Julia took a sip of Hydran peach brandy and let it warm her throat. It stopped her shivering when a cold wind blew around the outdoor table where she sat with her fiancé and watched one of the most spectacular electrical storms she had ever seen. The lightning arced and grounded in the distance while thunder crashed and clouds roiled across the sky. It was magnificent and a little frightening – just enough to make it exciting.

“Why the brandy?” she asked Chrístõ as he picked up his glass and took a rather larger gulp of the liquor than she had managed. “We usually make a couple of glasses of wine last through a whole dinner.”

They had done just that, enjoying a delicious meal at their outdoor table under a canopy at the popular Park Restaurant. Eating outdoors during one of these localised electrical storms was one of the reasons it WAS popular. People checked the weather forecast for the best atmospheric disturbances before they booked tables.

“Camilla,” Chrístõ answered her. “She taught me to drink brandy in electrical storms - when we were both delegates to the Hadagax Conference. She took me up the Hadagax Tower – the largest free-standing structure in the galaxy. It has non-stop electrical storms around the top, created by the fabric of the tower interacting with the atmosphere. The combination of brandy, electricity and Haollstromnian pheromones was rather powerful.”

“So you snogged Camilla in a thunderstorm and enjoyed it,” Julia said to him with a wry smile. “And you thought you might recreate the effects with me? That… doesn’t really sound very good from where I’m sitting, you know.”

“You were only fourteen at the time,” he admitted. “Your uncle and aunt would have hung me out to dry if I’d plied you with brandy and ‘snogged’ you. Besides, there was never anything between me and Camilla except those pheromones. It was just chemicals.”

“And I bet she did the switch thing while you were kissing, and embarrassed you,” Julia giggled.

“I’d started to get over the embarrassment about kissing a man by the time we got to Hadagax,” Chrístõ admitted. They both stopped talking as a particularly loud crash of thunder almost directly overhead was followed by double shafts of forked lightning grounding in the field next to the restaurant. Julia trembled in excitement and mild fear, and he took advantage of the moment to kiss her, his mouth and hers both tasting of warm peach brandy as he held her tightly and let the kiss lengthen deliberately.

“Was that as good as it was with Camilla?” Julia asked him when he drew his head back and they both breathed out.

“Better,” he assured her. “I love you with both of my hearts. Camilla was just… teasing. You’re the one I want to drink brandy with in a thunderstorm.”

“That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me,” she whispered before putting her hands either side of his face and drawing him into another kiss. Chrístõ prepared to recycle his breathing as her lips met his. He dismissed all thoughts of Camilla the Haollstromnian temptress and concentrated on the beautiful woman in his arms. She had been a girl for most of the time he had known her, a child, and he had obeyed very strict rules of propriety. But now she was a woman of nineteen. She was his bonded fiancée, his future wife, and he wasn’t kissing her, she was kissing him with all the passion a Human woman with only one heart and no capacity to conserve her oxygen within her lungs could muster.

In the middle of that kiss the lightning storm moved directly overhead. Thunder bolts shook the table, sloshing the brandy in their glasses. The other customers around them retreated into the bar. Chrístõ was aware of the Maitre-D calling to them. The storm was too dangerous. They must come in.

And he ought to have taken notice of the warning. Later he admitted as much to himself. He really should have taken Julia inside where they would both have been safe.

He was starting to pull away from the kiss and tell her they had to move when the lightning hit the canopy above their table. It was a canvas cover, but held rigid with metal spokes that converged on a pole in the centre – a pole that went down through the table to a base on the floor.

Later, he also wondered if it was sensible to have that much metal in a place famous for electrical storms. But at the moment when the lightning struck and the raw electrical energy raced down the pole and enveloped himself and Julia it was far from the most immediate thing on his mind.

Nor was it the first thing he thought of when he regained consciousness, aware of a smell of scorched leather near his nostrils. He had taken the main force of the lightning strike within his own body, but Julia was so close to him, she had to have felt it, too.

Somebody was holding him. A cool hand pressed against his forehead. He heard a voice close by his ear.

