“I'm bored,” announced Missy.
The Doctor didn't look up from the (quite dull, very poorly-written) essay he was marking. “I don't care.”
“You promised you'd look after my needs,” she said. “I assumed that would include keeping me occupied.”
He kept his eyes fixed on the page. “With what?”
“I have an obscene suggestion that you might be interested in.” It sounded like a joke, but you could never tell with Missy.
He circled a clumsy sentence with a red pen and sighed, irritated. “I'm busy.”
Missy tutted. “You're not busy, you're just doing that stupid job you insisted on taking. Time Lords aren't suppose to have jobs, Doctor. Interests, vocations, but not jobs. And certainly not careers.”
Accepting temporary defeat, he sat the essay back on the pile of paper that lay next to him on the sofa. “If it's any consolation I was nearly sacked last month.”
“'Nearly'? Try harder next time.” But she did seem happier now that he was finally paying attention to her. “It's the 1970s, isn't it?”
“So Nardole tells me. I told him I don't really want to be keeping track of things like that, but he insists.”
“Well,” said Missy, strangely ignoring the opportunity to insult Nardole with the Doctor's tacit approval, “that means we're both on Earth. We're not too far away from ourselves, why don't we drive over and say hello?”
The Doctor's eyebrows fused together in a perplexed scowl. “Missy, that's a terrible idea.”
“I promise I won't kill anyone,” she said, generously. “I just thought it might be nice to reminisce. We were so good together in the old days.”
“You kept trying to take over the planet and kill me.”
Her eyes gleamed. “We were in our prime. A real ensemble. You and me. UNIT. Miss Grant.”
“You hated Jo,” said the Doctor.
“No! Not more than I hated any other human. A bit less, in fact. She was a good influence on you.”
The Doctor snorted a laugh. “Missy, I think you're retconning that era into something it wasn't.”
She leaned forwards in her chair. “Why don't we find out? Pay a little visit to our former selves, see what things were really like back then?”
“I don't like repeats.”
“It's not a repeat,” said Missy, “it's a visit to the archives. Oh, go on, it'd be fun.”
He found that he was quite tempted by the idea. Admitting that to her was another matter entirely, though.
Seeing him waver, Missy went in for the kill. “Doctor,” she said, slowly, “how can I prove I've changed if you never give me a chance to demonstrate?”
That was a good point. A very good point. He acquiesed, hoping that he wasn't going to regret this. “Fine. I'll get a car from somewhere, we can make a day of it. Nardole can make some sandwiches for us. He's probably capable of that.”
And so an outing was planned.
“Do you know the number of a breakdown service?”
“Oh, dear.” She shook her head. “You should have prepared for things like this.”
The Doctor opened the driver's-side door and climbed out. “It's just a car,” he said, heading to the end that probably held the engine. “If I can fix a TARDIS then I can fix a car.”
“How long has your TARDIS had that faulty chameleon circuit?” asked Missy, joining him at what had in fact turned out to be the wrong end of the car. (Why wasn't the engine at the back? No wonder they couldn't reach escape velocity with a design flaw like that.)
“I don't want to fix that,” said the Doctor, “I like her the way she is.”
“You mean you gave up trying.” They arrived at the front of the car and popped open the bonnet. They looked at the engine. In silence. For some time.
Finally the Doctor spoke. “I used to know about cars.”
“But you forgot,” she finished for him.
“I can't help forgetting things, I'm two thousand years old. There are entire years of my second regeneration that I have almost no memory of, for instance. And no, I wasn't on drugs at the time.” He shrugged. “It'll come back to me.”
Two hours later it had not come back to him, and the car was now a bit smaller and in several pieces. The Doctor was not used to admitting defeat, but even he couldn't win every time. He looked through the windscreen to where Missy sat in the passenger seat reading a book. “We'll have to get the bus back,” he said. “Maybe a train.”
Missy closed her book. “No,” she said, “you promised me a nice day out with tea and scones and our former selves. I refuse to go back to that vault without my fun trip to the past.”
The Doctor looked along the road. “We can walk into town, but we've missed most of the daylight by now. We'll have to stay overnight. We might have to share, though, I didn't bring much money with me.”
She shrugged. “It's nothing we haven't done before.” She put the book away in a pocket and got out of the car. “We'll have to pretend to be married.”
The Doctor stared at her, blank. “What? Why?”
“It's 1972, Doctor, people will talk.”
He still didn't get it. “About what?”
She spread her hands. “About us!”
“But people always talk about us, I save planets and you're evil.”
“That's just gossip, this would be the patriarchy.” She looked very serious.
“Missy,” he said, with fragile patience, “you don't actually care about the patriarchy. You don't care what happens to other people, and when it affects you personally you just kill someone.”
Her hands moved to her hips. “How dare you!”
“That's true though, isn't it?”
“You're one to talk about the truth.”
The Doctor shook his head. “Oh no, you're not making this about me.”
“Everything's about you!”
