The Doctor always stayed on stage a little bit longer than wholly necessary, waving, blowing kisses, getting in the way of the roadies, all of that. She ushered Yaz and Ryan offstage first and kept on until Graham shouted, "Come on, then! They'll think they'll get an encore!"

"And why not?" the Doctor shouted back.

"'Cos it's not in the contract! Get over here." Kindly said, maybe, but firm, so she made her way over, still thrilled in the wake of a good show.

"Lord, I'm sweaty," she said brightly. "A drink, then? I think so!"

"Oh, not yet. You've got some sort of VIP guest," Graham added. "Out by the gate. Best get it over with so we can get to our night, hey?"

"Yeah, yeah," the Doctor agreed, and clapped him on the shoulder. "Oh, lovely! Tell them I'll be right there."

"Will do," he said, with clear amusement, and she bounded off.

She'd played this venue before, most recently back during her stint with Amy and Rory (and occasionally River), so she knew her way to the gate even in the dark. There were shouting fans, who were leaving space around the gate itself for something, someone, but she gestured for security to open it up to let in the VIP guest.

Her smile faltered as the security guard revealed her guest. Missy smiled, a definite edge to the shape of her mouth. "Hello, Doctor."

Stupidly, her main thought was and she shows up when I look like this? "Talked your way in as ever," she said. "Can I trust you not to make a fuss if I step aside and let you have a go at being social?"

"Are you suggesting I can't manage social graces?" Missy feigned a frown. "Good heavens, what do you think of me."

The Doctor was never keen on being terribly abrupt, but Missy had crashed her post-show high and she wanted to cut to the chase. "You have a bad habit of hurting my bandmates."

"Oh, if I promise not to hurt your precious children, will you let me join you? Pretty please," Missy added, peppering the sentiment with a wry smile.

No. Not yet. "Do you remember playing here?"

Missy paused. "What?"

She offered a very small smile. "I asked if you remember playing here."

Missy shrugged, the gesture pithy. "It's been a very long time since I've played anything, and you know that."

"Yeah, you went off to management," the Doctor said, tone dry. "Very impressive. You don't remember?"

Irritation crossed her face for a moment; at last, a response. "Why would you dredge up something from so long ago?"

"Oh, because I like to think of it sometimes." She leaned up against the wall. "How matched we were. How every beat was in sync, you and me. How much fun we had, onstage, off. How I would have never sent you off without a really good reason."

Missy's lip curled. "And so you did."

"With a really good reason," the Doctor returned, enunciating the words. "Are you sure you can come back here and behave?"

"I came all the way here for you to dredge up our past." Missy bit out the words with a smile that didn't take the teeth out of her tone at all. "I came all the way here for you to blame me yet again."

"I didn't make you do it," the Doctor said softly. "I covered for you, I helped you… every step of the way. But if you want to be my friend, you can't – "

"Friends." Missy laughed shortly, mirthless, and the Doctor tensed, prepared for the worst. "Who do you think I am?"

She considered Missy for a moment, then closed the distance between them to snatch up her hand and pull her forward. "Come on then! I've got a plan, let's just see, shall we?"

"What are you doing," Missy pronounced, but barely resisted.

"I have a plan! Trust the plan," the Doctor said, and flashed a smile. She snatched up an acoustic guitar that was out yet and yanked out a stool. "Sit, sit, sit."

Missy stared at the guitar, eyebrows raised. "Doctor, you're being ridiculous."

"Please," she tried, and offered the guitar out. "Please, humor me."

Missy took up the guitar and climbed onto the stool, briskly tuning it. "What do you want," she said, tone clipped.

"'Stars Shine.'" The Doctor leaned up against a wall, watching Missy's face. "Do you remember?"

"Yes." Missy was guarded yet, but that was fine. She began to play through the intro, the Doctor humming softly over it, and Missy sang.

Stars shine
Even though some are dead, stars shine
Even though they all change, stars shine
They might collapse and destroy and become something new but for now, stars shine

The Doctor knew then that this had been a mistake, that the feelings swelling in her were a mistake, but she sang harmony anyway.

Never let me go
Never tell me no
'Cos just like stars, we shine
Even if I'm gone, I'll shine (on you)
Even when I'm gone, we'll shine… together

Missy hit a discordant chord and strode to put away the guitar, startling the Doctor. "That's enough," she declared, standing firm a few feet away from her.

"Missy," the Doctor said, terribly soft. "Please."

"You expect me to forgive you after what you did," Missy shot back, tone still flippant.

The Doctor laughed, astonished. "What I did? Missy, you – "

"I killed someone," Missy retorted in a quiet snap. "And what of it? You turned your back on me, in favor of – ingenues and amateurs – "

Her stomach twisted in a pleasantly unpleasant way; she knew what was happening. She knew what love felt like by now. "Missy. I just want to be friends."

"And what would I have to do?" She grinned, with no amusement. "Cower, beg, let you defang me?"

The Doctor knew there were no other, truer, words. "I love you as you are. I just think you can be you without..."

"By changing?" Missy retorted.

"For the better." The Doctor felt sick. "Please. Try. For me."

Missy considered her, a coolness in her gaze, then she took two steps forward and seized the Doctor by the shirt, backing her into the wall. The Doctor panicked, bewildered, until Missy kissed her over and over again, hard and penetrating. The Doctor clung to her, weak with arousal, and incredible, fantastic feelings that were a horrible mistake to allow through her defenses. Then Missy pulled back enough to let the Doctor breathe and said, barely audibly, "Accept me as I am, Doctor."

Her heart was pounding desperately. "I'm afraid for you."

Missy scoffed. "I can fend for myself, you know that."

The Doctor had to get this all under control, get back to Yazz and Ryan and Graham, back to her normal life. "One day, you won't get away with it. And I'll never see you again."

"I won't let you clasp a collar around my neck, Doctor." Missy stepped back. "I think it's time for me to go."

"Yeah." That was it. There was nothing she could do. "See you, I guess."

"Yes," Missy said, tone crisper than the look on her face in that instant, wounded. Then she swept off, back to the gate, and the Doctor pressed her face into her hands.

It was a long moment before she pulled herself together enough to head back to the bus. "Oi," she called inside as she opened the door and headed inside. "Miss me?"

"Yeah!" Yaz cheered. "Get in here! Graham's cheating."

"Am not," Graham argued. "Twenty." He tossed his poker chips into the circle.

"Deal me in next," the Doctor said, and grinned brilliantly to stifle it all. As she waited, she hummed, the words clear in her head.

Even if I'm gone, I'll shine (on you)
Even when I'm gone, we'll shine… together