At just about the point where Missy is seriously wondering whether it's possible to die of boredom and almost ready to contemplate whether it might not be preferable to die in some more interesting, jail-breaky way -- who knows, if she takes long enough to regenerate, they might have moved her body out by the time she's finished, it could work -- the door to her cell at last clangs open, and a gawky, gray-haired figure comes stumbling through.
Her captors, as she has unfortunately learned firsthand, have significant physical strength, and whichever of the interchangeable guards is shoving him in clearly isn't attempting to be particularly gentle. The Doctor's limbs flail about like they're on strings controlled by a drunken puppeteer, but he does manage to keep from falling on his face. For a moment, she considers applauding, but, no. Probably wouldn't set quite the right tone. He's so good at deploying sarcasm, especially this incarnation, but he doesn't always appreciate it properly when it's aimed in his direction.
Instead, she simply smiles and lets her eyes meet his, from where she reclines in what she likes to think is a casually imperious fashion on her small, bare bed.
Well, she thinks, this day has suddenly got better. Not that that's saying much, admittedly. But, still.
Predictably, he makes an annoyed, contemptuous sound. "You," he says. "I might have known."
"Hello!" She waggles her fingers at him, a friendly, cheeky little wave. "Left it a bit late this time, haven't you?" She waves an arm, indicating the dreary cell around her, the ridiculous, drab prison jumpsuits they've both been forced into. "There I was, thinking, 'Any moment now, the Doctor is going to show up to thwart me, and won't we have a jolly good time.' But noooo." She pouts. He looks even more annoyed. Perfect. "You don't call," she says, mock-hurt. "You don't write. Finally, these poor, pathetic creatures had to go and do it all by their sad little selves."
"They seem to have managed well enough," he says, casting his own significant glance around the cell.
"Tell that to the ones I killed in the process."
He gives her a thundercloud look. One point to her. She licks a finger and tallies it up on an imaginary scoreboard.
"So," she says. She sits up straight on the bed at last, letting her slippered feet slap against the floor. Oh, she misses her boots. She liked those boots. If one of the guards has stolen them, she's going to kill them all. Slowly. "What's the plan, then? I assume you're here to rescue your dear old friend." She says it lightly, as if she's joking. As if she doesn't hope for... Well. For anything. "Got one of your pet humans on the outside ready to pass you a key inside a cake?"
The thundercloud of his face breaks open, raining out awkward embarrassment. Ah. She sighs, leans back, and gives him a look that says, really, she shouldn't have expected any better.
"Yeah, well, funny thing," he says. "The instant I set foot on this planet, the locals took one look at me and all said, 'Oh, no, it's one of her people. Get him!' Next thing I know--" He spreads out his hands. "Here I am. Like I said, I should have known."
"So, is that a no on the pet humans, then?"
He glowers. "They're not pets, Missy."
He sighs. "No. Not this time."
It's very annoying. You wouldn't think it would be too difficult to escape a place like this. But their captors aren't nearly as stupid as they look, with their dull-eyed furry faces and their ridiculous little ears. (Honestly, why even have ears if they're going to be that tiny? What is the point?) They've even taken her hair pins. And they're frustratingly difficult to hypnotize. Not that this is one of the regenerations where she's especially good at that, sadly. And they say women are manipulative.
"Ugh," she moans, putting the accumulated weight of multiple lifetimes of disgust into the syllable. "I think we are going to have to do something awful."
He gives her a wary look, clearly wondering what in the world she would think of as being awful, and whether it's something he'd approve of or something he'd have thought too monstrous even for her. She pauses a moment. Lets him stew in it. Then, at last, she says, "We're going to have to use the law."
He blinks at her. "The law?"
"Yes! They're going to want to put us on trial. A dreadful, boring, tedious trial." She stretches out the word "tedious," emphasizing the interminable extent of it, sighs, and flops back dramatically against the wall behind the bed. "I think we might have to actually do it. Ugh."
"Right," he says, leaning against the opposite wall of the cell and folding his arms. "First of all... We?"
"Well clearly they think you're my accomplice. Really, Doctor, do try not to be stupid. It doesn't become you." Indeed, it's always irritated her about him. He's so blindingly, beautifully, dazzlingly brilliant. Why does he always insist on being an idiot?
"And second," the Doctor continues, doggedly, "how could you possibly think you'd have any chance of winning at a trial? Missy, I heard the things they said when they arrested me. You killed their Prime Minister!"
"He was rubbish. He didn't deserve the post."
"Ah, yes," says the Doctor wryly. "Well, I do understand how that is."
