Julia woke up on the first day of the summer holiday and smiled contentedly as she looked around at her room in Chrístõ’s house on Beta Delta IV. Later, she planned to visit her aunt and uncle on the other side of town. She hadn’t seen them for ages and it would be nice to catch up with all the family news. But first she could look forward to breakfast with Chrístõ, and later they could spend all the time they wanted together.

Of course, they weren’t alone in the house. Chrístõ had his three students staying, too. But that was all right. She liked the Malcanan brothers. They were nice, polite young men. Cinnamal Hext was polite to her, too, but in a strained way, as if he was watching his manners in case of rebuke. She wasn’t sure she liked him as much as she liked his older brother. But he was young. He had a lot to learn. That was why he was with Chrístõ in the first place, of course.

Young? She laughed softly as she rose from her bed and put on a leotard and skirt to go and do some early morning exercises in the basement gym. Cinnamal was about eighty years old.

But that WAS young by Gallifreyan standards. Chrístõ, at nearly two hundred, was young, too. But he was experienced for his age and trusted by his elders.

She made herself toast and a glass of milk in the kitchen before going down the back stairs to the room Chrístõ had made into a dojo, gym and dance practice room. It was rather a luxurious idea to have her own private gym. The girls at college would be envious if they knew.

Except it didn’t seem to be private just now. She heard the music before she opened the door. It was a piece she knew very well – from the grand ball scene of Swan Lake, where Odette the Swan Queen dances with Prince Siegfried and falls in love with him. It was one of the pieces programmed into the hologram practice projector. She had taught Chrístõ the basic steps of the pas-de-deux so that he could dance with her. He didn’t do it very well. He was an accomplished martial artist but he found ballet a little bit beyond him. Julia secretly thought he just felt self-conscious in a ballet costume. She also secretly thought he had reason to be. He looked extremely manly in Siegfried’s renaissance doublet and hose.

It certainly wasn’t Chrístõ dancing! She had looked into his room and seen him asleep, still. So who else would be running the programme?

She opened the door carefully and looked inside. Yes, the hologram programme was running. It wasn’t quite the same as when she used it, of course. The female dancer was the hologram for a real male dancer.

She didn’t recognise him at first. He was wearing the full Prince Siegfried costume including a half mask over his eyes. She watched his movements and noted that they were accurate, but lacking in any expression or individual style. That, of course, was the problem with practicing using the hologram programmes. They didn’t allow for any stylistic development. That was why she had taken ballet lessons from Mrs Corr until she decided that her heart really lay with gymnastics and went to the sports college. Her rhythmic and floor exercises benefited from those hours of personal tuition from a lady who was a great ballet dancer in her own youth. A hologram programme couldn’t do that.

All the same, this young man was good. His footwork was precise, and although he could only simulate lifting the swan queen at the climax of the dance, she could see that he had done everything right. She would feel perfectly safe if she was partnering him. That wasn’t something she could say about all the young men she had practiced with.

She watched as the programme came to a close. He held his final position well for several seconds before standing and going to the hologram machine. He adjusted it carefully. Another dancer appeared. Julia still didn’t recognise the boy, but she recognised the girl he wanted to dance with, and some of this odd scene made sense now.

He had skipped to the end of the story, and the final scene where Odette and Siegfried commit suicide together. It was an emotional piece. both the music and the dancing interpreted a tale of betrayal and cruel fate. Again, the boy wasn’t quite there. He didn’t fully embrace the emotion and the precision of his dancing wasn’t matched by his style. Julia knew she could tell him where he was going wrong, but that would mean revealing that she had been watching all along, and that would be a bad idea. His choice of hologram partner for the dying swan scene proved that he never intended anyone to see him. If he knew she was there, he would be embarrassed and possibly even angry.

And she knew who he was, now.

