Julia sat beside Chrístõ at the door of the TARDIS. It was wide open even though they were in a space orbit. They were watching a phenomena called the Medusan aurora. For three hours already the blackness of space had been anything but black as reflected and refracted lights of a myriad colours danced and span above, below, all around. The TARDIS revolved slowly so that they could see all of it. In its default shape it was undoubtedly the most unusual craft in the designated observation zone, but it had the best views of what was the Medusan sector’s biggest tourist attraction.

Julia was thrilled to be there, and more especially to be there alone with Chrístõ – well, not counting Humphrey, of course, who was hunkered over their legs like a pet dog. It was a sweet, peaceful, romantic moment for them, and she really felt like his proper girlfriend on a very special and unusual ‘date’. Chrístõ obviously felt the same way. His arm was tight around her waist as she happily leaned against his shoulder.

It was way better than the back row of the New Canberra Odeon with popcorn.

“Dos this happen all the time?” she asked about the aurora. “Or is it just once in a while?”

“The twin suns of the Medusa IV system are aligned to produce the effect once every five years by Earth measure,” Chrístõ replied. “You’ll be nineteen when it happens again.”

“We’ll be engaged by then. It will be a really romantic night.”

“It’s quite romantic, now,” Chrístõ pointed out.

“”I know. But… it’ll be more romantic. When we’re allowed to…” She giggled girlishly. She was a girl, after all. The prospect of actually being engaged, being free to kiss and cuddle her boyfriend, the courtship that could begin once she reached the proper age was still a little distant. Even though she knew Chrístõ was going to be her fiancé, it still seemed as remote a dream as those her school friends had of boys they hadn’t even met, yet.

Chrístõ thought that right and proper. He didn’t want her wishing away her childhood, longing to be a grown up for him. She had another year and a bit before their formal betrothal, and he wanted her to enjoy that time as any girl her age should.

“It’s a better way to spend Friday evening than the cinema,” she said.

“I think so,” Chrístõ agreed. “Although… you should also spend time with your friends doing normal things.”

“It’s not really the same these days, anyway,” she answered. “The old gang is starting to go their separate ways. We’re all growing up. Bowling and window shopping and eating ice cream… it’s for kids. Everyone is out on their own separate dates tonight. Ours is just a bit more exotic. Besides, I love it. I love being with you, Chrístõ. And a whole weekend away with you is even better. I’m so glad Uncle Herrick said it was all right. That’s one thing that will be different when I’m seventeen and we’re officially engaged. I won’t have to obey curfews.”

Chrístõ laughed softly.

“According to old Gallifreyan tradition, when we’re engaged we have to be chaperoned everywhere we go together.”

Julia looked scandalised. He laughed even more.

“Don’t worry, that’s a very old tradition. It doesn’t apply any more. Besides, I’m a Beta Deltan citizen now. And when you’re old enough we can sit up all night watching the aurora. Tonight, though, I think it’s time I fixed us a little supper, and then bed for you.”

Julia sighed, but not unhappily. Observing proper bedtimes were among the terms by which such weekends were allowed. And Chrístõ made sure there was no bending of those rules - on his Gallifreyan honour.

Anyway, supper and then bed in her own room on the TARDIS was a treat, too. She could go to sleep watching the aurora and then they were going to the ice planet of Androgeda IX, where they were going to spend the weekend skiing. Androgeda IX had lower gravity than Earth or Beta Delta and it was said to be impossible to have a serious injury while enjoying their winter sports.

They both stood, stretching legs that had been immobile for longer than they realised. Julia went towards the inner door with Humphrey at her heels. Chrístõ went to the console to close the door and check the co-ordinates for their next destination.

Then something happened that would baffle the temporal engineers that built his TARDIS. It shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t have been possible. He certainly did nothing to cause it. He had one hand on the door release and the other resting on the corner of the console, touching nothing vital. But suddenly the console was enveloped with unleashed artron energy, orange and actinic blue, arcing and spitting from every part of it. Chrístõ tried to move away but his hands felt as if they were held in place by magnets. He was enveloped by the energy. He felt as if he was becoming one with the console itself for a few seconds. Then it was more like he was being unravelled at a molecular level. He heard Julia’s screams as if from a far distance. Through what looked like a curtain of energy he saw her trying to reach him and managed to call out a warning to her to keep away. In the moments before he finally blacked out he saw her, only feet away from him, frozen in shock.

