Chrístõ seemed a little subdued as he piloted the TARDIS through the Transduction Barrier, away from Gallifrey. He looked at the image of the red-orange planet of his birth on the viewscreen for a long time.

Julia slipped her arm around his waist. He looked around as if surprised to see her there and hugged her around the shoulders. He sighed deeply.

“You’re missing Garrick,” she said to him. “But it was time for him to go home to his mother. You’ve done all you can for him.”

“He didn’t want me to go,” Chrístõ said. “He clung to me so much. I wish…”

He wasn’t sure what he wished, exactly. He couldn’t remember feeling this way about leaving Gallifrey before. Usually, the pull of what was ahead of him, the excitement of exploring the universe, was enough for him. He never felt quiet so strongly about what he was leaving behind. But he had a family who loved him, and missed him when he was away. He had friends who wanted him to stay. That didn’t necessarily include Paracell Hext, of course. He was perfectly happy for him to be out in the universe, where he could be of use to him as his master spy.

Everyone he loved was down there, on that planet. Except for Julia. It mattered a lot that she was right there at his side.

“Home… is where the hearts are,” he said as he looked around at her. “Besides, I can come home whenever I want. It’s not like in the war. When I didn’t know if I would ever be able to come back.”

Julia said nothing. She just stood on her toes and kissed him lingeringly. When she was done, his eyes had a twinkle in them and he was smiling.

“That’s a low trick,” he told her. “Using your feminine wiles on me.”

“It’s cheered you up, though.”

“Chrístõ,” Cal said, almost hesitantly, as if he didn’t want to interfere with the two lovers. “I’m picking up an incoming communication.”

“From Gallifrey?” Chrístõ was alarmed. “Is something wrong? Is it my father?”

“No,” Cal answered. “The message is long distance, on the sub-light frequency. It’s from Sol Three… in the Mutter Spiral.”

“You mean Earth,” Chrístõ said as he moved around the console to the communications array. He was still alarmed. There were only a very few people on planet Earth who knew how to contact him. But if one of them was in trouble, he would want to know straight away.

“Yes, it’s a sub-light audio message,” he confirmed. “It must have been ‘on hold’ until we cleared the Transduction Barrier. Sub-light messages are blocked by the Barrier and screened before being passed on.” He laughed ironically. “I could either open this file now, or call Hext and ask him what’s in it. I’m sure he’ll have seen it.”

He decided to open it and found that it contained nothing of interest to the Celestial Intervention Agency or its director, at least not unless he wanted an evening of musical entertainment.

“It’s Kohb,” Julia said with a wide smile and an excited hop up and down.

Chrístõ’s smile widened.

“He wants us to come to see him on his concert tour.”

Julia was happy with that idea. Cal looked quizzical. Chrístõ laughed and told him he was in for a treat. He set the co-ordinate and said they would be there in two and a half hours. Plenty of time for a workout in the dojo.

That was how Chrístõ liked to pass time when his TARDIS was in long distance travel mode. He usually pitted his wits against hologram opponents. But now Cal was learning the disciplines of Gung Fu and Sun Ko Du and he was learning it well. He was physically fit and agile and he was a worthy opponent in the training match.

“Don’t let what’s going on in that corner distract you,” Chrístõ warned as Julia in a figure hugging leotard warmed up before practicing her asymmetric bar routine.

“She’s very interesting to look at when she does that,” Cal answered.

“Yes, she is,” Chrístõ agreed. “But ignoring what she is doing teaches you to focus. And besides, she is MY girlfriend!”

Cal grinned and gave his attention completely to fighting Chrístõ using the skills of Sun Ko Du, a very precise form of martial arts that only the most adept of Time Lord candidates learnt.

“I should take you to Malvoria some time,” Chrístõ said when they finished their routine and went to shower and dress. “Strictly speaking, only senior students from the Academy get to go. But I am a Master of the discipline, and I dare say they would be pleased to admit an apprentice of mine.”

“It might be interesting,” Cal admitted. Chrístõ wondered if he had jumped too far ahead again, pushing Cal into what he thought he needed to learn rather than what Cal was ready to learn. “No, really, that does sound interesting. Do they really practice on six inch wide spars across deep chasms?”

“The Masters do,” Chrístõ answered. “You wouldn’t be expected to try that.”

“Pity,” Cal said. “Sounds like a challenge.”

Chrístõ smiled. Cal wasn’t afraid of rising to a physical challenge like that. But the thought of taking on Gallifreyan society when it was his time to take his place as the patriarch of the House of Oakdaene frightened him.

Yes, he knew that feeling well enough. Cal was more like him than the boy realised.

When he saw Cal dressed for his first visit to planet Earth, he thought he DID know how much like him he was, after all. He had chosen to wear black leather trousers, an open necked black shirt and a short leather jacket. Chrístõ was in black cord trousers, a matching open necked shirt and his own familiar leather jacket. His belt buckle was a flash of silver incorporating his family crest, and he wore a small silver seal of Rassilon pin on his lapel. He looked at Cal and then reached and fixed a duplicate pin on his lapel.

“We look like brothers,” Cal said. “I mean… you… don’t mind, do you? I can change if you like. I didn’t really know what to wear, but this outfit was in the wardrobe… and it looked…” Cal sought for a phrase. But he had been brought up on a long-established colony a long way from Earth where the colloquialisms of the Human language had been lost. Cal had been on Beta Delta IV, a rather newer colony planet, for several weeks before he even grasped the meaning of the word ‘ok’.

“You look ‘cool’,” Chrístõ told him. “Although, after an hour or two you might find the leather trousers aren’t literally so. But it’s your choice.”

Then both turned to look at Julia as she stepped into the console room. Chrístõ noted that she was modelling the Jacqueline Kennedy fashions again. She was wearing a powder blue satin knee length dress with a scooped neckline and over it she was fastening a blue coat with a double rows of buttons. She put a matching pill box hat on her head and smiled charmingly at the two men.

“We’re going to the year 2015, not 1958,” Chrístõ pointed out.

“Shows what you know,” Julia replied, “Retro fifties chic is ‘in’ for 2015. This is what the women will be wearing to Kohb’s concert.”

“They might not be,” Chrístõ told her. “He’s appearing at The Stadium of Light. Pill box hats won’t last long in the mosh pit.”

“Stadium of Light?” Julia smiled. “Sounds pretty.”

Chrístõ smiled knowingly and initiated their materialisation. The TARDIS groaned a few times more and then the time rotor came to a halt. Chrístõ reached out his hand to Julia and they stepped out together. Cal followed.

The building in front of them might be called many things. Those who liked modern architecture would probably call it striking. Those who didn’t might grumble all sorts of complaints. The people who called it home on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon had other words to describe it. He wasn’t sure ‘pretty’ was one of them. Julia looked at it critically.

“A football ground? I thought Khob was doing a concert.”

“He is,” Chrístõ answered. “A big concert by the look of it.”

