Marion was sitting in the White Drawing Room reading to Rodan. She had eaten lunch with the little girl and watched the autumn rain fall from the yellow sky outside on the patio. They were snug inside the house and now, with a real fire burning in the fireplace they were quite content.

She was surprised when Kristoph came into the drawing room, and at first alarmed. But he quietly leaned over to kiss her and their fosterling and reassured her that everything was quite all right.

“Has the trial finished?” she asked. “You thought it would be another two days, yet.”

“It’s finished,” he answered. “Don’t you worry about the verdict. It will be gossip at every luncheon and coffee morning for a month at least. You’ll hear as much that way as you would from me. But I decided I should come home and spend some time with my wife and my little girl.”

Marion smiled at the way he said that. Rodan WAS his little girl, for another few months at least. And he was as determined as she was to make the most of it. He picked her up in his arms now and cuddled her lovingly.

“Dreadful weather out there, isn’t it, my little love,” he said. “Why don’t we take Marion for a trip in the TARDIS to somewhere sunny?”

Rodan nodded her head to show her appreciation of that idea. Marion felt it was a good idea, too. It had been raining most of the week and she was a little bit tired of it. Driving home from the school and to her various luncheon dates had been far less enjoyable than it might be. Somewhere sunny sounded perfectly acceptable to her.

Somewhere sunny turned out to be the island of Kos in the South Aegean sea. Marion stepped out of the TARDIS in a cotton sundress and a wide brimmed hat and breathed in the sun-warmed air deeply before looking up at a perfect blue sky and then around about her at the magnificent ruins of Asklepion. Kristoph stepped out behind her, carrying Rodan who was sucking a cold drink through a straw. He had a bag containing more drinks, because there were several acres of the ruins to explore.

“The TARDIS has disguised itself as an ionic pillar!” Marion noted. “I hope we can find it again afterwards. There are a LOT of ionic pillars here!”

“I’ll find it,” Kristoph promised. “When we’re tired of old ruins we’ll hover down to Kos town. There are some very nice restaurants by the harbour.”

“You’ve been here before?” Marion asked.

“I once tracked an alien shapeshifter to these island. It had stolen a time ring and was using it to evade capture. I almost had it in the first century BC when the Romans were in occupation of the islands, but ended up chasing it all the way to the 21st century before I managed to capture it.”

Marion laughed. So did Rodan because Kristoph had projected an image of the shapeshifter in its default form of a very small, gnome-like creature that squealed as it was placed into stasis and prevented from causing any further mischief.

“That was my job back then,” he said proudly. “Ridding the universe of nuisances. Now I dispense justice in Southern Gallifrey. A quieter life.”

“Do you miss it?” Marion asked as they explored the ruins. “The adventures you used to have?”

“No,” he answered. “I’m ready for a quiet life. It’s what we both need. You’ve been looking tired lately, sweetheart. I have been so busy, I haven’t had time for you. And I’ve neglected you. I’m going to make it up to you. I promise.”

Marion didn’t say anything. She tried very hard not to let him see her thoughts. She had been more than tired lately. She had been deathly ill, and she still didn’t want him to know about that.

“There isn’t anything worrying you, is there?” he added. “You would tell me if there was, wouldn’t you, my love?”

“Nothing is worrying me, Kristoph,” she assured him. “It has been a tedious few weeks. This trial you have been involved in took up so much of your time. And you were so tired every night. And you couldn’t even talk to me about it. And the weather has been so dismal. But it’s all right, really it is. I mean…. Here we are, now, away from all of that, enjoying ourselves in this glorious sunshine. And this is such a lovely place. I’m so glad to be here with you and Rodan.”

And she seemed to mean that, Kristoph thought. She smiled at him. She smiled as she watched Rodan toddling ahead of them, playing her own game of hide and seek around the line of broken columns that one held up the roof of a bath house. Kristoph’s hand entwined in hers as they walked together and cherished the sun on their faces.

“This place was built, originally, by the Greeks as a health centre, you know,” Kristoph said as they walked. “Dedicated to Aesculapius, son of Apollo, protector of health and medicine. It was quite an innovative place. There was a medical school where the likes of Hippocrates came to learn, and then to teach. There was a hospital and a sanatorium for the long term sick. They were cared for here and could walk among the cypress trees in the clean air and eat olives.”