The scene ended. The music faded. He reached out his hand to his hologram dancing partner and smiled widely as he took a bow to an imaginary audience with her. He turned from that audience and looked at the girl. The hologram looked back at him, because it was programmed to interact that way. But when he spoke, she didn’t speak back to him. It wasn’t designed to do that.

He sighed deeply and went to turn off the machine. Before he turned around, Julia had quickly and quietly run back upstairs. She found her tracksuit and trainers and decided to go out for a run before breakfast instead.

She spent the morning with her aunt and uncle, and her two cousins, whose mischief she didn’t mind at all. She had missed them more than she realised. She accepted her aunt’s mild criticism of her decision to stay with Chrístõ during the summer. Her mind had been made up long before. Now she was eighteen she could choose for herself where she lived and with whom. She assured her aunt that she was sleeping in her own room, and that Chrístõ and his three young students behaved properly towards her. Aunt Marianna couldn’t make up her mind whether the presence of the three students in the house was more appropriate or less than Julia staying there with Chrístõ on his own.

After lunch she went to Earth Park. Her cousins accompanied her, but they were meeting their own friends there. She found the place where Chrístõ had promised to be. He wasn’t alone. Diol, Axyl and Cinnamal were with him. So were most of the Chrysalids, the young humans from the Advanced Needs class who, despite him being a full member of the school faculty, and teaching other groups as well, remained ‘his’ students as much as his Gallifreyan apprentices were. They were his friends, too, and thought nothing of spending an afternoon of their holiday in his company.

The intention, of course, was to get the three apprentices to spend social time with the Chrysalids. Diol and Axyl had no problem doing so. They were already involved in an ad hoc football game with the boys. Cinnamal didn’t join in. He sat with his back to a tree trunk and watched disdainfully.

“It’s a rather uncouth game,” he commented. “Good enough for Caretakers, I suppose. But my brother was captain of the Prydonian senior lacrosse team in his time. I shall doubtless follow in his wake. I’m already more than proficient at fencing, a noble art for gentlemen.”

“Chrístõ was lacrosse captain, too,” Julia pointed out. “But he still likes football. The boys aren’t really playing it properly. There are lots of rules for matches. The offside rule and...”

The offside rule was the only rule of association football she knew by name, and if challenged, she would be hard pressed to explain it. But she wasn’t going to have a game that was invented in the city she was born in put down as inferior. “In England, lacrosse is for girls,” she added.

The girls around her laughed. Then Jennica Corr changed the subject by mentioning that she had an audition next week.

“It’s the Beta Deltan Youth Ballet Company,” she said. “They only take the best from all of the colonised planets. And that includes the dance department at Nova Lancastria. The fact that they want to see me is honour enough. If they accept me...”

She smiled hopefully. She had inherited her mother’s enthusiasm and ambition as well as her talent and this was her first step to a professional career as a dancer. All her friends were pleased for her.

“Show us your audition piece,” Julia said to her.

“Oh, I couldn’t,” she responded. “Not here... on the grass... where anyone could see...”

But that was no excuse for somebody who wanted to perform on stage. With a little more persuasion she took off her walking shoes and flexed her toes before putting on the dance pumps that were always in her shoulder bag no matter where she went. She stretched her limbs in warm up then found a clear, flat piece of the lawn to dance on. The others, including Lorcan and Clara, her brother and sister, watched admiringly. She didn’t need music. It was in her head, along with all of the movements, all perfectly executed, and beautifully interpreted in her own unique style.

Julia watched Jennica part of the time. But she also turned and looked at her keenest admirer, noting the enraptured expression on his face. She had suspected as much this morning, but now she was sure of it.

“Exquisite,” Chrístõ declared when Jennica was finished and graciously received the applause of her friends. “If you don’t get chosen there is no justice,” he added.

“Thank you,” Jennica answered him. She sat down again with her friends and stretched her limbs to ‘cool down’ after her performance. “Mother thinks so. She wants me to make it on my own merits, of course – not because people still remember how good she was. The Youth Ballet is my chance to prove I am Jennica Corr, not merely Jacinta Corr’s daughter.”