The voice puzzled him. It was calling his name anxiously, but the voice….

He opened his eyes and blinked in the light, and gasped as he looked at himself looking down into his face anxiously.

“Oh, not again,” he groaned, remembering the time when an energy overload had separated his Human and Time Lord DNA into two people. Fixing that had been painful both emotionally and physically.

“No, it’s even more complicated this time,” his own voice said. “Chrístõ, you’re….”

He sat up and realised that he was shorter than he used to be, nearly a foot shorter, and he had the body of a petite young woman.

And the voice….

“Oh no,” he groaned, in Julia’s voice.

“Can you stand up?” she asked him in HIS voice. “The restaurant manager wants to call an ambulance, but I told him it was ok. If you can walk, we’ll be ok to get a taxi back to the Olympic Park.”

Chrístõ glanced at the petite, diamond studded silver watch on the slim wrist he held up. It was a half hour to the curfew for under-twenty-fives. There was just time to get back without incurring a fine.

“Taxi,” he agreed. He stood up, wobbling a little, not only because he had just been electrocuted, but because he wasn’t used to wearing strappy sandals with high heels. His centre of gravity was wrong. He was grateful for the strong arm around his shoulders, even though it was his own arm. He walked clumsily as far as the taxi rank by the park gate and slid into the back seat of the car next to his fiancée. She touched the button that ensured that their conversation was private from the driver.

“The lightning did something to us,” Julia said to him. “We’ve… switched bodies.”

“Yes, it seems so - unless we’re both having a seriously weird hallucination.”

“Doesn’t feel like a hallucination. It feels like I’m in your body. I can feel your hearts racing.”

Chrístõ reached out a delicate arm encased in a salmon pink cardigan and touched his own chest through a bottle green jumper.

“No, that’s normal. You’re just not used to how two hearts feel. Come to think of it… one heart….”

Actually, a mono-cardio-vascular system was not the part of Julia’s body that was worrying him the most right now, but he really didn’t want to talk about that.

“What’s going to happen to us?” Julia asked. “Are we stuck this way or….”

“We can’t be,” Chrístõ answered. “The effects will wear off in a little while. By the time we reach the Olympic village….”

“I hope so,” Julia told him. “Because if it hasn’t….”

That was something else he didn’t want to think about. It HAD to be temporary. They were kissing when the lightning struck, holding each other so close that they were almost joined together.

He giggled in a peculiarly feminine way.

“What’s so funny?” Julia asked.

“I just thought… we’re lucky we didn’t get fused together instead of just getting our heads scrambled.”

“If you think that’s funny then your brain is more scrambled than mine. That’s a horrible thought.”

“It might be,” Chrístõ said. “A Time Lord mind trapped in an ordinary Human brain is bound to be restricted.”

“That’s enough of the superior Time Lord stuff,” Julia told him. “Your brain is no bigger than mine. Start thinking about what we’re supposed to do if this doesn’t sort itself out by itself.”

“I’m TRYING to think about that,” he answered. “But I’m having trouble getting past the fact that you need to go to the loo rather desperately.”

Julia giggled. It sounded wrong with his voice.

“Just hold on until we get back to the House. There’s a toilet first right as you go in.”

“In the female House,” Chrístõ pointed out.

“Yes. If we’re still… like this… in five minutes time, we don’t have any choice. The curfew starts. I have to be in the female House – or rather you have to be.”

“And you’ll have to go to the male House. Julia… that’s not… stop laughing. It’s not funny. You can’t….”

“We’re going to have to,” Julia conceded. “We’re nearly there, and Miss Gray will be waiting at the door… with a stopwatch.”

They were at the Olympic village now, and soon approaching the entrance to the female House. Miss Gray was in charge of the female gymnasts. She was a former Olympic champion herself and she understood what it was like to be young. But like Chrístõ and all the other chaperones she had to enforce the rules laid down by the Hydran government.

“I can’t go in there,” Chrístõ said as the taxi pulled up. “I’m not a girl.”

“For now, you are,” Julia told him. “Go on.” She leaned forward and kissed him. It felt wrong for them both.

