Marion woke in a comfortable bed and turned over to see her lover, her husband, lying beside her. She sighed happily. Even after three weeks of honeymoon she still found it a delightful surprise to wake each morning like this, warm and comfortable and with Kristoph lying or sitting beside her, watching her sleep.

“It’s very early, yet,” he told her. “Only five-thirty. You should go back to sleep.”

“You never seem to sleep at ALL,” she answered him. “You’re always awake before me.”

“I only need a few hours. The rest of the time I just like to lie here quietly.”

“What do you think about?” she asked.

“Many things,” Kristoph said. “You. How much I love you.”

“That’s sweet. But you can’t possibly think about that ALL the time.”

“Mostly. Sometimes I just lie here and let my mind reach out.”

“Reach out to what?” she asked.

“To the humanity around us. In the quiet of the night, I find it so relaxing. Reaching out and feeling the minds of the people of the town.”

“Reading their minds?”

“No. That would be intrusive. Just their emotions. The aura that they give off with their thoughts. I can feel if they’re happy or sad, awake or sleeping, dreaming sweet dreams of nightmares.”

“Can you show me?” Marion asked.

“Yes, I can.” He reached and touched her head in the same way he did when he made love to her with his mind, as he had done every night of their honeymoon. This time, though, instead of drifting into a sweet, soft, dream, she felt her senses become hyper aware and awake. She felt herself moving with him through the town of Bistriz in the early morning. She felt the minds of the people. Most were asleep. She felt their dreams. Not what they were dreaming of, but whether they were good dreams or bad ones. She felt the few people who were awake as sharper minds, distinct from the rest. There was the baker and his apprentice, making the morning’s bread, the Watchmen patrolling the streets, coming near the end of their shift and starting to feel weary. A lover stealing over the rooftops to reach his lady’s window, she waiting up for him in expectation.

“He does that every morning,” Kristoph said as he slowly drew in his thoughts and they lay together remembering the feeling of travelling together in their minds. “They don’t do anything they shouldn’t. But he goes to her window and they kiss and cuddle for a while.”

“I hope they don’t get caught,” Marion said with a smile.

“So do I,” Kristoph agreed. “Though I DO think the young man should try knocking on the front door and talking to her father. It would save him some climbing.”

“You haven’t detected any vampires in the night?” Marion asked as her thoughts passed from the young lovers to the Carpathian mountains that rose above the town and the legends inspired by them.

“No,” he laughed. “But I didn’t expect to. Even though this is the very place and time all those things were supposed to happen, it IS just a work of fiction, after all. There isn’t even a hotel here called The Golden Krone. Not yet, anyway. They build one later for the tourists.”

“I’m glad we came here before the tourists discovered it. It has been so nice here. A wonderful honeymoon. Even without… even though we have not fully… I didn’t need it. Just being close to you this way is enough.”

Kristoph smiled and embraced her in his arms. He, too, found satisfaction and contentment simply in being able to hold her close to him. It was more than he could have hoped for a few years before. How cold his life had been before he found her on that railway platform and saw the spark of something in her that could warm his life.

He kissed her lovingly, just savouring the joy of it. She was his to hold and kiss any time he wanted. She was his wife.

By Earth definition at least.

But that was good enough for now.

“Let’s go for a walk,” Marion said after a while. “We’re checking out of the hotel after breakfast. It’s our last chance to see the town.”

“Good idea,” Kristoph said and he slipped out of the bed and began to dress himself as Marion went behind the dressing screen and put on a Victorian day dress of green voile with a long skirt and tight bodice that set off her figure. She had a matching parasol and shoes for walking in.

“It’s cool yet,” he reminded her and he fastened a cloak around her shoulders and pulled up the hood to frame her face before buttoning his gentleman’s top coat and giving her his arm.

They slipped out through the side door of the hotel and out into the cool streets, enjoying the quiet of the early morning. It was pleasant strolling through the narrow streets of Bistriz, some covered over like tunnels, exploring the remnants of the 13th century walled citadel that countless attacks had made ruins of, checking the time by the clock tower of the 16th century church as they passed it, remembering how yesterday afternoon they had sat at the back of it, quietly, and watched two young people of the town get married in the Eastern European style.

“They were so happy,” Marion said. “Just as happy as we were on our day.”

“I hope that will always be true,” Kristoph said. “Though we neither of us can expect EVERYTHING to be wonderful all the time. There will be problems to be faced.”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Marion admitted. “You’re not worried about anything in particular, are you?”

