Disclaimer: Yeah, I own nada. Otherwise Twisswald and Missfle would be canon.
Warnings: Well…one of the main characters is Missy so that should give you a clue. Oh heck, fine I'll spell it out. Explicit content, slightly creepy behaviour, some violence, and morally ambiguous relationships that I do not endorse but are ridiculously fun to write about.
Life without Missy became instantly easier. No more random, unannounced visits in the middle of the day or night, no more unexpected popping up, no more snide remarks, no more flirting disguised as traps.
With Missy Junior around, she had to find excuses not to spend too much time on the Tardis. Despite how much she just longed to rush off with the Doctor and leave her normal life behind, she didn't want to leave her puppy, and she really didn't want to have to explain to the Doctor how she came by a genetically engineered, telepathic puppy for a pet. It wasn't like she had an excuse anymore either.
Twenty minutes after she'd called the Doctor and Kate, the Tardis had materialised with a rasping clang of her engines in her front room. She'd barely had time to think up a suitable excuse for Missy's actions before she was subjected to the Doctor's interrogation. Lying to Kate and UNIT had been simple enough, and she'd felt no guilt about that. Somehow, she doubted they'd take kindly to the idea of the Mistress having a crush and using the rest of the human race as marionettes in her bizarre attempts at courting. Lying to the Doctor, however, was both harder and more shameful.
She should have told him. She should have confessed all, especially as she no longer had a telepathic block in her head, preventing her from doing so. The words had been on the tip of her tongue, the moment Kate had debriefed her and said her goodbyes, but this time, a different kind of reluctance had set in, letting nothing but platitudes and reassurances pass her lips. She wasn't entirely sure the Doctor believed her, but he hadn't pushed. Perhaps he thought she was too traumatised to talk.
Thankfully, Junior had had the sense to stay out of sight and refrain from talking to Clara telepathically. Clara had survived the whole debacle by the skin of her teeth, it seemed. As for the Doctor…. there had been lies in their relationship before, it could survive a few more. Clara supposed she should have felt a little less sanguine about that, but she just couldn't find it in her. He didn't need to know about Missy and her little crush.
Clara was grateful. At last, there was no more madcap Time Lady following her around, all but stalking her in her day-to-day life, threatening to bring her carefully constructed world crashing down around her ears. Contrary to what she believed, Clara and Missy were nothing alike. And Clara was grateful that she was finally out of her life.
She was. She was.
As she tossed and turned for the umpteenth time one morning, a month after Missy had teleported her back to her flat from that awful, fire-scarred planet, that she'd done for her, that she had perpetrated an atrocity for Clara, for Missy's perverse ideas of courtship, she reminded herself of that. Because she hadn't wanted it, hadn't wanted untold numbers of people to die for her, to be hypnotised and used as puppets in Missy's never-ending pageantry of insanity. She didn't, she didn't, she didn't want that.
Clara thumped the pillow in frustration, disturbing a still sleeping Junior where she lay on the bed beside her. Cursing mentally, Clara soothed the puppy back to sleep, trying not to let her turmoil show to the puppy through her hands, keeping them soft and gentle as she combed her fingers through Junior's curly coat. Despite how grateful she knew she should feel for Missy's exit from her life, not that she entirely trusted that she was gone for good, but she at least knew that Missy wouldn't bother her specifically unless she found her again; she couldn't get Missy's face and voice out of her mind.
The way she looked on that barren outcropping, the flames flickering like some gruesome parody of sunlight across her sharp-edged features, sincerity blooming in her eyes, a strange desperation in her voice, tinged with an immense sadness that Clara had no chance of truly comprehending. It was a sorrow for the ages, echoing down millennia that Clara's still human mind – still human, despite what Missy thought – could never hope to capture, yet something inside her, some insidious little voice that wore Missy's eyes and Missy's voice, whispered she could assuage, just as she did the Doctor's. 'A friendship older than your civilization and infinitely more complex…' Well, that certainly described both Missy's and Clara's friendship with the Doctor.
'Don't be disgusting. We're Time Lords, not animals. Try, nano-brain, to rise above the reproductive frenzy of your noisy little food chain…'
She could still hear the scorn in Missy's voice as she'd uttered that sentence. Love to her was anathema, something to be scoured from existence, something all Time Lords had in common it seemed. So how did that explain the Doctor? Was his ability to love – even if it wasn't like humans' conception of love – an act of rebellion that had become habit, or a true reflection of his nature? And if so, did that mean that held true for all Time Lords, or was it just the Doctor?