“Quite right, too,” Chrístõ told him. “Ask Cinnamal what it’s like to be in the shadow of his family. His father is Lord High President of our people. His brother is director of our intelligence service. He has a lot to live up to.”

“I shall do so,” Cinnamal pointed out. “I may be the second son, but I am still the son of an Oldblood Lord. I will be all that is expected of me.”

“I believe I will live up to expectations,” Jennica said. “But I must not be over-confident.”

“Performance arts are the purview of Caretakers on my world,” Cinnamal added. “They are a way for a few talented individuals from the lowest caste of our people to rise above the station of their birth. Some of them are even invited to our official state occasions and stand as equals with the Newblood families, at least. But they are still Caretakers.”

He glanced towards Axyl and Diol at their football game as he said that.

“Football could be a Caretaker game,” he said. “But gentlemen of quality would never be involved in it.”

“You’re a snob,” Rudie Dutea told him. “Chrístõ plays football. And his family line is higher than yours. He showed us a book about the aristocracy of Gallifrey, once. He’s from one of the ‘Ancient’ families. You’re.... not.”

“Chrístõ is the son of a Human, and his grandmother was a Caretaker,” Cinnamal replied. “His claim to be one of the ‘Ancients’ is held suspect by very many high-ranking Gallifreyans. His blood is impure.”

The boys at their football game paused and looked around at the uproar among their friends. Even the girls raged against the slurs levelled at Chrístõ by Cinnamal Hext. Chrístõ remained calm, though his anger was obvious to all.

“Rudie, sit down,” he said firmly. “You, too, Lorcan. There will be no fighting here. Cinnamal, just shut up. You are not a transcended Time Lord. You cannot issue an Oldblood challenge to anyone, certainly not untrained youths of another culture. And if you think you can offer one to me, then you are a very foolish young man who has forgotten what name is most recently inscribed on the Prydonian Fencing Trophy.”

The Chrysalids obeyed him. It was rare enough that he had to forget he was their friend and act as their teacher in such a way. But resentments hung in the air, and they were directed at Cinnamal Hext. He stood and walked away. He didn’t go far. He found another tree and sat beside it in a position of meditation.

“It’s a sort of Gallifreyan equivalent of Torret’s Syndrome,” Chrístõ said, making light of the matter. “It affects Oldbloods from time to time. They just can’t help blurting out nonsense about my parentage. Julia, we’ve seen Jennica’s audition piece. How about you show us the floor routine you intend to present to the Beta Deltan Olympic selection panel?”

“It’s not quite perfected, yet,” she said, stretching in preparation. “The first round panel isn’t until September. I’m still working on my floor, rhythmic and beam presentations.”

She hadn’t planned to mention it at all until after the preliminary selections, in case she didn’t get through and everyone was disappointed. But it was the very thing to take their minds off Cinnamal’s bad behaviour. She gladly performed her floor routine of what Chrístõ still insisted on calling ‘fancy cartwheels’ even after watching her perform for seven years. She also did her rhythmic gymnastics presentation using a length of hair ribbon that Lara happily lent her for a prop. When she was done, the two younger Corr children danced a pas de deux together proving that talent ran in their family.

It also reminded Julia that things were not so simple as they appeared on the surface. She glanced away from the dancers to where Cinnamal had been sitting. He was gone, now. She pointed that out to Chrístõ.

“I’ll have to talk to him, later. I can’t allow him to keep behaving that way.”

“Will you send him back to Gallifrey?”

“I should,” Chrístõ replied. “If he can’t represent our people in a civil manner he doesn’t deserve to go offworld.”

“Please, don’t,” Julia pleaded on his behalf. “It... well, for one thing, it won’t help change that attitude. He needs to spend time with other people and learn that they’re not inferior after all.”