There was a huge banner across the front of the stadium with a picture of the man he knew as Morlen Kohbran, or just Kohb, but who was famous on planet Earth as Morten Kohl. This was, the banner proclaimed, part of the ‘Magic Moments’ tour of 2015. The picture on the banner showed Kohb, in black with a red-lined cloak, surrounded by magical stars as he posed enigmatically.

“But this place has to be as big as the New Canberra Arena. He’s singing for fifty-thousand people at once?”

“Stadium of Light, Sunderland,” Chrístõ said absently. “Capacity 49,000. Lose a few thousand because the stage will be across one end, of course. But then gain as many standing on the pitch itself. Yes, fifty thousand is about right.”

“So he’s really famous then?” Julia questioned. “Our Kohb.”

“Seems like it.” Chrístõ turned and noticed Cal studying the TARDIS’s disguise for today. It was a little bit different, it had to be said.

“It materialised around the Davy Lamp memorial and copied it exactly,” he said. “I rather like it.” He patted the side of his TARDIS fondly, noting the familiar vibration it always had even when stationary and pretending to be something that had been here for nearly twenty years. “It’s to remind people who come to this modern place that it was built on the site of a long defunct coal mine. Coal was the lifeblood of this city until a rather heartless kind of politics combined with a global recession closed it all down.” Julia looked at him anxiously. “It’s all right. It was the industry that died, not the people. It’s not a memorial in that sense. Just a reminder that the modern stadium has a long tradition behind it. Come on. Let’s go and announce ourselves and find out where Kohb is.”

Chrístõ presented his psychic paper at the main reception and was told that they were expected. A man in a security guard’s uniform brought them to one of the executive boxes on the Premier Concourse.

The box was rather bigger than the word implied and was set out as a rather nice dining room and rest area with soft sofas and a table that could accommodate a dozen or more people. There was nobody there except for a baby sleeping in a rocking cradle. Julia looked closer at the baby while Chrístõ stepped out through the sliding doors to the executive balcony above the west stand.

“Cam,” he said, touching the shoulder of the young man who was sitting there. He hadn’t heard him until that moment because there was a lot of noise going on in the stadium. There was a floor being laid down over the turf below while lights and huge video screens were being erected around the stage. Oblivious to that, Kohb, looking small from this distance, managed to make a big sound of his own as he sang a song on the stage.

Cam looked around and then hugged Chrístõ around the neck and kissed him lingeringly on his mouth. He felt those Haolstromnian pheromones overwhelm him and for several long minutes all he wanted to do was kiss the handsome young man in a sharp grey suit. He was aware that Cal had followed him out and was a little puzzled by his behaviour.

“I’m glad you came,” Cam Dey Greibella said to him enthusiastically when he pulled his head back from the kiss and sat back down on an executive seat. Chrístõ sat beside him and didn’t mind one little bit when Cam held his hand fondly. “Is Julia with you? Who’s your new friend?”

“This is Cal Lupus,” he answered. “He’s my apprentice, a Time Lord in training. Julia is inside, getting excited about a baby she found in there. I presume it’s yours?”

“Leslie,” Cam said. “My little one… Mine and Kohb’s.”

That wasn't strictly true in the biological sense, of course. Chrístõ knew that. Haolstromnian Gendermorphs didn’t need a partner to have children. When they felt ready for parenthood, they fertilised an egg by parthenogenesis and incubated it within their own bodies. Physical love was for amusement.

“Kohb was with me all the way through the birth,” Cam said. “He held her before I did. He loved her from the first moment he set eyes on her. He’s her father in the sense that everyone understands the word.”

“And you’re still together, the two of you. Still as much in love as you ever were?”

“Yes. Strange as it may seem. I know I should have stopped loving him long before Leslie was born. Relationships on my world almost never last that long. But we seem stuck on each other.”

Cal was even more puzzled as he listened to the conversation. Chrístõ promised to explain later. He turned and looked at the work going on. So did Cam. He sighed and shook his head.

“This ought to have been finished yesterday,” he said. “The floor certainly ought to have been down. And the lighting and video display shouldn’t be taking this long. We have seven hours to the start of the concert. Jason, our road manager, is frantic. Kohb was so upset when he saw it. He just wanted to do a sound check and then get some lunch and a little family time before he has to get ready for the concert. But now he’s worried that the concert won’t go ahead at all. And we can’t reschedule. We’re in Liverpool tomorrow night and then on Sunday it’s Wembley. Then Dublin, Paris, Berlin, before we fly out to the USA for New York, San Francisco…”

“Stop!” Chrístõ groaned. “I like travelling, but even I’m dizzy. I take it that his career as a pop star lasted more than six months after all, then?”

“He is so popular, it is amazing. He has the highest number of downloads every week of any artist in Europe. His concerts are all sold out. His television programme is top of the Saturday night ratings in Britain and Ireland. We have a whole floor of an office block in London just to process ‘fan’ mail. Kohb is a ‘megastar’.”

“Is he still enjoying it?” Chrístõ asked.

“Yes, he is. He loves performing. He is absolutely in his element when he goes out on a stage in front of an audience. He loves entertaining them. He loves their reaction to them. He’s not crazy about all the attention we get outside of the performances. When Leslie was born, there were pages and pages in the magazines and papers. Everyone wanted pictures. I keep getting asked to do photo sessions, fashion shoots. At least, Camilla does. Cam is a carefully kept secret, of course. The fans don’t mind Kohb being married to a pretty woman and having a beautiful baby girl. But they wouldn’t like to hear that he is in love with a man as well.”

Chrístõ laughed. Kohb had fallen in love with both Cam and Camilla. The two halves of the gendermorph soul were equally dear to him. But it was another secret, along with the fact that both Morten Kohl and his spouse were aliens, that had to be kept from his adoring public.

“Cam,” said Julia coming to the door of the executive box. “Somebody called Jason just phoned. Kohb is finishing in five minutes and he’ll be with you in time for the interview with the man from Sun FM, whatever that is. Also, the baby is awake.”

“We’ll come in,” Cam said. “The noise out here is too much for her.”

Cam stepped inside the executive box. He kissed Julia on the cheek and thanked her for taking the call. Then he shimmered and transformed into Camilla, wearing an outfit very similar to Julia’s, except in soft beige. Julia shot a glance at Chrístõ that clearly said ‘told you so’, and sat by her as she fed the baby. Chrístõ took a seat alongside Cal, who was even more confused now. A few minutes later, the man from the local radio station arrived and Camilla was polite and charming to him. Kohb arrived not long after and sat with his wife and child to give a live interview about the concert. He was obviously used to doing that sort of thing, and answered even the most inane questions cheerfully. When it was over, and the reporter and his crew had gone, he turned at last to his friends.

“I’m so glad to see you,” he said, hugging Julia. “You’ve grown up since I saw you last. You’re a young lady now.”

“Yes, I am,” she answered. “Can’t wait to see your concert tonight.”

“If we ever GET a concert tonight,” he responded. He looked at Cal and was puzzled. “Who is this? It can’t be your little brother, Chrístõ? It hasn’t been that long.”

Chrístõ explained Cal’s circumstances very quickly. Kohb was surprised.