He got out of the car, still struggling to find his proper centre of gravity. He looked back at Julia, in his body, his clothes, watching him anxiously. Miss Gray cleared her throat meaningfully and he turned and ran into the House, then took the door on the right very quickly.

When he emerged from the toilet a few minutes later, having dealt with the immediate problem, Miss Gray was waiting in the hall, still.

“You were very nearly late,” she said. “Another few minutes. And… are you all right? Have you been drinking?”

“Only with dinner, at a designated restaurant,” Chrístõ answered. “I’m not… I feel a little sick. But it wasn’t alcohol, honestly. I didn’t have enough for that.”

“It’s probably nerves,” Miss Gray said sympathetically. “You’ve got a big evening tomorrow. The finals of the individual floor discipline. You really shouldn’t have gone out at all. A quiet evening in would have been better.”

“Yes, I’m going to bed now,” Chrístõ said. “Oh, sweet mother of chaos!” he added to himself. “I’m not a gymnast.”

He fretted over the idea of ruining Julia’s chances of gold medals as he headed up the stairs to the room Julia was sharing with three other young Olympians. He only knew it was the right room by the number on the door key but once inside he found Julia’s bed easily enough. It was the one with his picture in a silver frame on the bedside.

He sat on the bed and kicked off the high heeled evening shoes. Julia’s neat, small feet were encased in nylon tights that had given him a lot of trouble in the toilet already. He wasn’t at all sure if he had put them back on right afterwards. He consoled himself with the knowledge that it would soon be bedtime and he could take them off altogether.

Julia hadn’t had to face any bathroom problems, yet. One advantage a Time Lord body had over a Human was much more efficient control of its biological functions. But the time would come, and she hoped Chrístõ would have figured something out before then.

“Julia!” She felt his voice in her head as she sat on his bed in a room he shared with one of the other male chaperones, who, mercifully, wasn’t there just now.

“You’re using my psychic brooch?” she said. “Good thinking. We can communicate, at least.”

“Yes.” Chrístõ paused. “Julia… there are communal showers in this building. I can’t… I won’t… go into a room full of naked girls.”

“You don’t have to. There are private baths on every floor. Use one of those instead. I hope there’s something similar HERE.”

“The showers are separate, but the drying area is communal,” Chrístõ admitted. “Skip it for tonight and try to get in there early in the morning before anyone else is up.”

“Ok,” she conceded. But that was only one small problem sorted out. There were far more important ones to consider.

“Let’s both of us sleep on it,” Chrístõ suggested. “Maybe it WILL sort itself out overnight. We could wake up in our own beds, back to normal.”

“Chrístõ, are you saying that because you believe it, or because you don’t want me to worry? And remember I can tell if you’re telling the truth when we’re communicating this way.”

“I… don’t want you to worry,” Chrístõ answered her. “But I honestly don’t know. I HOPE it will sort itself out, because just now I don’t know how to fix it if it doesn’t. But I will think of something.”

“I believe you,” she assured him. “You’ve never let me down before. But I am a bit scared. And besides, if you don’t sort this out by six o’clock tomorrow evening, then my medal chances are blown. You can’t possibly do my floor final. You STILL call it fancy cartwheels, even after all this time.”

“Yeah, I’m not looking forward to that bit,” Chrístõ admitted. “Look, I’m going to get that bath then try to get some sleep. There isn’t much else to do with a curfew on. I hope your roommates aren’t too noisy at night.”

“Same goes for yours, Julia answered him.

Chrístõ had switched off the brooch’s telepathic circuit. He couldn’t use it in the bathroom, anyway. Julia felt more alone than ever without that contact but she tried to be practical. She found his black satin pyjamas in the drawer beside his bed and changed into them. She felt more comfortable in them than his day clothes. He did wear very tight trousers. But living in his body was still awkward. She felt too tall. His arms and legs were too long for her. And besides, it was his BODY, a man’s body, and one that, by tradition, she wasn’t supposed to even see this close up until their wedding night. This strange incident had robbed her of that much already. What else might she lose out on if the problem didn’t reverse itself very soon?

