his eyebrows at her. “Does this suit me?”
She reached across the space between them and snatched the flowers from his head. She smiled serenely as she started shredding them with her fingers.
He sighed. “For Rassilon's sake, you've made your point.”
She shook her head. He was such an idiot.
“If you say something, I'll let you kill me. Just once, mind you, but you can kill me. Go on, you know you want to.”
“I'm not in the mood,” she said, with dignity.
“Well, I did offer. You can't say I'm not generous.”
“You're an idiot,” she declared.
“Yes, we established that a while back.” He looked up at the sky. “It'll start getting dark soon, we should move.”
“If you think I'm getting into that senile old TARDIS of yours-”
“She's not senile!”
“-then you really are as stupid as you look,” she finished.
“But,” he said, looking confused, “you've come all this way.”
“Only for the company.”
“That's very flattering, but -”
“You can travel with me, but I won't travel with you.”
“That's just semantics.”
“No,” said Missy, “it's the principle of the thing.” She stood, brushing dirt and grass from her long skirt. “Besides, you're not endlessly entertaining, and girls do like a bit of wanton destruction every now and then.”
“I can't just let you wander off and enslave another planet,” he said, getting to his feet.
“I told you, they loved me.”
“They really didn't. I don't think you even know what love is.”
“Perhaps I don't, but I'm quite happy as I am.” She smiled sweetly to prove her point. “Love and fear are very much the same thing, in my experience.”
“I'm not afraid of you,” said the Doctor.
Missy gasped mockingly. “Was that a confession?” She pressed a hand over her hearts. “My dear Doctor, I had no idea that you felt that way. All those centuries of repressed longing and I just thought you had indigestion.”
“Please,” he said, rather desperately. “Please just come with me, see the universe, try not to break anything.”
Missy gave the matter a few seconds of thought. “Since you asked so nicely, then yes.”
She waited until he was soundly asleep before making her move from the bed. She dressed in silence, redid her hair and make-up, and then, armoured, began to tidy up.
She folded the Doctor's clothes neatly and piled them on a chair, liberating a few items from his pockets as she did so. He was such a pack-rat, always had been, but the habit could be useful on occasion.
The background hum of his TARDIS picked up a little, and Missy covered the annoyance by humming a few of her favourite tunes from Turandot. She allowed herself a brief fantasy about destroying the ship with him on board, but her hearts weren't really in it.
Then she sat down in an old armchair and composed a brief psychic letter, polite but scathing, in which she documented a few of the things that annoyed her most about the Doctor. It would give him something to read on those cold, lonely nights in the vortex, a thought which amused her immensely.
Finally she stood, kissed the Doctor's forehead gently, and stepped from the room.
She left the TARDIS as rain began to fall outside. She ignored the cold drops of water and walked confidently away back to her own life. One day, she was sure, the Doctor would see sense and start doing things her way. Until then... well, wasn't the journey supposed to be half the fun?