“I was your half brother’s servant for a brief while,” he admitted. “Not a happy part of my life. But I am pleased to meet you.”

Cal seemed relieved by that. He was accepted by Chrístõ’s celebrity friend. The bit about him being a servant was something he would have to ask about later.

There was another interruption, this time three young women in smart red aprons who brought in lunch for Kohb and his family and guests and set it out on the table. Then, at last, they were properly alone for a short time. They ate the meal together, talking about old times, catching up on news. Kohb hadn’t heard about the Mallus war and was upset by that, but he did his best not to let it spoil his preparations for the concert in the evening.

“You said we would have some quiet time,” Camilla reminded him. “I did hope it would be somewhere other than this ‘box’. Can we even get out of the stadium at this stage? There are fans gathering outside already, you know. I hope it won’t be like Manchester. We spent the whole time either in the hotel or in a car or at the venue. We hardly got a breath of fresh air.”

Kohb put his hand on his wife’s arm and leaned close to kiss her on the cheek. Camilla smiled back at him. Her complaint wasn’t against him. She loved him. She was proud of him. But it was certainly true that an executive box wasn’t really a place to spend the day.

“Stay here,” Chrístõ said. “I’ll get the TARDIS. We’ll all go somewhere for the afternoon. Somewhere without fans.”

“It would have to be another planet,” Camilla commented.

When he stepped out of the Stadium, Chrístõ thought Camilla was right about that. There were already a hundred or more young people hanging around in small, hopeful groups, watching the doors. They studied Chrístõ carefully, noting the black leather jacket and the silver buckle. He wondered if they might remember that he was one of the competitors in that same competition, two years ago, that had launched Kohb to stardom. He hoped not. He didn’t want to have to sign any autographs.

A lot of the hopefuls were hanging around the Davy Lamp. That was a problem. He usually entered and left the TARDIS without being noticed. But it would be difficult to do that when people were leaning on it.

Then he had an idea.

“Morten Kohl is leaving in five minutes by the south stand entrance,” he said to one of them. “In a red Ford Fiesta.”

That did the trick. As the news filtered through the crowds he felt slightly sorry for the security guards on the south gate. But at least he could get into the TARDIS now. It dematerialised, leaving the real memorial behind completely unscathed.

He re-materialised in the executive box. He opened the door and let everyone in. Camilla, with the baby in her arms, sighed happily as she saw the console room. She felt at home. So did Kohb. He asked Chrístõ if he could help him pilot it, but he said they weren’t going very far.

“We don’t need another planet,” he said. “We just need a place where nobody is expecting to find you.”

He brought them only a few miles. To a wide, sandy beach called Seaburn. It was far from deserted, but a small group of people with a baby in a pushchair that was rooted out of the TARDIS lumber room didn’t cause any ripples of interest.

“You did bring us here on the same DAY?” Camilla asked Chrístõ suspiciously. “This isn’t, you know, three years ago, before Kohb was famous?”

“I never thought of that,” he answered. “But I didn’t need to be that devious. I just had to bring you here without anyone seeing a limousine turn up or any other nonsense. Now you can spend the afternoon on the beach just like ordinary people.”

And they did. It was a pleasant afternoon for them all. Julia enjoyed spending time with Camilla, who she had always looked up to as a feminine role model. Chrístõ enjoyed talking to Kohb. Cal, too, seemed happy in his company. They bought ice creams mid afternoon. Camilla actually went up to the kiosk and purchased them and was quite pleased that nobody recognised her as somebody whose pictures had recently taken up six pages of Hello magazine. Chrístõ thought that was remarkable. On top of their other fascinating characteristics, Haolstromnians tended to be extroverts who liked to be the centre of attention. For once, she was enjoying anonymity.

But the respite was over all too soon and Chrístõ brought them back to the Stadium where the floor was down and was receiving its health and safety check. Everything else seemed to be finished, too. The stadium actually seemed relatively quiet.

“Calm before the storm,” Camilla commented as she settled the baby in her crib in the executive box. “Another hour and they’ll start letting the crowds in. Then you’ll know the meaning of ‘noise’. They go quiet when Kohb sings, though. He seems to mesmerise them. You know… it’s like his music is the same as the pheromones I use on men. They just love him.”

“I’ve never heard him properly,” Julia said. “I’m looking forward to it all.”

Camilla was right about the calm before the storm. Soon, the fans began to be let into the stadium. Julia actually went down to the concourse to watch and reported that it was amazing.

“They have t-shirts and bags and all sorts of things with Kohb’s picture on them, and they’re all really excited. It’s not just daft girls, either. There are people of all ages. Men, too. They all think he’s great. Can you believe it? Our Kohb, a superstar.”

Chrístõ laughed and reminded her that he WAS in the same competition.

“I’m glad you didn’t win, though,” she said. “I would have to share you with fifty thousand people.”

“Camilla has to share Kohb with them.”

“I don’t, really,” she admitted as she settled her baby down to sleep in her crib before they went to take their seats on the balcony. “What he does on stage is a show, a performance. He loves doing it. But it’s not the real him that they see, that they think they know. When he’s finished performing and comes back to me, when we’re alone together, then he’s my Kohb. And… when all this is over, and these screaming, over-excited people have found somebody else to adore, as I know they will, he will still be my Kohb. Neither of us really need all of this.”

“Are you sure you don’t?” Chrístõ asked. “What about Kohb? Would he be happy if this was over? It was his chance to rise above himself, to be somebody.”

“And he’s done that. He’s proved himself,” Camilla insisted. “He’s said it often, himself. If it were to all end tomorrow, if it was over, as long as he has me and our baby, he’ll be happy.”

“Good,” Chrístõ told her. “I’m glad. For both of you.” He smiled and settled down in his seat, beside Julia, ready to enjoy Kohb’s sell out concert in the Stadium of Light.

A warm up act of dancers in sparkly costumes performing to some of the tunes Kohb was going to be singing later built up the excitement. And then the dancers split into two lines. In the middle of them was a magician’s cabinet with stars all over it. Dry ice smoke poured over the stage and the stadium lived up to its name as artificial lightning crackled and the backing band began to play one of Kohb’s two signature tunes. One was the soft, gentle ‘Magic Moments’ that was the banner name of the concert tour. The other was ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’, with thumping drumbeat and guitar chords that struck at the heart.

Kohb – or Morten Kohl as the screaming and cheering fans knew him – appeared in the middle of the dry ice as if by magic. He struck a pose in his magician’s cloak and then began to sing. As Camilla promised, the noise died away as the audience of some fifty thousand were mesmerised by his voice, his smile and the way his body moved as he performed.

From where they were sitting, of course, he looked quite small on the stage. But Chrístõ looked up at one of the giant videoscreens and he could see Kohb’s face larger than life. He really was genuinely enjoying himself as he sang for his fans. His eyes shone with joy.