When he woke, the console room was in darkness, with the console still and silent and only the low level emergency lights on. He could hear Humphrey keening mournfully and Julia softly calling his name. He opened his eyes to see her kneeling beside him.

“Don’t… don’t touch me yet,” he said. “There might still be residual energy.”

“There isn’t.” she answered. “I’ve already touched you, to try to wake you up. But Chrístõ… I don’t know what happened. But… please… you have to look at… at him… I think he’s dead.”

“Who?” He reached out and Julia helped him to sit up. He looked around and was surprised to see another dark clad figure lying on the console room floor.

“I put him in the recovery position and tried to make sure he was ok, but I don’t know what else to do,” Julia explained.

“Who is he?” Chrístõ asked as he scrambled to his feet. “How did he get on board the TARDIS?” He stepped towards the stranger and knelt to examine him. When he turned him over and saw his face he gasped out loud in surprised shock. “But he’s…”

“He’s you,” Julia said. “I saw you… I saw you in the middle of the light, frozen to the console. And then it was like seeing double. At first it didn’t look real. It was like seeing something out of focus. Then there were two of you there. And the light cut off and you both collapsed. And I didn’t know what to do. You were both unconscious and I managed to wake you, but he…”

“He’s not breathing,” Chrístõ confirmed. “And his hearts aren’t right, either…”

This was a strange situation, but he knew what he had to do. He turned the other version of himself over onto his back and checked his airways before beginning CPR. Julia, despite the seriousness of the situation, giggled.

“You’re kissing yourself,” she said.

“I don’t exactly know who I’m kissing,” he answered between breaths as he did the required chest compressions. “I have a duty, as a doctor, to render assistance. I have to do my best for him.”

“Is he going to die?”

“Not if I can help it.” He bent over his patient again to resume the mouth to mouth resuscitation, then the chest compressions again. The hearts felt wrong. One wasn’t beating at all. The other was erratic. He was worried. But he didn’t give up. As he counted the compressions he looked at Julia, standing close, watching anxiously.

“Don’t hold your breath. I don’t want to have to resuscitate you, as well.”

He breathed a sigh of relief himself as he felt his patient give a deep, if ragged and hoarse voluntary breath. The one heart on the right hand side steadied, too. The other….

“What… what happened?” the Doppelganger asked in Chrístõ’s own voice. He rubbed his forehead and groaned. “Julia… where are you?”

“I’m here,” she said, moving closer. “Chrístõ… it is you, isn’t it? I mean…”

She was confused and frightened, but the one thing she was sure of was that this man was also Chrístõ. There were two of him, and she cared for both of them. She was relieved that he was alive. She knelt beside him as he opened his eyes fully. He reached out and touched her face gently.

“Was it you that kissed ne?” he asked. “I felt somebody… I wasn’t breathing? I needed CPR? And you… sweetheart… you saved me.”

“No, it wasn’t me,” she answered. “It was…”

He turned his head, then, and saw the other version of himself, also kneeling by his side.

“What… what in the name of Rassilon is happening?”

“Keep still,” the first Chrístõ said to his other version. “You’re not fully fit yet. You’ve only got one heart beating.”

“No,” he said. “That’s because…” The second Chrístõ reached to examine his own chest carefully. “I only have one heart. I think I’m…. I’m… Human.”

Julia reached and touched his chest and nodded. Then she reached to touch the first one – for the sake of clarity she called him that. She felt his chest where two strong hearts beat, the way they had for as long as she had known him. Then she reached and held his face. She studied his eyes, carefully.

“Chrístõ, you don’t have tear ducts. I think….”

“I’ve… been split… into two people… one Human, the other Gallifreyan. Two people, two different species, instead of one being with mixed DNA.”

“How?” asked the other one, the Human one. “How could that happen? And… and…” He groaned and nearly fainted again. Julia put her hand under his head as she let him lie down again on the floor. She told the other version of him to fetch some water, and he went to the emergency dispenser in the dark corner of the room. Julia helped the Human Chrístõ to drink some of it, holding him in her arms as he slowly recovered from the faint.

“Be careful,” she told him as she put her hand on his forehead and noted that he was uncomfortably hot. “I don’t think you’re very well, still.”

“He’s not,” said the Gallifreyan version of him. “He’s had a massive dose of Artron energy through him. A Human body isn’t supposed to be able to take that sort of punishment.”

