Chrístõ sighed and turned to his friends. "THIS is not the planet we were supposed to land on. I messed this up totally. Should have stuck to the presets."

"Ah, what harm," Terry said looking at the life support panel. "Breathable atmosphere, anyway. Let's go explore. You said yourself the presets were boring."

"Yes, but I'd rather know a bit about the place," Chrístõ said. "I don't like dragging the three of you into the unknown."

"So you'd be happy to go off into the unknown by yourself, but not with us feeble Humans in tow?" Cassie asked. "Don't be daft, Chrístõ. You know we're as game for it as you are." Bo just smiled and put her hand in his.

"Well, seems I'm outvoted," Chrístõ grinned widely. "Come on then, let's explore unknown territory."

The territory didn't look all that unknown. It looked a lot like Kent to Terry and Cassie, the London children who had both been on fruit-picking holidays in their time. They walked along a well-made road between fields where a yellow crop was growing, descending a valley towards a small town.

It was early morning. They knew that from the position of the sun in the sky. But even so they were surprised at how quiet the town was. Not even a dog stirred in the place. Houses, shops, inns were all shuttered and silent and their footsteps echoed on the cobbled street.

"Well, the hospitality isn't up to much," Terry said. "No breakfast to be had here."

"Maybe…" Cassie began to say, but whatever she thought was cut off by a sharp order to "Halt, and identify," from what was clearly the local militia.

"We are strangers seeking shelter," Chrístõ began, but when the militia looked at him their reactions were extraordinary. They all dropped to their knees, bowing their heads to him.

"Our humblest apologies, Lord," the senior of the men said. "We did not know it was your own person that was abroad before the curfew end."

"Your humbleness does you credit," Chrístõ said, adopting his aristocrat manner, judging it proper at that moment. "But your manner to myself and my friends before that does not. You may redeem yourselves by providing a guard escort in case there are any ill-disposed sorts about."

"It would be an honour to give protection to your Lordship's party as you return to the manor," the senior militiaman said.

"What's going on?" Cassie whispered to Terry. He shrugged and said they'd better just follow Chrístõ's lead. He was doing a very good impression of knowing what he was doing as they walked, escorted by the militia, through the town and up to the manor - a large house behind guarded gates and a high wall. The guards were surprised when they saw Chrístõ and hurriedly unlocked and opened the gates. The door to the house was equally quickly opened and the servants within bowed obsequiously to Chrístõ, who dismissed them before they realised he was not who they thought he was.

"Oh….My…" Bo gave a soft cry and pointed. They all turned to look at what had startled her so much. It was a painting at the top of the wide flight of stairs from the hallway, on the landing where it split into two staircases either side and continued up.

A large, gilt framed oil painting.

And it was of Chrístõ.

At least it looked like it was.

"Do you have a twin?" Terry asked him.

"No, I don't. And if I did why would he live here?" The question irritated him, though he did not know why.

"Ever read the Man in the Iron Mask?" Cassie said.

"Yes. And I've had some handy fencing tips from the King's Musketeers," Chrístõ replied. "But I was definitely an only child. Besides, neither of us in a mask. I'm a prince of the universe and he seems to be doing ok for himself. Whoever he is."

He mounted the stairs to look closer at the painting. The portrait was so like him it was unnerving. The same eyes, the same hair, though styled a little differently. The same slim, lithe body, though dressed here in red velvet robes trimmed with ermine and gold. A little too ostentatious, Chrístõ thought.

"Who are you?" An imperious voice demanded and Chrístõ felt a jolt of shock as he realised it was his OWN voice in full 'aristocrat mode.' He looked up to the top of the left hand stairway and into his own face. The man at the top of the stairs looked down into the same. "Ye Gods… what trickery is this."

"No trickery," Chrístõ replied in a steady voice. "I am Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow, Time Lord of Gallifrey, son of the former Lord High President of the High Council, now senior Magister of the southern Continent. And I bring you greetings from my people."

"I am Penne Duré, Lord of Adano Menor. Absolute ruler." He descended the stairs and came face to face with Chrístõ. "FORMER Lord High President? Was he deposed? Are you an exiled refugee seeking sanctuary on my planet?"