“No,” he assured her. “Just that feeling that fate won’t let us be this content for too long. But, no, I don’t have any precognition of immediate trouble.”

“Good.” She felt his hand in hers as they walked on, enjoying their unique honeymoon in a place and time of their choosing. It had been the obvious choice. Kristoph had engaged her interest in him that first time they talked together with a quote from Dracula, and they had first acknowledged their love for each other in the clifftop churchyard in Whitby. And now they had enjoyed their honeymoon in Transylvania.

“Wait a minute!” Kristoph said as they walked in a narrow alleyway between the backs of two streets of good quality town houses. “There’s somebody….” He looked up and saw a figure running lightly across the rooftops.

“A burglar?” Marion thought aloud as she noted a bulging sack slung over his shoulder.

“No, I think it is the young lover I detected earlier.”

“Both lovers,” Marion corrected him as she spotted a distinctly feminine figure dressed in a man’s trousers and cloak following along. She, too, had a bulging pack to carry.

“An elopement?” Kristoph smiled enigmatically and watched the two moving along the rooftop. The houses here were two stories high with a further attic room open onto a flattened section of roof and they clambered along that level towards the end of the alleyway where there was a single storey stable they could drop down to before reaching the ground.

“Oh no!” Marion’s gasp matched the soft cry of fright from the female eloper as she slipped and began to slide off the edge of the roof. She feared the worst when something dropped, but it was only the bag. Then Kristoph was a blur as he left her side and was in position to catch the girl safely in his arms as she fell. Her lover looked down in shock and then relief, and then worry again as he realised that their escape was over.

“It’s all right,” Kristoph called out. “Come down and claim your sweetheart.”

The boy climbed down the side of the building and stepped towards Kristoph as he set the girl on her feet. She was trembling with fear.

Before either could speak there was a shout from a window some houses back.

“My father,” the girl cried. She seemed genuinely afraid. Kristoph said nothing. He turned and with his hand concealed from the girl’s view he used his sonic screwdriver to open the nearest door set into the back wall of the houses. It led to a coal bunker. He pushed both boy and girl into it and told them to keep quiet. Then he took hold of Marion’s arm and they appeared to be sauntering along the alley casually when a group of men, armed with whips, appeared.

“Which way did they go?” the eldest of the men demanded. Kristoph pointed down the alleyway and the group ran off in that direction, muttering darkly about what they would do when they caught up with the elopers.

“You can come out now,” Kristoph said, opening the cellar door again. “Come on, this way, quickly. I doubt it will be long before they return.”

They all moved quickly, but not so quickly they appeared to be running away from anything. No voices called out for them to halt before they reached the end of the alleyway. They moved swiftly along the wider cobbled road that brought them back to the hotel. Kristoph slipped them all in through the side door and up the back stairs to the suite they were staying in.

“You’re safe here,” Kristoph said at last. “Marion, why don’t you find the young lady some more suitable clothing while I see if we can get a pot of coffee this early in the day. And then we’ll talk about what is to be done.”

He retreated from the room and left Marion with the two young lovers. She went to the bedroom and found clothes for the girl in the luggage she had already packed ready for them to leave later in the afternoon. By the time Kristoph returned, accompanied by a serving girl with a steaming coffee pot, she had managed to find out their names and part of their story at least.

“This is Jenica,” she said. “She is the daughter of the local magistrate. And this is Gheorghe, whose father is the vicar of the Lutheran church.”

“Respectable men, surely?” Kristoph said. “And of the same social class. So why must your love affair be secret?”

“I am of the Catholic faith,” Jenica answered. “My father has forbidden me to meet with a heretic.”

“And my father would not hear of me paying court to a papist,” Gheorghe added.

“Ah,” Kristoph said quietly.

“They’re like us,” Marion whispered to Kristoph.

“Yes,” Kristoph noted. He turned back to the lovers. “Where did you plan to elope to?”

“I have an uncle in Bucuresti,” Gheorghe said. “He will find me work. We can be together.”

“You’ll still be of different faiths even in Bucharest,” Kristoph pointed out.

“But nobody will be telling us that every day of our lives,” Jeneca answered. Then she sobbed. “Oh, but it is impossible. My father will have the railway station watched now. If we are seen…”

“We could take them in the TARDIS,” Marion suggested in a low voice.

“No,” Kristoph said firmly. “It is a serious infringement of the Laws of Time to reveal the secret of TARDIS travel to anyone of a non-advanced society. Your society has space travel and understanding of the principles of quantum theory at least. I was allowed to reveal the truth to you. But these young people must not be exposed to what they cannot ever understand.”