Chrístõ was dealing with the biological issues of being trapped in a Human, female, body by ignoring most of them as far as he could. But even so it felt wrong wearing a nightdress. He wished Julia had a pair of pyjamas, at least.

He lay in her bed with his eyes closed as her roommates came in and got ready for bed. Watching young women undress was not something he had ever indulged in, and he wasn’t about to start now. He tried to remember their names by their voices and he thought he had it right when one of them spoke to him directly.

Well, spoke to Julia, obviously.

“I’ve… got a headache,” he answered. “I’m just going to try to get some sleep.”

“Do you want a couple of aspirins?” Fiona Carter asked him. “They’re the double strength type. They really help.”

He was about to say that aspirin was deadly to his species when he remembered that he was Human just now.

“No, it’s all right, I’ve taken some,” he answered. “Thanks, anyway.” He risked opening his eyes and saw that the girls were all in their nighties now. Pieces of underwear he didn’t want to see were all safely in the laundry basket.

“Do you really have a headache?” Fiona asked, leaning forward and smiling reassuringly. “Or are you just dead nervous about tomorrow?”

“It’s….” Chrístõ began. But Julia’s friends thought they knew what was troubling her. They were kind, sympathetic. All three of them had as much at stake in the coming days as Julia had, and they understood – or thought they did – why she was not quite herself.

“Lorna has a packet of low-calorie hot minty chocolate and Tracy has a big bowl of low-fat cream cheese and crackers. We were going to have a bedroom feast and a game of Trivial Pursuit. I bet you’ll feel better joining in. Come on. It’s not even ten o’clock, yet. That stupid curfew. We can have fun for a bit and still be asleep by midnight.”

Cream cheese and crackers was a strange kind of bedroom feast, but there was really no way to refuse. Chrístõ grabbed Julia’s robe and slippers and joined the girls on the rug between the beds where the food and the trivia game board were set out.

Despite every worry crowding his mind, Chrístõ enjoyed the bedroom feast. He enjoyed the game of Trivial Pursuit. For all of his intelligence and learning he was surprised to discover that he didn’t have any special advantage in that game. The only question he answered with any confidence was in the science section and won him a green wedge.

“Who was the first woman doctor in Britain?” Lorna asked, squinting at the print on the card. The question puzzled her. Women doctors hardly seemed like something that had a finite beginning and the division of Earth into separate countries with separate laws and customs was something humans born on the colony planets had problems with.

“Elizabeth Garrett,” Chrístõ answered. “Or Elizabeth Garrett Anderson as she was after she married.” A twinge of nostalgia tugged at the single heart he was learning to live with. Elizabeth seemed so long ago now even in his own personal history

“Julia wins the science wedge,” Lorna said, passing the piece of green plastic to her friend. “Roll again.”

It was a pleasant respite from problems he couldn’t begin to solve until the curfew was over, anyway. He only hoped Julia was having as easy a time of it.

Julia was spending the evening in company with the male chaperones. Since they were mostly over twenty-five the first curfew didn’t apply to them, but without their friends most of them elected to stay in after dark. They had everything they needed, anyway – there was a well-stocked bar and a pool table in the common room, as well as a good collection of holovids. Julia accepted a bottle of beer from one of Chrístõ’s friends and sat on a comfortable couch watching the choice of video. It was an adventure film about a man called Chow Lo who used martial arts to fight oppression on a planet that reminded her of Xiang Xien except for the cruel Warlords Chow Lo had to defeat.

It wasn’t a film Julia would have watched ordinarily. Neither would Chrístõ. He was always quite dismissive of the quality of martial arts in that genre of film. She watched it because Chow Lo reminded her of Chrístõ in many ways. He had clear ideas about right and wrong. He fought what was wrong without thought for his own personal safety. He was faithful to the woman he loved.

Watching the film and slowly drinking one bottle of beer got her through the evening. When it was time for bed she was considerably more sober than Chrístõ’s roommate. Adam Plunkett bumped around the room clumsily and burped up a lot of the gas from the bottled beer. Julia kept her eyes closed while he got undressed and fell into his bed on the other side of the room then she switched off the light.