“I’m all right, now,” the Human Chrístõ answered as he struggled to sit up with Julia’s aid. “The energy is gone. Dissipated. It’s done the worst it can.”

“Even so,” the Gallifreyan answered. “I think I should get you down to the medical room for a thorough examination. You could have all sorts of problems… kidneys, liver…”

“So could you,” the Human version of him retorted with a touch of irritation in his tone. “What makes you so sure you’re not affected.” He reached out for Julia’s arm again. She willingly gave it as he pulled himself up from the floor. He stood and swayed dizzily at first, Julia supporting him as best as she could. He looked directly at his other half. Julia studied them both. They were identical in height, facial features, the size of their hands, even the pale complexion. The only outward difference was in their eyes - one had tear ducts, the other didn't.

“Well,” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ replied. “If I’m fully Gallifreyan, then there can’t be very much wrong with me. But you…”

“What? You think I’m weak and inferior.”

“I’m just saying…”

“Well, don’t. I’m fine.”

“I think you should both go to the medical room,” Julia insisted. “But you’ll have to get the TARDIS back on, first. The door won’t open otherwise.”

“The TARDIS is ok,” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ said. “It automatically went into stand by mode to preserve its circuits. Just need to…”

“…Press the reset switch,” His Human counterpart completed the sentence. They looked at each other and then both dashed towards the console. It was the Human Chrístõ who reached the reset first, because he was a few paces closer to begin with.

It didn’t work.

“You’re Human. The TARDIS doesn’t recognise your imprimatur. Let me…” The Gallifreyan Chrístõ pushed his hand away. He was chagrined to discover that nothing happened for him, either.

“We’re in trouble,” he said. “The TARDIS doesn’t recognise either of us.”

“The TARDIS made us,” the Human Chrístõ argued. “How can it not…”

Both stepped away from the console. They stared as Julia stepped closer and put her own hand on the switch. At once the lights all came on and the console hummed with life.

“It recognises me,” she pointed out.

“How?” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ asked. “You’re not even…”

“It recognises her as one of the crew,” the Human Chrístõ replied. “She hasn’t changed. We’re neither of us the person the TARDIS recognises as its pilot. But she can’t use the navigation or drive controls. We’re still in trouble.”

“She could use the fast return switch. That’s primed to be used by anyone who is a recognised crew member, in the event of an accident that incapacitates me… us…”

“Fast Return?” Julia questioned.

“That button, there,” the Human Chrístõ told her. “It takes us back to our previous location. That would be Beta Delta IV, to my… our… house.”

“Good,” Julia decided. “Let’s do that. I don’t know what happened, or why. But we’ll all be safe there. She pressed the button. The time rotor glowed and rose and fell and she felt the change in the engines as they entered the vortex. “Ok, go on, both of you to the medical room.”

They both looked at her and then did as she said. She followed them. Humphrey hugged the shadows and came along, too. He slipped under the examination table as Julia told the Human Chrístõ to lie down on it.

“Don’t argue,” she told him. “You were unconscious for longer and needed help. You ought to be checked out first. It’s not because you’re weaker or inferior.”

“He’s…” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ began to say something but Julia’s glare silenced him.

“You’re a doctor… look after him,” she said.

He did as she said. He took blood samples and a throat swab and listened to the single heartbeat. He ran the full body scanner of him carefully.

“You’re fine,” he told his other self. “You’re a perfectly healthy Human of approximately twenty-six years of age.”

“I’m not twenty-six,” the Human Chrístõ protested. “I’m one hundred and ninety five. The same as you are.”

“No, you’re not. You’re a Human being. They don’t live that long.”


“Yes, you are. You’re a Human.” The Gallifreyan Chrístõ held up the phial he had put his doppelganger’s blood into. “Red. Haemoglobin. Human red blood. One heart, a normal human body temperature of ninety eight point six degrees on the Fahrenheit scale. You have tear ducts. And you have no telepathic nerves. You are an ordinary Human being.”

“Not so ordinary,” he replied. “I still remember being a Time Lord. I remember those years you say I haven’t lived. I remember… I know as much as you do.”

“But… do you still have the whole universe in your head? You can’t. Your mind would overload. That’s the difference. The Time Lord gift. That’s the real difference between us.”

“I do remember it,” the Human Chrístõ said. “I remember facing the Schism. But my mind won’t let me… I can’t remember the feeling, the enormity of it. Or my transcension. I know it happened. But I don’t remember how it felt. That’s all gone.”