“Then is there nothing…”

“There is always SOMETHING to be done.” Kristoph picked up Marion’s cloak and put it on Jeneca. The hood almost entirely hid her face. “Your father is looking for you and your lover. If two ladies go to the first class ticket office and purchase tickets for Bucharest your father’s men would hardly have the bad manners to stop them?”

“But what about Gheorghe?” she asked,

“He will come with me to the freight office. Again, your father’s men will not be looking for two men arranging to have a large and bulky piece of freight loaded onto the train. Gheorghe will be my secretary aiding me in that task.”

“It might work,” Gheorghe conceded. “It is audacious, but it might work.”

“Why would you do this for us?” Jeneca asked. “You have no reason to help us in our plan.”

“I’m a romantic,” Kristoph said. “And my dear wife would not let me abandon you. But the train is not due for another two hours even if it is on time. We shall take coffee now, and in a short while I shall have breakfast brought up to our room here. We can ALL breathe easy knowing that nobody can bother us here and lay the plan more fully.

The two young lovers began to look more hopeful. Kristoph poured coffee for them all and watched their faces. He smiled as he thought how very Un-Gallifreyan he was acting in helping these two strangers in their flight from the authority of their homes. Elopements happened now and again even on his planet where love usually developed AFTER the marriage arrangement had been completed on the basis of political, social and economic expediency. Such relationships rarely worked out. Those who cut themselves off from their families by such rebellious actions, especially those of Oldblood Houses, found it hard to find work or position in such a rigid society as Gallifrey. They were shunned and forgotten by their families and friends. The price was often too high for the sake of love. Most separated and returned to the fold, often to make expedient marriages, or to dedicate their lives to celibate occupations like the sisterhood Renita cloistered herself in, or to teaching in the Academies, an occupation traditionally of unmarried men.

Kristoph was no Renegade. He would call out any man who called him so. But there must be, he thought, a rebellious streak in him.

Besides, Marion was right. These two young people were a lot like them. They had faced hostility from so many quarters to their union. So, indeed, had his own parents when his father married ‘beneath him’.

And for his gentle mother’s sake, if for no other reason, if it was within his power he would help Jenica and Gheorghe make a life for themselves away from the opposition they faced here. For the sake of love, which unusually for one of his kind, he valued.

When the time came, Kristoph escorted Marion and Jenica and their luggage to a one horse caleche outside the hotel. The hood was up and sitting back they were concealed from the casual eye. He waved them off and then he called to Gheorge. They, too, travelled by caleche, but they went to a different part of the railway station. As Kristoph gave instructions to the porters on the safe manhandling of his very large piece of freight into the guard’s van, they saw Marion and Jeneca getting into a first class carriage. They saw, also, Jeneca’s father’s men waiting by the ticket office. They were watching every male and female couple who came into the station, but they had not noticed the two women together.

Nor did they notice when Kristoph and Gheorge walked up from the guards van and found the first class carriage where the women already waited. They stepped inside and closed the door. Jeneca and Gheorghe embraced lovingly as Kristoph pulled the blind down over the window and kept his hand on the latch that closed the door. Several times as they waited for the train to move off, people hoping to find an empty carriage tried the handle and found it firmly resistant to them. Once Kristoph became tense as he saw the magistrate’s men walking along the platform looking into carriages. They, too, tried the handle. Kristoph opened the door a crack and spoke to them in an authoritative voice. They apologised humbly several times as they backed off from the carriage.

“I think we may be all right now,” he said. “But we’d best keep the blinds down until the train moves off, all the same.”

It made the carriage rather stuffy on a warm summer morning, but he was right to take the precaution. For as long as the train stood there in the station of Bistriz, the magistrate’s men prowled angrily. And it stood there far longer than it should have done. Kristoph noted that Mr. Stoker had been spot on when he noted that the further east one went the more unreliable train time tables were. The train that SHOULD have left at ten for a long journey south to Bucharest, was still there an hour later and showed little sign of being ready to depart.

It was nearer a quarter to midday when the locomotive began to give off steam, indicating it was about to move, and a man who just HAD to be the magistrate came striding down the platform. He was met halfway by a man dressed in the stern black of a Lutheran Minister. There were many witnesses to the ensuing discussion at a volume that overwhelmed even the noise of a railway platform. Passengers and porters and station master all clearly heard the Minister accusing the Magistrate of encouraging his son’s lewd behaviour and the Magistrate calling the Minister’s daughter a Romanian word which Marion didn’t understand even with the TARDISes wonderful translation in her head. Kristoph said it was something approximating ‘Jezebel’, but Jeneca’s blush and Gheorghe’s angry look suggested it was much stronger than that.

