“Three more weeks,” Freddie Brett said yawning and stretching himself out on the grass. “And we will be doctors – officially. No more working for nothing at the Free Hospital. We will be able to work in real hospitals and get paid for it.”

“I work in the Free Hospital because I care about the poor people of East London and their medical needs,” Elizabeth Garrett admonished her friend. “Chrístõ does, too, don’t you… Chrístõ …”

Her other male companion as they sat together in the blessed sunshine of a warm June afternoon seemed not to have heard her. He was intently watching the flight of a butterfly as it hovered over the flower beds. That was just one of the odd things about Chrístõ. The way he looked at everything, even the smallest thing, as if it fascinated him, as if it was new to him. She had never quite worked out where he was from, but surely they had butterflies there.

Where did he come from? That element of mystery about him puzzled and intrigued her. His clothes and manner suggested that he was of aristocratic birth, though he told nobody about his family or home except that it was a long way from London. He had no accent to speak of, but somehow did not seem ENGLISH. Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow? That certainly was not an English name. But she could never fathom what it was. She half suspected the accents and ligatures were an invention to make the name look and sound more mysterious than it was. But even without them he didn’t belong to any offshoot of the British peerage.

It was the same at the Free Hospital where he worked alongside her three evenings a week after their studies at the Society of Apothecaries. In the street, he looked like a well-dressed young gentleman of leisure. And he moved with an air of one who was highly-born. But at the hospital he threw himself wholeheartedly into the treatment and relief of the hundreds of poor Londoners who turned up.

And he did not just treat them as cases to be dispatched as quickly as possible with a fresh bandage and a few pills in their pockets. He talked to the patients kindly, gently. Even the ones who came in roaring drunk with blood pouring from skulls cracked in bar brawls were calmed by his quiet, hypnotic manner.

As for the children, they brought out the best in him. She never believed in what the newspapers called ‘faith healers’ but when she saw him touch a fevered child’s brow and saw the child look up at him and smile, she wondered if he, in fact, had what they called the “touch”.

But it wasn’t that, either. It was the fact that he treated them all, the meanest and lowest, as if each and every one of them was a worthwhile Human being. As if all Humanity was precious to him. And that, too, was at odds with the idea that he was of aristocratic origin. Since when did the upper classes care about Humanity?

Chrístõ turned and saw her looking at him and smiled. He wanted her to look at him. He wanted her to love him. She was the reason he had stayed in London for the past three years, taking the Apothecaries course so that he could be with her. He had more secrets to keep than his small circle of friends could begin to suspect. But the one he guarded most preciously was how much he was in love with Elizabeth.

He had planned how he was going to do it. He had practiced it on his own. And he knew he could do it now. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes and looked time square in the face, forcing it to look back at him. For a few feet around him, a circle that included himself and Elizabeth, time slowed. And he moved closer, meaning to kiss her on the lips.

He was a fraction of a second away from his longed for prize when she turned her head. She was not even looking at him. Her attention had been caught by a butterfly outside the time fold. He saw her eyes widen as she watched its wings beating impossibly slowly as it hovered in the air in front of her. He saw her raise her hand to try to touch it. But the moment he had planned was lost. Disappointed, he let the time fold collapse.

“What… just happened?” Elizabeth gasped as time snapped back to its proper length. She looked at her two companions. Freddie seemed unaware that anything had happened. All he saw was Elizabeth trying to push a butterfly away from herself. And Chrístõ….

Chrístõ was on his feet, blinking back tears of disappointment he did not want either of them to see. “There is something I forgot to do,” he said. It was a lame excuse even for 1865. But at that moment he wanted to be anywhere but there. By the time Freddie had stood up and given Elizabeth his arm to raise her up, he had run out of the park and was gone.

Chrístõ closed the door and breathed out at last. He had not even realised that he had been holding his breath as he ran from the park to the boarding house where he roomed. He had to remember not to do that. Sometimes Humans noticed the littlest things – like how often he drew breath or blinked and they wondered about him. The whole point of these field trips was to blend in, unnoticed, and observe. He reflected that, should his masters have been watching him they’d have been pedantic enough to take marks away for the breathing as WELL as his complete failure of a time-fold. Then again, using a time-fold to try to kiss a Human girl was a frivolous and foolish use of his skills anyway. He could almost hear the scorn in their voices. And the smug self-satisfaction. What ELSE did they expect from….