"Indeed not, My Lord," Chrístõ said. "Gallifrey is a meritocracy. Those who attain high power hold it for a fixed term and then hand it over to an equally worthy man before taking up other duties in honour. My father is very highly regarded."

"I am Lord by right of birth," Penne Duré announced imperiously. "Nobody can take my power from me."

"Then may you rule wisely and for a long life," Chrístõ said. He looked at his doppelganger curiously. There was not a line of the face that was different from his own. He had given up wearing long hair tied in a pony tail at least two decades ago. These days he would never be so vain. It was definitely for what in 1980s Earth-speak was termed a ‘poser’. But otherwise they were identical in appearance.

Penne Duré moved closer. He reached and poked Chrístõ hard in the shoulder, jolting the ceratoid nerve painfully. But the physical contact was enough for him to make the mental contact he wanted.

He looked into Duré's physiology first. Chrístõ was startled. He WAS Gallifreyan. He had two hearts, he had the superior musculature and respiratory system of his race. He had the components in his eyes that let him see in the dark and other useful functions. He had Gallifreyan DNA. He read the genetic code. It was nothing like his own. They were NOT twins. They were not brothers. They were not even remotely close kin. Duré was, in any case, a PUREBLOOD. Nobody in HIS family had been rash enough to marry a Human.

Which made the fact that they looked and sounded alike a great, big, fantastic coincidence.

Pureblood or no, Chrístõ noticed. There were two things about Duré that were different.

His psychic powers - though he had them - were redundant, never used.

And he had no regenerative gene. Chrístõ looked again, to be sure. Duré had never transcended. He WAS, still, merely a Gallifreyan. He was NOT a Time Lord.

Why did he find that satisfying?

Because all Duré's remarks so far had indicated that he thought himself of the higher rank. It gave Chrístõ a vicarious pleasure to know that on his own planet Duré would be considered VERY inferior.

And yes, he knew that made him just as much of a snob.

"My friends and I have travelled far," Chrístõ said.

"Funny looking lot," Duré said, looking down to where Terry, Cassie and Bo stood watching. "Never seen different coloured women before. They yours?"

"They are under my protection," Chrístõ answered, not certain how he wanted to commit himself in answer to such a question.

"Well, you're not peasants, anyway," Duré decided. "I suppose you might join me for breakfast."

He swept down the stairs. Chrístõ followed and gave a sign to his friends to come with him as they followed the Lord of Adano Menor to his private dining room.

The great table was laden with food. And yet there were only five people to eat it. The absolute ruler of Adano Menor obviously lived well. As always, Chrístõ wondered how those he ruled lived. He assumed nothing, though. Autocracy was only bad when the autocrat was bad. Duré MIGHT be a good ruler.

"So much food," Cassie said. "What happens to it?"

"It's given to the orphans and widows," Duré replied. "Though I have nothing to do with that."

"There is need for such charity in a country with such bounty?"

"I would not know," Duré said again. And in answer to other such questions he gave similar answers that indicated that he neither knew nor especially cared, about the people he ruled.

"Your name is intriguing," Terry said. "Do you know it is very like an ancient Earth method of torture and execution."

"No, I didn't know. Do tell. It sounds the very thing for breakfast entertainment."

"Peine Forte et Dure," Terry said. "It was used on those who would not plead at trial in order to force them to plead guilty. They were placed face down on the ground and a board placed on their body and stones put upon the board until they pleaded or their back broke."

"Uggh," Cassie said, shuddering. Bo looked unhappy too. Chrístõ nodded. He had noted the origin of the name, too. But you couldn't judge a man by his NAME. It was coincidence. Just like their uncanny likeness.

"Do you know of my homeworld, Gallifrey?" Chrístõ asked him.

"Should I have?" Duré answered languidly. He lounged in an elegantly carved chair at the head of the table, his eyes half closed under dark, long eyelashes. Cassie looked at him and at Chrístõ and thought how beautiful they both looked, but she was not sure Penne Duré was beautiful inside. Chrístõ was a beautiful being inside and out. She had loved his pure soul from the day she met him. But Duré repulsed her in a way she could not quite define.

Bo was equally certain that she did not like Duré as much as she liked Chrístõ. And that was odd, because she loved Chrístõ wholeheartedly. But Duré - even when he smiled - and he smiled just like Chrístõ smiled - she felt only an ice cold in her heart.