“It’s not just other species he considers inferior.” Julia noticed Chrístõ rubbing his neck as he said that. It was an unconscious reminder that Cinnamal’s brother had once held similar views about mixed blood and foreigners. Beneath the scar tissue on his neck were those letters TS - Theta Sigma - meant to humiliate him when he was young and vulnerable to bullies. Paracell had taken part in that bullying. It took him a long time to realise his error.

“It will look like failure for you, too,” Julia added. “If he goes back before the year is up. Just... don’t give up on him, yet. I think there’s more to it than it looks.”

“With your vast knowledge of Gallifreyan psychology!” He laughed softly and kissed her on the cheek.

“I know more about Gallifreyans than any other Human,” she pointed out. “So, yes. Seriously, don’t give up on Cinn.”

“I won’t. But I’m going to find a way to punish him for his rudeness. He has to understand that it’s not acceptable. I think I might make him mow the grass around the house tomorrow. A bit of manual labour to instil a modicum of humility in his superior Oldblood hearts.”

“Plus you don’t have to do it!” Julia teased him. “I know you hate doing the garden.”

“That, too,” he conceded.

Cinnamal didn’t take the news of his punishment well. He shut himself in his room and refused to come out even at suppertime.

“I could take his food up to him,” Axyl offered.

“You will not,” Chrístõ replied. “You are not his servant. I will give him no opportunity to act superior over you, especially not when he’s sulking like a twenty year old tyro.”

“When we are older, he will be superior over us,” Diol pointed out. “No matter how well we do at the Academy, even if we transcend, he will still be an Oldblood. Even if his grades continue to be poor, he will still graduate and go on to an assured place in our society, while we will have to accept whatever position we can find in the civil service at best or the Chancellery Guard, perhaps. He will always be higher placed than us. And if he becomes patriarch....”

“Why would he?” Chrístõ asked. “Paracell is the heir to the House of Hext. And don’t make me have to say that many alliterative h’s again when I’m eating apple crumble.”

When Julia had finished choking on her apple crumble in amusement at that comment Diol explained himself.

“Cinn told us that his brother may pass over the primogeniture. He would rather continue to run the Celestial Intervention Agency. Also... his wife... Lady Savang.... Cinn thinks there are those who don’t think she is suitable to be a patriarch’s wife.”

“The only person who thinks that is Savang herself,” Chrístõ answered. “She still lacks confidence on social occasions. As for Paracell and the primogeniture, I think Cinn is jumping the gun a bit. But if there is any truth in that, then he really DOES need a wake up call, and I fully intend for him to get it before this year is out.”

Julia said nothing. But she gave all of what she had heard careful thought and set her bedside alarm an hour earlier than usual.

She crept down to the basement in the early morning and again heard music from Swan Lake. This time she recognised the music from the wicked Odile’s seduction of Prince Siegfried, a very dramatic part of the ballet which allowed both dancers to express a huge range of emotions.

She wasn’t at all surprised to note that Cinnamal wasn’t doing that. He was precise in his movements, but he was putting no passion, no desire, no emotion at all into it.

She pushed the door open fully and stepped inside. It should have been impossible for him not to notice her. There was a full length mirror on the far wall, after all. He couldn’t have missed the movement.

But he was so engrossed in what he was doing that he really wasn’t aware of her. His eyes were on his hologram dance partner in her black swan costume, beguiling her prince. He didn’t look beguiled, because that would imply emotional response, and he still wasn’t showing any of that. But he WAS concentrating very hard on getting everything else right.

When the dance ended, he went to switch off the hologram. Only then was he aware of Julia standing there. He whipped around and took three strides towards her. He looked angry and embarrassed in equal measures – real emotions, at least. He certainly was capable of them. She wondered why he couldn’t put them into his dancing.

“Are you... spying on me?” he asked uncertainly. Julia was surprised. She had expected more Oldblood superiority from him. Being caught in the act seemed to deflate him.