He lay down on the bed and closed his eyes in order to concentrate his thoughts. When he opened them again the big window overlooking Charing Cross in 1865 had resolved itself into a viewscreen with the image of a planet slowly orbiting a small yellow sun. The planet had two large continents and one ocean, and its land masses looked mostly red, except for patches of verdant green nearest to the rivers and coastlines. He sighed deeply as he looked at it and felt very far from home. Farther than any of his friends suspected. Most of them assumed he was Italian or Spanish, a few hazarded something as exotic as Argentinean. They were all wrong.

The view flickered and changed as he projected his thoughts onto the screen. Views of home that made him smile wistfully, travelling in a hover ship across the wide expanses of red desert, walking by powerful waterfalls in the green and watered valleys, climbing to the ice-covered peak of Mount Lœng. Then his concentration faltered and another image filled the screen. “Elizabeth.” He murmured. “I love you.” And the image on the screen smiled and replied, “I love you, Chrístõ.” He sighed. If only. Those words from her real lips would be a dream come true.

The screen changed again. His thought projections were overridden by a live transmission.

“Father,” he said, happily, sitting up on the bed. “Good to hear from you,”

“Good to see you, my son,” the old man said. “Are you well?”

“I am,” he said.

“Good. Valena sends her love.”

“Valena doesn’t love me, father.” His mood changed again. “She is your wife. But she is nothing to me.”

On screen his father looked hurt, as he knew he would be.

“She is your stepmother, Chrístõ. And I love her very much.”

“As much as you loved my mother?” His tone was irritable, as always when this issue came between them.

“I could not have loved your mother more,” his father said. “She was more precious to me than jewels. And she gave you to me, my son. But Valena… is my second chance. Her family lineage….”

“Since when did that matter to us?” Chrístõ snapped angrily. “You always told me it didn’t matter. You said I was equal to any pureblood.”

“You are more than equal to them. Your position is assured when you return home to us. You have proven by your own hard work and achievements that the concept of ‘half-blood’ is meaningless. You HAVE proven that the child of a love match is equal to the products of genetic matching. When you graduate from the Prydonian academy I will be the proudest father on Gallifrey.”

“I’m not sure I WANT to graduate from the Prydonian Academy,” Chrístõ replied. “I want to stay here on this planet. I want to marry Elizabeth.”

“Chrístõ….” His father sighed. “Don’t do that. I beg you.”

“You would deny ME the chance to be with the woman I LOVE?” he shouted. “You… hypocrite…” And he hit the switch that turned off the screen and lay back again on the bed, his eyes welling up with tears.

The problem was, he knew WHY his father had reacted that way to his news. Not the bombshell about not graduating. He didn’t mean that anyway. He had spent so long working towards that graduation, fighting all the time against the prejudice of the pure bloods who did not believe the son of a Human woman should even BE in the Academy, and even those who believed he should never have been BORN. He fully intended to be there, to graduate summa cum laude and laugh in the faces of those who denied him.

But then he intended to come back to Earth and marry Elizabeth.

And that was why his father had begged him to think again. In his hearts he knew his father was right. His father wanted to spare him the suffering he had gone through.

Because when a Gallifreyan loved a Human suffering was inevitable.

But he loved Elizabeth.

Of course, there was the big problem that she did not even KNOW he loved her, or that he had made such plans for the future. But that day was close. Next time he wouldn’t play tricks. He would face her just like any Human would and tell her how he felt.

Feelings like love were the one thing he had in common with the Humans around him. She WOULD understand perfectly well. All he had to do was put his thoughts into words.

That was the hard part. That was the part that was no easier coming from a race with superior intelligence. He was as tongue-tied and awkward as any Human when it came down to it. Living exponentially longer than them, being 190 years old though he looked to his Earth friends no more than 20, did nothing to equip him to express his feelings. Maybe it made it harder. Humans got to grow up faster. He was still considered an adolescent until 200.

He sighed and sat up. He had an essay to write for class tomorrow.