"Oh, hush. I was a fantastic prime minister. I made Britain a world power again."
He huffs. Really, baiting him like this is almost too easy. But he keeps going. "They said you ate him."
"I didn't eat him. I vaporized him. You've seen the people here, Doctor. Do they look edible to you?"
"Well. Glad to hear that at least you haven't branched out into cannibalism."
She sniffs. "It wouldn't be cannibalism. We're not even the same species." Really, she's not sure which accusation she finds more insulting.
"Can we get back to the point, please?"
"I'm sorry, did you have a point? I'd stopped listening."
"The point , Missy, is, how are you going to get yourself off when everyone knows you did it?"
"Oh, I'm sure we'll come up with something." She waves a hand airily, dismissing this as a mere detail.
"And we're back to we." He moves his own hand back and forth, indicating both of them and the distance of the cell between. "In case you've forgotten, I'm innocent. This is all a misunderstanding. I'm sure if I sit down and talk to these people, we can clear it all up in no time."
She snorts in a decidedly unladylike fashion. "Oh, come on, even you cannot possibly be that naive."
He isn't, of course. He's just being stubborn. She can see it in his eyes, in the set of his shoulders. She knows him entirely too well.
"And I'm certainly not going to defend you" he continues, as if she hadn't spoken. "The opposite, probably. The last time I testified against you, it was incredibly satisfying."
She remembers. That ridiculous little trial on Earth. He'd sat there in the witness stand in his ruffled shirt and his cape -- Really, a cape! And he thinks she's ostentatious! -- calling her a fiendish, dastardly foe, all sorts of flattery, and reciting her crimes in a loud, enthusiastic voice. He was enjoying himself she could tell. Well, fair enough. So was she. It was all a friendly chess game, back then. She misses it.
She smiles to hide the pang of embarrassing, too-familiar nostalgia, remembering the intensity of his attention that day, the thrill of his gaze locking onto hers as he fought to keep an indignant expression on his face. Probably no one but her had seen the glint in his eyes. Who else would know to look for it? Oh, yes, he'd found it satisfying, all right. But not because he'd saved his dreary little favorite planet from her. He'd enjoyed it for exactly the same reasons she had.
Really, the only thing more satisfying than playing that kind of game against him is playing on the same side. Pity he's such an idiot about that, too. Although in this particular situation, really, what choice does he have? None at all. He simply doesn't realize it yet.
"Oh, I think you'll change your mind." She puts a little singsong into her voice. That's something she never did back in the day. They'd both been so stuffy back then. So young and full of themselves.
He gives her a wary look, clearly not wanting to ask, knowing that's exactly what she wants of him. She waits. She can be very patient, really. A lot of people don't know that about her. Finally, as she knew he would, he caves, narrowing his eyes a little and folding his arms. "Why?"
"Well." She dangles her feet over the side of the bed and kicks them up and down a little, sparing another brief moment to plot revenge for her missing boots. "This planet might have just had a teeny little jump forward recently in certain technological areas." She holds her fingers together to demonstrate the teeniness of it, just for the sake of clarity.
He snorts. "Your doing, I assume?"
She shrugs. So she'd been running some experiments on the local populace. So what? Who does it hurt? Well, besides the people she'd left as empty mind-wiped shells, of course, but they hardly count. After all, it isn't like they're capable of objecting. Not anymore. "Of course not," she says. "They stole it from me. The cheek! After all I did for them."
"Exactly what kind of technology are we talking about?"
She gives him an innocent look, and is rewarded with another little glare. She likes the way he glares with this face. She might have to make him do it more often. It's terribly attractive. "Cheap and nasty mind probes?"
He groans. "Missy."
"It wasn't my fault! They could have taken it and developed it for therapeutic purposes, but they've become positively obsessed with crime."
"I wonder why," he mutters.
She gives him a flattered little smile.
He makes his lips do something fascinatingly grumpy. "How bad is it likely to be?"
"Well," she says, "if we don't come up with a way to keep them from using it to gather evidence for the trial, I see one of three possibilities for you." She holds up a finger. "One, they look into your brain and see that you're innocent of all my crimes."
"Which is what will happen," he says.
"Yes, but they'll also see all the other crimes you are guilty of."
He flinches at that. Barely perceptibly, but she notices. Another point to her. "I don't see why they'd care about anything I may have done on somebody else's planet," he manages, after a moment.
"Oh, trust me, they care. Obsessed, remember? On the bright side, we could be prison roomies for ages! We could... I don't know. What do people do when they're locked up in a cell together?" She waggles her eyebrows at him suggestively, but he ignores it.