'Probably' whispered her memories of the Doctor and Missy, but logically it didn't make sense for one member of the species to be divergent from the rest. So, it followed that Missy's disgust of love was more a socialised response than an instinctive one, possibly. In a society socialised to look down on intimacy of any kind, sexual or otherwise, it would be near impossible to discern those socialised to be celibate and those who were truly asexual.
She wondered what that kiss had been, if so. An overriding of Gallifreyan indoctrination, or Missy pandering to her human sensibilities, such as she understood them?
Clara shivered, allowing herself to recall that kiss against the rock on that burning planet, even as contemplating the second possibility made her feel faintly ill, but…she didn't think so. It had been hungry and desperate, like Missy had been straining against something in her psyche that had been holding her back for too long. Her arrogance perhaps? Or was it pride? Pride in her solitude, in her loneliness. Just like the Doctor, Missy was lonely. By her own hand perhaps, but she was alone.
And like the Doctor, Missy was looking to Clara to assuage that loneliness. Clara shoved back the covers of her bed, huffing in frustration, although she managed to avoid disturbing Junior this time. She stomped into her bathroom, turning on the light and staring at the pale, tired-looking face staring back at her.
Why her? Why did it have to be her playing Wendy to all these grand rebel Time Lords and Ladies with their Peter Pan complexes? 'Because the life they offer is a drug you can't get enough of…'a little voice, Glaswegian brogue overlaying a schoolmarm's sharp tones, whispered in her head. For one wild moment, Clara thought Missy was communicating with her telepathically, before she huffed a derisive laugh and shook her head at her reflection. Hearing Missy's voice in her head…'Now I know I'm going crazy…'
The buzz of her alarm going off in her bedroom roused her from her reverie, as Clara blindly reached for her toothbrush, and Junior yawned and stretched on her bed, yapping good morning happily, oblivious to her human's inner turmoil.
Work seemed to drag on and on that day, lessons and breaks and after-school Taekwondo with the Year Sevens blurring into one incomprehensible mess in Clara's head. Now more than ever, she felt the creeping inertia of her human life, the control she'd always insisted on since meeting the Doctor growing burdensome. She'd always sought to remain grounded in her Earth-bound life, sure that her life with the Doctor wasn't one she could keep forever, but more and more it was beginning to pall. How could it not? After everything she'd seen and done, everything she knew, everything she felt….how could life on Earth ever compare to the Universe…?
As Clara left the building that housed the English Department, walking quickly towards the teachers' car park where her bike was parked, she felt the familiar itch in her palms, her hand straying towards the pocket where her phone was tucked away. As she contemplated yet another evening spent in front of the TV with her marking and either a microwaveable dinner or a takeaway, even with Junior for company, something in her recoiled. She craved excitement, she craved danger, she craved the thrill of the chase, to hear her own blood pumping in her veins!
Desperation made her fumble as she almost dropped her phone on the wet tarmac of the school car park, almost empty now bar the few unlucky teachers who had volunteered for after school clubs. But as she scrolled through her contacts, her fingers came to a trembling halt over the Doctor's name and number. Despite the urgency in her veins, a strange reluctance stopped her from pressing her finger to the little green call symbol on her phone screen. With a sinking heart, Clara realised it wasn't the Doctor she wanted, after all. Or rather, it wasn't the Doctor she wanted to give her the things she craved.
"There's a choice before you Clara. Do you stay the innocent puppy, always running after the Doctor, or do you become something more? With me?" Missy's voice whispered in her head, making her heart judder before it began to beat again, faster now as frustration mixed with the urgency and reluctance in her blood. Stalemate.
With a shuddering sigh, Clara locked her phone and slid it back into her pocket, determined not to think as she slid her bike helmet on over her head.
'What the hell am I doing!?' or so Clara's thoughts tended to run as she sat in her living room, eying the vortex manipulator on the table in front of her. Junior sat beside her, head cocked and ears pricked, sniffing curiously at the device on her human's coffee table. 'What the hell am I doing!?'
Are you going to get the other mistress back? I miss her. She used to scratch my belly and bring me new toys. I miss her, Junior said, with a plaintive whine. Looking into her dog's huge chocolate eyes, Clara sighed.
