“Are you tired?” Kristoph asked as he unlocked the door of the newspaper stand and they stepped inside.

“Just a little,” she answered. “I’m too excited to feel tired yet. This was a wonderful night.” She looked around the TARDIS interior and gasped in surprise. It had changed while they were gone. Now, in addition to the fantastic console, a part of the room had become a comfortable sitting area with two big, squashy armchairs and a long sofa that looked big enough to be a bed. There was a coffee table with a percolator steaming. “Oh, that’s JUST what I need,” she said. “Don’t tell me, the TARDIS KNEW that!”

“Yes, it knows you. Go on and sit down. I’ll set our course and join you.”

She sat. The sofa was VERY comfortable. She threw off her shoes and poured herself coffee. She FELT quite at home. The TARDIS felt like a place she could feel safe in.

Kristoph pressed a switch and smiled at her reaction when a big viewscreen opened up on the panelled wall revealing their position in orbit around the Earth. She had not yet made the connection between the time rotor’s up and down movement and their movement in time and space. But she would learn. She would get to know the TARDIS as well as he knew it. It WOULD feel like a home, a safe place for her.

“I’ve preset our course,” he said as he came and sat next to her on the sofa. She gave him a cup of coffee and they drank snuggled close together. His free arm snaked around her shoulders and she pressed herself close against his chest so that she could hear his double heartbeat as she watched a view of her own planet that only trained astronauts usually saw. “I set it to orbit the planet three times before we come back to land. It will take about three hours.”

“Three hours, just you and me in space!” She sighed happily as she contemplated the kind of deep, sweet kisses she had experienced on Saturday night on the East Cliff, but this time in a warm, lovely place. “Kristoph…” There was a question she had to ask but she wasn’t sure how to say it.

But she didn’t have to.

“I am a Gallifreyan,” he reminded her. “We have a very strict code of honour. We must be legally and properly married before any relationship is fully consummated. Right now, I just want to hold you in my arms and kiss you. I want to enjoy the feel of you close to me.”

“That’s good enough for me,” she said. She put down her cup and relaxed even more closely into his arms. She sighed as he kissed her neck and shoulders, a sensuous pleasure as her eyes were transfixed by the view of her own world slowly turning beneath them. “Kristoph, you are wonderful. And so is your TARDIS.”

“Which do you love most?”

“You, of course, silly,” she laughed. “But I can’t have the TARDIS without you, or you without the TARDIS. You’re a deal.”

“That we are,” he said. “I’m glad you like it. I did wonder if you might find it too much.”

“It can take us to anywhere in the world in an evening, and come back to Harrogate and nobody knows any different. Why wouldn’t I love that?”

“Not just anywhere in the world. Anywhere in the universe. And any time.”

“That’s a bit much for me, yet,” she said. “Let’s stick to the Earth, and my own time for now. Could we go somewhere every evening though?”

“Of course we can. I fully intended to do so. I want to show you the world. I want to give you the world, Marion.”

“That is the most romantic thing I have ever heard. What did I do to deserve it?”

“You were yourself. You were natural, and gentle and wonderful, and you opened your heart to me,” he answered.

She watched the Earth orbit until she had seen the British Isles beneath her twice. As the last of the three orbits programmed into the TARDIS navigation began, though, she turned from the view and reached for her lover. She sighed as she felt his lips on hers. His kisses and caresses thrilled her and the time it took to complete the orbit seemed so much shorter.

“Relative time,” Kristoph said with a smile as he stood up. He held out his hand. “Come here,” he said. “I want to show you how we land.”

He took her to the console. He stood her in front of him and he placed her hands on the controls and his own over them. He guided her hands over the console and told her to watch the small viewscreen that showed the TARDIS coming in closer to the Earth, focussing on Britain. It was night, of course, and all of the land showed as spots of bright lights against the dark oceans. An indication, Kristoph told her, of just how much of the Earth’s energy Humans used every day.

They were soon close enough for her to see the lights of cities like Leeds as the TARDIS honed in on Yorkshire. Harrogate was a smaller pool of lights.

“Can’t radar see us?” she asked.

“No,” he answered. “The TARDIS is much smarter than any Earth systems. It is invisible to them. I do have to be careful about air traffic on this planet. But otherwise I can come and go as I please.”

“We’re not a UFO, then?”

“No.” He laughed. “Most of those are mistakes and hoaxes. Extra-Terrestrials DO come to Earth, but not as often as people think. And most of them do it quietly without causing any trouble. Just as I do.”

“How many Time Lords are there on Earth then?” she asked as the space ship levelled out and became more like a helicopter, cruising across the landscape. “There’s you, and… the traitor. The man you came for. Are there others?”

“Not at this time,” he said. “We have taken an interest in Earth in the past. There was a scandal in my great grandfather’s time when a group of young, newly qualified Time Lords created the culture of what is to you, ancient Greece, by posing as gods. The Greek Alphabet is actually derived from Gallifreyan.”

“Oh.” Marion laughed. “What happened to the ones who did it?”

“They had their TARDISes confiscated and their travel privileges revoked. The High Council decided they hadn’t done any real harm though, so they left things as they were on Earth. So you got some wonderful culture and we got some warnings about interfering with lesser races, and a curious tradition at our universities where all students took on a nickname based on that alphabet.”

“What was yours?” she asked him.

“Kuppa Laµßda ,” he replied. “Or Qoppa Lambda as you would know it.”

“That’s a little easier than your long name. But I think I’ll keep on calling you Kristoph for now.”

“Good enough,” Kristoph answered. “We’re almost home. This wonderful evening is nearly over. But we have so many more.”

He landed the TARDIS by the side gate of the Summer School Residence. It disguised itself simply as a red telephone box. They stepped out of it and Kristoph drew her into the shadow of the wall beside it for one last kiss.

“I will see you first thing in the morning,” he told her. “Did I tell you I’m covering for Professor Atkinson in the Shakespeare performance workshop tomorrow?”

“No, you didn’t,” she told him. “But that sounds wonderful. It’s an all day workshop. I get you as my teacher all day.”

“And your lover all evening, afterwards,” he told her. “Couldn’t be better.”

“I wish we didn’t have to pretend not to be lovers.”

“I know,” he sighed. “But if I am going to stay here on this planet and be Professor De Leon for real I cannot lose my job. And you, my love, should get your degree as you want to do.”

“It feels so much less important, somehow,” she said. “But I DO still need to do that, don’t I?”

“Be magnificent, Marion. Do everything you want to do.” He kissed her one more time and watched as she slipped in through the gate and then he turned. His summer home was only a few moments away by TARDIS.