He sat at the writing bureau in the other corner of the room and opened the lid to reveal a computer screen and keyboard. His fingers danced on the keys, typing the words as fast as his brain could think of them. It took no more than ten minutes to complete. And then he pulled the paper, pen and ink towards him and began to copy the essay in neat copperplate penmanship. Because although word-processed essays were not against the rules at the Society of Apothecaries that was only because the word processor would not be invented for another hundred and twenty years.

He had just finished it when there was a knock on the door. He snapped shut the bureau lid and turned to check that anything else anachronistic was hidden, then he went to open the door.

“Chrístõ!” The woman who made his hearts beat in quadruple time stood there looking worried. By her side was Freddie Brett who made up the third part of their triangle of friendship. Safe, reliable Freddie, who was only likely to complete his studies because he and Elizabeth both shared their notes with him and helped him through his assignments. He’d probably make a good reliable country doctor and live to a ripe old age in contentment. Chrístõ knew he could find out easily enough but that was something he didn’t do to his friends. It was too difficult to look at somebody every day and know their span of life to the exact moment of death.

“We wondered if you were feeling well, old chap,” Freddie said. “The way you rushed off like that.”

“I suppose you had better come in,” he said and stepped aside from the door.

Elizabeth looked around the tiny room in dismay. This was not how she had thought he lived. It was so – squalid. Did he even have a maid? She noticed the unmade bed jammed against one wall and the writing bureau against the other, and nothing more in the room except three mis-matched armchairs arranged around the tiny fireplace which, in the height of mid-summer was unlit. Chrístõ waved absently to indicate that they should sit in the chairs.

“This is a bit of a rough kip,” Freddie said. He was in the habit of using slang phrases nobody else understood, but this time “rough kip” seemed to exactly describe the place. Elizabeth was glad, though, that it was not she who had expressed what both she and Freddie felt.

“It’s good enough,” Chrístõ said. “All I do is sleep and write in here.”

“Even so… is this the best you can do? I thought your family had money.”

“They do. My father is a high ranking member of our government. And we are a family of the highest and oldest caste and position.”

“Then why…”

“What government?” Elizabeth asked hoping to catch him off guard. She didn’t.

“I like it like this,” he said. “It’s enough for my needs. To ask for more would be greedy. After all, we see people at the Free Hospital who have less space than this for a whole family to live in. How could I live in luxury and look them in the eye?”

“Saint Chrístõ of Charing Cross,” Freddie teased. “It’s a priest you should have been, not a doctor.”

“Maybe I will be in another life,” he replied cryptically.

“One life is enough for most people. Chrístõ wants two.” Elizabeth smiled indulgently at what seemed to her mere fancifulness.

“Well, Chrístõ can have two lives of misery tending to the poor in health and spirit,” Freddie said. “I’ll settle for one life of wealth and riches.”

“I just want to be a doctor,” Elizabeth sighed. “And this time they can’t stop me. The Apothecaries diploma will allow me to practice.”

“You’re going to be a great doctor,” Chrístõ told her. And she smiled. When he said things like that, she believed him.

“But I don’t suppose you will stay in London, will you? Surely you’ll want to go home. To wherever you come from.”

Chrístõ shrugged. The argument with his father was still burning in his mind. “I don’t care if I never set foot on Gallifreyan soil again,” he snapped before he realised what he had said.

“Galli….” Elizabeth frowned. “Where on Earth is that?”

“Never mind,” he said.

“Chrístõ, you’re mad, you know that, don’t you.” Freddie told him “WHY can’t you tell your friends where you come from?”

“Because you would not believe me if I did,” he said. “Please… I wish you would go now. I am tired and this room has nothing to offer in the way of entertainment for guests anyway.”

“Chrístõ!” Elizabeth protested. “You don’t have to be so rude. We came here because we were worried about you.”

“Thank you, Elizabeth. But you don’t have to worry about me. Really.”

“I want to worry about you,” she said. “I’m your friend, Chrístõ. And I wish you COULD confide in me.”

“Elizabeth, if you are my friend, please don’t ask me to do what I cannot do.”

They reluctantly left him. And although Elizabeth was an independent woman she had no objection to Freddie walking with her in the early evening. As they walked, they saw a man putting up a printed bill outside a theatre. It announced a revivalist meeting on the theme of "The Second Coming."

