Marion sighed happily as Kristoph moved just slightly but kept on holding her in his arms. The pressure of his body on hers as they both relaxed after their lovemaking was delicious. So was the warm water that lapped around them both. Making love in the shallow part of a natural hot spring pool was an experience to savour. And this was the fourth or fifth time they had savoured it so far this weekend.

“I love you,” Marion whispered.

“I love you, too, my darling wife,” Kristoph responded.

“This feels so nice,” she added. “Nearly better than our honeymoon at the Lodge.”

“Nearly better?”

“Well, that was our honeymoon. It will always be special,” she answered. “Everything was new… including this feeling… the after feeling. I like the after feeling.”

“I like the before and during feelings, too,” Kristoph answered. “In a little while, I think we might try them again. I feel as if my Time Lord stamina might endure it twice or three times more this evening.”

“I’m not a Time Lord,” she reminded him.

“No, but… after all, I’m the one doing all the hard work. You, my love, only have to lie there and enjoy the wonderful things I want to do to your beautiful body.”

Marion sighed again and enjoyed his gentle touch as the ‘after’ built up into another ‘before’ and her body trembled with anticipation. Granted, their meals while they were on this weekend retreat had involved some foods considered to be aphrodisiac. But they weren’t supposed to work on Time Lords. Kristoph always claimed that he was immune to such stimulants. But, perhaps they were having an effect on her, because she was happy for him to make love to her time and time again, just as he had on that blissful honeymoon when these sensations were all so new to her.

After they had made love in the shallow water once more, Kristoph slid into the deeper water, sitting on the natural step and pulling her down on his knee. The comfortably hot water, infused with naturally invigorating minerals made their skin tingle as they kept their heads just above the waterline and kissed lovingly.

“There is something more than just invigorating minerals in this water, surely,” Marion said. “You really are amorous today.”

“I’m just very much in love with you,” Kristoph answered. “I only wish you could hold your breath as long as I can, then I could make love to you under water.”

“How long can you hold your breath?” Marion asked him.

“About twenty minutes,” he replied. Marion laughed. “What?”

“If you took as little as twenty minutes to make love to me, I’d think you were tired.”

“I’m not tired,” he said. “But come here… and I’ll teach you not to tease a Time Lord about his performance.”

He took a deep breath and then kissed her. As he did, he pressed her down under the water. She felt him breathing air into her mouth as they touched the bottom of the pool and he took possession of her in a quick, exciting way, kissing her continuously and sharing his own oxygen.

It lasted nowhere near twenty minutes. But it was wonderful, and when they finally swam to the surface, both breathing heavily as they replenished their lungs, she laughed for sheer joy.

“That was nearly as good as when you turned down the gravity in the TARDIS and we made love floating in mid air,” she said.

“Remind me to do that again, some time,” Kristoph said. “It’s very satisfying.”

“So is this. But we should probably come out of the pool, soon. Time Lord skin shrivels just as much as Human.”

“We can sit in the sauna and I’ll massage oil into your skin,” Kristoph said. “And you can do the same for me. I have one of mama’s special preparations.”

Marion laughed. She knew all about Aineytta’s preparations. She once heard that the famous herbalist had seduced Lord de Lœngbærrow with a love potion. That wasn’t true, but it was certainly true that she kept his interest in their declining years with various subtle plants. And it wasn’t really true that Time Lords were immune to stimulants. It just depended which stimulants and how they were administered. Marion spent enough time in Aineytta’s company to learn a few tips from her.

They moved from the hot spring to a cool shower that they enjoyed together before the dry heat of the sauna. Kristoph poured on a ladle of water infused with one of his mother’s more innocuous preparations before they lay together on towels over the wooden seats. After a while Kristoph reached for the warmed bottle of oil and Marion enjoyed the trickle down her back before his hands massaged her expertly. Strange to think as his fingers gently caressed her neck, that he had been trained to snap a humanoid spine in several different places, yet those same hands could smooth away even the tiniest knot of tension in her muscles and leave her feeling so relaxed and content.

“Turn over,” he whispered. She did so. He trickled more of the oil over her body and the same gentle caresses thrilled her, but this time she could watch his face as he looked down at her.