“You’re Human.”

“Stop saying that. I’m not. I’m a Time Lord. I’m equal to you. I’m… just the same as you.”

“It’s time you had a check up, too,” Julia said to the Gallifreyan Chrístõ.

“I don’t need one. I know I’m all right. I’m a Gallifreyan, and I have nothing medically wrong with me. Besides, the TARDIS has landed. Let’s get out of here.”

He turned and walked away. Julia watched him go, then turned to the Human Chrístõ.

“We’d better go after him. He may be physically all right, but he’s really not acting like… like Chrístõ. My Chrístõ.”

“He’s acting like an arrogant pure-blooded Gallifreyan! I never thought I could be like that. I didn’t think I was…”

“Actually, you can be pretty arrogant sometimes. I never thought it was a bad thing, before. I thought it made you strong. Now, I’m not so sure.”

The Human Chrístõ looked at her and smiled weakly. He reached out his hand to her. She took it. They walked silently back through the TARDIS and out the main door which was left wide open. They stepped into the drawing room of Chrístõ’s house. The Gallifreyan Chrístõ was standing in the middle of the floor on the telephone. He was ordering pizzas as if everything was normal. When he turned and saw them his expression was cold.

“So, you decided which one of us to side with?” he said to Julia.

“Chrístõ!” she exclaimed. “That’s not fair. It’s not about sides. I… I love you… both of you. But… you’re acting very rudely at the moment.”

“I’m just trying to keep control of this situation. That’s why I ordered food. We were meant to have supper. And you were meant to go to bed.”

“Well, I can’t, now. I have to take care of you two.” She let go of the Human hand that clung to her and went to the Gallifreyan. His skin felt distinctly cooler as she reached to hold him. “You might not be physically harmed, but you’re acting so strangely. It affected you. You are being so… so GALLIFREYAN.”

“I am Gallifreyan.”

“Yes, but… you never acted like it. You were never so haughty and above yourself. You managed to be a prince of the universe without making everyone else feel like peasants. I don’t like this side of you, Chrístõ.”

He looked at her and his expression softened. He reached out and touched her face.

“Julia…” he whispered. “I… I am sorry. I didn’t mean… I never wanted to hurt you.”

“Funny way of showing it,” said the Human Chrístõ as he stepped closer and reached out to take Julia’s free hand. “She’s an inferior Human, too. I’m surprised you’re interested in her.”

“My feelings aren’t changed. I still love…”

“So do I… So that’s just one more thing we have to sort out. Which one of us….”

“The Bond of Intent was made under Gallifreyan law. She is mine.”

“She’s Human. So am I. If I have nothing else, I at least should have her. We belong together. Please… don’t take her away from me.”

“Don’t grovel. I hardly think that’s going to win her favour,” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ responded.

“I’m not ‘grovelling’,” he answered angrily. “And I’m not trying to win her favour. I’m… trying… to keep what matters most to me. I’ve lost so much… But Julia, sweetheart…. You ARE the only thing that matters to me. Please let me…”


Both were holding her tightly by the arms now. She felt scared. If one of them didn’t let go, if they both pulled at once, they could pull her apart.

“Let me go,” she said, twisting out of their grasp and stepping away. “Right now, I’m not sure I want to be with either of you. I’m not sure I LIKE either of you very much. And…” The doorbell interrupted her train of thought. “I’ll get the pizzas. You two… just… sit down. And… I don’t know… just… sit down.”

She turned away and went to the hallway. She opened the door and took charge of the fragrant pizza boxes.

When she returned to the living room she was aghast. The two versions of Chrístõ were squaring up to each other as if about to fight. Their eyes burned with rage and they were both flushed with rage.

“Oh, for heaven sake!” she screamed at them. “Sit down. Or I’m calling a taxi and going home and leaving you to it. I can’t deal with this. I turn my back for two minutes and… Just sit down, now. And don’t be so stupid.”

They both looked at her, then at each other. They seemed to be ready to back down, but neither wanted to be the first to do so. Julia gave an exasperated sigh.

“Just do it,” she said again, and finally they did so. They sat in armchairs either end of the long, three seater sofa. Julia was reminded of something she read in history about the old House of Commons in London. The floor between the two sides of the House was the width of two sword lengths to prevent duelling between Members. The carpet between the two of them, now, was serving a similar purpose.