"I'm going to regret asking, but what's possibility two?"
"They leave you a mindless drooling vegetable, possibly by accident, since it won't be calibrated for use on big, superior brains like ours, and you'll be no fun as a roomie at all."
"The same could happen to you," he says.
"I always did have better mental defenses than you," she says. Which is true, but scarcely constitutes a guarantee. He gives her a look that says he understands this, which is nice, because she'd hardly want to admit it out loud.
"And possibility three?"
"Possibility three, they peek into your lovely little mind and are much more interested by all the exciting little bits of advanced knowledge they find there. They like to steal things, remember? Do you really want to give these people the secrets of time travel?"
"Wait. They're obsessed with punishing crime, but they also like to steal?"
She clucks her tongue. "I know! So hypocritical!"
He runs a hand across his face and drags it through his hair. Which is unruly enough that the disturbance might have actually left it neater than when it started. When you're already at maximum entropy, after all, there's nowhere to go but up. Not that Missy would know anything about entropy. "Fine," he says, at last. "What do you suggest we do?"
"Do you remember that class we took together on Prydonian law?"
"Not really. I think I slept through most of it. Mostly I remember lots of annoying research in the library, until you got us thrown out for creating a disruption."
"Yes," she says, clasping her hands across her chest. She puts on an exaggeratedly soft voice. A genuinely soft one would never do, of course, even if the memory does warm her hearts a little. "Oh, Doctor. It will be just like old times."
Missy wets a finger and flicks another page in her law book. Only one small part of her brain is bothering with the words, while the rest of her entertains a variety of pleasant daydreams about wreaking revenge on this entire planet, starting with its law professors, and spitballs a few evil schemes for the future. Nothing involving Daleks. She's had more than enough of those lately. Something requiring an elaborate disguise, perhaps? She can't remember doing one of those in a while.
Fortunately, she hardly needs her entire brain for this sort of thing. It may be dry, dusty, and bo-ring, but compared to Gallifreyan law, it's almost charmingly simple.
Although it seems to have completely defeated the Doctor. He's lying on the second bed, across the room, with one arm flung over his eyes, moaning. Literally moaning.
"Tsk," she says, flipping another page. "No fortitude."
"If you hadn't driven all our lawyers insane, we wouldn't have to be doing this."
She snorts. "They were weak." It's the truth. Three of them had left in tears, one had to be escorted out by their jailers for trying to attack them, and two suddenly decided their true calling was in the arts. She's not sure about the other two. She'd stopped paying attention at that point.
"If I'd wanted to be a lawyer," the Doctor continues from beneath his arm, "I could have stayed on Gallifrey. Remember how your father kept trying to talk me into becoming a solicitor?"
She flips another page. Oh, good, this chapter looks like might actually be relevant, for once. "Yes. He thought if you were more respectable, you might be a good influence on me. Which just goes to prove intelligence isn't hereditary."
Well. There had been a little more to it than that, not that she'd ever seen fit to share that fact with the Doctor. But she remembers it well. Son, the old man had said to her, the two of you are obviously going to end up together. Any fool can see it. And while I may have been a fool in my life, I'm not nearly enough of one to think I can stop you from something you've got your mind set on. But if you are going to marry him, at least one of you ought to be respectable, and I've given up any hope of it being you. Which just goes to show you how well he knew her, how little he knew the Doctor, and how utterly rubbish he was at predicting the future.
Or... Well. Possibly not?
Missy rests her finger on a paragraph in the middle of the page. She reads it again. She reads the paragraph after it. She makes a small, thoughtful noise, deep in her throat, and wonders whether, if she hadn't been thinking those precise thoughts, the one now blooming in her mind would have taken root at all.
"What?" says the Doctor. He removes his arm from his face, flops it dramatically at his side, and rolls over to look at her.
She re-reads the last few sentences again, and something flutters oddly in her stomach. Excitement at the thought of getting out of here, she decides. Yes. She'll go with that, for now. "Well," she says. "I think I may have found the answer."
He stares at her for a moment. "I'm not going to like it, am I?" he says.
She gives him her biggest, most deliciously manic smile.
"Oh, god, I'm really not going to like it."
"Here we are," she says. "Criminal Law Proclamation Six Seven Two Three Eight Eight One Red Nine Seven." She reads it out in a lilting voice, milking the moment for everything it's worth. "Members of a married pair or triad whose union ceremony has been witnessed by State Records officials and registered with the Records Ministry using form blah-blah-blah--" All right, she's paraphrasing that bit, but they can worry about which paperwork they need later. "--cannot be required to provide evidence, including evidence pertaining to other cases or investigations related or unrelated, that may be used to incriminate a spouse currently under indictment for any legal violation!"