“Of course I’m not spying on you,” she replied. “This is MY practice room. I would ask what you’re doing here, but it’s obvious. How long have you been doing ballet? And how come, since you dismissed it as just for ‘Caretakers’ yesterday.”

“A month,” he answered to the first question. Julia was surprised.

“A month? ONE month? You mean... a Beta Deltan month – four weeks... thirty days?”

“Nights, mostly,” he responded. “Nobody uses this room at night. I have privacy... usually.”

“A month?” Julia stuck to what seemed the vital point. “You learnt ballet in a month? From scratch?”

“I followed the hologram programmes. It’s not difficult. I learnt footwork in fencing.”

“Hardly the same kind of footwork. You’ve been here every night for a month, learning what it takes most people ten years to learn? I started ballet lessons when I was four and I’m only just ready for the Swan Queen. But you....”

“Humans take ten years. I’m not Human.”

“So you love to remind us. But I didn’t think that was the sort of thing Time Lords could do.”

“We can if we choose,” Cinnamal replied. “I... wanted to learn. I practiced...”

“Well, ok... I’m impressed,” Julia assured him. “You’re almost there.”

“What do you mean, almost? I’m doing it right.”

“You’re doing it like somebody who has never danced with a living being before,” she replied. “Wait a minute. I need to put a pair of pointes on, and I’ll show you.”

She slipped past him and went to the changing room in the corner of the room. She half expected him to run off while she wasn’t looking, especially since she decided it needed more than just pointe shoes to get her meaning across. But when she emerged a few minutes later in Odile’s seduction costume, a full tutu made of simulated black swan feathers with a bodice and matching headpiece, he was still there. She found the right part of the music and set it playing.

“Now, dance with me,” she said to him. He did so, a little hesitantly at first. Actually touching her warm body after dancing with a hologram surprised him. But slowly he got the idea. He even managed to lift her high above his head confidently, and she felt equally confident that he wouldn’t drop her.

But there was something missing, still.

“Look,” she said. “Do you want to do it right, or is this just some odd whim?”

“I want to dance with Jenny,” he answered.

Julia nodded. She had already guessed that much from the hologram he had been dancing with.

“Only Jennica’s close friends call her Jenny. I don’t think you qualify as that. I’m not even sure she likes you. You’ve been so obnoxious, I don’t think anyone likes you, not even Chrístõ, and he tries to like everyone.”

“You don’t like me.”

“Not the way you behave usually. Like this... here... you seem different. Have you thought how ironic that is? In the ballet you’ve been practicing, Odette is under a spell, forced to live as a swan by day and a Human after dark. You seem to be an obnoxious prat by day and... strangely vulnerable by night.”

“I’m....” Cinnamal looked at her steadily. Julia thought he had quite nice eyes, and for the first time since she met him, they seemed to be looking at her honestly. “I’m the second son of a great man. I’m the younger brother of another great man. I know I’ll never measure up to either of them. And I know it’s my fault. I’ve never really cared about anything... until... until six weeks ago when I saw Jenny dancing at school – the Governor’s Assembly, when some of the student’s performed. She is beautiful. I think I....”

“You’re in love with her. So why all the nastiness, all these put downs about inferior blood, about Caretakers and all of that nonsense.”

“It isn’t nonsense. It matters a lot on my world. You of all people must know that.”

“Yes, I do,” Julia answered. “I’ve attended social functions with Valena de Lœngbærrow – Chrístõ’s step-mother. And there have been people who have deliberately turned their backs on me, people who have said things when they thought I wasn’t listening – people who have said things when they KNEW I was listening. But there were plenty more who treated me decently and welcomed me, as Chrístõ’s Bonded Fiancée. If that’s what you want for Jennica... then you’ve got an uphill struggle. Because you’ve got to get her to like you, first. I’m not sure why you think learning ballet will do that. I’d have thought being a nicer person would be a better way of going about it.”