“Goodnight,” she called out, but her roommate just snored in response.

Julia sighed unhappily. She had managed to keep herself from worrying for the past two hours by watching that film and transferring all her thoughts about Chrístõ onto the hero of that film. She had managed to keep her mind off how miserable and desperate she felt.

If Chrístõ’s roommate had been awake, and they had been able to talk for a while, it wouldn’t have been so bad. She knew Adam. He was one of the people she and Chrístõ had come to know as friends on board the Harlan Ellison. When he hadn’t had too much to drink, he was pleasant company.

But all Adam was doing now was making it impossible for her to sleep. His snores penetrated even the memory foam pillow she stuck over her head.

Instead of sleeping, she cried. The sound was so wrong. Her voice even when she cried was Chrístõ’s, and it made her want to cry even more.

“Waasssup?” Adam turned over in his bed and spoke almost incoherently. It was possible he wasn’t talking to Chrístõ at all, but just making a sound in his drunken stupor. It served as a reminder that she wasn’t on her own and yet she felt lonelier than she would have been in an empty desert.

She held back her sobs until she was sure Adam had gone to sleep again. Then she sat up in the bed. She moved quietly in the dark and found Chrístõ’s shoes and his jacket. The jacket especially felt familiar and comforting. She hugged it against her as she slipped out of the room and made her way up the stairs to the top of the building.

This was something Chrístõ did. It was a habit he had developed when he was at school as a boy. He had often gone to the roof of the dormitory block to breathe air that was a little closer to the fresh air of his rural home. He did it when he lived in London, too. He had told her about the feeling he got, standing on a roof and looking over a great city of millions of souls, feeling their presence and yet knowing he was quite alone in his high place. He didn’t need to do it as much living in New Canberra. He was much more at peace with himself and slept soundly in his bed. But she knew it was something he did when he was worried or upset, or feeling lonely.

She was all of those things right now. She found the way up to the flat roof of the house and stood looking out over the city. There were very few lights to be seen. The curfew was absolute, so there was no need to light the streets. In the far distance the space port was lit by very bright lights. It was the only place that kept going all night.

She closed her eyes and concentrated. Her mind was within Chrístõ’s brain. His telepathy worked for her. She knew that because he had been able to reach her with her psychic brooch. He had turned it off. She couldn’t reach him, now. But she could feel, like he did, all of the minds of the people in the city. Nearby she could feel dreams like her own, of Olympic glory. Further away people had other thoughts. Many of them were devout followers of the sect that ruled Hydra. They believed in hard work and hard prayer. They were doubtful about the wisdom of allowing so many outsiders with different ideas to come to their world for the Olympiad. They were praying for the strangers to leave and give them back the morally upstanding, god-fearing society they cherished.

Quite a few were sick and tired of the god-fearing society and hated the restrictions. They feared the authorities who enforced the morals. The coming of the Olympiad to their city only reminded them that there were other ways to live than with daily prayer and curfews and rules about everything.

Julia had known all of that since before she reached Hydra and nothing about it since she arrived changed her mind. She still hated the place.

But even more so, now, it felt like a prison. She hated it. Even the Olympic village where so many wonderful exciting things were happening every day for her and her friends was a cage within the cage. She longed to escape it.

She looked once again at the distant space port and remembered that the TARDIS was there.

Then she made a desperate decision.

She looked down and judged the distance between the roof of this building and the much lower roof of the main refectory where all the Olympians went to eat. Then she stepped back several paces before running off the roof, turning three cartwheels in the air, and landing on that other roof. As she had hoped, her gymnastic skills combined with Chrístõ’s strong, lithe body gave her an advantage. It might even be possible to cross the whole city by the rooftops. She could evade the curfew guards and reach the spaceport, and the TARDIS. If she could do that, then everything would be all right.

