Marion breathed deeply and tried to think calmly and logically.

It didn't help. Kristoph's disappearance wasn't logical. People didn't just disappear into thin air.

Well, yes, they did if they had a time ring or a transmat remote control. But not normally, not on Earth, not in the middle of the Rio Sambadrome.

It was almost empty now. The DJ was packing up and the street cleaners were doing their work after a busy night. A few policemen – Policia Militar - were still patrolling the area, but Marion felt utterly incapable of summoning one of them. She felt it strange and a little sinister that the ordinary street security of Brazil was a ‘military’ force. They were far from the British ‘bobby’ armed with nothing more than a truncheon and a two way radio. Even the Chancellery Guard were a civilian organisation in that sense and looked far less frightening.

“Excuse me, but are you quite all right?" The question came, to Marion's surprise, from the actress. She had finished her interview now and was moving away from the television crew.

"No," she answered, suppressing a sob. "I can’t find my husband, and... and he certainly isn't in Sao Paolo with anyone. He was right here with me, and now he isn't."

The actress was surprisingly sympathetic. She waved to one of her attendants who in turn summoned a policeman. It was easier talking to the officer in his semi-military style uniform in company with others, but even so it didn’t help very much. An adult had to be missing much longer than the half an hour it had been since the end of the parade to be officially missing. The officers conducted no more than a cursory look around the stands to make sure he had not fallen down and was lying unconscious.

Marion had already dismissed that as unlikely.

"Is it possible that he went back to your hotel without you?” asked the actress, who invited Marion to call her by name –Marisole.

“No,” Marion answered. “Kristoph would never do that. He wouldn’t leave me like this. He isn’t… he isn’t like your husband.”

That came out ruder than she meant, but Marisole smiled sweetly. She was obviously used to other people’s opinions of her marriage.

“Even so, perhaps you should go back there. You can’t just wander the streets of Rio.”

That made sense. But Marion sighed desperately, remembering that she wasn’t even carrying any money to get a taxi. Kristoph had his wallet with currency and credit cards. She had brought only a small clutch bag containing tissues and lipstick.

Her new found friend saved her the embarrassment of explaining that by offering her a lift in her personal limousine. Marion was too exhausted and worried to refuse. She allowed one of the personal aides to help her into the car and laid her head on the leather seat back wearily.

Marisole, beside her, squeezed her hand in what she thought was a reassuring manner and promised that Kristoph would be at the hotel after all.

Marion wished she believed her, but she knew that it was the least likely answer to the mystery.

"Men are impossible," Marisole added. "We women grieve too much on their account."

That was certainly true, Marion had to admit. There had been countless times when she had worried herself sick over some crisis. Marisole with her philandering spouse could not begin to imagine the kidnap attempts and the would-be assassins that made life as the wife of the lhp of Gallifrey so difficult. That was one of the many reasons why they both liked the anonymity of their visits to Earth. Here there were no presidential guards, no Celestial Intervention Agency men maintaining a covert profile. They were two ordinary - if well-off - tourists.

But could it have been a kidnapping after all? What about that strange man who had distracted Kristoph from the parade during the night? Was he some hired muscle sent by a traitor who wanted to harm Kristoph?

That possibility was the one that haunted her on the journey back to the hotel. It felt all the worse because it wasn't a theory she could share with her travelling companion. Marisole suggested some other possibilities such as amnesia and wrongful arrest. Neither seemed likely even for an ordinary human, let alone a Time Lord.

She was so wound up by these thoughts that she didn’t even realise that the car had stopped outside the hotel. Marisole tapped her on the shoulder and she looked around to see the doorman stepping forward to open the limousine door. He backed off as Marisole’s own aide in his smart black suit performed that function instead.

“I think I ought to come inside with you,” Marisole said, climbing out of the car after Marion, who stumbled wearily. “You’re worn out from tiredness and worry. Somebody should look out for you.”

Marion was touched by the kindness from somebody who had seemed so stand offish and remote at first – a famous actress with her own limousine and personal entourage. Even so, she was on the point of refusal when Marisole took her by the arm and led her in through the door opened by the liveried doorman. Her driver headed for the car park and her aide followed them in.

