Marion walked slowly around the rectangular pool of crystal clear water. Lily pads floated on top, koi made sudden flashes of gold beneath the surface. A cloudless sky above was reflected perfectly in the still water.

The pool was surrounded by strong, high walks of grey stone in a style that made her think of Byzantine, or at least Moorish Spain. That was completely wrong, of course, since the building was built in the nineteen twenties and it was nowhere near Spain. This was the fabulous atrium of the mansion at the heart of Parque Enrique Lage, established by the eponymous industrialist to please his wife and now a public garden for the benefit of the people of Rio de Janeiro and a sizeable number of tourists who sought something quieter than the city of Carnaval.

The main part of the house was an art school, and the colonnaded arches along the two long sides of the pool provided shaded display space for an exhibition of work by graduates. Marion looked appreciatively at all of the paintings. The theme was Rio, and the images were almost all bursts of lively colour. The carnival spirit of the city was captured in abstract and in realism and every other style imaginable. One of Marion's personal favourites was a riot of vibrant colours in the tail feathers of various Brazilian birds. She noted that it was for sale and thought of asking Kristoph to buy it as a souvenir of this trip to Earth.

She looked up above the high walls in that unusual architectural style. The distinctively shaped Mount Corcovado rose even higher. She could just see the place where the TARDIS had materialized - next to the famous statue of Cristo Redentor that had blessed the whole of the city below since 1931.

She smiled as she recalled their descent from the mountain top. She had travelled by the rack railway installed for those who wished to get up and down the mountain in comfort, but Kristoph had rented a hang glider and flown as much like a bird as a man could fly. She had watched his descent from the railway carriage with a certain amount of trepidation, but when she met him at the foot of the mountain he was laughing joyfully. The experience had renewed his spirit.

He had needed such a renewal. The Arrette case had upset him deeply. It was not the first murder that had ever occurred on Gallifrey, but the cold and calculating manner in which it had been planned and executed disturbed him. True, he had been lenient with the conspirators, but he was still very angry with them.

Indeed, his anger seemed to extend to the society in which such a murder could be conceived. This trip away from Gallifrey was as much about his disgust with his own people as anything else.

But now he sat at a table under a white parasol drinking a long, cool cocktail. He was wearing an open necked shirt and light slacks and looked relaxed and happy. The darkness of that incident was behind him, or at least it seemed to be.

She crossed the short end of the pool and admired the paintings on the other side as she made her way back to the table. There was a cocktail waiting for her, as well as a plate of feijoada, the black bean and pork casserole strongly associated with Rio de Janeiro. A side dish of rice and a bowl of orange segments accompanied it. Marion ate with relish. Food was something she was beginning to appreciate much more since her illness, especially exotic dishes, and especially eaten in such pleasant surroundings.

"Do you feel up to a little walk after lunch," Kristoph asked her, having ordered a dessert called açaí na tigela which turned out to be something like a fruit sorbet made from acai berries served with an assortment of nuts, sliced bananas and other fruits to sprinkle on top. Again Marion ate slowly, appreciating each flavour fully. The fact that the exotic sounding name just meant ‘açaí in a bowl’ didn’t bother her at all.

"Around the gardens?” Marion asked in answer to Kristoph’s question. “Yes I would like that. We didn't see very much coming in by taxi."

"We don’t have sub-tropical forests on Gallifrey. My only experiences of such territory have been in the line of duty. It will be a nice change to have pleasing company."

Since 'the line of duty' meant as a Celestial Intervention Agency assassin, Marion was certain she was far better company. They relaxed with iced coffee after the meal letting the sun move from its zenith then they made their way out through the wide entrance and down the steps from the mansion of Enrique Lage to the formal garden with its cooling fountain and well-cared for topiary.

From there, signs pointed the way to the wilder parts among the dense trees. Under their canopy the sunlight was diffused though the humidity was higher. The sounds of tropical birdsong filled the air. Marion looked up and occasionally spotted an exotic plumage to go with the sounds.