She also taught you a few bad habits. Guilt-tripping much? she replied pointedly. Junior huffed and shook her head.
You miss her too, the dog replied accusingly, with a narrow-eyed stare. You're bored without her.
Clara sighed. Out of the mouth of babes, or puppies, it seemed. "I do," she whispered aloud. Admitting it, even just to Junior, felt like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. One of many, perhaps, but one less. Refusing to let herself think too hard, Clara reached out and picked up the vortex manipulator, innocuous in its leather wrappings. She turned it over and over in her hands, mind racing.
How did she go about finding Missy? The Time Lady hadn't exactly left her number after all…so what could she do? She couldn't ask the Doctor, though she didn't doubt he could find her if he so chose, but asking him to do that would have all sorts of repercussions Clara couldn't face, not yet. What to do? Stage some crazy stunt, hope it caught the Time Lady's attention? But she didn't have Missy's resources, or lack of basic morality. Not to mention that UNIT would likely catch her in the act and then her secret would be out. For all she knew, Missy had moved on to pastures new and wasn't even paying attention. No, there had to be another way, a more direct way back to her…
An image came to her mind's eye, as she frowned thoughtfully…
'"Find me, when you work out the answer to that," Missy whispered, before raising her arm. Clara saw the master unit to hers on her wrist, and then the sickening lurch as Missy teleported her away, the sight of the Mistress backlit by flames and ash singed on her retinas.'
Undoing the flap that protected the vortex manipulator's main display, Clara's gaze roved over its workings. The vortex manipulator was her best bet, but how? How could she work it? She'd done so once, during the bizarre day with three Doctors and Zygons impersonating Kate and Osgood, but that had been with the Doctor's help. Without a code, a temporal and spatial grid reference as it were, the manipulator was useless.
Another memory intruded, as Clara gasped in realisation. "Vortex manipulators. yours is slaved to mine. Cheap and nasty time travel…"
Of course! If her vortex manipulator was still slaved to Missy's own, then that should be mean it would be able to find Missy's, provided she still had it with her. All she had to do was reverse the polarity…but she didn't have the Doctor's screwdriver, or any of his sonic devices. Clara growled in frustration, startling Junior as she yelped in surprise. There had to be a way to trigger it without a sonic device, surely? Or some kind of recall subroutine, a way to return the device to the master vortex manipulator's co-ordinates in Time and Space?
Perhaps the other Claras could help, Junior suddenly piped up beside her. Clara didn't need to speak for the puppy to feel her surprise and confusion. The other Claras in your head, mistress. Perhaps they could help?
The other Claras…? Did she mean…her echoes? Clara had always known she carried a part of them within her mind, but it had been so long since they'd given her any bother that she'd almost forgotten them. The Doctor had told her they would fade with time, though they'd never completely leave her. They were a part of her, and Clara had never wanted rid of them anyway. But could she actually…communicate with them, access their memories and knowledge of lives innumerable lived across Time and Space?
She could try, it certainly wouldn't hurt. But which one would have the most understanding of devices like vortex manipulators? For most of her echoes' lives, she'd been human but not all…
But how to access her memories? Her memories of her life on Gallifrey were the most nebulous of all. Glancing sideways at Junior, her mind raced. Could you help me, little girl? I'm not sure how to access those memories…
The dog snorted and huffed. That's true. You humans are so clueless about the mind. I can help, mistress. Just give me a scent to follow, and I think I can find those memories, she said, rising to stand on her four paws, shaking out her glossy coat.
Clara didn't really know what she meant by that, but she closed her eyes and tried to bring up memories of her echo on Gallifrey. They were as nebulous and insubstantial as smoke, fleeting impression and sensation, fading before she could get a fix on them but Junior only needed a moment. Like her distant ancestors, she followed the scent back until Clara gasped, a tangible feeling of something unlocking in her mind as her senses were bombarded by only half-recalled memories and dreams.
When she opened her eyes, she looked at the world as if through another's, mind grasping information that had eluded her before. Nevertheless, there was a pressure building in her head that was agonising, and growing more so with every moment. Quickly mistress! Junior barked. You must work quickly. Your mind is human but hers wasn't. A human mind cannot hold a Time Lord's without unravelling. Hurry!