“Madam is unwell,” Marisole said to the night manager in an assured tone of one who was used to entering five star hotels. “Kindly escort us to her room and have a light breakfast sent up as soon as possible.”

The night manager obeyed the command. He even used his pass key to unlock the door to the suite of rooms which saved Marion from explaining that Kristoph had the key card. The manager withdrew quietly. Marisole’s aide stood outside the door like a presidential guard preventing any disturbance.

Marion sank down onto the comfortable sofa in the drawing room overlooking the Rio seafront. The view on this early morning was spectacular, but she couldn’t look at it without being reminded that Kristoph was missing somewhere in the city.

“Somebody must have taken him against his will,” Marion said as Marisole went to the bar and poured a glass of iced water for her. The liquid soothed her throat but it couldn’t take away the hard lump of fear and dismay.

“I didn’t realise that you were so rich,” Marisole commented, glancing around the best suite in the hotel. “Perhaps that is the truth of it. That is why I have Julio to protect me when I am in public. I am so much in the public eye that there is always a risk. But to take a visitor to our country… that is a disgrace to all Brazil. If it is that… then I am so very sorry and ashamed.”

“Please, don’t be,” Marion told her. “If it IS a kidnapping, I don’t think it will just be about money. Kristoph… is… important politically… back home. It may well be something to do with that.”

Marisole was puzzled by the vagueness of Marion’s explanation, but accepted it at face value for now. She went to the door and let in the maid with the breakfast of fruit and bread rolls along with a pot of English tea that had been Marion’s regular order during her stay at the hotel. She tipped the maid and saw her out again under Julio’s careful watch.

Marion poured tea for herself and for her guest. It revived her a little. She felt able to think more clearly. She wondered if she ought to contact somebody other than the local police. The British Embassy was her first thought. But they had not come from Britain through any usual channels. They had showed no passports or visas. The Embassy knew nothing about them.

Torchwood. Jack Harkness would be concerned by her news. But he was in Cardiff. It took nearly a day to fly to Brazil from there, even if he could simply drop everything to come to her side.

She suspected he would do just that if she asked him. But then, what could he do here in Rio? Torchwood had no power here and he would have no more idea than she did where to look for Kristoph.

There was Li. He could come quickly in his TARDIS. But even he would be powerless to act without some idea of what had happened.

Nobody on this planet could help her. The only thing she could do was go into the TARDIS and send an emergency call to Gallifrey. She glanced at the bedroom door. The TARDIS was inside, disguised as a wardrobe. She could easily make an excuse of going to the bathroom, to freshen herself up.

But calling Gallifrey seemed too much like surrendering, like admitting that she and Kristoph could not come here to Earth without protection. She was almost certain that they would not be allowed to do so again without their own entourage that would make Marisole look understaffed. They would never feel free to enjoy themselves again.

“This is a pleasantly flavoured tea,” Marisole commented. Marion wasn’t sure if it was a deliberate attempt to take her mind off her troubles, but for a little while it did just that.

“It’s English Breakfast,” she answered. “I brought it with me and asked the kitchen to prepare it for me. I wasn’t sure if anyone in Brazil drank tea… since it is a coffee producing country.”

Marisole grimaced and laughed softly.

“I always have tea in my home,” she said. “Coffee… when I was a girl, my father, my brothers, my older sister, all of them worked in the coffee plantation, processing the stuff for people around the world to drink. But we were so poor, the only time we had coffee in the house to drink was when my father smuggled out a bag of the rejected beans – those too small or malformed for the coffee buyers to bother with. He would have been fired and charged with theft if he had been found out, even though it was accounted as rubbish to be thrown away. Mother roasted the beans in the oven and ground them for us to drink. I came to associate the smell of roasting beans… that smell people talk about as rich and redolent… with our poverty. When I escaped that world and became a famous actress, I drank tea instead.”

Marion listened to her story and nodded in understanding.

“I am only rich because I married Kristoph,” she admitted. “We neither of us were born to ride in limousines or stay in hotel suites like this.”