The Doctor goes very still for a moment. "What?" he finally manages to say.
"And there's a tiny little cross-reference that's been added here, let's see... She flips forward, to where some new appendices have clearly been spliced into the back of the book. "Pursuant to blah-de-blah-de-blah -- ugh, these people do like their long strings of numbers and colors, what's wrong with giving your laws actual names? -- the term 'evidence', as used in sections X, Y, and yawn, shall be construed as including any information retrieved by psionic probe in addition to verbal, psychological or other technological means, pending changes to state policy that I know for a fact they haven't got to yet, because their government got a little too distracted by a dastardly but devastatingly attractive alien genius."
The Doctor sits up. "Yes, well, there's just one problem with that. We're not married." He says it as if it's a devastating logical argument that's somehow escaped her notice.
"Well, not yet, obviously. But, really, after two thousand years or so, don't you think it's time?" She bats her lashes at him.
"No," he says. His back has gone rigid. His eyebrows are glowering at her. "No. That is not happening."
It hurts, strangely. A little stab of pain right behind her eyes that makes her want to lunge forward and rip at his throat with her nails until they're both too distracted by the sight of his blood to continue this conversation. But she refrains. She does have self-control. When she wishes. Sometimes.
"Are you saying you'd rather die than marry me? Really?" She adds a little tsking noise like she can't believe how irrationally childish he's being. But it comes out, perhaps, a little less flippantly than she'd like.
The Doctor hears it, too, whatever it is her voice did just there. She can see it in his face. She is reminded, abruptly, of when he kissed her, after he turned down the gift she'd meant to bring them together again.
His eyes look deep into hers. A potentially dangerous thing, among Time Lords who know each other's psyches as well as they do, if one's control is sloppy. She can almost feel his mind, stirring behind his stare. If this regeneration is less psychically powerful than usual for her, it must be more so for him. She can almost...
No. She can. And between them, just for a second, there flashes an image, a memory. Two young boys lying hand-in-hand in a field of red grass, dreaming of a future they take for granted they will share.
Sentimental nonsense. She breaks it off almost immediately, prepared to deny that it ever came from her.
But the Doctor only shifts slightly, enough to break the contact, and sighs as if he's feeling the passing of every one of those two thousand years. "No," he says. Does she flatter herself that he sounds sad? "No, Missy. I wouldn't rather die than marry you."
Their eyes meet again, but this time nothing new flickers between them. She can't tell what he's thinking. She can't quite tell what she's thinking, if she's honest.
He leans back on his bed and closes his eyes. "Call a guard and ask for the paperwork," he says.
She grins in triumph, but what she really wants to do right now, for some reason, is to go and sit beside him and rest her hand lightly on top of his.
So she does. Sometimes, she has no self-control at all.
"This is a terrible, terrible idea," he mutters. But he doesn't move his hand.
Missy flips thoughtfully through her latest research material, ignoring the genuinely rather impressive stack of paperwork piled on the bed beside her. She and the Doctor are currently having a little standoff on the question of which of them is going to fill it all out. It's one she's fairly certain she's going to win. After all, she can hardly be trusted to do it properly, can she? She might make anything up at all. Or, if necessary, she can always go with the nuclear option and threaten to put the Doctor's real name on all the forms.
She's already forestalled any possibility of him doing the same to her, of course, by filling in her own name everywhere already. She's opted for "The Master," since it's a formal occasion, and because she really wants to hear the Doctor say it at the wedding.
"What do you think?" she says, carefully scrutinizing the page in front of her. She turns it outward for the Doctor to see. "Maybe if they could do it in black?"
"I can't believe," says the Doctor, "that here we are, facing real, serious danger to our lives, our minds, and possibly the future of this civilization, and you're sitting there reading bridal magazines."
She raises her eyebrows meaningfully.
"All right, yes, of course I believe it. But that doesn't mean it isn't annoying."
Missy jots a note on the page, marking it as a definite possibility. The writing implement they've given her has a soft tip, nothing they could remotely imagine being used as a weapon, but the smell of the ink is interesting. She's fairly sure she can identify the acid used in its manufacture. "It's been a long time since I've had a wedding," she says. "Can you blame me for wanting to do it right?"
"I hope you're not going to be this difficult once we're married."
"After we're..." He stops himself, and waves a hand vaguely at the paperwork instead. "After all this, we're going to go to trial, I'm going to win, you're going to lose, you're going to stay in prison, and I'm going back to my TARDIS to do something much less irritating with my life."