She tensed as he touched her stomach, but there was no need. She knew her body was almost back to normal after being distorted by pregnancy. Her stomach was flat and there was very little spare flesh now. Thanks to another of Aineytta’s sweet smelling creams that she had applied daily, there were only the faintest of stretch marks and Kristoph didn’t even seem aware of them. She had no reason to fear his gaze as she lay naked before him.

“You never would, my darling,” Kristoph told her. “The marks of your brave endurance for my sake are to be adored as much as you are. So don’t worry. Just let me cherish you as you deserve to be cherished.”

“I was hoping to cherish you, too,” she answered. “Is there any of the oil left?”

“Enough,” he answered. “But it can wait until later. Right now…” She shivered with delight at his intimate touch and knew he was ready to make love to her again.

“Not here,” she said. “It’s too hot and the slats of the bench are not very comfortable.”

“There’s a perfectly good bed in the chalet,” he said as he stood, lifting her into his arms. He carried her out of the sauna and up to the ‘chalet’ for want of a better word. It was the sleeping and relaxing area. But the bedroom and living room were open on three sides. There was a back wall and a door leading to a bathroom, and a roof over the three rooms, and that was all. There was no need for walls. They were perfectly private here in their private hot spring spa under its own enviro-dome. Outside the dome, which was polarised to be opaque from the outside, but give them a perfect view from inside, it was mid-winter in the southern hemisphere of Ventura IV. The resort of Parussa Volga was fully booked for the rest and relaxation of the moneyed elite of that planet. Kristoph only got their chalet at short notice because he booked it retrospectively. It was, he acknowledged, a frivolous use of the gift of time travel, but he rather suspected that Rassilon, to whom the Laws of Time were attributed, would smile on him. A man who sired twelve sons by an unspecified number of wives would understand his reasons for wanting to spend three nights and two full, glorious days in such uninterrupted bliss with his wife.

Even the food was delivered by a service transmat, dubbed the ‘really dumb waiter’ by Marion when she saw it work for the first time. He placed an order for a light meal now, and it appeared on the table by the bed. They ate soft fruits and delicately flavoured cheese and bread and drank a cool wine flavoured with citrus.

Replenished by the food, Kristoph gave his full attention to his wife as she lay back in the satin sheets, naked and slick with that sensuous oil, tempting every fibre of his body. The passions that had simmered slowly while they were in the sauna, and seethed gently while they ate, were now allowed to boil up and he gave to her every inch of his being and she surrendered her softness to his masculinity. In the pool, their love-making had only been in fun. He was playing with her, and she with him. Now, in the bed, his Time Lord stamina and her Human desire for him were both tested to the limit.

Marion slept afterwards, fully satisfied by his love-making. He would sleep himself, soon, stretched beside her contentedly. For a while, he lay watching her sleep, then he got up from the bed and pulled a silk robe around himself. There was no need, really. Neither of them had worn clothes properly since they arrived yesterday. Nobody could see him. But he put on a robe anyway and walked around the hot spring, breathing in its invigorating vapours, and came to the edge of the habitat. He looked at the drifts of snow outside, glittering in the moonlight. He looked up and saw the Ventura IV moon. It was a small, bright one, much like the Earth moon, but it was good enough for him to see by.

He remembered that the bigger moon of Gallifrey had shone down on them on their honeymoon night when he first made love to his wife. He had felt blessed by the light of Pazithi Gallifreya as he consummated his Alliance with the woman he loved. He felt blessed this night, too. It had been a hard year for them, and they were both still a little wounded inside by their loss and disappointment, but Marion still loved him, and he loved her.

Marion had given herself to his lovemaking for the joy of it, for pure pleasure. She had not pressed him to make another attempt. He was glad of that. He didn’t want their hearts to be put through that emotional turmoil again just yet. There was time. A year, maybe two. Time enough. Meanwhile he would make sure she didn’t fret about it, that she was happy in their as yet childless marriage.

He would make it his duty to be sure she was happy.

He turned from looking at the Venturan moon and returned to the chalet. She was still asleep. He slipped off his robe and lay beside her, his arm enfolding her soft, warm body as he lay and waited for sleep to come to him, too.