Chrístõ remembered Kohb’s origins. He had been a house servant to Lord Arpexia, and then, by way of a series of circumstances, he had been Epsilon’s servant. That could have been his downfall. Epsilon used him in his murderous schemes. But he rose above all of that, too. And now, he was nobody’s servant. It was a strange set of circumstances again that launched him to a career as a musical star on planet Earth, but he had seized the opportunity and he was making the most of it. And Chrístõ wouldn’t have taken that from him in a million years.

Only one thing threatened to spoil the night. Chrístõ looked up and noticed that the sky above the stadium was stormy. A real lightning storm matched the one created by the computerised stage lighting. If it rained, on a stadium that didn’t have a wet weather roof, it would be a disaster.

Camilla noticed that, too, and frowned. She looked at Chrístõ and there was a question in her eyes.

“Yes,” he said. “I might be able to do something.”

Julia looked at him, but he kissed her and smiled and told her to enjoy the show as he stepped back into the executive box and then into a door that ought to have led into the next box, where the Lord and Lady Mayor of Sunderland were entertaining their guests. Of course, it didn’t. Chrístõ went to his console and patted Humphrey absently before he initiated a dematerialisation that went unheard by anyone but Camilla’s six month old baby whose crib frills were ruffled by the displaced air.

He materialised again above the Stadium of Light. He looked at the viewscreen and then, finding that dissatisfying, went to the door. He looked down at the pool of bright, flashing light below him. He couldn’t hear the music, but he heard the crowd cheering as Kohb finished one of his big chart hits and paused before beginning another. There was at least another half hour until he was done, including a couple of encores. And the lightning storm was getting worse. Rain was definitely coming to Sunderland. But if he could help it, there would be a little part of it where none would fall.

A little atmospheric excitation. That was what was needed. The TARDIS exerted a kind of reverse gravitational force that pushed away the storm clouds above the stadium. A few stars were actually visible. The constellation of Orion. There was a cool breeze that smelt of the rain that was falling everywhere else, and there was an electric feel of lightning in the air, but none of it disturbed Kohb and his fans down there below him. Chrístõ went back to the console and tuned the communications channel into the video display. He returned to the doorway and sat there, smelling the rain and looking down at the stadium while listening to the concert reaching its climax. He enjoyed the music. He enjoyed the adoration his friend was getting. He was thrilled when Kohb, who didn’t know that Chrístõ wasn’t in the executive box with Camilla, called him his most special friend and dedicated the rock song ‘Princes of The Universe’ to him.

Kohb did three encores as the official end of the concert spilled over for another twenty minutes. The crowd cheered and called for him again and again before, at last, they accepted that was their lot and began to spill out through the exit gates, surprised to find that it was pouring with rain outside the stadium.

Chrístõ bounded back to the console and cancelled out the forces that were holding back the weather. When a bolt of lightning struck the TARDIS and knocked it sideways he gripped the console and considered that his punishment for messing with the forces of nature. But he was pleased with himself. He headed back to the executive box. There were more people there now. Kohb’s road manager and a couple of journalists and two young women who had won a competition to meet their hero were there. There was a buffet supper on the table and bottles of mineral water in an ice bucket. Kohb came into the room, escorted by two men with ‘Magic Moment’s Tour Security’ on their t-shirts. He looked exhausted by the performance, but his eyes twinkled with pleasure and as he drank mineral water he gave his attention to the two fans and signed mementoes for them. He gave a short interview to the journalists. It was at least another hour before he could turn and hug his friends and kiss his wife and take a deep, satisfied breath.

“The lorries are ready to roll,” said his road manager. “Everything will be there in Liverpool tomorrow afternoon when you arrive.”

“Tell them there’s no hurry,” Kohb told him. “There’s a bad storm tonight. I don’t want anyone killed on the roads just to deliver my lighting rig on time.”

“I’ll tell them,” the manager assured him. “I’ll be on my own way,” he added. “I’ll see you in Liverpool, too.”

“You drive safely as well,” Camilla told him. “Goodnight.”

“How are you getting to Liverpool,” Julia asked as Kohb finally had some of the food and cuddled the baby on his knee. Camilla sat beside him. It was now getting on for about two o’clock in the morning. Pop stars didn’t have anything like normal hours to eat food and spend time with their families.

“We’re flying,” Camilla said. “There’s a private jet at Durham Tees Valley Airport. The limousine will be here in a little while. Once the crowds have cleared a bit more.”

“Flying? In this weather?” Chrístõ wasn’t happy about that. “Even the TARDIS got hit by lightning. You really don’t want to do that. Why don’t I take you? You can sleep in a real bed for the night and arrive in Liverpool nice and relaxed.”

Kohb considered that idea uncertainly.

A bolt of lightning hit the top of the scaffolding that had held the big video screen until half an hour ago. Nobody was near it, fortunately, but it made the decision easier.

“I’ll cancel the plane,” Camilla decided. “And the limo.”

A short time later they all got into the TARDIS and it dematerialised from the empty executive box. Camilla got her baby girl ready for bed while Kohb, with Julia at his side, watched the late night news bulletin on the local ITV station. It had an article about the Morten Kohl concert, proclaiming it a huge, satisfying success. Chrístõ set a scenic route to Liverpool that included a slow slingshot out to the edge of the solar system and a couple of orbits of planet Earth, so that Kohb and Camilla could enjoy a good night’s sleep before they arrived.

“Chrístõ,” Cal said when they were on their own in the console room, having sent Julia to bed, as well. “There’s some kind of warning light here. On the environmental console.”

“Let me see,” Chrístõ answered, slipping around the console. He frowned. He couldn’t remember ever seeing that light before. He pressed several buttons and finally got a report to come up on the environmental monitor. He read it and frowned even more deeply.

“What is it?” Cal asked.

“I’m… not entirely sure. It says that a reality bubble has been created and that we’ve passed through it.”

“Which means…”

“I have no idea. I don’t even know what a reality bubble is.”

“You don’t know…”

“I’m trying to find out,” Chrístõ replied, feeling a bit irritated and slightly embarrassed about having to admit to Cal that there was something he didn’t understand. “I don’t know EVERYTHING, you know. I’ve never heard of a reality bubble. I’m hoping that my TARDIS database has some kind of entry.”

Cal felt guilty about questioning Chrístõ’s knowledge. After all, he was the smartest man he knew and was teaching him so much. He turned away and looked at the television broadcast that was still running on the main viewscreen with the sound muted. He turned it back up as something caught his eye. Chrístõ looked up from studying the database.

It was three o’clock in the morning in the real time they had just left. An entertainment news segment was on. It showed excerpts from Kohb’s concert, and then switched to Durham Tees Valley Airport, where fans who hadn’t been able to get to the sell out concert had a consolation prize when Morten Kohl signed autographs before he and his wife and daughter boarded the private jet that was flying them to Liverpool for a sell out gig at New Anfield Stadium.