"I'll expect you back for conjugal visits," she says, very, very casually.
She can't quite read the look he gives her, but the important point, she decides, is that he doesn't actually say "no."
What he does, instead, is to change the subject. Well. Possibly to change the subject. "I don't think that would be flattering on you at all."
"Do you think?" She regards the picture again, considers the ornately embroidered robes with a critical eye.
"Yeah. Too... I dunno. Too stuffy." He shrugs. "Maybe a few regenerations ago you could have pulled it off, but not now."
She decides to take this as a compliment. "Mmmm, you could be right. I might go with one of the dresses, instead." She flips a few pages. Fortunately, the people here are close enough to Time Lord-shaped, despite the ridiculous ears, that it isn't too difficult to imagine herself in their clothing. Or to imagine the Doctor in it, which has suddenly become a rather pleasant exercise. "Ooh, now, this would look positively delicious on you. Look!" She holds it up for him to see. It's not entirely dissimilar to the Earth clothes he favors -- trousers, a close-fitting shirt, and something that could reasonably be described a jacket -- but infinitely more stylish. And she's always thought he looks good in black.
"What's wrong with just wearing this?" He looks down at his prison jumpsuit, then back up at her as if, impossibly, the fact that he's wearing a prison jumpsuit somehow isn't answer enough.
Missy sighs and shakes her head. "All those times I tried to teach you the importance of dressing for the occasion. Utterly wasted."
"You never did!"
She stares at him. "You don't remember our graduation?"
He makes a scoffing noise. "The robes covered it all up, anyway. There wasn't any point."
She decides to try a different tack. Not one that's likely to succeed, admittedly, but she is trying to keep herself entertained here. "They're required by law to provide us with everything we need for the wedding ceremony. That includes the clothing. You wouldn't want to disrespect this planet's laws, would you? Goody two-shoes like you?"
"I'm fine with it if you are."
"Well, I'm not. I think I've decided to be law-abiding now. After all, I am going to be a respectable married woman."
This time, he makes a sound that starts off as a snort, and ends up giving the impression he may be about to choke to death.
"I'm going to order this one for you," she says, circling the picture.
She slips the pen into her pocket, where it joins some interesting brick dust she's scraped off the wall, a bit of fermenting fruit from a recent meal, and several slivers of what passes for soap on this world. The Doctor doesn't seem to notice.
Missy smiles to herself and skips forward to the section on cakes.
Missy stands, hands on hips, and takes a last, long look around the room. Satisfactory, she decides. Not perfect, of course. Perfect would not involve having her wedding in a prison cafeteria. And while it might involve armed guards, in an ideal scenario they would be working for her. The garishly colored streamers that cover nearly half the wall space -- a cherished wedding tradition here, apparently -- aren't at all to her taste, either. But they're even less to the Doctor's, and the hilariously offended looks he keeps giving them completely justify her choice to keep them.
Most importantly, the food table is just as she wanted. Well, it ought to be. She had to spend ages on it, rejecting dish after dish, cake after cake, until they'd broken down and let her supervise the preparations herself. Very closely supervise them.
Incompetents. Missy smiles. "Can we move this table here over just a smidge?" she says, pointing at a large, heavy table stacked with plates and cups made from wood fiber and flimsy plastics. Which is also less than perfect. She ought to have fine, delicate, heirloom crockery, which she could smash in a fit of temper at the streamers being the wrong color. Oh, well. One does what one can.
The guards glare at her. She's fairly certain that, somewhere along the line, they've gone from hating her for being an evil alien would-be dictator to hating her for being an evil alien Bridezilla.
She gives them her biggest, happiest, nastiest smile. Two of them sigh and slowly shuffle the table over, while four more keep their weapons trained on her. They don't have any choice. Brides are in charge of how the wedding tables are arranged. It's a tradition with the force of law.
Really, these people are ridiculous. They'd have been so much better off with her in charge. "No, wait, I've changed mind. Move it back over there."
"Can we please just get this over with?" says the Doctor from over her shoulder.
"Oh, Doctor. You're so eager! It's enough to give a girl a big head."
He sighs. "You've had one of those since you were eight. At least. Can we just do this and worry about your ego later?"
"It's always time to worry about my ego. You should know that." She casts another look around the room, at the table now resting exactly back where it was. At the streamers. The guards. The cake. Everything in place. "But yes, all right, all right. I suppose this will have to do."
"Thank you," he says. "Finally."
She considers that word for a moment, swirls it around in her mind like a fine wine. Finally. Yes. Finally.
"All right!" She raises her voice to fill the room, pitches it high and demanding. "Gather round, everyone! Come on, come on! Don't keep the happy couple waiting!"