Freddie suddenly laughed out loud. “Where did he say he was from? Galli… Gallilee? And his name is CHRIST-o.”

“I don’t think so,” Elizabeth said with a soft laugh. Although she supposed that WOULD explain his apparently unlimited compassion for the meek and lowly of London Town. But, no. That was silly. “Besides, it wasn’t Gallilee it was Gallifrey. That’s what he said. Gallifrey.”

“Well where on Earth IS that?” Freddie asked. “Because they make them strange there.”

“They make them just fine there,” Elizabeth murmured softly.

“Good grief, Elizabeth.” Freddie looked at her as the penny dropped. “You like him THAT much?”

“I don’t know. He IS the only man who REALLY believes I can be a doctor. He supports me.”

“I support you,” Freddie protested.

“Not the way HE does. He is REALLY certain that I can succeed. Sometimes I’m not even sure myself. But Chrístõ never doubts it. And that’s nice. I think he might feel something for me, also. But he is so secretive about his life, and about his feelings. I don’t think he would ever say what he really feels.”

“Well, I don’t know,” Freddie said. “I like Chrístõ, but he sure does act strange at times. I think it would be a bad idea to get TOO close to him. He’ll break your heart, Elizabeth.”

“Not intentionally,” she sighed. “I know he was acting oddly before. But usually he is the sweetest soul imaginable. He wouldn’t hurt me, or anyone, deliberately.”

Chrístõ waited until he was sure his friends were gone, and then he slipped out of the room. He climbed the dark stairs that led up to the next floor and then through the skylight that brought him onto the roof of the house. He came up here often in the dark of evening. Lying against the slope of the roof he was able to relax his mind and let it roam free for hour after hour picking up the thoughts of the many thousands of lives spread out before him. He didn’t listen to the things they were thinking, so much as how they were thinking it. He knew if they were happy or sad, exited, angry…. It was good practice with his psychic nerves and also very relaxing. Time Lords, even student ones, didn’t need more than two hours sleep a night and this was a way of using those spare hours.

He was finding it difficult to close off his own thoughts tonight and reach out to the other minds. It had been a difficult day. He still felt disappointed at his failure to reach out to Elizabeth, angry about the argument with his father, and embarrassed that he had been stupid enough to give away the name of his home. Three years he had kept his secrets and now they seemed in danger of coming out. If the truth came out, he would have to leave.

His father. When he had called, he had felt so glad. His father was the one person he missed on Gallifrey. He only remembered his mother in flashes of memory, never complete; her smile, her voice calling him. But his father was the one who had always been there. His father had held his hand at his mother’s funeral, had dried his tears when the scorn of other boys for the half-blood got to him. His father had taught him to rise above the pettiness. He had spent every spare moment with him, doing his best to be two parents at once, and he loved him for it. And yet, he couldn’t tell him that. Because since he married Valena there was a rift between them.

Not that there was anything wrong with her. She had been kind to him in her way. And he knew she DID love his father and he loved her. But to him it still felt like a betrayal. Once his father had gone against the ‘rules’ of high Gallifreyan society and married a Human woman. And HE had been the product of their happy union. And she had died. And they had both mourned her and missed her, but never regretted anything. But now, it seemed, his father wanted to forget his mother and be an ordinary, conventional, conforming Gallifreyan with a wife whose lineage was impeccable, who was an asset to the family Lœngbærrow. Unlike his mother… unlike him.

It started to rain and the cool droplets falling on his face mixed with the hot tears. But he didn’t move. He lay on the slates and let the rain soak through his clothes. A Human would have died of exposure, but he didn’t even shiver. He lay there, and as the rain cooled his brain he finally found himself able to reach his mind out and connect with the Humanity before him. He found sleeping minds and sleepy minds, awake and alert, awake and tired, hopeful and despairing. He looked, but he did not touch. He knew he had the power to give them sweet dreams or ghastly nightmares, but he knew that would be too easy a game. Humanity had no defences against the psychic abilities of a Time Lord and it was too cruel to use them that way. It was enough for him to look at them. It made him feel a little less alone in the universe. Humanity was an inferior race intellectually and physically, but after all, his mother was Human. And for that reason above all he loved them.