“Ah,” Chrístõ said. “THAT is an example of a reality bubble, apparently. Remember the lightning strike when we were talking about whether they should take the plane or come by TARDIS. It had a lot of ion energy in it. Perfectly natural phenomenon. Camilla made the decision a fraction of a second later. But the ion energy had created a localised reality bubble. At the same time, Camilla decided they should take the plane after all… maybe because it was what they always did and she wanted to keep to their routine. So we all left in the TARDIS, and at the same time, only you, me and Julia left while Kohb and Camilla and baby Leslie drove to the airport.”

“But… doesn’t that mean that two lots of them will arrive in Liverpool tomorrow afternoon? Surely that’s dangerous?”

“No,” Chrístõ said. “According to the database, reality bubbles are just that. They collapse after a little while. Everything will snap back to normal by the time we get there. It’s rather curious though, isn’t it. Imagine a more significant decision had been made at that moment. What if a leader of a country had to decide between war and peace and made two different decisions… chilling thought. Good job this sort of thing is rare.”

“Should we tell them about it?” Cal asked. “Kohb and Camilla, I mean?”

“No,” Chrístõ decided. “It’s a bit freaky. Let’s not worry them. Kohb has enough on his plate with these concerts.” He checked the environmental monitor again. The light had gone off now and a background scan didn’t show any sign of the reality bubble now. It must have burst. It was something he would have to study in more detail some time. It would be interesting to find out if any split decisions had ever been made under such circumstances before. And what happened when they did?

But for now, it had been quite a long day and even he was feeling a bit weary. He set the TARDIS to automatic pilot. The journey was already programmed. He sent Cal to bed and took himself to his own room with a big viewscreen behind his bed that showed him the solar system drifting slowly by as he dropped into a dreamless half-trance, half sleep that refreshed his mind and body.

He timed their arrival in Liverpool for a little before lunchtime and took all of his friends to an oriental restaurant on the edge of the city’s Chinatown where he had often enjoyed a pleasant meal with his old friend Li Tuo. The manager remembered him and greeted him warmly. Chrístõ requested a private room for himself and his party, which he got because he was a good friend of the late Mai Li Tuo, a respected man of the community, not because he was in the company of a famous singer who was playing a sell out concert later.

Afterwards, Chrístõ took the TARDIS in hover mode, disguised as a small helicopter, over the city of Liverpool to the stadium where Kohb was performing tonight.

“New Anfield,” he said as the TARDIS changed its disguise to a long, sleek limousine in the executive car park. “I liked the old one, in point of fact. I remember in the 1950s, when the league match against Preston North End was almost as big an event as the Everton Derby…” He stopped. Neither his girlfriend nor any of his friends shared his passion for football. Cal couldn’t even understand why a game he thought was about boys on a field at New Canberra High School was played in such huge arenas here on Earth. “Anyway, this new stadium is bigger and more modern and it has a sliding roof, so if we get any thunderstorms tonight I’ll still be able to watch the concert.”

They all laughed at that and stepped into the VIP reception area. They were met by Jason, Kohb’s road manager, who looked relieved to see them.

“You’re ok,” he said, all but hugging Kohb. “I was worried. Why didn’t you phone to tell me you were…”

“Worried? Why?” Kohb asked. But Jason’s mobile phone rang and when he was done he just told him that they were ready to do a sound check and rehearsal. Kohb sighed and asked if he might take his coat off first, but he was used to that kind of hectic schedule and he was well rested and ready to do what he did best. Camilla was shown to another executive suite where she could relax and watch what was happening down on the stage in comfort while caring for baby Leslie. Julia volunteered to go with her. A chance to cuddle the baby and talk girls’ talk with Camilla was her idea of a pleasant afternoon. Chrístõ and Cal followed Kohb onto the transformed football pitch to watch the preparations close up.

“What was the problem?” Chrístõ asked Jason, simply out of curiosity as he sat in one of the seats and watched Kohb on stage running through his programme with his band. “Why were you worried about him?”

“Because…” Jason swallowed hard before he spoke. “We set off last night right after the gig, remember. Drove down through Yorkshire. We stopped just outside York early this morning for breakfast, and there was a news report… it said that Mort’s plane had crashed just outside Sunderland. They couldn’t confirm if there were any survivors…”

Chrístõ said nothing.

“We couldn’t confirm anything, either, so we got back on the road and carried on. I didn’t know what else to do, so I told the crew to come here, to Liverpool. I had the radio on in the car all the way, and the news was the same, plane crashed, no confirmation of dead… until we crossed over into Lancashire. And… the news bulletins were different. Nobody was saying anything about any plane crash, and the DJ’s were talking about last night’s concert and the traffic news was warning people to expect congestion in Liverpool in the run up to tonight’s gig. Well… I didn’t know which story was true at all. So we kept on travelling. We got here to the stadium, and all the staff were geared up for the concert. They knew nothing about a plane crashing. There was nothing else on the radio, nothing on the news…. I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt it. Except all the crew remembered the same thing. We’re… obviously… glad it wasn’t true. I mean, it would be tragic. Mort and his wife, and the little baby… when I thought they were dead I felt sick to my stomach. Seeing them walk in here…”

Chrístõ still said nothing. But he patted Jason on the arm reassuringly. He looked at Cal and felt his telepathic voice in his head.

“Yes,” he answered. “I think it is to do with the reality bubble.”

“You said it would burst. You said that it was nothing to worry about.”

“I hope it isn’t,” Chrístõ told him. “I’m out of my depth here. I don’t… know what to do.”

“We should take the TARDIS and check to see what’s happening,” Cal suggested.

“Yes,” Chrístõ agreed. “Let’s do that.” He looked up at the executive box where Julia and Camilla were. He looked at the stage where Kohb was busy. Nobody would notice if they slipped off for fifteen minutes.

He took the TARDIS into geostationary orbit above Liverpool, first. He looked at the view of the British Isles on his monitor. Then he typed rapidly until a series of overlays covered the view. He swallowed hard as he saw the data and then programmed a materialisation at the Birch motorway services of the M62 on the Yorkshire side of Manchester.

He and Cal stepped into the building that housed the toilets, fast food restaurant, shops and other facilities and found pockets of people, many of them young girls, in tears. He didn’t need to ask what was the matter. Most of them were wearing ‘Magic Moments Tour’ T-shirts. A flat screen TV monitor on the wall of the foyer was tuned to News 24 and reported that bodies had now been found in the wreckage of the crashed aeroplane and although Morten Kohl and his family had not yet been identified among the victims…

Chrístõ’s brain tuned out the rest of the words. He found himself leaning on Cal’s shoulder as grief overwhelmed him. Nobody thought he was acting strangely. Around him there were people crying openly. He was restrained in comparison.

“Let’s get out of here,” Cal suggested. Chrístõ nodded. They walked back out into the midday sunshine and got into the TARDIS which had disguised itself as a white transit van in the commercial driver’s car park.

“I need to see…” he said, then forgot the end of his sentence as he programmed his next destination. The next services on the M62, were at Burtonwood, a little over twenty miles away, just outside Warrington. Again the TARDIS disguised itself as a transit van. Again, they stepped into an airy building with shops and restaurants.