“I thought... if she saw me dance... she might... see something else in me... than... what I am. When I dance... I’m not a second son. I’m not bound by Oldblood customs. I’m Prince Siegfried... and she can fall in love with me.”

“That is completely daft,” Julia told him. “Nobody falls in love dancing Swan Lake. Anyone good enough for that ballet is too dedicated to their art for relationships. As for Jennica, she’s seventeen years old. She wants to be a dancer. She has a shot at the Youth Ballet, and from there, to the Beta Delta Ballet Company. She doesn’t want to get married and live on Gallifrey where only Caretakers do ‘performance arts’ and you won’t even have the guts to stand up for her against the snobs.”

“I don’t want that,” Cinnamal replied. “If she’ll have me... I’ll give up Gallifrey. I’ll give up being a Time Lord. There’s no point if I’ll never measure up to Paracell and my father. I know I’ve talked about it a lot. I even told Axyl and Diol I expected to be patriarch. But that was just showing off to them. And the other stuff I’ve said… some of it was just habit. Some of it… I didn’t want anyone to think I was soft. But I want….”

He stopped mid-sentence, shaking his head.

“Go on. You’ve gone so far already. I might as well hear the rest.

“Don’t laugh at me.”

“Do I look like I’m laughing?”

“I want to get into the Beta Deltan Youth Ballet, too. I checked. They want two male dancers... and they only have six applicants... far less than are applying for the female places. I have a chance to get in. Then we will be working together every day. And... and I can work on being her friend... and... and the rest...”

“You won’t get into the Youth Ballet. You’re not good enough. And besides, if you’re only doing it to get close to Jennica, you don’t deserve it. You’d be taking a place from somebody who really cares about ballet.”

“What do you mean, I’m not good enough. I know all the moves. I can do it.”

“You’re not good enough. You’ve got no passion. When you dance, its just moving your body. It’s not coming from your soul.”

“Show me,” he said.

“I can’t show you. It’s got to come from you.”

“It can. Please, put the music back on... and... dance with me again... and show me how to be passionate about it.”

She put the music on and took up first position for Odile’s seduction of Siegfried. Cinnamal reached out and touched her brow very briefly. She felt him touch her mind with the quicksilver sensation she got when Chrístõ did that to her. Then she let the music take her over. She wasn’t Julia any more. She was Odile, the enchantress, playing a cruel trick on the Prince. And Cinn wasn’t Cinn any more. He WAS Siegfried, enchanted by the double of the woman he loved, being snared into a trap that would condemn him and his love to their fate.

He felt it in his soul. Julia saw and felt it from the first bars of music, from the first time she pirouetted into his arms. By the time he lifted her, he really was Prince Siegfried under the spell of an enchantress, and she was the enchantress.

When the music finished, she became Julia again. Her own soul overrode the soul of the ballet. For Cinnamal, the enchantment lasted a little longer. She felt him reach out and draw her into a kiss.

“Jenny,” he whispered next to her ear before Julia pulled away from his embrace

“No!” she told him sharply. “I’m Odile, not Odette. Don’t get us confused.”

“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I was... dreaming.”

“Yes, I guessed as much. Was that the first time you kissed a girl?”


“Then let’s pretend it wasn’t. It never happened. And if you ever get there with Jenny, do it that way. You’ll be fine.”

“You won’t tell Chrístõ?”

“Not yet. He’s still in two minds about whether to send you back to Gallifrey in disgrace, and that would about clinch it for him. But I WILL tell him some time before our Alliance. I don’t believe in keeping secrets from my fiancé.”

“What about... Do you think I have a chance….”

“To get into the Youth Ballet or score with Jenny?”