When the sky lightened, he stirred from his spot. He went to his room and closed the door. He stripped off his wet clothes and dried his damp body before putting on a nightshirt and laying down on the bed. He slept now, for a few hours before he had to go to his classes.

“Longbarrow!” His tutor practically threw his essay at him as he sat in class the next morning, next to Elizabeth, the one place in the universe he wanted to be. He looked down at his paper and saw the glaringly bad mark on it. “What were you thinking about when you wrote this?”

“The properties of Human blood,” he answered.

“Which you have suggested can be divided into four categories – a, b, ab and o.” his tutor said. “Apart from being nonsense, what is wrong with a, b, c, d? You’re too clever by half sometimes, Longbarrow. Stick to facts in future if you want to be a doctor. Keep fiction for the penny dreadful sellers.”

“I’m right,” he said, though he had by now realised his mistake. Human blood types were discovered in 1901 by a Dr. Karl Landsteiner. 36 years in the future. But his teacher had moved on, handing out essays with varying marks. He gave Elizabeth hers back without a word. It had the top mark, but he was not going to draw attention to the fact that a young woman was better at medical theory than any man in the class. Chrístõ congratulated her and she smiled warmly at him.

They ate lunch together, as usual on sunny days, in the park. Chrístõ slowly ate an apple and contemplated upon individual blades of grass, or so Elizabeth thought. She was distracted herself, reading Chrístõ’s essay, which she had picked up on their way out of class, intrigued by the new and apparently impossible theory that was contained in it.

“Chrístõ, where DID you get that idea from? Because it fits. It explains why people sometimes die when a blood transfusion ought to save them. And it could be important to medical science.”

“It will be. When medical science is ready for it.” He took the essay from her and slowly tore it into pieces. Elizabeth protested but he carried on. “One day. But not yet.” WHY was he making so many silly mistakes lately? Last night he gave away the name of his home-world. That was so stupid of him. Though he knew that would mean nothing to them. He had to get his act together before he did something REALLY dangerous to himself, to his friends, or even to this world.

“Chrístõ,” Freddie said. “You really ARE mad, you know that.”

“I know.” He grinned. “Does it matter? Do you think any less of me as a friend?”

“Not me,” Elizabeth assured him. “You’re a very special person, Chrístõ, no matter what your big secret is. I shall always love you as a special, special friend.”

Friend. It was a nice word, but Chrístõ wanted more than that. Still, when she reached out her hand and touched his in friendship, he knew it was better than nothing.

The afternoon classes were tedious. He was frustrated by the gaps in knowledge of this period of medical science and wanted to put right the glaring errors. But he knew he couldn’t. How many bad marks was it for introducing scientific ideas ahead of their time? His slip up this morning was bad enough. Fortunately nobody had believed him. The only reason he was in this class was to be near Elizabeth, of course. There was nothing they could teach him here. He was only ever going through the motions. And today, with the room too warm for comfort, even for a Gallifreyan who could adjust his own body temperature to suit himself, he felt frustrated and irritable.

After lessons he had a few quiet hours that he used to meditate, lying on his bed, his eyes closed and every organ in his body slowed to near stop. His heart beat only once every 20 minutes; he took one breath every 30. His brain let go of the troubles and concerns of the day and he made his thoughts a vacuum. He would have looked, if anyone had come into the room, as if he were dead. Even his body temperature dropped as his blood stopped circulating. But the door was firmly locked and he was undisturbed until he judged the time to be right and he slowly let himself surface once more. He felt refreshed and renewed as he went to join Freddie and Elizabeth working the evening shift at the Free Hospital.

Elizabeth was tired. It had already been a long night. In addition to the long line of people who came in with injuries and illnesses, mild and not so mild, they had dealt with the most distressing emergency cases she had yet seen in her career. The word came to them just as they had been ready to close the surgery and go home. A fire had broken out in the slums. It was spreading from house to house, and the injured were coming their way.