It was thronging with young people, mostly teenage girls, wearing “Magic Moments Tour” T-shirts. They weren’t crying. They were excited. They were happy. They were giggling with delight at the prospect of seeing their idol in concert in Liverpool this evening.

“Let’s get back to Anfield,” Chrístõ said.

He wasn't sure which was more disturbing now, the grief of those fans who had heard the bad news or the joyful expectation of those who hadn’t. He just wanted to get back to the stadium and see his friends alive and well.

They were alive and they were perfectly well when he materialised the TARDIS actually on the stage that stretched across the whole of the end known as the New Kop. Chrístõ and Cal had not been missed. Kohb was too busy. Julia and Camilla were fine. But Chrístõ looked up at them and felt sick.

“But it’s ok,” Cal said to him. “I mean, we’re back now. And they’re all right.”

“No,” he answered. “You don’t understand. We’re in the reality bubble right now. At the moment, it covers a circle about twenty miles in diameter, reaching a little past Warrington to the east, where we stopped the second time. It’s shrinking, little by little. Jason said the news changed when they crossed over into Lancashire. But that’s a lot more than twenty miles. The bubble is getting smaller.”

“And…” Cal didn’t quite get it yet.

“And… when it catches up… Kohb and Camilla and the baby… really will be dead. The plane crash was real. This is the unreality, the bubble that’s holding back the truth. My friends really are dead.”

He bit his lip. He didn’t want to cry in front of so many of Kohb’s people. He shook with emotion. Again, it was Cal who offered him a shoulder to lean on.

“I’ve got to help them,” he decided. “I can’t let this happen. I won’t.”

“I don’t think you can,” Cal told him. “The Laws of Time…”

“What do you know about the Laws of Time?” Chrístõ snapped, grief making him forget himself.

“Only what you’ve taught me,” Cal answered. “But you impressed on me how important they were. If Kohb and Camilla and the baby are meant to be dead, then…”

Cal was right, of course. The Laws of Time were absolute and what he wanted to do strained them severely if they didn’t actually break them. But he wasn't thinking as a Time Lord right now. He was thinking as a friend. He was thinking of the many times that Camilla – and Cam – had been his comfort in times of need. He was thinking of Kohb and how often he had put his life on the line for him and his father when he worked for them. He was thinking of their baby.

He was thinking he couldn’t just sit here and do nothing.

“When Kohb has finished his sound check, will you ask him to come into the TARDIS,” Chrístõ said as he turned and headed back into what looked like Kohb’s magic cabinet sitting at the back of the stage.

Inside, he went first to check the reality bubble. It was a mile and a half smaller now. Then he sent an urgent communication to Gallifrey.

“Hext,” he said to his friend the Director of the Celestial Intervention Agency. “I need some advice from you about how to keep three special people alive without being arrested for breaking the Laws of Time and without causing a rip in the fabric of reality.”

Hext grimaced.

“You never just contact me for a chat about the good old days,” he complained.

“We haven’t got any good old days, Hext,” he answered. “Please don’t joke. This is serious. You have to help me.”

“I’m listening,” he said. Chrístõ explained what was happening to him. Hext frowned deeply but he said nothing until he was finished.

“Ok. The good news is reality bubbles are not covered by any part of the Laws of Time. You can’t be arrested for interfering with one. They come under the same category of aberrations as time ribbons. Record as much information about this one as you can. It might be of interest to our scientists.”

“The TARDIS is doing that automatically,” Chrístõ said. “But I don’t give a stuff about scientific advancement. I care about my friends. Can I save their lives?”

“It’s possible,” Hext said. “If you get them into your TARDIS before the bubble collapses in on them, and dematerialise, you ought to be able to rematerialise in the reality outside the bubble with them. But… if they’re dead in that reality, then you have to consider what will happen to them. The life they knew, everything will be gone. They can’t go back.”

“I understand that,” Chrístõ said. “We’ll face that when we have to. As long as I can keep them alive… that’s all that matters. Hext… thanks. I owe you one.”

“Who’s counting?” he asked. “Good luck.”

As he closed the communication, Cal came into the TARDIS with Kohb. Chrístõ told him what was happening. He was stunned. His face paled and he struggled to find something to say about the devastating news.

“Get my wife,” he said.

Cal had already gone to get them. Camilla and Julia came running a few minutes later. Kohb embraced his wife and child in his arms as Chrístõ again explained what had happened.

“We… were killed… in a plane crash!” Camilla’s voice quavered. She clung to Kohb and pressed her baby against her breast. “Chrístõ… how… it’s not… it can’t be…”

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I know this is frightening. But... I can save you. Both of you. I can. I just need to take you out of the bubble and wait for it to collapse. You’ll be protected by the TARDIS and when we come back, you’ll still be alive.”

“Except the world will think we’re dead.”

“Most of the world thinks that already,” Chrístõ said. “The reality bubble is centred on an area of a little less than nineteen miles around this stadium. Outside of it, you’re already dead. People are mourning your loss all over.”

“How fast is the bubble shrinking?” Kohb asked.

“About a mile every half hour,” Chrístõ answered him. “But it could speed up. It’s a circle… the smaller it gets… smaller surface area… it might shrink faster…”

“How long do you think we have?”

Chrístõ didn’t answer the question straight away. He went to the TARDIS console and typed fast and furiously at the computer database.

“Nine hours at the most,” he answered. “The TARDIS calculates that the increase in speed is constant. It’s predicting the complete collapse of the bubble at about quarter past midnight.”

“Then there’s time for me to do the concert,” Kohb said. “One last concert.”

“No,” Chrístõ told him. “No, we can’t cut it that fine. We daren’t. By then the bubble will be centred on this stadium, closing in on you. You will have to be inside the TARDIS before it actually comes through the walls, before it affects the people in here. It’s too risky.”

“You have to let me do it,” Kohb argued. “If I’m still going to exist in this reality until midnight, then let me do what I came here to do. I can say goodbye. I mean… not really say goodbye, of course. But… in my mind I will be. Because…” He turned to look at Camilla as he spoke. “You know what this means. The end we always knew would come… a little sooner than we expected. My career as a pop star is over.”

“I didn’t expect it to happen like this,” Camilla answered, her voice still sounding strained. “Chrístõ… what will we do? We can’t carry on living on Earth, can we? The three of us… we’ll have to leave…”

“I’m afraid so,” Chrístõ told her gently.

“We’ll go back to Haollstrom, then,” she decided. “That’s what we planned to do. We expected to do it sooner than this, anyway. We never counted on Kohb having so much success.”

“Is that what you want to do, Kohb?” Chrístõ asked. “Go to Camilla’s world?”

“They have an entertainment industry on Haollstrom. They like pop music there. I could restart my career… get a whole new set of fans. And this time… I wouldn’t have to pretend to be something else. I could be who I am… But… please give me this last concert with my fans on planet Earth. Please, Chrístõ.”

It was against his better judgement, but he couldn’t find it in him to refuse Kohb’s request. It was going to be dangerous. If they misjudged by a single minute, Kohb would die. His life would be obliterated.