They both laughed as they recognised in each other that common bond of an early life of struggle that good fortune had taken them from. Marion spoke about meeting the man of her dreams in a railway station and so hesitatingly stepping into the class he was born to. Marisole described how an unexpected bursary had allowed her to go to the drama school she had dreamt of and from there to fame and wealth beyond her imagining.

“Unexpected?” Marion queried.

“Yes,” Marisole answered. “It was quite out of the blue. I was sixteen, and facing the prospect of a job in the coffee plantation’s typing pool. Then I got a letter to say that I had been accepted for a three year course, all expenses paid. It was a dream come true. Even if nothing came of it, three years in the city, away from the smell of cheap coffee….”

“And you never knew where the money came from?”

“Never. I have said many prayers to the saints in gratitude to my benefactor, but I never knew who it was.”

“That’s wonderful,” Marion told her. “I’m so glad it worked out for you. You have been so kind to me today… I am glad you had somebody do a kind thing for you.”

“We women must look after each other. My one regret is choosing the wrong men to share my life with. You, my dear Marion, have a good man, and I pray he is not harmed in any way.”

Marion nodded quietly. The brief moment of respite was over and she was reminded again of why she was sitting in her hotel room in the early morning with a Brazilian actress for company.

Then they both heard voices outside in the corridor. The door opened. Julio stepped inside followed by Kristoph. He looked tired and a little dishevelled, but otherwise unharmed.

Marion flew to his arms, tears of joy welling from her eyes.

“I thought you’d been kidnapped,” she cried.

“I was,” he answered. “But I managed to escape. I am quite all right, my dear. I am sorry you were worried, but it is over now.”

“I am glad,” said Marisole, putting down her tea cup and coming to kiss Marion gently on the cheek. “I will leave you to talk to each other.”

“Thank you, for taking care of me,” Marion told her. “If there is anything I can do to repay you….”

“There is no need,” Marisole assured her. “I am only glad that your good man is returned to you.”

With that she swept out of the room, Julio following behind. Kristoph looked at her curiously then turned back to Marion.

“I’m sorry, my dear,” he said again.

“But… what happened?” she asked.

“That man I saw during the night… he is a Renegade. He came to Earth a long time ago in Gallifreyan years, but less than a decade back in his own time. He recognised me from when I was in the Celestial Intervention Agency. He thought I was pursuing him, and grabbed me when my attention was elsewhere. He used a time ring to take me from the Sambadrome. Fortunately, I am much more accustomed to the nauseating effects of that mode of transport and when we materialised I overpowered him. I had the truth out of him….”

“Did you kill him?” Marion asked warily.

“I don’t do that anymore. I rendered him unconscious and configured the time ring to take him back to Gallifrey – into the heart of Celestial Intervention Agency headquarters. They will deal with him in their own way.”

“Good,” Marion said. It was possible that the Celestial Intervention Agency would kill him, if his crimes were serious enough. But she was glad that Kristoph was not directly involved in a death.

“The only problem was, I had to walk back to the hotel. My feet are killing me.”

“Sit down and have some tea,” Marion told him. “I’ll ring for another pot, and some food for you. I ate already.”

“So I notice,” Kristoph replied. “Who was your breakfast companion?”

“Her name is Marisole,” Marion told him. “She was the actress who was at the Sambadrome. She was very kind to me.”

Kristoph sat and listened to how his wife had found a soul-mate and comforter in the midst of her crisis. As he did so he noticed something glossy left on the tea table. It was a publicity photograph of Marisole in one of her famous roles.

“Madonna Della Rio as Queen Isabella of Portugal,” he read.

“She told me her name was Marisole,” Marion responded.

“Perhaps it was when she went to Sunday School in her coffee producing village,” Kristoph conceded. “She left her phone number on the back. We should invite her to dinner to say thank you for her kindness.”

“I’ll get her a box of English Tea,” Marion added. Then she smiled widely. “Kristoph… I think we can do something even better than that. I think WE are the mystery benefactors who got her to drama school.”

“I think we are,” Kristoph agreed with a warm smile. “But not until later. After breakfast, I need a long sleep in the bed I have not seen at all this night.”