Marion relaxed in the bathtub big enough to qualify as a small bathing pool. Exotic scents from the perfumeries of Haollstrom IV lulled her olfactory senses. The warm water, gently fizzing from the air bubbles constantly pumped into it caressed her skin. Soothing music played softly in the background and when she opened her eyes the glass ceiling of the bathroom gave her a view of the Haollstromnian moon at its fullest and brightest.

In short, every one of her senses was being pampered luxuriantly. She sighed contentedly. She liked the guest bathroom at Hillary’s country house very much. She wondered if it would seem like an indulgence if they had something like it installed in Mount Lœng House. She wondered idly how it might be done. The glass ceiling might be difficult. It would probably spoil the look of the Post-Cerulean mansion. There was probably some ancient Gallifreyan conservation law about such things, a bit like listed buildings status on Earth.

And, after all, on Gallifrey she rarely had the time to enjoy a bath for as long as this. There was always so much going on. It would be a waste.

She was still, officially, recuperating here on Haollstrom. Hillary had insisted on her coming to stay when she heard about the accident and the extent of her injuries. Kristoph had been hesitant at first. He really wanted her home with him. But as Hillary pointed out, he had his work. He couldn’t neglect his duties. He could come and see her as often as he liked in the TARDIS And Marion could enjoy the company of friends here while Rodan would enjoy playing with Kaye and Cam.

It had been a pleasant couple of weeks. She had made a full recovery with the help of healing methods far beyond the skills of the 20th century doctors who had first treated her. Now she just needed the calm quiet of the country estate to recuperate emotionally from the trauma.

She was aware of the door opening and somebody stepping into the bathroom. She looked around and smiled at Hillary and Claudia Jean, both in stunningly beautiful female form. They were dressed in nothing but towels, which they dropped before climbing into the bath with her. Marion smiled happily at her two friends. This was something she had become accustomed to in her stay with them, sharing the huge bath while they talked of everything and nothing like women do. Of course, she frequently met her Gallifreyan lady friends at the bath house in the Capitol and sometimes invited the same friends to join her at the lodge for afternoons enjoying the pool and sauna.

But all her Gallifreyan lady friends were women all of the time. The first time she shared a bath with Hillary and Claudia Jean she couldn’t help remembering that both of them could become very handsome men in an eyeblink. Not that she was in any way concerned about their conduct. As men they were also gentlemen. But she did find the idea just a little disturbing at first – until a double dose of Haollstromnian pheromones hit her and she laughed and forgot what she was worrying about.

Those pheromones were powerful things, she thought to herself as Hillary reached and kissed her on the lips, then Claudia Jean did the same. She enjoyed both kisses from her friends before they sat around the edge of the bath and Hillary pressed the switch that increased the speed and flow of the bubbles. The gentle caressing of the water on her body became a sensual massage. It almost felt like soft fingers touching her for eight heavenly minutes before it subsided again.

“Oh, this is so nice,” she sighed. Neither of her friends replied. They were kissing each other. She didn’t mind that, either. It was no more than a kiss, after all, between two people who were passionately in love.

“It still surprises you, though, doesn’t it?” Hillary said to her. “I can see it in your face. Humans don’t have relationships like ours, do they?”

“Well…” she said. “They do… but it’s not common. And… people DO still find it unusual and something to stare at. I remember two women at university who were together. And a young man who lived with an older man. I thought it was his father at first, until I realised. Then I thought it was strange that there was such an age gap between them… until I remembered that the man in my life was over three thousand years old.”

She laughed. So did her friends.

“I think Haolstromnians have got it sorted out best,” she said. “Gallifreyans are so formal in their relationships and Humans are just confused most of the time and hurt each other because they get it wrong. But I have never met an unhappy Haollstromnian. You don’t hurt each other. You don’t make difficulties where there shouldn’t be any. I think of all the species in the universe you have it about right.”

“We think so,” Claudia Jean answered.