“Keep the TARDIS on the stage,” he said. “Camilla and Leslie should be in here from the start. They’ll be safe. I can monitor the bubble. Let me have the frequency for your in-ear receiver. If I tell you to get off the stage, then don’t hesitate. Do it. Promise me you won’t take any risks.”

“I promise,” Kohb said to him. “Chrístõ…”

He couldn’t say anything. The words died on his lips. He looked sad and worried. But from somewhere he managed to find a smile of reassurance for Camilla. He took the baby from her arms and hugged her tightly, kissing her cheek warmly. Then he gave her back to his wife and stood decisively.

“I’ve got a live interview on Radio Merseyside to do, and a photo session with the local press.”

“Both of those things are pointless, aren’t they?” Camilla said as he stepped out of the TARDIS door. “The radio interview will never have happened. The newspapers will never print anything except an obituary for him.”

“I think he knows that,” Julia told her. “But… he’s…”

“He’s carrying on until the end,” Cal said. “It’s… brave of him.”

“Kohb has always been brave,” Chrístõ answered him. “Let him do this his way. He has the most to lose, after all. This was his life… and now it’s over. Or it will be in a few hours.”

“If you hadn’t been here,” Camilla told him. “If we hadn’t chosen to travel in the TARDIS… our lives already would be over. I’m…thankful for that much. I know Kohb is, too. And for giving him this last chance.”

“Go and join him,” Chrístõ said to her. “Talk to the radio people together. Have your photograph taken for the newspapers. Just like you would have done if this had never happened. Both of you try to enjoy this day.”

Camilla nodded. She kissed him on the cheek and walked out of the TARDIS. She joined Kohb, sitting on a chair by the stage and the two of them did what they both did best. They both managed to put their fears and their grief aside and look as if they were happy.

Chrístõ monitored the gradually shrinking bubble. It seemed as if the TARDIS had calculated accurately. Kohb ought to be able to do at least two encores before it was time to leave.

He watched the TV broadcasts, too, and listened to the radio. He found that outside of the bubble everyone was talking about the tragic loss of Morten Kohl and his family, as well as the pilot, co-pilot and stewardess on the plane that suffered sudden and terminal engine failure a few minutes after take off.

On Radio Merseyside, Kohb was giving an interview and encouraging Camilla to talk as well. They both sounded happy. Camilla’s experience as a diplomat got her through it, of course. She knew when to hide her own feelings for the greater good.

“People who had tickets are still coming,” Chrístõ said out loud, though not to anyone in particular. Cal looked at him. So did Julia. She was sitting on the sofa looking after Leslie for his parents. “They’re coming to have a sort of memorial here… there’s a couple of bands who are going to play Kohb’s best known songs… they’re going to… remember him together.”

“And at the same time, people are coming to enjoy the concert…”

“When they pass from one reality to the other, their memories will be changed. They’ll think they’re coming to the concert again and they won’t know anything about the plane crash. Within this bubble, the plane crash hasn’t happened.”

“Until the bubble collapses. Then they’ll remember it again. They’ll go from being at a concert to… being at a memorial.”

“I can’t do anything about that,” Chrístõ said. “There’s a lot I can’t do anything about. The plane crash… the crew will still be dead. I can’t change that. Their lives matter just as much as Kohb and Camilla and the little one. But I can’t do anything for them.”

“You would if you could,” Julia assured him. “Don’t be sad, Chrístõ. You’re doing your best. We all know that.”

“I know,” he said. “Thank you, sweetheart.”

As the afternoon turned to evening, he started to feel that it was easier for Kohb and Camilla. They had something to do, something to think about other than their reality shrinking around them. Chrístõ listened to radio stations outside the Merseyside area and felt more and more sorry about it all until Cal put his foot down.

“This is doing you no good,” he said. “Turn off the radio. Stop worrying about it. We should try to enjoy the concert, too. If this is really going to be Kohb’s last show, we should make the most of it.”

“You’re right,” he agreed. He closed the communications channels and stepped out of the TARDIS and watched the preparations for the concert. He smiled as four of the roadies moved it forward to the centre front of the stage. It formed an important part of Kohb’s stage show. Tonight it would be vital.

Chrístõ watched from the side of the stage as the stadium filled up with excited fans. Cal and Julia were at the crash barrier in front of the stage. They mingled with the crowds, talking to them, finding out where they were from. They reported to Chrístõ that he was right. Lots of them had come from much further than Liverpool itself, and they couldn’t remember anything about Morten Kohl dying in a plane crash. Their memories had obviously changed as they came within the bubble.

“It’s only a few miles wide, now,” Chrístõ noted sadly. “The city of Liverpool is the only place that doesn’t know he’s dead, now.”

“It’ll be all right, Chrístõ,” Cal assured him. “Try to enjoy the concert. That’s what they want you to do.”

“I’ll give it a good try,” he promised. “Are you two staying there?”

“Yes,” Julia told him. “I want to watch Kohb as if I was an ordinary fan. Cal’s looking after me. We’ll be all right.”

“You’ve got to get to the TARDIS before the last encore,” Chrístõ told her. “Don’t forget that.”

Chrístõ went into the TARDIS before the concert started. Camilla and the baby were already there. Kohb was, too, already in his stage costume, all black with spangles of silver and gold on his magician’s cape. He kissed Camilla and turned to smile widely at Chrístõ.

“Here I go,” he said. “Wish me luck.”

“I think it’s supposed to be ‘break a leg’,” Chrístõ told him. “Just enjoy it as much as you can.”

Kohb nodded. Outside the music was rising to the opening climax. Dry ice poured in through the door. Kohb stepped out into it and the door closed behind him. Chrístõ and Camilla watched the concert on the viewscreen. Kohb was outdoing himself for passion and energy. His fans screamed and cheered and lapped it all up. Julia and Cal were at the very front, right by the crash barrier, with seventy thousand other fans behind them. For a moment he fretted about whether Julia was safe. Then he remembered being in more than a few mosh pits in his time. It wasn’t quite as dreadful as it looked to observers. In fact, he almost envied them both. He would have liked to be there in the crowd, happily absorbing the sound and light and vibrating with excitement.

He tore himself away from the concert and checked the environmental console. It was ten-thirty and the estimate of a little after midnight was still accurate. Much of the outskirts of Liverpool were now outside the bubble. Mourning for Morten Kohl was steadily approaching the Everton district. Another hour and it would be closing around the stadium. Then it would be dangerous. Then every minute would count.

The hour was an exciting one in the New Anfield stadium for Kohb and for his fans. It was an anxious one for Chrístõ and Camilla inside the TARDIS.

“That’s his last official number,” Camilla said when Kohb launched into a passionate rendition of Magic Moments, complete with spectacular sleight of hand magic tricks. “But he’ll want to do a couple of encores. Does he have time?”

“Fifteen minutes,” Chrístõ answered. “There’s maybe time for one…”

Kohb stepped into the TARDIS as the crowd cheered and chanted and demanded more. He smiled warmly and grabbed Chrístõ’s arm.