Julia distributed the pizzas, then went to the kitchen to bring two bottled beers for them and a can of cola for herself. They all ate quietly, with a kind of forced friendliness. Julia sat cross legged on the sofa between the two and watched them both thoughtfully.

“Ok,” she said when they had finished eating. She put her pizza box aside and took a deep breath. “Do you want to explain why you were getting ready to tear lumps out of each other?”

“It… was about you,” the Human Chrístõ answered in a sullen tone. “About… which of us you’re really supposed to be engaged to.”

“He wanted to make an issue of it,” The Gallifreyan Chrístõ added. “But there is no issue. What I said before is true. Legally you are my intended, Julia. Under Gallifreyan law…”

“Under that law, I am not legally obliged to accept a betrothal agreement from you,” Julia pointed out. “We are under a Bond of Intent, and that is all. I can change my mind, yet. Besides, we’re not on Gallifrey. We’re on Beta Delta Four, in the Earth Federation, and I am a minor under the law here and not legally bound by ANYTHING except the truancy laws. And I can still call that taxi and leave you both to kill each other.”



“Chrístõ,” she replied. Her anger at them both had given way to grief and tears pricked her eyes as she spoke. “I… love you.”

“Which one of us?”

“Both of you,” she said. “Honestly, you’re both so clever. But you don’t get it, do you? You’re not two people. You’re the same person. The Human and the Gallifreyan part of the one man that I love. You’re both driving me nuts right now. But I do love you. And you can’t… you can’t expect me to choose one of you above the other. You… you…” She looked at the Gallifreyan one. “You think I could marry you and go to live on Gallifrey, be Lady de Lœngbærrow, giving luncheons and dinner parties and going to balls, producing the heir to your noble house.” She turned to the Human version. “And you… you think I could happily marry you and live a nice, ordinary Human life here, in this house, you carrying on teaching, me having lots of brown eyed Human babies for you… the two of us getting old together… because that’s what would happen. He can regenerate. He has his 13 long lives. But you… you’ll get old and die… probably before me. Because you’re already older than I am.”

The Human Chrístõ looked appalled at that prospect.

“No, it’s not what I want,” he said. “I still want… to marry you in the Panopticon… as is my birthright. I don’t want to be Human. And I don’t want to get old in fifty years… not even… not even with you. I never… never imagined being old… at least not for hundreds of years.”

“I know. It’s not fair. None of this is fair. It’s not fair on him, either.”

“How isn’t it fair on him? He gets what we always wanted. He’s a real, true, Gallifreyan.”

“Is that really what you’ve always wanted?” Julia asked him. “I don’t think it is. Look at him. His DNA… it all comes from his father’s side. That means… it means he’s never had a mother. There’s nothing of her in him. That beautiful lady that I know you both love… she’s not his mother any more. And I think that has to hurt even a stubborn, superior pure-blood Gallifreyan.”

The Gallifreyan Chrístõ blinked the nictating membrane behind his eyelids several times. He couldn’t cry, but his eyes were glassy all the same. Julia felt bad about doing that to him. It was cruel. But he needed reminding that he had emotions. He seemed to have forgotten that. He needed to remember that he wasn’t just a Gallifreyan. That he was more than that.

“Mother,” he whispered plaintively. “No… She… I can’t lose her.”

“I’m… made from her DNA only?” The Human Chrístõ said. “I’m… I have…nothing of my father in me? I’m… not… not his son any more?”

“I don’t think your father would think that way,” Julia assured him. “He’s a good man. He’s a kind, understanding man. He will love you both equally.”

“Yes,” the Human Chrístõ agreed. “Yes, he would. But HE would be the heir. I’d just be… something… that he loves out of pity… the runt of the litter… And… I don’t want that.”

“Then… maybe you should stay here,” The Gallifreyan Chrístõ told him. “You do have a life here. A life you love. That’s why we bought this house. Because we like it here. You could stay here. And… and maybe it is better if Julia… You and her… could be right together. I’ll… I’ll go back to Gallifrey… I’ll take on the duties of the primogeniture… I’ll… accept a marriage arrangement. Maybe… maybe Romana would… I know she cares for me. She might leave the cloister for…”

“No,” Julia said. “No, it doesn’t work that way, either. You still don’t get it, do you? You’re talking as if you can go on from here as two different people, with two different lives. But you’re NOT two people. You’re the same person. That’s why you’re both basket cases right now.”