She ran across the refectory roof and launched herself at the fire escape on the outside of the swimming arena. Across that roof and she would be at the edge of the Olympic Village. After that it was the city proper with houses, churches, offices, factories. But she knew which way she was going – towards freedom.

It was a little after six in the morning when Chrístõ felt himself shaken awake by Miss Gray. She tried to do it quietly, but even so the other three girls sat up in their beds, listening to the startling and grave news that she brought.

“Julia, your fiancé is in hospital,” she said.

“What?” He sat up quickly, looking around at the feminine room before remembering everything that had happened yesterday evening. “Why… what happened.”

“He was shot by the curfew police, climbing a roof near the space port,” Miss Gray added. “Heaven alone knows what he was doing there, but he was hit in the shoulder and fell a long way. He has many injuries. He is under police guard for breaking the curfew. He is their prisoner.”

“I have to see he… him,” Chrístõ said, scrambling from the bed and searching for unfamiliar feminine clothes. He missed his leather jacket more than anything else.

“I don’t think that would be possible,” Miss Gray said. “I’m afraid he is in a lot of trouble.”

JULIA was in a lot of trouble. Chrístõ dressed in a trouser suit that was feminine in style, but at least it was trousers not a skirt. By the time he had, Miss Gray had more information for him.

“Sir Giles Pargiter has been informed of the incident,” she said. “But there is very little the Consul can do apart from give him legal advice. Julia, you do understand, of course… the kind of punishment that he is likely to receive for breaking the curfew…. At best, it will be a custodial sentence. At worst, if they choose to make an example of him, to show that they don’t tolerate visitors breaking their rules… he may be publicly flogged.”

“No,” Chrístõ told himself. “No, I won’t let Julia be hurt that way.”

“I’m going to the hospital right now,” he said. “The curfew is over. Call a taxi, please.”

“Julia, remember you have the finals this evening. I understand that this is very upsetting to you, but you must not let it affect your performance. This is everything you have worked for. It is more important than anything else.”

“No, it isn’t,” Chrístõ responded. “A gold medal is just a few ounces of metal, that’s all. Winning is just a moment of glory. There are much more important things in my life. I pity anyone who has nothing else but a fleeting achievement like that.”

Miss Gray stared at him in astonishment. In all her life she had never heard anyone dismiss a gold medal win in such a way, let alone somebody who stood to win one herself.

“I… I’ll be back in time,” Chrístõ added in a softer tone. “I’ll do my best. I won’t let anyone down. But I have to do this, first.”

The taxi came. It had been booked to go to the hospital, but Chrístõ gave the driver other instructions.

“I want to go to the space port,” he said. “Go directly there.”

“The spaceport will take nearly forty minutes,” the driver pointed out. “That will be close to the prayer hour.”

“Then don’t waste any time,” Chrístõ answered in Julia’s voice but with the ringing note of authority that came from his aristocratic blood.

He sat back in the cab and closed his eyes. He didn’t want to look at the capital city of Hydra VI and its inhabitants. He was tired of the place. He was tired of needing a visa to kiss his fiancée, of curfews and restrictions, of ridiculously unnecessary laws.

Julia was in hospital, under police guard, and facing a horrible punishment because of those stupid laws.

She was in hospital because she had tried to do something. He didn’t know what. He couldn’t ask her. The hospital was full of all sorts of electronic equipment that was interfering with the properties of the psychic brooch. He couldn’t reach her. He kept trying, but there was nothing.

He dismissed the possibility that she was so badly injured she couldn’t respond. His body could recover even from the horrific fall that Miss Gray had briefly described. Even a bullet to the shoulder was nothing much. She WOULD recover quickly. But the police were waiting, and when she was fit to leave hospital they would take her to a cell, and then….

No, that would never happen. He was quite firm on that point.

They were still a quarter of a mile from the space port when the driver stopped the car. He turned off the engine and took a prayer book from the glove compartment.

It was the prayer hour.

“Oh for Chaos’s sake!” Chrístõ swore. He thrust the money for the fare at the driver. He would not break his prayer to take it. He threw it down on the seat and climbed out of the cab. He looked around. There was nobody else around. Everybody was praying. This wasn’t a curfew as such. It was just considered bad manners to be doing anything other than prayer.