She grabs the Doctor's hand and leads him forward, towards the table at the front of the room behind which the officiant and the state witnesses have been waiting with a stiff and solemn show of patience. Behind them, the guards, with a bit of muttering, shuffle themselves into a semicircle, standing in for audience and wedding party both.
She half expects to Doctor to put up some last-minute resistance, or at least to throw out a sarcastic comment or two. But he doesn't. He comes quietly and stands next to her, still and self-contained.
He hasn't brushed his hair. It stands wild atop his head, a disheveled contrast with the beautiful clothes she's picked out for him. She wants to run her hands through it. Well. Perhaps later?
She's supposed to let go of his hand at this point. She doesn't.
The officiant, a woman with a gray-furred face and disgustingly tiny ears, stands. A moment later, the witnesses seated to either side of her follow suit.
"If we are ready to begin?" the officiant says.
Missy makes a "yes, yes, get on with it gesture" with the hand not currently holding the Doctor's and rolls her eyes.
The officiant clears her throat. "Let it be known," she says, "that this ceremony is conducted to create, celebrate, solemnize, and endow with the force of law the marriage of these two persons, known as..." She looks down at a glossy sheet of paper in front of her and frowns, but continues. "...the Doctor and the Master."
Her voice is an intolerable drone. Missy makes the gesture again, her hand twirling faster, more impatiently.
"Stop it," says the Doctor next to her, quietly. She pouts, but she stops. It's his wedding too, after all. Some concessions probably ought to be made.
"Your declarations," says the officiant, and hands them cards printed with ornate script. The Doctor releases Missy's hand to take his, and stares at it for a moment, blinking.
The officiant looks at the Doctor. "Please read these declarations, so that all assembled may hear them and know their truth." Really, could she at least put in an effort not to sound like she's reciting something meaningless by rote? Missy glares at her for a moment, but only for a moment, because the Doctor is beginning to read, and she's certainly not going to let some boring idiot distract her from that.
"I, the Doctor," he reads, not taking his eyes from the card, "do hereby announce and affirm my intention to enter into the enduring partnership of marriage with this person, the Master."
Dry stuff so far. Missy hangs on every word.
"Let it be known to all that this person is..." He stops. His eyes widen, then, slowly, lock onto hers. "Missy..."
"It's their traditional vows," she says, more gently than she means to. "I didn't change them."
He swallows, then with a stiff little shrug that's clearly trying to be casual and very clearly failing, he looks back down at the card and continues. "Let it be known to all that this person is my true friend and the companion of my hearts."
It doesn't say that. It says "heart." The officiant opens her mouth, clearly about to correct him. Missy gives her a look that unambiguously promises to disembowel her if she does. She thinks better of it and merely licks her lips instead.
The Doctor continues, his voice rich and quiet and full of... Of what? Sadness? Surely not. "Let it be known that she and I are bound by the affections of our hearts and the affinity of our souls, such that even if we are parted those bonds between us will remain, throughout eternity. Therefore, let no such parting be permitted. It is my will and my desire to have her as my spouse, and to accept all that comes, for good or for ill, of being hers. In accordance with the law and in the presence of these witnesses, I therefore declare before..." He hesitates a moment. His eyes flicker up again to hers, and back down to the card. She mouths the next four words with him. "...before the entire universe, that I join myself to the Master in marriage."
The room is very, very quiet. The Doctor closes his eyes for a moment. Opens them again. Looks at her. The expression on his face is... complicated.
It takes her a moment to realize the officiant is prodding her to repeat the words. Missy doesn't glare at her again, doesn't threaten the woman for rushing her. She isn't anyone who matters.
"I, the Master," she says, not taking her eyes from the Doctor's, "do hereby announce and affirm..." She doesn't need to look at the card, not once. The words simply flow out of her, as if they've been waiting for their chance.
"I have heard your declarations and affirmations," says the officiant when she's finished, breaking in annoyingly on what feels to Missy as if it ought to be a truly private moment, "and I recognize them as binding in the sight of the law. You are now married."
They don't have the tradition of kissing at weddings here. Missy leans in, anyway, her lips rounding and reaching for the Doctor as if of their own accord. She finds him already reaching back.
The kiss is sweet. Soft. There is no vying for dominance. There are no teeth. It feels not like a battle, but a truce.
"It is done," says the officiant, sounding bored and perhaps a bit disgusted, as their lips slide gently apart. Their faces are still close, their breaths mingling.
It's time for the food. For the cake. She should announce that, should get on with it.