No! Elizabeth had protested. There were only the three of them on duty, and not one of them was yet fully qualified. Though there was, in truth, little more they could learn and it was just a formality, it WAS thoroughly unfair to ask them to carry such a burden. But Chrístõ rose to the occasion magnificently. Elizabeth was lost in admiration for him as he organised the injured. Burns were a dreadful thing to deal with. There were many they could do nothing for. A hard decision had to be made with those, for the medicines they had were limited. And using what they had on relieving the pain of one who was going to die in a few hours was a waste. Once again, Elizabeth wondered if Chrístõ had the ‘touch’, for the dying in his hands died so much more quietly and with so little distress. She watched him and marvelled at how, just by laying his hands on the afflicted, they became calm. But his use of conventional medicine was just as skilful. When he applied a cooling poultice to the less serious burns he did it with such tenderness and care. She did her best to emulate him in treating them all as he did, with kindness.

Now the hospital was quiet. Freddie was making up headache powders and she was writing up notes of all the people they had treated in the course of the evening. Chrístõ was on his feet still, walking through the long ward full of patients who needed their longer care. He went to each patient and touched them for maybe half a minute and it was as if, by the touch, he knew if they were at ease or if they needed painkillers or any other attention.

One he stood next to for a long time. It was a man who had been in the hospital for some days now. He was dying. Everyone knew it. His heart was only a beat away from his last any time. Elizabeth watched as Chrístõ held the man's hand and seemed to be saying something to him. Then he let the hand go. He reached to close his eyes and put his arms straight by his side before he pulled the sheet over the dead man.

Elizabeth stood and came to his side.

“It was going to happen,” she said. “It was a matter of time. I’m glad you stayed with him to the end.”

“He was ready to go,” Chrístõ said.

“Yes.” Elizabeth thought it a strange way of putting it, but she understood.

No she didn’t, Chrístõ reflected as she went back to her seat and he prepared the body to be removed to the mortuary. She didn’t know that he had reached out to the soul of the man and seen the yearning there for it to be over. He had shown him the way, and had been thanked for his mercy. It wasn’t something Elizabeth could understand. She believed in the Hippocratic Oath, even if she had not yet taken it. She would not believe that a quick and merciful end could be better than a prolonged life of pain. Saint Chrístõ of Charing Cross, Angel of Death, the only man on Earth capable of making that decision for anyone, because he was the only one who could truly see what the soul really wanted. For anyone else it would be murder.

Another long day was over and Chrístõ climbed the stairs to the top of the house and found his place out on the slates. He was starting to regard each day as one more day when he had failed to tell Elizabeth how he felt about her. The examinations were close now, and after that they would all be going their separate ways. He had to do it soon. But today had not been the day. Today had been another tedious day when he almost lost his temper and caused another temporal anomaly. And this time it was even more stupid than the one about blood types. Penicillin was not discovered until 1928! Nobody in 1865 could even begin to imagine such a versatile anti-bacterial drug. It seemed ridiculous to him that more than 250 years after Humans discovered that bacteria WERE the reason for so many diseases they still hadn’t managed to find a way to combat them. And the answers were so obvious they could have been found now, in 1865, instead of waiting all that time. But people were still thinking on the wrong lines. It was so frustrating.

He settled himself in his customary position on the slanted roof. It was a warm night with no hint of rain. The sounds of the city carried far even to the ordinary audible range. To Chrístõ they were a multi-layered symphony of life. For a while he listened to those ordinary sounds before he let his psychic senses take over and he reached out across the city, feeling for the emotions of the teeming masses. Most were sleeping or about to sleep, and their thoughts were simple. Some had worries that kept them awake. A few, too few, he thought, were content. Even fewer were experiencing joy and pleasure at that moment. Too many seemed to be experiencing negative emotions. Sad thoughts, angry thoughts, dismal and depressed thoughts….

….And one murderous. He passed over the jarring, edgy thought and then retraced it and tried to focus on it. He was right. Somebody was about to commit a cold blooded murder not far from here. He closed on the mind and fixed its position. Then he slid down through the skylight and down through the house. Outside he felt again. Having identified the mind, it was easy to keep hold of it now and to locate it. He turned left and ran. His two hearts and superior musculature made him a fast runner, but would he be fast enough? Twice he folded time and became a blur as he increased his speed exponentially. But that could only be done for a few minutes. Folding time for longer was dangerous and it was one rule of physics he WAS prepared to obey.