“The exception to the rule is Kristoph, of course,” Hillary added. “A very passionate Gallifreyan who has got it all perfectly right.” She sighed theatrically and winked at Marion. “I tried so hard to awaken that passion in him, but it was not to be. It took an Earth woman to charm those hearts.”

“I am so glad I did,” Marion replied. “I love him so much.”

“I am delighted to hear that!” said a voice, and Marion looked up to see Kristoph kneeling above her. He was dressed in a silk bathrobe and he held out a huge bath sheet to her. He didn’t seem to notice that his two friends were in the bath with her. He only had eyes for Marion.

She climbed out of the bath and he wrapped the towel around her before leading her from the bath room through a smoked glass door to the sauna. There was another big towel already laid on the wooden bench. Kristoph poured sweet scented incense over the coals while Marion laid herself face down on it. Then she sighed happily as she felt her husband’s hands caressing her shoulders and back.

“I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow,” she said. “I thought you were busy with court hearings.”

“I was,” he answered. “I am. It’s only the lunchtime recess. But I have a time machine, don’t forget. I decided to come and spend the night with you.”

“All in your lunchtime?” Marion laughed at the idea. “Oh, Kristoph! What a naughty idea.”

“Isn’t it! I just hope I can concentrate on the afternoon cases!”

“I wish you could do this when I’m at home in our house,” she said. “It would be a nice surprise.”

“I can’t,” he said. “Time travel is not permitted within Gallifrey’s own biosphere. Especially not just so that a magister can take his wife to bed for a night of unbridled passion and make it back to the chamber for the afternoon session.”

Marion pointed out that they weren’t in bed.

“Which only makes it even more delightful,” he replied. “Do you want to know something about Haollstromnian pheromones?”

“What?” Marion asked.

“Even from a distance they play havoc with the senses of a telepath. Hillary and Claudia Jean are making love in the bath. I can feel their heightened passions. And it’s having quite an effect on me.”

“I keep hearing these rumours about stoic and dispassionate Time Lords,” Marion murmured as his caresses became more intense. “I keep wondering where they all are. I don’t seem to have met any.”

Kristoph laughed softly and urged her to turn over. She wasn’t surprised to notice that he had slipped out of his bathrobe. She smiled as he reached to embrace her. This was the first time he had attempted to make love to her since her accident. He had kissed and caressed her tenderly. He had been sweet and attentive. But he had waited for her to be ready.

She was ready.

“What if Hillary and Claudia Jean come in?” she asked before the last of her inhibitions dissolved.

“They won’t,” he assured her. “They’re busy.” He kissed her again as he let his passion overpower them both. Marion sighed happily and let him take her body and soul as he had so often done in their married life. Haollstromnian pheromones did have quite far-reaching effects, she reflected before she gave up thinking about anything at all except the man she loved

Afterwards, they showered and dressed and walked together in that same moonlight that had enchanted Marion earlier. Kristoph held her around the shoulders protectively. Indeed, he seemed reluctant to let her go.

“I feel as if I never want to let you go again,” he said. “When I think of what happened when you were away from me.”

“Oh, don’t!” she protested. “I will want to use the portal again. Don’t think I will get into accidents every time I’m away from you.”

“I won’t,” he promised. “It is important for you to have your freedom. You do need to go home to Earth when you want to. But I think I will worry a little next time you’re away, and for a little while more. Marion… you are the most precious thing in my life. I own diamond mines, silver, gold… I have shares in Lutanium processing plants in the Minos System. But they’re nothing without you.”

“That is the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me,” she answered. “I know how many diamond mines you have.”

“I would give them all up for you,” Kristoph assured her. “That’s not just me being sentimental. I really do mean it. You mean everything to me, Marion.”

He stopped walking and took her into his arms before drawing her into a long, lingering kiss.

“I think Haollstromnian pheromones are catching,” Marion said to him when he let her come up for air. “I feel as if I could…”

“So do I!” he replied with a laugh.

“Perhaps we should go to the guest room, this time,” Marion suggested. “It would be more comfortable.”

“Yes,” Kristoph agreed. “Oh, yes.”