In a moment. Just one moment. For now, she indulges herself, trailing a hand across his check, across his hair, letting herself imagine...
The Doctor clears his throat. "So, ah, what happens next?"
"The rest of our lives?" She tries to say it lightly.
He swallows. "Well, yes, yeah, rest of our lives, sure, of course." He looks around at the guards, as if trying to convince one of them that his words are entirely for their captors' benefit. "But what do we do first? As in, right now?" He's speaking a little too fast, his hands making big, complicated, meaningless gestures. "Do we have cake? I love a good cake. Isn't it funny, have you noticed, how so many cultures have cake at weddings? Why do you think that is? Is it just because everyone loves an excuse to eat cake?"
"I have no idea," she says, letting irritation creep into her voice. Oh, dear. Married ten seconds, and already he's getting on her nerves. It's marvelous.
He's not wrong about the cake, though. If they had married on Gallifrey, they would have had cake there, too. Dry, unpleasant cake, probably. Time Lord cakes come out of the oven already tasting stale. The one they have here should be much more interesting.
She sighs and steps back from... Well. From her husband. So there. "Yes," she says, a little reluctantly. "I suppose it must be time for the cake."
"What," says the Doctor ten minutes later, as the last of the guards clutches at his throat and falls, "did you make the poison out of?"
She flutters her eyelashes demurely. "Oh, bits and bobs."
He glares at her.
"You should be proud. You married a very resourceful woman!" She begins gathering up the guards' weapons, slinging their straps across her back, stopping to admire her reflection in a shiny metal tabletop. They accessorize very nicely with her dress.
"Should I be worried?" He raises two fingers to his neck, feeling for his pulses.
"Of course not. Do you think I'd poison you?"
He gives her an eloquent stare.
"Well, all right. But I didn't. It's quite harmless to us."
"I wondered why you were so insistent everyone have a slice of cake."
"Of course I was! You can't go to a wedding and not eat cake. Oh, stop looking at me like that. You were the one who kept insisting I'd lose if we went to trial. Congratulations, I decided you were right." She rifles through the senior guard's pockets and emerges with a triumphant smile and an electronic key. "Come on!"
She swipes the door open. Three guards greet her on the other side, all clustered together in a nice, big, convenient lump. A moment later, she steps over their bodies and strides off down the corridor.
"Where are you going?" The Doctor says, hopping after her. "The exit's that way." He points down the hall.
"I knoooow. Oh, good, here we are!" She stops before a door marked "effects storage" and swipes the card. Around them, alarms begin to sound.
"Hmm" she says, putting a thoughtful finger to her chin. "Do you think I should change my name again? 'Missy' isn't exactly accurate anymore, is it?"
"Missy, what are we doing here?" He says it like he means something other than just this place, this door. But maybe she's imagining it.
"I'm not leaving without my boots. These wedding shoes are fine for formal occasions, but I looooove those boots. They were hand-made for me by a nineteenth-century cobbler. I threatened to burn his house down if I wasn't happy with them, so he put his very best effort into the work." She enters the storage room and wanders off down the shelves, looking for a box with her name on it.
Ah! Here we are. She opens the box and claps with delight. "They're still here!" She ties the laces together and drapes them around her neck, then fishes the former contents of her pockets from the box and stuffs them into the toes. The clothes she'll leave. She likes them, but it's not as if she doesn't have more. She'd much rather keep the wedding dress.
When she looks up again, the Doctor is wearing his own clothes, another box lying discarded on the floor by his feet. She tries not to feel disappointed.
"So all that studying trial law was for nothing," he says.
"Well, not if we stay here talking all day."
"Yeah, good point. We should probably go."
The sirens wail louder. A door slams down across the corridor in front of them as they emerge from the storage room, but the Doctor's newly recovered sonic screwdriver quickly sends it sliding back up again.
They pelt down the hall, around a corner, and directly into a guard pelting around it in the other direction.
"No!" the Doctor screams, jostling Missy's arm as she raises a weapon, ruining her aim. The guard gets a shot off before she can re-point, but the Doctor's jostling his arm, too, and he only succeeds in singeing the top of her hair. Her very carefully coiffed wedding hair. She re-aims and shoots him in the face with shriek of annoyance. "Do you have any idea how long I spent on this hair?!"
The Doctor gives her a disgusted look.
"Oh, lighten up, he's fine. Look." She kicks the guard in his side, hard enough to be satisfying. He stirs, very slightly, and lets out a breathy moan. "It's only a stun beam."
The Doctor's eyes widen and he stares at her in... Not in shock. Something softer than shock.
"Oh, come on," she says. "I've had entirely enough of this place."