Taking a deep breath, Clara's fingers flew across the vortex manipulator's display, delving deep into its programming, manipulating subroutines and algorithms with a skill that Clara did not possess, not consciously. The science was far beyond anything a human mind could yet comprehend, after all. But Clara wasn't wholly human, not anymore and she dazedly reflected Missy had had a point after all. Deep in her psyche was buried the memories and knowledge of the Time Lords, and more, if only she could access them. But she understood why the Doctor had ensured she couldn't. The pain was swiftly becoming unendurable.
With a trembling exhale, Clara realised her work was done as she fastened the unit to her wrist with shaking fingers. Junior affectionately butted her head against Clara's other hand, licking it quickly before backing away. You must find the other mistress now. Go, find her!
"Wish me luck," Clara breathed, bracing herself as her head throbbed. "Ready or not Missy, here I come."
With a single command typed by fingers moving with an alien agility, Clara vanished from sight, leaving Junior alone in the flat. The puppy whined and settled down to await her mistresses' return, glad at least that Clara had left behind plenty of leftovers from dinner so she wouldn't get hungry while she waited.
Clara felt that familiar squeezing, crushing sensation as she was dispersed to nothing but her barest atoms, then catapulted across the vortex to the co-ordinates her manipulator were keyed to. Consciousness returned with that familiar surge of intense nausea as she materialised, then fell to her knees on cold metal grating, retching. It distracted from the building pain in her head, at any rate.
She was dimly aware of a shocked gasp, then footsteps hurrying towards her. "Well, pup. This is a surprise," a familiar, desired voice said softly, in a strong Glaswegian brogue. "I knew you'd find me eventually, though. Clara?"
Two strong, lily-white hands with black nails like talons reached down into Clara's line of sight, clasping her upper arms so she was raised upright when she still did nothing but stay on her knees, face turned to the floor. "How did you do it?"
"Slaved to yours, remember?" Clara gasped out, focussing hard through the pain. "Reversed…the…polarity."
Missy laughed. "I'm impressed, but how did you know how to…?" she trailed off, as she looked into Clara's eyes, her smile turning to a frown. "Clara, what did you do?"
"Just got…a second opinion," she quipped, before groaning as the pain reached a new high. "Missy…I need help."
"Yes, and not just the psychiatric kind," the Time Lady retorted, a worried look in her icy eyes. "Clara, I need to enter your mind. I come in peace, alright?"
She didn't really have much of a choice, since she knew she was slowly dying now as a result of accessing her Gallifreyan echo's memories. With a sigh, she closed her eyes and let Missy do what she needed to do, trusting and limp as Missy reached out telepathically, and slipped into her head.
The consciousness of the Time Lady was beyond anything Clara had ever felt before. Something within her pricked and arose in recognition, one Gallifreyan mind to another, before the pain was tamped down by a blissful wave of numbness, that momentary spark doused and locked away once more. The pain continued to fade, as Missy helped her up and to a seat, a wingback chair set back from the main console as she knelt next to the human, monitoring her condition.
Seemingly satisfied that she'd sealed away Clara's Gallifreyan memories, she withdrew from the human's mind and the intoxicating temptation to stay. What she'd seen, what she'd glimpsed, was so promising and so delicious, everything Missy had hoped for. But she resisted the urge to gloat while her puppy was still so weak from her reckless act.
Clara opened her eyes to the sight of Missy knelt beside her, hair askew and tumbling down around her, her usual coat thrown aside somewhere and her blouse sleeves rolled up. There was a smudge of oil on her cheek, and she appeared to have some kind of toolkit around her slender waist. She'd obviously interrupted her in the middle of some Tardis maintenance.
"Like what you see?" Missy quipped knowingly, with a wicked glint to her smile. Clara, in a detached sort of way, wondered if that was how the big bad wolf looked before it devoured little Red Riding Hood.
"Maybe," she admitted, with a slow smile of her own now her headache was easing. "Thanks for that."
"Don't mention it," Missy replied shortly. "What are you doing here?"
"I-I came to find you," Clara confessed quietly. "Junior misses you…I miss you. You were right, I'm sorry."
Missy's smile softened, in a way Clara hadn't thought possible of the Time Lady, as she leaned in slowly. Briefly, for a split second before Missy's lips met hers, Clara wondered if she'd made a mistake.
Then their lips met and locked, and Clara knew. She'd made no mistake.
To be continued…