There were clearings here and there, some of them with follys built of the same grey stone as the mansion. From a place where a mock ruined tower was being slowly engulfed in vines, there was a marvellous view over the whole city of Rio de Janeiro.

"It means 'January River' because the sixteenth century Europeans first arrived here in January," Marion said. "Of course, since they cane to conquer that was probably the last sweet thing they did."

Kristoph nodded in agreement. In the university, museums and art institutions of the city below Amerindian culture was being researched and understood and preserved for posterity, but the living, breathing city was very much the legacy of conquest. The language was Portuguese, the architecture European, the main religion Roman Catholicism - exemplified by that magnificent sculpture on the mountain.

"The one redeeming grace of my people is that they have never sought to conquer others," he said with some slight bitterness in his tone. “It was always enough for us to know how superior we are. Forcing others to acknowledge that we are wasn't necessary."

Marion sensed the bitterness and looked at him with a worried expression.

"If the Arrette affair reminds us that we are far from a perfect society and as susceptible to desperate acts as any other race, then that will be a small consolation, but I rather expect the whole thing will be erased from history in the long run and forgotten by those who were shocked by it in an even shorter time. The lessons will be lost."

"Don't let it sour this beautiful day," Marion told him.

"I have to stop letting it sour everything," he admitted. "Let's start from here."

Kristoph embraced his wife fondly and kissed her.

"Thank you for reminding me of what is important in my life."

He kissed her again and would have carried on kissing her if they were not disturbed by a curious noise. They both looked up to see a bird with an elongated beak perched on the folly ruin.

"Is that a toucan?" Marion asked. "I don’t think I've ever seen one for real before. Not even in a zoo. How wonderful to see one so very close up in the wild.”

She thought of reaching out to touch it, then remembered the huge, strong beak and thought better of it.

"Wonderful, if rather cheeky, interupring us with his noise," Kristoph agreed.

"Perhaps he thinks this is his place."

"Then we will move on and leave him to his bower. Remind me later to find a quiet place with no indignant birds where I can make love to you without any interruptions.”

Marion blushed as she always did when he talked that way even though they had been married more than ten years, now. She let him take her hand as they followed another winding path through woodland filled with bird song and exotic smells from flowers even Kristoph with his vast array of knowledge couldn't readily identify.

The paths brought them up until they were above the mansion and in another clearing without toucans but with a chorus of parrots they looked down at the atrium and its pool a shade of blue reflecting the cloudless sky.

"We really shouldn't go much higher," Marion admitted. "I feel as if I could, but tiredness might suddenly come over me and I won't have the energy to walk back down."

"Quite right," Kristoph agreed. "You have done well, as it is. Let's take a steady, gentle time going back down."

"Unlike your descent of Mount Corcovado," Marion reminded him with a wide smile.

"That was extremely invigorating. I wish we had such sports on Gallifrey. Hang gliding off Melchis Bluff, parasailing in the Straits, base jumping from the Citadel tower!"

"Gold Usher would not approve of you taking part," Marion reminded him.

"Indeed, he would not." Kristoph laughed, the first time in recent days that he had felt like laughing about anything to do with Gallifrey.

They walked easily along well trodden paths popular with visitors. Frequently they were serenaded by birds or chattered at by monkeys. They didn't realise just how noisy it was until they reached the edge of the forest and came once more into the formal garden where only the hiss of fountain water could be heard.

"I think we deserve another of those long, cool cocktails," Kristoph remarked as he turned towards the entrance to the mansion again.

"Yes," Marion agreed. "And after that I want to buy some paintings."

"Should I worry about my credit cards?" Kristoph asked, but he was only joking. If she asked to buy a whole gallery he would do so just to please her. And he loved her all the more because he knew that she never would ask for anything so extravagant. A couple of paintings by up and coming Brazilian artists could certainly be accommodated on the walls of his own country demesne on a world light years from Earth.