“Nuts to manners,” Chrístõ said. He broke into a run. Julia’s slight body was fit and healthy. She jogged daily. She could run easily enough. But she didn’t have his stamina for long distance running. He had to stop twice to get his breath before he reached the entrance to the space port. The guard at the door was praying. He looked up and made an angry sound as he saw a girl vault over the barrier and run inside.

Inside the space port all of the Hydran staff and would-be passengers were praying. The murmured sounds echoed eerily around the departure lounge. Some non-Hydrans looked around curiously as a girl ran through the port, her sandals making an unusually loud syncopation on the tiled floor. Chrístõ headed to the freight storage where the TARDIS was parked. He remembered that he didn’t have his key on him. He didn’t know where Julia had put hers. But he had a feeling it wouldn’t matter.

It didn’t. He found the grey cabinet with his own TS symbol on it. He pressed his hands – Julia’s hands – on the door, ignoring the sounds of running feet and angry shouts. Some of the security guards had broken their prayer to apprehend an intruder.

The door opened. He slipped inside the TARDIS. The console room was dark at first. It was in low power mode. He heard Humphrey’s welcoming trill and felt his enveloping hug.

“Shu…chris…shullia…stooo,” he said. Chrístõ was surprised. Humphrey knew both of them at once. He was puzzled, but happy enough to be with his friends in any combination.

“Good to see you, old friend,” Chrístõ answered as the lights came up and the darkness creature retreated back under the console. He went to the drive controls and put Julia’s small hands on them. They responded to her touch. They always did, of course. She was his bonded fiancée and the TARDIS recognised that. But he thought it also recognised his mind, the one the imprimatur had linked with it long ago.

Either way, the TARDIS worked as he had hoped it would. It traced his physical DNA and went directly to the private hospital room where Julia was being treated for her injuries.

She was sitting up in the bed with his leather jacket over the hospital gown. When she heard the TARDIS materialising she smiled with his own smile and started to get out of bed.

“Are you all right?” he asked, running to her side. There was a sling fixed around her – his – shoulder, still. She held the arm stiffly as if it hadn’t yet fully repaired, and she winced as she put her weight down on the left leg.

“I’m… better than I was,” she answered. “I’m sorry. I wanted to get to the TARDIS. But the curfew guards spotted me. They shot… I fell.”

“I know. I heard all about it. Come on.” He looked at the door. The shadow of a police guard outside was visible. But like everyone else, he was PRAYING! He didn’t react to the sound of the TARDIS materialising, and he didn’t react to it dematerialising, either.

“We’re together, at least,” Julia said when Chrístõ put the TARDIS into geo-stationary orbit above the planet. “But everything is a mess.”

“Yes. It is,” Chrístõ agreed. “Why didn’t you stay in the House? Why where you trying to get to the spaceport?”

“I thought… Chrístõ, the chameleon arch… it would fix us both, wouldn’t it? The way it did when there were two of you.”

“Yes, I suppose it would,” he admitted. “I should have thought of it. My brain really can’t cope with being in your head. But I’m not sure yours can cope with mine, either. Even THAT could have waited until daytime, when there was no curfew. We could both have gone by taxi.”

“I never thought of that,” Julia admitted contritely. “I just… couldn’t bear the thought of sleeping in that room with Adam snoring drunkenly… or of having to get a shower before all the other men in the morning… or… or…. I didn’t WANT to be a man any longer. I need to be me again. And I just wanted it to happen as soon as possible.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” Chrístõ said, reaching to embrace his own body. “I’m sorry this happened. If I wasn’t a Time Lord it wouldn’t have. It was electricity combined with artron energy that scrambled everything. If we were both Human….”

“We’d have been electrocuted,” Julia pointed out. “That would have been even nastier. I don’t blame you. But… I am right about the Chameleon Arch, aren’t I? It WILL fix us?”

“Yes, it would,” Chrístõ admitted. “But sweetheart, it will be really painful. And you… you’re only Human.”