“Only in your head.”
She smiled sweetly and fluttered her eyelashes. “And you don't think that's romantic?”
“No,” he lied, “it's not.” He spun round and started walking away from her, towards the town. After a few moments he heard her start to follow. That was good, because leaving her on her own wasn't really an option. Which, alarmingly, had slipped his mind back there.
The receptionist looked at the pair of Time Lords. “Mr and Mrs?”
The Doctor said “Song,” without thinking and then yelped when Missy kicked him in the leg. She moved away, possibly to avoid inflicting further violence, and he had to finish booking them in himself because she refused to say another word. Well, that was her problem, not his.
Keys in hand he followed her up the stairs towards their room.
“You've taken her name,” said Missy, coldly, glancing out a window on the second-floor landing.
“Well, it's not like she could take mine.” He found the right room and unlocked it. Missy pushed past him through the door. “If it helps,” he said, as lightly as he could as he closed the door behind them, “she's been dead for some time.”
“I'm not jealous,” said Missy, looking around the room with a critical gaze.
“You kicked me.”
Miissy shook her head. “That was an accident.”
“It most certainly was not!”
“It was a deliberate accident.” She waved a hand. “I'm going to have a bath.”
The Doctor glared at her back as she headed to the bathroom, then sat down on the bed to sulk for a bit. It was not very comfortable.
When they were settled in bed Missy turned onto her side and smiled at him. He knew what she was thinking, because it's what he himself was thinking. But if she wasn't thinking it then it was just him, and was that better or worse?
“I'd like to suggest something.”
“No,” he said, “it would be a bad idea.”
“You don't know what I was going to suggest.”
He stared resolutely at the ceiling. It was covered in Artex swirls, and was therefore soothingly hideous. “Anything would be a bad idea.”
“Can I kill you?”
Well, that wasn't what he'd been expecting. The Doctor blinked at the ceiling then turned his head to look at Missy. “What?”
“Will you let me kill you? Just once. I don't want to get back into the habit, I just want to deal with a craving.”
“You promised you wouldn't murder anyone on this trip,” he reminded her.
“It's not murder if it's consensual,” said Missy in a worryingly reasonable tone. “And I did ask politely, I didn't just plunge a knife into your hearts while you were asleep. Which I could have done, you know,” she added casually. “This is me being good.”
“No,” he said, determined to end this conversation before it went to even worse places, “you can't kill me. I like these eyebrows too much to lose them because you've got a craving for murder.”
“It's not murder if -”
“Yes, it is.”
“It's really not,” she insisted, calmly. “Well, if you're sure about not wanting to die just yet.” She turned away. “Goodnight, Doctor, try not to have nightmares.”
It only took him two hours to get to sleep after that.
UNIT HQ was surrounded by fences and warning signs, and it had seemed safer to observe themselves from afar. They sat in a nearby field fending off the occasional curious cow.
Missy sighed contentedly as she looked through the binoculars. “Look at us, we're practically teenagers.”
“Can I see?” He had already asked twice.
“In a minute. I was very handsome back then,” she added wistfully.
“You're not bad now either,” the Doctor offered.
“Obviously, but that body was really something.” She lowered the binoculars and turned to the Doctor. “Do you think -”
The Doctor shook his head. “No, you're not going to seduce yourself.”
Missy's earlier body was disgused as an electrician and was industriously sabotaging the earlier Doctor's lab as part of what Missy assured the Doctor was a friendly attempt to gain his attention rather than the murder attempt that it obviously was.
“I didn't really know how to flirt back then,” mused Missy, “I was very awkward.”
“You were suave.”
She brightened. “Was I? Did you really think so?”
“Why wouldn't I?”
“I kept offering you half the universe and you always said no. That doesn't do a lot for a young man's ego.”
“I hope you understand now why I kept turning you down.”
Missy nodded. “Of course.”
The Doctor smiled, pleased with his own rehabilitation efforts.
“You were frigid,” said Missy.
He rubbed his face with a hand. “Would you like to make another guess?”
“I was joking,” she said, coolly. “You were put off by me being evil.”
“Can I have a go of the binoculars now?” asked the Doctor. Their train would be leaving in a few hours and they still had to find the station.
Missy handed them over. “Take a good look, I think you're about to realise that I'm up to no good and have me arrested by your army chums.”
The Doctor looked at her. “You want to leave now, don't you?”
She nodded. “If you don't mind. It's not the most pleasant memory.”
“Sorry,” he said, rather awkwardly.
She sighed. “It was my own fault.” She stood and brushed grass from her skirt. “Thank you for the day out, it was more or less enjoyable.”
The Doctor got to his feet. “We could do it again some time.”
“I'd like that.” She smiled, then took his hand and squeezed it gently. “I really would have given you control of half the universe, you know.”
“That's horrifying,” said the Doctor. “But a sweet sort of horrifying.”
She laughed, and kissed him on the cheek, and then they went home to the vault.