“Basket cases?” Despite themselves, both men smiled at her choice of words.

“Yes,” she responded. “You can’t be separated. You… you’re a pure Galifreyan. And that sounds all right. And it is for people who were born that way, like Hext and Romana, and your father and Valena, and even people like Lord Ravenswode and everyone else from Gallifrey. It’s all right for them. They don’t know anything else. But you, Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow, you’re more than all them. You’re a unique mix of two fantastic species. You’re the product of the DNA of two wonderful people – your father, a wonderful, kind, brave man, and your mother who was so sweet and gentle and loving. And… and you were always the best of both of them all mixed up together. But separate… you’re… you’re the worst of a Human and the worst of a Gallifreyan. You’re just not right, either of you. And… I don’t want two of you that are miserable and hurting inside and saying things I know you don’t mean. I want… I want the real you back… the man I love. MY Chrístõ. So… so…. Work it out between you. And do it as friends. Don’t fight. I can’t think of anything more awful than you… fighting… with yourself. Chrístõ… you can’t. The two of you… you HAVE to like each other. It’s not right. It’s just not…”

She ran out of words. The two men looked at her, both a little stunned by her tirade.

“Do you remember…” said the Galifreyan Chrístõ to his Human self. “When we first met this girl… she couldn’t talk at all. Now she won’t shut up and let us get a word in.”

The Human version laughed with him. Julia smiled with relief and kissed first one, then the other, on the cheek.

“I’m going to bed, now. You two… talk to each other and find some way to deal with this.”

She turned and walked away. The two of them looked at each other then rose in unison. They both reached her by the door and one after the other embraced her fully and kissed her gently on the lips.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” said one.

“So am I,” said the other. “Goodnight, Julia. Sleep well. And… don’t worry about us. We’ll figure it out somehow.”

They both watched as she went away. Then they turned and looked at each other.

“She’s right,” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ said. “We’ve been idiots. But… what do we do?”

“You’re asking me?”

“Yes. You’re… the Human one… Humans have the imagination… the ideas.”

“So I’m not just a weak, inferior model?”

“Don’t start that again. Come on… we’ve got to get this together.”

“Ok, then… why don’t we… I don’t know… get another couple of beers from the fridge and… talk.”

They did that. They didn’t sit on the chairs. They both sat on the floor, leaning against the sofa. They sat close together and for a little while they didn’t say anything.

“I… always wondered what it would be like to have a brother,” The Human version said as the silence lengthened.

“Yes. I did… And… I’ve thought about that. Haven’t you?”

“Yes. We could… we could do it. We could….”

“Live two lives… together. As… brothers.”


“No. Julia is right. We can’t. We’re missing something. Both of us. We’re like… like we only have half a soul each. We’re not complete. And I think it would destroy us both, sooner or later. And… besides… I don’t know… what I would do… in… however many years it might be… when you… I think if you died… a bit of me would, too. I wouldn’t even be half a soul any more.”

“Not sure I appreciate you thinking of my death as something that affects YOU,” the Human Chrístõ pointed out. “I thought we were over the selfishness, now.”

“I am,” the Gallifreyan replied. “I am. I’m just trying to reason it through. And it won’t work, not even short term. We can’t live this way.”

“So what can we do about it?”

“We can… work out what happened to us, and try to reverse it, go back to being one person… the one Julia really loves. The one we’re meant to be.”


“We need to get the TARDIS to work for us, for a start.”

“We can’t. It won’t recognise either of us.”

“It won’t recognise us separately. But what if…” The Human Chrístõ looked at his other self. “I don’t know… it could just be stupid. I don’t know if…”

“Well, I don’t even have a stupid idea. So whatever you’ve got…”

The Human Chrístõ put down his empty beer bottle and turned towards the TARDIS door, disguised as a built in cupboard in the corner of the room. He found his key in his pocket. His Gallifreyan counterpart took his own key from his pocket but he let him open the door. They stepped inside together. The lights brightened as they did so, and Humphrey slid under the console, purring gently to let them know he was there.

“Right,” the Human Chrístõ said, and told his other half what he wanted him to do. He nodded and agreed it was a stupid idea, but it was still their only idea. He stood with him at the navigation control and they both put their hands on the main switch together. The navigation console hummed with life and lights flickered on and off.

