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Future Past

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The Doctor looks up as the bartender slides a glass of amber spirit in front of her. "What's that for?"

"From her," the bartender replies, indicating with a jerk of her head a figure at the far end of the bar, who raises a glass and smiles a wide red lipstick smile.

No. Oh, yes. Her insides somehow manage to lurch and swoop at the same time. Their relationship has always been one of contrasts and extremes.

("It's why we have two hearts," Missy said once, her head lolling on his shoulder.)

The Doctor stares fixedly at the glass, curls forward over it, as if she won't be seen if she doesn't look up. She could still leave. The door's just there. She won't.

Heeled boots clop sharply towards her; a hand with short unpainted nails slides into her vision and flicks the glass. It rings, a pure clear note.

"Why?" the Doctor says. She's mostly talking about the drink.

"To celebrate." Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Missy lean sideways, hip pressing into the bar. Her mind fills in the picture, following the curves and sweeping lines of her body without conscious thought. She's wearing purple. "You're here. That means I win. Again. Stop him doing whatever unbearably stupid and supposedly noble thing he's planning."

"Time doesn't work like that."

"It does from where you're standing."

She tries to remember. Centuries ago, Davros and Skaro. He was going to die. The aching absence called Clara. Fear and anger. Missy, her face alight as he revealed his cleverness, giggling, light and free in his company for just a moment, back when she floated above any consequences for her actions. She wonders if Missy laughs like that now, in her reclaimed freedom (from them, from conscience, from consequence).

Deft fingers trail across her cheek and tuck a strand of hair behind her unadorned ear. Startled, she turns, immediately regrets it. Missy is here, in front of her, real and present and yet so far away. He failed. It wasn't enough. He failed her and he lost her and she can't do anything to fix it, not here.

"I do like it when you're fair," Missy says, with a faint smile that isn't quite a smirk. "It's such marvellous symbolism."

"It didn't suit you," the Doctor says, without thinking.

Missy gives a little shrug. "Choices were made."

She wants to leave. She wants to not be here. She won't find any answers here, no glimmer of hope in this younger Missy whose story is already told. She drops her eyes from her face to the brooch at her throat.

Presenting the gift. Seeing it for the first time in more than a millennia and insisting to himself he didn't recognise it or its wearer. The package that contained Missy's confession dial and that brooch. Holding it tight through the vault years. It was still sitting in a secret compartment in the TARDIS console. One successfully resolved distress call and he could present it, again. A mark of their new-old friendship, never given.

"Missy..." she whispers, eyes pricking.

"Oh, my dear." Missy places two fingers under the Doctor's chin, tilts her face upward. "Now what have I done to make you look at me like that?"

Her nails scrape slightly. A little pressure and she could break her, could make her bleed. They both know it.

Missy smiles, leans down and kisses her. She should pull away. She wants to stretch into it, reach out and curve her hand around Missy's hip. She doesn't.

"Whatever it was," Missy murmurs against her mouth, "I'm sure it was enormous fun."

She kisses her nose, once, twice, and pulls back.

"I look forward to it. But"--she heaves a dramatic sigh--"places to be, idiot to rescue, you know the drill."

Missy reaches out for the Doctor's glass and knocks the contents back. The Doctor watches her silently, her fingers wrapped round the glass, the movement of her throat. Wonders if she'll ever see her again.

The glass clinks back on the bar. Missy raises an eyebrow. "A thank you would be nice. I am about to save your life. No? Any word of encouragement? A smile perhaps?"

Everything the Doctor wants to say is clogging her throat. This Missy doesn't have the answers.

"Goodbye, Missy.”

Missy rolls her eyes. "Cheer up, you're still alive, thanks to me. Really, you're as bad as him, the ungrateful bugger. I honestly don't know if it's worth it."

"Me either," she says.

Missy's already gone, striding off into the future past.