“I’m in your class later,” Marion said as Kristoph stopped the car outside the Summer School Residence. “The first time. I missed everything last week.”

“I look forward to it,” he said. “Though I look forward to seeing you AFTER class much more. When we can be by ourselves.”

“Mmmm, me too,” she answered, and her heart fluttered. “Kristoph…”

“Nothing has changed,” he assured her. “This weekend wasn’t just a dream or a holiday romance. You and I….” He leaned over and embraced her lovingly. They kissed for as long as they dared without drawing attention to themselves.

“Later,” he whispered before she took her bag and got out of the car. He watched her go in through the gates and then he drove away. The hire car went back to the garage before he walked back to his house. He had missed two seminars this Monday morning because they didn’t set off from Whitby until nine o’clock, after an early morning walk and breakfast in the hotel. But he could easily solve that problem. His TARDIS brought him from his house at noon, to his study at 9 am. He was in the first seminar in plenty of time.

After lunch he was early to the classroom. He felt excited about the prospect of finally teaching a class that Marion was in.

She came in along with the other students, but she didn’t really join in the conversations, at least not voluntarily. Kristoph noticed her look up from her book as one of the students spoke to her. He stood up and began to write on the white board but he was listening as he did so to what was being said.

“So what did you do at the weekend, Marion?” she asked.

“Nothing much,” she replied.

“That’s not what I heard,” the woman continued. “Sally Walker saw you getting into a car with a man. And I saw you in Knaresborough with the Professor. And where were you all last week anyway? You weren’t with HIM were you?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Cath,” she answered.

“The Professor. Old Tweedy. So what’s he like in bed? Is there a real man underneath the stuffy old boy?”

Kristoph called the class to order before she could find an answer to that question. He knew she was upset by the comments though. He was upset himself. His own honour was impugned by the lewd suggestions.

It spoilt the class for them both. He was glad when it was over. As he dismissed the students he called to Marion and asked her to go to his study where he wanted a word with her. She was surprised when he also told the girl who had been so rude to her to go to the study, too. He waited a few minutes before he followed. They were both sitting quietly in the study when he arrived. He said nothing as he closed the door and sat down at his desk.

“Cath Benning,” he said, looking steadily at the girl. “So did you sleep with your boyfriend over the weekend?”

“I beg your pardon?” she answered indignantly.

“Well, I thought it was a fair question since you were so interested in MY love life. I’m prepared to give you a full account of my weekend if you tell me all about yours first.”

“My boyfriend isn’t a teacher in the college who isn’t ALLOWED to go out with students,” she answered. “You and her… it’s disgusting. And you’re old enough to be her father.”

“So how do you know I’m NOT her father? You know nothing about me. If I had spent the weekend showing my daughter around Yorkshire would there be anything wrong with that?”

“No,” Cath answered. “But… you mean she IS your….?”

“No, she isn’t,” Kristoph answered. “I could put that lie about. But there have been enough of those already. The truth is my weekend is none of your business and I won’t have you or anyone else spreading gossip and upsetting Marion with disgusting innuendos.”

Marion looked at Kristoph’s eyes as he spoke. His voice was calm, but his eyes burned with anger. He turned and looked at her.

“Marion,” he said quietly. “I don’t want you to be scared by what I’m about to do.”

“What are you about to do?” she asked.

“Something I don’t do very often. Because taking away people’s free will is about the worst way I can use my natural gifts.”


She stared as Kristoph just seemed to look directly at Cath. He never touched her. He just looked at her in a very intense way. She stared back as if she couldn’t look away.

“Go and get a cup of tea in the refectory, Cath,” Kristoph said. “Then go and lie down in your room. You don’t remember anything about the weekend. You had a bad headache on Friday and didn’t really enjoy your trip to Knaresborough at all. You don’t remember seeing anyone there.”

Cath stood up and left the room. She looked dazed but unharmed.

“Will she really not remember the weekend?”

“Not a thing. But what about you? Are you all right?”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m… I’m glad she can’t tell anyone else about us. But Kristoph, there’s still Sally. She saw us together, too.”

“We are doing nothing wrong, Marion. Only the petty rules of university life stand between us. WE belong to the UNIVERSE, my dear.” He stood up then and took her hand in his. “We are done with this place for today. This evening I want to take you somewhere special.”

“Where?” she asked, and she was surprised when he drew her towards what she assumed was a stationery cupboard. “Kristoph…”

“Trust me,” he whispered.

“I DO trust you,” she said. “But… Oh! Oh my.”

He had opened the cupboard door and drew her inside. But instead of a tiny space barely big enough for them both, she found herself in a large room.

The strangest room she had ever been in.

And in a curious way, the most beautiful.