“Come out on the stage with me,” he said. Chrístõ protested, but Kohb was insistent. He stepped outside with him onto the stage. A wall of sound hit them both. Kohb put his arm around his shoulder and drew him close as he stood centre stage.

“This is my friend, Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow,” Kohb said to his audience. “Without him I would be nothing. I owe him everything.” There was a thunderous cheer. Chrístõ felt a little overcome. He might be a prince of the universe, but the universe didn’t usually shout back at him all at once. “We’re going to do a number together for you.”

“We are?” Chrístõ looked doubtful, but a stage hand fixed a microphone headset over his ear and stepped back quickly. He recognised the tune, at least. He had a moment’s panic before he remembered the words and his voice harmonised with Kohb’s.

There's no time for us
There's no place for us
What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips away from us
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever....?
There's no chance for us
It's all decided for us
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever?
Who dares to love forever?
When love must die
But touch my tears with your lips
Touch my world with your fingertips
And we can have forever
And we can love forever
Forever is our today
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever?
Forever is our today
Who waits forever anyway?

It was a stirring anthem any time. But right now, with the minutes ticking away, ‘Forever is our today’ was a line Chrístõ almost choked on. It was a fantastic few minutes, standing there in front of so many people who were listening to him and Kohb and loving them both with an intensity he could almost feel. But it was painful, too. He understood more than ever before, just how much Kohb was having to give up.

He took a bow at the end of the song, as the crowd cheered wildly, then slipped away back into the TARDIS. Camilla was standing by the console, clutching the baby in her arms as she stared at the graphic that showed the shrinking bubble.

“Eight minutes,” he confirmed. He looked around. Kohb was still on the stage. He was thanking the band, his manager, his fans. He was talking to them with a slight catch in his voice. More than seventy thousand people became quiet as he spoke. Chrístõ stood at the door and watched them. They were mesmerised by Kohb’s voice as he spoke softly, emotionally, telling them that he loved them all and would miss them very much. He could see Julia near the front. Cal had his arm around her protectively but he could see there was no chance either of them could get up on stage. If they tried, the other seventy thousand would try to follow them and there would be another tragedy to add to the one that was rapidly coming closer. But they weren’t the problem. It was Kohb who had to get into the TARDIS in the next few minutes.

“I want to sing a song now… that I’ve never sung before. But it sums up how things are. I want… you all… in the future… when you’re feeling sad… I want… you to remember this song and… don’t be sad. Because I’ll be thinking of you. So… Please, Remember Me…”

When all our tears have reached the sea
Part of you will live in me
Way down deep inside my heart
The days keep coming without fail
A new wind is gonna find your sail
That’s where your journey starts
You’ll find better love
Strong as it ever was
Deep as the river runs
Warm as the morning sun
Please remember me
Just like the waves down by the shore
Were gonna keep on coming back for more
cause we don’t ever wanna stop
Out in this brave new world you seek
Oh the valleys and the peaks
And I can see you on the top
You’ll find better love
Strong as it ever was
Deep as the river runs
Warm as the morning sun
Please remember me
Remember me when you’re out walking
When the snow falls high outside your door
Late at night when you’re not sleeping
And moonlight falls across your floor
When I can’t hurt you anymore
You’ll find better love
Strong as it ever was
Deep as the river runs
Warm as the morning sun
Please remember me
Please remember me

At the front of the mosh pit, pressed against the crash barrier, Cal and Julia were as spellbound as anyone else by Kohb’s last encore. They were the only ones who actually understood why he had chosen that song. Julia felt Cal’s arm tighten around her shoulders. They both could hear Chrístõ, telepathically, urging Kohb to get off the stage. Julia looked at her watch. Then she looked around at the stadium. Something was changing. In the stands, people weren’t sitting listening to the song. They were standing. They were holding up candles and swaying slightly. Some of them were crying. The bubble had closed in through the stadium walls and into the stands.

Kohb finished his song and bowed low. He smiled and thanked everyone, and then turned and ran into the TARDIS. As the crowd cheered and clapped, Julia sighed with relief. The TARDIS dematerialised. They had made it.

Cal held her even more tightly. They both saw it happening around them. The cheering died away as the reality bubble finally collapsed completely. They found themselves surrounded by people holding up candles or cigarette lighters or penlight torches on their keychains, anything that cast a little light. On the stage, a singer stepped up to the microphone stand.

“That’s beautiful,” he said. “I know Morten Kohl would be proud of you all. We’re going to end this tribute concert now with the song that is going to be released next week. This is Morten’s last request of us all – Please, Remember Me.”

The singer was, Julia gathered, quite well known. He’d had a couple of songs in the download chart, and had been the warm up act for Kohb on his tour last year. He sang all right, but he wasn’t as special as Kohb, and she really thought his version of the song was much better. She didn’t listen to the singer. She looked around at the crowd. They were the same people who had been standing around her before. But now they were sad and crying, where before they had been happy and excited.

She wished she could get out of there now. She felt strange. She was sad, because sadness was all around her. But she couldn’t cry. Because she knew – at least she hoped she did – that Kohb and Camilla and baby Leslie were alive, after all, and she would see them again soon. But the sad mood held her until the strains of that last song ended and the memorial show was over. People started to head towards the exits. Julia and Cal headed that way, too, because it was a tide of people and going any other direction was impossible.

They emerged into the fresh air and were surprised to see that there were even more people there. Thousands of people without tickets for the concert had waited outside, in the dark, watching the concert on giant screens that had been erected on Stanley Park and in the green area where the old Anfield once stood. Now they all started to make their way home.

“I suppose they’ll get over it,” Cal said. “I mean, they didn’t really know Kohb. He was just a singer they liked. They’ll get on with their lives.”

“Yes, I suppose they will,” Julia agreed. “But right now, they’re so very sad. I feel sorry for them all.”

She looked around. They were by a set of ornamental gates with the football club’s crest in red and gold above it. Nearby was a living flame memorial that commemorated another sad time connected with this place. Julia remembered reading about it in twentieth century history. Not far from that was a bronze statue of a man wearing a rather crumpled looking suit and holding his arms outstretched. She had read the plaque earlier. His name was Bill Shankly and he had been a popular manager of the football team that played in this stadium when it wasn’t being used for concerts. As she looked the statue shimmered and a breeze blew in her face, accompanied by a familiar noise. She and Cal ran towards the statue. A door opened and they stepped into the TARDIS. Julia didn’t even see Chrístõ standing by the console. Her only thought was for Kohb and Camilla. She hugged them both so intently that she didn’t even notice when they re-materialised, leaving the bronze Shankly statue undamaged.

“We’re going to Haollstrom?” she asked, looking around at last.

“Yes,” Chrístõ said.

“Do you mind?” she asked Kohb, hugging him again. “Do you really mind?”

“I do a little bit,” he answered. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset. But I’m alive. So are Camilla and Leslie. And we have our lives in front of us, still. Besides, maybe I’ll be as big again on the Haolstromnian music scene. Then you can come and see me perform again?”

“Yes,” Julia said. “Yes, we will.”