But he was too late. As he turned into the alleyway he saw the knife glint in the sliver of moonlight that dimly lit it. He heard the victim cry softly and fall to the ground. He felt in his hearts the soul of the man cry out in anguish. And he felt the triumph of his killer. He shouted, loudly, knowing that his cry would bring a policeman to the scene. Meanwhile he stood at the alley entrance blocking the killer’s escape.

He could hear the policeman’s whistle and running feet, but the man turned and ran at him. Chrístõ brought him to the ground with a swift blow, but he felt the knife sink into his shoulder and glance off his collar bone.

The police were moments away. He could hear them. But Chrístõ did not intend to be there when they arrived. He pulled the knife from his shoulder and threw it down next to the murderer who still lay moaning in agony on the ground, and he ran away from the sound of the running police – and away from his home.

When he stopped, the pain in his shoulder overcoming his senses, it was too far to go back. But he was near the Free Hospital. He went there. It wasn’t that he needed any help. But he did need to be inside, off the street.

In the silent surgery he pulled off his waistcoat and shirt and undershirt, all clotted with his blood. The wound was deep. He had lost a lot of blood. That was why it had not yet begun to mend. He put a lint cloth over it and tried to concentrate.

“Chrístõ…” Elizabeth’s soft cry disturbed him. He didn’t know she was working tonight. She lit a lamp and came near him. When she saw his wound she was horrified.

“What happened? Let me help you.” She reached out, but he backed away.

“No. I don’t need help from anyone. I will be all right in a few minutes. Please don’t look. Leave me.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said. “Let me help you.” She stepped forward and the lamplight fell more fully upon him. And she blinked in astonishment at what she saw. First, his blood – was not blood – or if it was, it was not the same colour as other people’s blood. It was ORANGE, not red. And as she watched, the bleeding stopped and the deep knife wound began to heal itself.

“Can you find me a clean shirt?” he asked.

“Yes,” Elizabeth said shakily. “But… Chrístõ…. What is happening?”

“You asked where on Earth I come from. Elizabeth… I don’t come from anywhere on Earth. I come from another planet. I am different to you. I was only meant to be visiting here for a little while. I stayed longer because I wanted to know you. I wanted to stay with you, Elizabeth.”

“Chrístõ!” Elizabeth was trying to take in all he had told her. The idea was so preposterous. And yet, she had seen the evidence of her own eyes. She touched his shoulder. There was no sign of a wound there. But the ORANGE blood all over his clothes served as proof that not ten minutes ago he was bleeding to death.

“Put your hand here,” he said, and he placed her hand over his heart. Then he moved it to the other side and she, a nearly qualified doctor, knew what she was feeling. A second heart. “Another way in which I am different. But both of my hearts beat for you, Elizabeth. I love you.”

“Chrístõ!” Elizabeth moved closer to him. One thing she WAS sure of in all of these frightening revelations. “I… I don’t care where you come from. I love you, too.” And she put her arms about his neck and kissed him on the lips. He responded by making time slow so that the kiss lasted a long, long, long time. She wasn’t sure what he had done, but it WAS wonderful.

But when it was over, things were less wonderful. Chrístõ moved back from her and his face was white and frozen. He had just done what he vowed never to do. He looked into her future. And…

“I’m not the one,” he stammered in shock. “I… I can see your life, Elizabeth. You ARE going to be a great doctor. The first woman doctor in Britain. You are going to found hospitals and make things better for a lot of people. And you are going to get married and be happy. But, not with me. I’m not in your future. I thought I could be. But I was wrong. And I am sorry.” He pulled on the shirt she had given him as he spoke, and then he ran while Elizabeth was still trying to come to terms with all he had told her.

He ran as fast as he had ever run before. It hurt. He HAD lost a lot of blood and his body had not yet replaced it, and his two hearts hurt with a physical pain as well as the emotional one, but he kept running, back to his room in Charing Cross.

He slammed the door behind him and rested for a moment, gasping for breath. But only for a moment. He knew that the life he had enjoyed here for three years was over. He had to leave, now, before Elizabeth told somebody what he had told her.