“The jury is still out, I think. You’d better get changed and get out of here right now. Chrístõ will be wanting to do his morning workout in here, soon. And despite what I said about secrets, I’m going to keep a couple of them for now. I’ve got an idea that might help you with both those problems. But I’ll only do it if you promise here and now, on your Oldblood honour, not to pull any more of that superior being nonsense with anyone else, not Diol and Axyl, nor me, and definitely not Chrístõ. Otherwise the deal is off and I’ll make sure you get shipped back to Gallifrey on an ore freighter.”

Cinnamal did as she suggested. She put on the music again and danced by herself. She partly lost herself in the music, and partly in the half-formed plan she had in her head. Even so, she was fully aware when the door opened and Chrístõ, in a black gi, stepped into what he thought was HIS dojo.

“The black swan?” he queried, looking at her costume. “The evil enchantress. Not exactly you, my love.”

“No,” she answered. “But I’m working on a spell, all the same. It could change a few things around here.”

She said nothing more than that to him, but she watched Cinnamal carefully throughout the day, and since he behaved himself, she put her plan into action.

She was up early again the next morning and had a light breakfast for two prepared when Jennica Corr arrived. The two girls had plenty to talk about any time they were together, but this morning the conversation was far more in earnest than usual.

“Seriously?” Jennica said when she heard Julia’s plan. “He has learned ballet to impress me? But I thought he didn’t like humans. He said we were....”

“He said a lot of stupid things. He’s a boy. You know... an idiot. You have to make allowances for them.”

Jennica laughed and agreed with that assessment.

“Underneath all that nonsense I think he’s genuine. He likes you. He has spent a month training in secret... to be able to dance with you. As romantic gestures go, that takes some beating.”

“I don’t know whether I need romantic gestures right now. I’ve got that audition to think about. And if I get in, I’ll have a three year contract with the Youth Ballet. That’s a serious undertaking.”

“I know,” Julia assured her. “So does he, I think. But... all he wants right now is the ballroom scene from Swan Lake. There’s an utterly gorgeous costume down there. It was made for me, but we’re about the same size. It will fit perfectly. And he makes a stunning Siegfried, believe me.”

“One dance.”

“Just one.”

“All right,” Jennica conceded. “But if there’s any of that superior nonsense from him, I’ll make it so he can dance the girl’s parts, instead!”

The two girls went down to the basement together. Cinnamal was ready for them. Jennica changed into the promised costume and warmed up before taking the first position. Julia put the music on.

The one dance easily slipped into two, then three. Partway through the seduction of Siegfried, Chrístõ came into what he still thought of as his dojo and was proved wrong.

“You’ll have to forego your morning workout today.” Julia told him. “How about a nice hot cup of coffee and scrambled eggs, instead, and I’ll explain what’s going on.”

“I can see what’s going on,” Chrístõ replied. “And if that kiss is part of any choreographer’s take on Swan Lake then I know less about ballet than I do about rhythmic gymnastics.”

“It’s part of MY take on it,” she replied. “Come on. Leave them to it.”

The coffee and scrambled eggs were thoroughly appreciated. Chrístõ was less sure about the explanation.

“So, let me get this straight,” he said. “If he gets through the audition he’s going to join the Beta Delta Youth Ballet alongside Jennica. He’s actually serious about that? He’s good enough?”

“I think he is. And if he dances the way we just saw, with that much passion in his soul, they’ll snap him up straight away. And her. They’ll be sensational together.”

“On and off stage?”


“And I’ve got to explain to the Lord High President that his younger son has decided to forego graduating from the Prydonian Academy and becoming a Time Lord in order to be a ballet dancer? I’ve got to tell the director of the Celestial Intervention Agency that his brother has chosen to become a Renegade from our society for love of a Human woman?”

“Not a Renegade. He’s still loyal to Gallifrey. But the big chip on his shoulder was mostly about having to live up to his father and brother. This way he gets to achieve something for himself, and he’s done it all by himself, apart from a few tips about style I gave him.”

Chrístõ smiled wryly.

“Paracell will use this as an excuse to try those electronic whips out on me,” he said.