“You make it sound as if being ill in ancient Greece was a treat!” Marion laughed. “I’m sure it wasn’t, really.”

“I don’t imagine it was. And of course, that would only be for people with nice, clean diseases. Something like leprosy would be another matter. Nobody would think of sharing a spa bath with a leper, after all. But, still, being among all this loveliness must have been half the medicine for a patient.”

“It works for me,” Marion said. “I feel quite healthy wandering around here.”

“There is a body of thought on Gallifrey that the likes of Apollo and Aesculapius were Time Lords who played gods with the ancient Greeks,” Kristoph added. “If that’s true then a place that is the nursery of modern medical practice wasn’t a bad legacy for one of our people to leave behind.”

“Sounds like you lot trying to take credit for something,” Marion teased. Kristoph laughed and squeezed her hand. He was glad to hear her joking with him. He had been worried in the past few weeks. She had seemed tired, weary. That was why he thought a little break would do her good. What she really needed, of course, was a complete holiday from all her responsibilities. But since Rodan was the chief of them, and she wouldn’t be parted from her, that wasn’t possible.

Not that he wanted to be parted from their fosterling, either. He regretted bitterly the time he had spent at the Magistry, hearing what was, after all, a very tiresome case. He would much rather be here in this lovely place watching Rodan play and holding his wife’s hand.

“I must be getting old,” he thought. “To be satisfied by such simple pleasures. Where is the man they called The Executioner, the dogged, determined agent of the Celestial Intervention Agency who always got his man, even if he had to pursue him through time and space for decades.

His thoughts turned on that chase that had brought him here to Asklepion. That shapeshifter might have been amusing to Rodan, but he had been a vicious customer. He had murdered one man on Gallifrey in order to take his form and infiltrate the Citadel, and two Celestial Intervention Agency men were mortally wounded and forced to regenerate before he, The Executioner, had been set on the trail. Quite why the shapeshifter had come to Earth, he never knew. But it did, and the chase through time had ended, not with the capture, as he had said before, when he talked about it to Marion and to Rodan, but with him living up to his name. He had executed a murderer.

It wasn’t so very far from here, in fact, he thought as he looked around the wide terrace where they walked now. It was a quieter day than this. There were no tourists to witness the final showdown, nobody to be injured in the crossfire. The ancient sanatorium of Asklepion had echoed with the sound of laser gunfire, though. It had been a hard fight. Twice the shapeshifter had nearly got the better of him. But he had jammed the frequency of its time ring and it couldn’t escape again.

Right there, he thought as he looked around. Right there, by the ruins of the ancient Greek hospital where Hippocrates himself had practiced medicine, working to save lives, The Executioner had closed in for the kill. His weapon disintegrated the body almost instantaneously. It was relatively painless. A clean kill.

He felt no guilt about it. The creature had murdered already. And it did so in order to obtain information that could have resulted in the deaths of many more Gallifreyan people. The surgeons who cut out infected flesh from the bodies of ancient Greeks did the same job he did. He cut out the corruption and filth of society and left that society healthier for it. He did so quickly and cleanly and only when necessary.

“What are you thinking of?” Marion asked him. He realised he had been silent for a long time as his thoughts drifted in that way. He turned and smiled at his wife.

“Things long past,” he answered. “At my age, that becomes something of an increasing habit. And I should not give in to it. For all that I have done in my past, the future holds much more. Especially that part of it I share with you, my dear.”

Marion smiled, and he forgot about shapeshifters and his past work as an assassin in the pay of the Gallifreyan government. The Executioner was still needed from time to time. He could never entirely put up his sword. But his wife’s smile, the touch of warm flesh, a tender kiss on his lips could drive away all memories of his violent, if necessary, past.

And the laughter of the child who ran to be lifted into his arms completed his happiness. She wouldn’t be his own little one for much longer, and that thought saddened him, but he was happy to live in this moment and enjoy the sunshine, the warm air, his wife’s smile and the touch of a child’s hand on his face.

“What shall we do next?” he asked Rodan.

“Ice cream,” she answered promptly. Kristoph laughed.

“I agree. Shall we make our way back to the TARDIS and take the easy way down to the harbour? There is a perfect café there that sells the very thing we want.”