The walls were wood panels, alternatively circles and hexagons. And they attracted her straight away. She walked slowly around the room looking at the panels. The circles all had woodcut pictures, and they told stories. One of them, she recognised as the story from that poem that had so entranced her, not in words, this time, but pictures. There were other stories, too. One told of a man who fought something that looked a lot like a dragon. What surprised her was what happened after the dragon had been defeated in an amazing sword fight. He himself was mortally wounded and fell. But he didn’t die. Instead, his body seemed to transform and he rose from the dead, younger and very much alive.

“What….” she began. She looked around at Kristoph. He was busy at what seemed to be a very elaborate computer console in the middle of the room. That, too, was wood-panelled but very high-tech looking.

“We’ll be there in an hour,” he said.

“We’ll be where?” Marion asked. “Kristoph, where are we?”

“This is my spaceship,” he said. “It’s called a TARDIS. That’s an acronym for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. Which essentially means it travels in time and space, and it can alter its dimensions to suit wherever it lands. It was disguised as my stationery cupboard before. You’ve also seen it as a wardrobe in the bedroom and a simple door.”

“And we’re travelling, now?” she asked. “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere nice for the evening,” he told her. “But before we get there, let me show you another room. I call it the wardrobe.”


“That looks beautiful on you,” Kristoph said when she returned to the console room in a russet-red silk dress and a brown cashmere shawl with high heeled shoes that made her look a little taller. Her hair was caught up in a metallic gold snood that kept it in place.

“You look great, too,” she replied, smiling at the sight of him in a very smart designer suit of dark brown with a slight glint as if there was gold thread in the fabric. “No tweed tonight. I hope that isn’t because of what Cath said about you. I think you look good in tweed.”

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” he said with a smile. He held out his arm to her as he reached for a switch that opened the door.

“We’re…” For a moment as they stepped outside she could hardly speak. She could not believe it. She turned and looked at the TARDIS. It was disguised as a closed news-stall on Broadway, New York, near sundown on a warm summer evening.

“Is it THIS evening? The actual same day?” she asked. “We’re in New York… and over in England…”

“It’s the same day,” he told her. “August 3rd, 1992, and it is a beautiful evening in New York, but as that is five hours behind everyone in England is in bed by now.”

“We travelled in time and space.” Marion giggled. It was that or scream. “Kristoph… it’s incredible.”

“One day, I hope you will take it for granted,” he said. “I mean for you to be a part of my life for a long time, Marion, and the TARDIS will be a part of your life, too. It has already accepted you. That’s why that dress was there for you. It read your needs.”

“How does it do that?” she asked as they walked in the crowds on Broadway and took in the sights and smells and sounds of it all. Marion felt a little frightened. Liverpool was the biggest place she had ever lived in and even that scared her at night when the clubs opened. She clung to his arm, so glad that he was there.

“The TARDIS is slightly psychic. It responds to the people who come into it. It knows you are special to me.”

“A psychic time and space ship!” She laughed again. “I’m going to wake up and find this is all a dream while I was sick last week.”

“No, it is real,” he assured her. “Here we are. Restaurant first. Then I have tickets for a show. Guys and Dolls. The new revival version.”

“Wonderful. If this is a dream I don’t ever want to wake up from it.”

“Nor do I,” he assured her as they stepped inside the restaurant. Kristoph gave his name and the maitre-d showed them to their seats. “This is quite incredible for me, too. I never expected to fall in love with a wonderful woman. You have helped me to live again, Marion.”

“You didn’t feel you were living before?”

“I was, but there was something missing. My life… my first life, as an assassin… I never let myself become attached to anyone. I was a cold man. Avoiding friendships. As an Ambassador, a peacemaker, I have friends. I have colleagues, but still I had nobody special. My work was fulfilling. But my work was all. Then they sent me on the mission that brought me to Earth…”

He stopped talking then. She wondered why.

“This is a lovely evening. I would rather not speak of traitors. Let us talk about more pleasant things.”

“Can you tell me about… the story of the man who fought the dragons. In the pictures on the panels.”

“Dracœfire!” Kristoph smiled and took a sip from his wine glass. He said nothing more while the waiter took their order and left the table. “Dracœ was my grandfather. His name was prophetic. He really DID fight dragons.”

“What happened at the end? He looked as if he was dead… and then… he wasn’t.”

“That’s a long story,” he answered. “One I WILL tell you, I promise. But not here. Not among so many strangers. It’s something we should talk of quietly together. The physiology of Time Lords.”

“What’s a Time Lord? Can you tell me that at least.”

“I am a Time Lord,” he told her. “It means I am one of those elite of my people who have the power to manipulate time and space, who have the abilities that have so shocked and frightened you, the telepathy and the hypnotism, and the time folding you saw when we were on the beach with the tide coming in.”

“A Time Lord is more important than an ordinary Gallifreyan.”

“Yes,” he said.

“Every day I learn something new about you. It’s amazing. Breathtaking.”

“Every day you surprise me by accepting it all. I am so lucky.”

“I’m in New York, with a Lord, being wined and dined and taken to the theatre!” Marion smiled widely and sipped her wine and again she wondered if it might all turn out to be a dream after all.

But it wasn’t.