“I’m a woman. Don’t talk to me about pain. If men had to put up with what we put up with, while carrying on as usual…. Besides, one of these days I’ll have babies… for you. I don’t think anything will compare with THAT.”

“It’ll take a couple of minutes,” Chrístõ said. “Let Humphrey give you one of his hugs while I set it up.”

It was very painful for both of them. Their combined screams filled the console room. Humphrey trilled in high-pitched consternation for his friends. He was still screaming when they stopped. Chrístõ stepped out of the alcove where the chameleon arch was kept and helped Julia to detach the probes from her head. They held hands as they went to calm Humphrey and assure him that everything was all right.

“Everything IS all right,” Julia assured him. “We’re ourselves again. We’re both all right.” She looked at Chrístõ, in his own body again, and smiled through the tears that pricked her eyes. “It really DID hurt. It was horrible.”

“I know. That’s the second time for me.” He caught her hand and drew her to him. “It’s not ALL right, yet. I’ve still been charged with curfew violations. But I think I know how to deal with that. Don’t worry. Let’s go back to the hospital.”

“You don’t need to. Your injuries… your arm is all right now. And your leg.”

“Yes. The Chameleon Arch completed the tissue repair into the bargain. But that’s not why I’m going back.”

He explained his plan. She approved of it. He made some preparations and then brought the TARDIS exactly back to where it had materialised before, as a cupboard in the private room. He had changed, meanwhile, into an outfit that was bound to surprise the guards when they came into the room to check on him at the end of their prayer hour. Julia had changed, too. She didn’t particularly like the trouser suit and had put a dress on instead. Chrístõ sat in an armchair beside the hospital bed. She took a straight chair and sat beside him.

Half an hour later, when the Prayers were over, the door opened. Two guards stepped in and took up positions either side of the room. They were followed by a senior officer of the Hydran police as well as Sir Giles Pargiter, Earth Federation consul in the Hydran system, and a man Chrístõ didn’t recognise, but who knew him at first sight. The Ambassador from Adano Ambrado bowed to the Crown Prince who sat on an ordinary chair in this very simply furnished hospital room wearing a robe of fine velvet and the silver crown that the King-Emperor had placed on his head when he was invested as his heir presumptive.

Sir Giles Pargiter bowed his head politely.

“I understand, your highness, that there has been some kind of confusion. Of course, there are absolutely no charges against your royal personage. The Hydran government have asked me to convey their profound apologies for the mistake.”

The senior police officer added his apology. Chrístõ graciously accepted both. Then he told the Ambassador for Adano-Ambrado that he and his fiancée would join him at his residence for a late breakfast. He then dismissed all three men and he and Julia stepped into the TARDIS once again.

“I should be ashamed about pulling rank like that,” Chrístõ admitted as he set a course for the Adano-Ambradan Ambassador’s residence. “But it was the only way to get the charges dropped. I thought of using my Gallifreyan diplomatic credentials, but my father wouldn’t like me doing that. Penne will just think the whole thing is a laugh. Besides, the Hydrans wouldn’t DARE offend him by prosecuting his Crown Prince. They know just what sort of space fleet he has. Sir Giles was an absolute gem about it all. I’m afraid he couldn’t do anything about me being fired from the chaperone job, though. The Olympic committee are not at all happy with me.”

“That’s a shame,” Julia said. “You liked that job.”

“Yes, I did, but it can’t be helped. Besides, the ambassador has an executive box at the arena. I’ll have the best seats to watch you perform. So, breakfast in royal style with ‘my’ ambassador then we’ll get you back to the Olympic village in time for a practice session and a good long rest before your finals tonight. And I am SO glad we’re back in our own bodies before that. There is NO WAY I could have done all of those fancy cartwheels properly.”

“I think you might be surprised,” Julia answered him. “When I was you… I managed some quite agile stuff, crossing all those rooftops. You might find some of it sticking with you.”

“Maybe,” he conceded. “But if I’ve learnt anything from being you, it’s definitely NOT how to put nylon tights on. That’s a secret only women can possibly fathom.”