“As simple as that?” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ commented in a philosophical tone.

“As simple as that,” replied the Human Chrístõ. “But the rest might not be. We need to run a diagnostic first. We need to find out what happened, before we can figure out how to reverse it.”

“Could take all night.”

“I’m not tired.”

“All right, then.”

It didn’t quite take all night. But it was nearly daylight before they were satisfied that they knew what to do. They came back to the drawing room in the half light of dawn. The Human Chrístõ pulled the sofa cushions to one end and laid himself down on it wearily. The Gallifreyan sat on the floor again with his head against the cushions.

“It’s… dangerous,” he said. “It might not work. We could both die in the attempt.”

“It’s going to be very painful. For both of us.”

“We’ve got to talk to Julia, first.”

“Yes… that goes without saying. We….”

He looked around. His Human version had fallen asleep. The Gallifreyan nodded and sighed softly. He felt a little weary himself. He stood up from the floor and sat in one of the big armchairs. He closed his eyes and told himself he would just sleep for an hour, no more.

It was three hours later when he found himself being shook awake by Julia wearing the top of a pair of his own pyjamas as a nightdress. He sat up and saw the Human Chrístõ sitting up on the sofa, suppressing a yawn and trying not to look sleepy.

“I’ve made coffee and toast,” she said, pointing to a tray on the coffee table. “Did you manage to work anything out.”

“Yes, we did,” they both replied. Then they outlined their findings to her. She listened as they explained about how positively and negatively charged ions around the Medusan Aurora had accidentally become infused into the TARDIS.

“That’s a lesson learned,” the Human Chrístõ said. “Next time we visit the Aurora we go on a package tour in a standard space ship, not a TARDIS.”

“That, or I work out some kind of shield to protect it,” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ added. “Anyway, I have five years to work that out. Before the next one. Meanwhile, we think we do know how to reverse it. But… Julia… it’s…”

“It’s dangerous, isn’t it,” she guessed. “It could kill you… both of you.”

“Yes,” the Gallifreyan Chrístõ answered for them both. “Yes, it might. Though we’re going to try not to let that happen.”


“As soon as possible, I suppose.”

“If you waited a little while, you’re both still ok, aren’t you? You’re both healthy?”

“Yes,” they both assured her.

“And you can pilot the TARDIS now?”


“Before… you do this… Let’s… have the weekend we were supposed to have. Let’s go to Androgeda IX and go skiing. All three of us. If you have to do this… If I could lose you both… Let’s have some time together, first.”

The two men considered her idea for a long moment. They looked at each other.

“I don’t mind waiting a bit longer to do something that’s going to hurt as much as we think it will,” the Human Chrístõ said.

“Me, neither,” his Gallifreyan half agreed. “Ok, we’ll do that.”

So, Julia had the weekend they had originally planned, but with two companions instead of one. The TARDIS materialised beside the luxurious Albergo Rosa – the Rose Hotel in the Valle Rosso. Beside it was the Lago Rosso – the Pink Lake, because even frozen it had a bloom from the freshwater plankton that lived in it. Later there would be a display of ice dancing on it, which Julia was immediately interested in. But first they ate kedgeree and scrambled eggs and drank strong coffee in the breakfast room and then set off to the ski lifts for a day on the slopes.

And all three of them enjoyed themselves in the fresh, crisp air of the beautiful winter planet. They raced each other down the slopes and Julia and the Human Chrístõ both noted that Gallifreyan DNA did not have any special advantage when speeding downhill on skis. The Gallifreyan Chrístõ conceded as much when they returned, breathless and happy to the hotel for lunch. He did point out that he was less breathless and far less flushed from the morning’s exercise, but that seemed only a very small advantage.

Neither the Human nor the Gallifreyan could ice skate. Both tried for an hour after lunch, and at least learnt to stay upright and propel themselves around the edge of the lake, but even the Gallifreyan lacked the nerve to go out into the middle part. They eventually retired to the comfort of the spectator’s area and warmed their feet by a convection heater and drank hot cocoa as they watched Julia, in an outfit of pink and blue woollen tights and a blue skirt and jumper prove that the agility of a gymnast and the grace of a ballet dancer could easily transfer to the ice.

“My girl,” said the Human Chrístõ with a proud smile.

“Our girl,” his other half corrected him.

“Our girl, for now. But when we’re one again… personal pronouns will be much easier.”