The sound of the train whistle drowned out the reply and the train started to move slowly. Kristoph, watching through a crack in the blinds reported that both fathers of the eloping couple had run down the platform as far as they were allowed as it began to pick up speed.

But they were too late.

Kristoph put up both blinds and opened the windows to let in much needed air as the train gathered speed. Then he turned to their hand luggage and produced a cold roast chicken and bread, apples and peaches and a bottle of wine. They ate a welcome picnic lunch as the train rushed through the Transylvanian countryside.

Jeneca and Gheorge had no interest in the view. They sat in a corner of the carriage, clutching each others hands and tensing every time the change of tempo indicated they were approaching a station. While they were still in Bistrita-Nasaud County, where the magistrate might have some jurisdiction, or at places where he might have telegraphed ahead, Kristoph was wary at each stop, but there seemed to be no obvious pursuit and soon they were far from any local official’s power, speeding through southern Transylvania where the Carpathians gave way to a flatter plain where the train made good headway.

For the length of the afternoon Marion contented herself with looking at the view of the Romanian countryside as it was before the country was changed by Communism in her century. Kristoph was by her side the whole time and his arm around her shoulder was a sweet contentment.

The sun was dropping low and they were still at least sixty miles from Bucharest when they stopped in some small town whose name seemed much like the previous one and the one before it. Such was the weariness of a long train journey even in the most fascinating territory. Kristoph did what he had done already several times on the long journey, purchasing food and drink from hawkers on the platform. They all ate their supper gratefully as the last leg of the journey got under way. The two lovers were excited now, sure no harm could come to them. As he passed bread and cheese to Gheorghe Kristoph took hold of the young man’s hand and held it a little longer than seemed necessary.

“Yes,” he said at last. “You and your sweetheart will be just fine. Your exile life will be lonely and difficult at first. But you have each other and the love that made you risk all. You will be fine.”

“We’ll be fine, too, won’t we?” Marion asked as she leaned against his shoulder and looked out at the darkening view of southern Romania on a warm summer evening. The long train journey had been an interesting experience and one she would look back on with fondness. But now she was becoming tired and was longing to reach their destination.

“We’ll be more than fine,” Kristoph assured her and he put his hand on her forehead gently. She felt his mind gently entering hers and the movement of the train and the warmth of the carriage combined with the soft, lulling mood he was creating. This was not the passionate love-making she had enjoyed from him each night of their honeymoon, but a slow, sweet, mental caress that made the last hours of the journey fly by for her. When she looked again out of the window it was to see the lights of houses on the outskirts of Bucharest.

Kristoph saw his ‘freight’ safely into a storage yard and then he and Marion escorted Jeneca and Gheorghe to a comfortable lodging house for the night.

“You can find your uncle tomorrow morning and begin that new life,” Kristoph told Gheorghe as he shook hands with him. “Good luck, both of you.”

“May God bless you,” Jeneca told him in reply. And she reached on her toes and kissed his cheek before placing something around his neck. As they went back to the station, to the TARDIS, and their much more comfortable onwards journey, he smiled to see that she had given him a St. Christopher medal on a silver chain. He pushed it inside his shirt. After all, he had travelled, and would still travel, farther than anyone else on this planet. The blessing of the patron Saint of Travellers on him was something to be valued.

“We should come back,” he said as he powered up the TARDIS and Bucharest station’s goods yard was suddenly missing a large piece of freight. “Perhaps in your own time.”

“It’s rather a sad place then, after the revolution,” Marion replied. “All the orphanages with those poor children and everything.”

“We could do something about that. We can come here in the post-Communist 1990s to see what our skills could do to relieve some suffering for a week or so before term starts.”

“We don’t have a week or two before term starts. We start back on Monday.”

“We have the TARDIS,” Kristoph reminded her. “We can have a VERY long weekend.”

“Of course we can!” she remembered. “Yes, let’s do that, then. We’ve had such a happy time these past weeks. It seems right that we find a way to help those who aren’t happy.” She was proud that Kristoph had made such a suggestion. By rights, the ills of this world were nothing to do with him. Yet the compassion of those two hearts of his was boundless.

No wonder she loved him so much.