He doesn't complain again, no matter how many guards she stuns. Which is good, because it's an extremely high number.
Sirens in a variety of pitches shriek and moan behind them as the Doctor mashes the accelerator control of their stolen vehicle, crashing through hastily-erected barricades and sending guards scattering before them. Weapons fire sizzles harmlessly off the car's armored sides as they tear at a genuinely impressive speed through the surrounding streets, rounding corners almost fast enough to tip the vehicle over, their path twisting and turning in unpredictable, patternless patterns as their pursuers, confused, fall further and further behind.
Married life is proving to be quite a lot of fun already.
"Turn up there," she says. "That big building, with the spires. Make a left."
"Why?" The Doctor swerves to avoid some pedestrians. Pointlessly, in Missy's opinion. This is a heavily armored prison vehicle. They'd just bounce off.
"My TARDIS is down there."
"Mine is this way," he says, gesturing straight ahead.
"Yours is terrible at short hops. It always has been. Take us to mine, and then I'll get you to yours. If we try it the other way round, we'll probably end up halfway across the galaxy."
He doesn't look over at her. "No."
Rolling her eyes, she raises one of her newly acquired guns and points it, slowly and steadily, at the side of his head.
All the controls for this vehicle are on the steering yoke. If she shoots him, she can reach across and drive from here.
"No," he says again. He still doesn't turn his head.
Well. Maybe the other side of the galaxy will make for a nice honeymoon spot. Of course, knowing him, if he gets her onto his TARDIS, he'll probably lock her up and try to keep her again. She died rather than let him do that last time. It was completely worth it, for the look on his face. Best practical joke ever.
But, really, would it be entirely so bad?
"Aaargh." She lowers the gun. "Fine."
Now he does look at her, an expression of surprise in his eyes. Did he really expect her to shoot him? Now?
They reach the spired building.
The Doctor turns left. The defensive set of his shoulders almost dares her to say something, but for once in her lives, Missy decides not to push things.
For several minutes, they say nothing to each other. Then, "Turn here," she says, and he does.
Her TARDIS is right where she left it, disguised as a shuttered food kiosk. They leave the vehicle, still running, in the middle of the street, and dive for the doors.
As they enter, the scanner lights up, showing police vehicles tearing down the street, heavily armed troops pouring out to surround them.
She turns it off, dumps her store of weapons on the floor, flops down heavily into the one chair she keeps in the console room, and kicks off her shoes. They really weren't made with this amount of running in mind.
Humming, she unslings the boots from around her neck and puts them back on, wiggling her toes contentedly. So much better. Really, there is something to be said for the comfort of the familiar.
When she looks up, the Doctor is holding one of the guns, inspecting it thoughtfully.
"This has a kill setting," he says.
"Yes," she says, sharply, "and we both know you aren't going to use it, so stop messing about!"
The look he gives her might almost be hurt. He lets the gun slide out of his hand, back onto the pile. "You could have killed them," he says. "You could easily have killed all of them."
"Don't think I wasn't tempted. Especially that dreadful officiant. Is it just me, or did she show absolutely no respect for the importance of the occasion?" She pauses. She almost doesn't go on. Almost. "But then," she says, "could any of them really understand? They don't even know what eternity means."
"You didn't kill them. Even the poison wasn't fatal, was it?" His eyes are locked onto hers. They could share a memory again. It would be so very, very easy.
"My wedding gift to you," she says. "I imagine it's more your sort of thing than the last present I got you."
A long moment passes. Neither of them looks away. At last, very quietly, he says, "Thank you."
She doesn't say "you're welcome." They don't do that. But the way he looks at her, she thinks perhaps he's seen some kind of answer in her eyes.
Slowly, he leans forward.
His kiss is gentle. It tastes of red grass in the summer. Stay, she wants to say to him. Stay. Just for now.
He might. He might, if she asked. He would, if she said I'm sorry. If she said, Let's try it your way, now, instead. Even if he didn't believe her, he would.
"I'll take you home," she says, instead. She can't tell if he looks disappointed. If he expected anything else.
She rises, and goes to the console, and tells her TARDIS to go and to find the only entity like itself on the planet. The only one in most of the universe.
Before she can think any more about it, they're there. She opens the doors, and gestures the Doctor out without a word.
He turns to go. Turns back. "Missy..." But he doesn't seem to know what to say next.
"Oh, just go," she says.
He's still looking at her. Just... looking. "All right," he says, at last. "I'll see you around."
She shuts the doors behind him, before she can change her mind. She isn't going to change her mind. She's not. Not yet, at least.