They tried not to think about it. They certainly didn’t talk about it, especially not in front of Julia. It was in the back of both of their minds, a nagging ache in the pits of their stomachs, but they pushed it away and made the most of the day. As the afternoon turned to evening they had an early supper in the hotel and then the three of them joined all the other guests in the heated grandstand to watch the ice dancing performance that began in the dying light of day and ended under gravity globes that illuminated the ice. Julia sat between the two men and wasn’t displeased when one held her gloved hand tightly and the other put his arm around her shoulder. When they returned to the hotel, afterwards, to the rooms they had booked for the night, she was happy to walk hand in hand with them both.

The next day began with breakfast and continued with a full day with backpacks containing their lunch and tea, and a cross country map route that took them high up in the Androgedan Alps and brought them back to the Valle Rossa in the early evening. Through the day, they were happy, all three of them, except at odd moments when Julia caught the two men looking at each other with an anxious expression. This weekend had been a pleasant interlude, but as the day wore on, they knew they couldn’t delay the inevitable for much longer.

They came back to the TARDIS. Julia sat on the sofa as they programmed the return journey to Beta Delta IV. It didn’t take long. She wished it did. She had a feeling they did, too. It was far from a happy homecoming for them all. There was still that huge, terrible obstacle to get over, first.

It was the Human Chrístõ who came out of the TARDIS with Julia as his other half made some last minute preparations. He brought her to the sofa and sat her down. Humphrey came out with her and hunkered by her feet, purring reassuringly.

“You understand what’s happening now, don’t you?”

“You’re using a modified version of something called a Chameleon Arch, that is a part of the TARDIS, to rearrange your DNA and try to re….re-form… yourselves into one person.”


“Even if it works it’s going to hurt you both terribly. If it doesn’t….” She had some lurid visions of broken, mutated bodies that couldn’t possibly live, of all kinds of ways that it could go wrong.

“It might just not work at all and we’ll be stuck like this, and we’ll have to learn to live with all the problems we’ve already talked about.”

“Or it might kill you.”

“Or it might work perfectly and we… I’ll… be the Chrístõ you have always loved.”

“I love you, now,” she told him. “Both of you.”

“I know. And… we both love you very much.” He embraced her tightly and kissed her in the full, passionate way that she treasured on the rare occasions that he allowed himself to forget the age gap and the social impropriety and kiss her like that. Usually, she noted, it was when his life was at risk and he thought it might be their last kiss. She had her eyes closed when she felt another pair of arms enfold her and another pair of lips, the same lips, but cooler, kiss her the same way. She opened her eyes and watched as the two versions of her sweetheart turned and stepped into the TARDIS together. They closed the door. She deliberately turned her face away from that closed door and sat quietly, trying not to think about what might be happening inside. She tried not to think of them screaming in agony as their bodies were disassembled molecule by molecule. She tried not to think about them dying in terrible distress. She tried to hope that it would be all right.

“It’s got to be all right,” she whispered to Humphrey, who trilled sympathetically. “He’s got to live. We need him.

Then the TARDIS door opened. Chrístõ stepped out of it. He looked pale and he was shaking. He walked unsteadily towards the sofa and almost collapsed onto it. Julia grasped his hand and held it tightly. She looked at his face. His eyes were red-rimmed.

“You’ve been crying,” she told him. “It hurt so very much?”

“It hurt like… I couldn’t begin to describe how much. But it’s not just that. I felt… when I woke… I felt so alone. I… missed… WE missed each other. It was so strange. It’s fading now. I’m starting to feel whole, complete. But for a while, at first, I felt like two people in one body, both mourning the loss of the other, both looking out of one pair of eyes and grieving for the face we couldn’t see...”

“But you’re all right, now?” Julia asked anxiously.

“Yes,” he answered. “I’m all right. I’m me… I’m both of the people you spent the weekend with… the best of both of us… My soul is one again.”

“I’m glad,” she told him as she put her hands against the two strongly beating Gallifreyan hearts in his breast and looked at the deep brown eyes with Human tear ducts welling up with emotion now. “I love both of you. And it’s much easier to do that when there’s just the one of you. Just as long as you’re really all right, now.”

“I’m all right,” he assured her. “Nothing a hot cup of coffee and another couple of sweet kisses from you won’t cure. After that… when the universe has stopped spinning around in my head… I’ll drive you home. Your uncle wanted you home by ten. Tomorrow is a school day.”