He went to the writing bureau and, pulling out the pen and ink, he wrote feverishly for a few minutes. He sealed the note in an envelope and pinned it to the doorframe. Then he turned again to the bureau and pushed it aside. Behind it was a panel. He lifted it and pulled the lever. The wall disappeared to reveal that his tiny, squalid room was part of a huge room that had no right to be in such a small space, which did not belong to the mid-nineteenth century, and which had absolutely no business being on this planet. The centre of the room was a great hexagonal computer bank with a central pillar that glowed with an ethereal green as he went to the console and began pressing buttons. The central column rose and fell slowly and a strange noise, mechanical, yet at the same time, animal, filled the air. He pressed another button and turned to the viewscreen, no longer pretending to be a window overlooking Charing Cross. The view now was of Earth from an orbit above the British Isles. At last he stood still. He looked at the view for a long, long time.

“Goodbye, Elizabeth,” he said. Then he pressed another button. He saw the live transmission connect and his father came into view.

“Chrístõ?” His father took in the scene at once. He saw the TARDIS was no longer disguised. He saw his son’s deep distress, telling in his eyes and in the sobs he was trying to suppress and the way he trembled with the emotions overwhelming him.

“I made a mistake. I let my hearts overrule my head and I made a stupid, stupid mistake. I think… I think I got away in time. I don’t think I damaged anything. But…”

“It’s all right, son,” his father told him. “That’s what field trips are for. So that you can learn about these things – so you can make mistakes. Are you coming home now?”

“No,” he said. “Not yet. I have my whole life set out for me – planned by you – as a diplomat or a government minister or maybe High President… I know that’s your ambition for me – to follow in your footsteps. I may never leave Gallifrey again. I don’t have to graduate before I’m 200. I’m going to take an extended field trip. I’m going to see everything. The whole universe… before I have to turn my back on it.”

“In a training TARDIS?” his father asked. “You shouldn’t even be piloting it alone. You don’t even have a navigator.”

“Then I expect I’ll end up getting into strange places by accident,” he said. “As long as they are a long way from London in 1865, then that’s fine by me.”

“Chrístõ? What went wrong?”

“It doesn’t matter. You were right.”

“I take no pleasure in that,” His father told him. “I don’t wish for you to be hurt. I DO wish you would come home. I ought to order you to return. As your father, I have the right to do that.”

“Please don’t” he begged. “Because I meant what I said. I don’t wish to do it against your will, father, but if you try to force me…”

“I won’t do that. I am worried. I would much rather you were home. But Chrístõ, my son… I give you my blessing. I give you my love, and the promise that I will be here when you do come home. Take care of yourself. Do that, at least.”

“I will,” he promised. And he closed the transmission again. He half smiled through his tears. He was alone in the universe. But he had the universe in the palm of his hand.

The next morning Elizabeth and Freddie pounded on the door of Chrístõ’s room frantically, calling his name again and again.

“Oh, please, don’t let him be dead,” Elizabeth prayed fervently. “I didn’t mean to hurt him. I never realised how much he cared for me.”

“Stand back,” Freddie said, and he threw himself at the door until it broke in. He just kept his balance and prevented himself from falling into the dark void beyond. He pushed open the door fully and they stared. It wasn’t that the room was empty. The room simply did not exist. There was no floor or ceiling, only empty space down to the cellar below and the empty room above. There was no wall. Across the floorless space they looked at a gaping rectangle looking out over London.

“What’s that?” Elizabeth said, pointing to an envelope that had been fastened to the broken doorframe. Freddie took it and looked. It was addressed to Elizabeth. Inside was a note from Chrístõ. She read it with a heart that was relieved he was not dead and a head struggling to comprehend what he WAS.

"Elizabeth, my love, everything I said was true. I AM a being from another world. I have the ability to travel in time and space and visit anywhere and any time in the universe. I have power of life and death in my fingertips and the knowledge of all existence in my head. I can do anything, be anything. But I would have given it all up for you. I realise now it was not to be. I bear you no ill-will. Have a good life. I KNOW you will. Your name is written in history. Do me one honour - Think of me sometimes.


Chrístõdavõreendiamõndhærtmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbærrow, Time Lord of Gallifrey.

"I will," she said, tearfully. "I will think of you, Chrístõ. God bless you, wherever you are."