For Terry the name was enough.

"Your friends may enjoy the facilities of my home," Duré said as the breakfast was cleared away and he lazily stretched and stood up from the table. "But I would like you to spend some time with me - I am intrigued by you."

"It is your home," Chrístõ answered guardedly. "We are your guests."

"Yes," Duré said.


"The facilities of his home," Terry muttered under his breath as they went from the dining room. "Chrístõ… I don't like him at all."

"Nor me," Cassie added. Bo's expression summed her feelings up. Chrístõ looked at them all.

"I think he's ok. You guys 'enjoy' his facilities. I really do want to find out more about him."

"Chrístõ…" Cassie said, touching his arm. "Just because he looks like you… doesn't mean he's LIKE you. Don't be fooled by appearances."

"Do you really think I'd be fooled by anyone?" Chrístõ said. He touched her cheek tenderly. "You worry too much about me. You all do. I'm a Time Lord remember. We're smart people." And he left them to be shown the 'facilities' by a butler while Duré brought him to his private quarters.

Chrístõ soon realised the full extent of the decadence in which his doppelganger lived. They were immediately attended by manservants who helped them both from their clothes to bathe in a bath the size of a small swimming pool, where both male and female servants wearing very small costumes attended upon them. While not objecting to bathing in the warm, fragrant water, Chrístõ dismissed the attentions of both. He hadn't had anyone wash him since he was 10 years old. Duré obviously regarded being sponged and massaged by scantily clad girls and glistening youths as a privilege of rank. He was surprised that Chrístõ was so reluctant. But as it was clear Chrístõ was not going to talk while he felt so uncomfortable he dismissed them all after a while.

"You never answered my question about Gallifrey," Chrístõ said when they were alone. "I wondered if your ancestors might be from there. The visible similarities between us are only the start of it. I know you have the same double hearts that I have. I believe you are of the same race as I am."

"Double hearts?" Duré moved closer to Chrístõ. He put his hands on his chest and felt his heartsbeat. "I thought I was the only one." Chrístõ shifted uncomfortably under his touch and remembering the way he had groped his bathers made a mental note to break his arm if he moved those hands anywhere else.

"We all have two hearts where I come from," Chrístõ explained once Duré moved away from him. "Where I think YOU came from."

"I was born here. In this house," Duré insisted. "I'm not from your…. Meritocracy." He said the last word as if it were dirt in his mouth.

"Your parents then? Were they of this world?"

"Of course. Where else would they be from?"


"That place again!" Duré laughed. "My parents were lords of this realm before I was born."

"When was that?" Chrístõ asked. "How old are you?"

"You presume much, based on a coincidental resemblance to me, my meretricious friend."

"I ask, because Gallifreyans have among their unique features, the gift of long life. I am 190. I'm guessing you must be about the same age as I am."

"190," he conceded.

"And you were born in the spring?"


"As was I. Strange coincidence."

"Yes." Duré mused. "We cannot possibly be related. Yet… we could be brothers. Twins. You ARE so like me." He paused and looked at Chrístõ, who thought again about arm-breaking. "This could be fun. I never had a brother."

For the first time a smile came to Duré's face that seemed genuine, and not sneering or contemptuous. Chrístõ saw the difference in him at once. He smiled too. It was a nice idea. Even if Duré WAS vain and full of himself, he liked the thought of having a brother.

The man-servants returned as they finished their bath and they were both dried and dressed - Duré insisted on identical clothes. To Chrístõ's relief, black featured in the scheme rather than garish colours. Black robes and cloaks with silver fastenings, not unlike those Chrístõ wore when in Marquess de Lœngbærrow mode. They stood by the wall length mirror in Duré's dressing room, their two reflections now making their remarkable similarity of appearance seem even more wondrous as four identical figures appeared to stand together.

"You should grow your hair," Duré said. "Though you're a good looking man, even so." He smiled. "I like having a brother." He put his hands on Chrístõ's shoulders in a gesture of intimacy. Chrístõ still had the instinct to break bones if he got any more intimate, though.

"It's different," Chrístõ conceded. He looked at the insignia on the silver clasp of Duré's cloak. His eyes widened in surprise. "You ARE Gallifreyan," he said. "I know that symbol. The house of Ixion."

"Ixion?" Duré looked uncertain. "The name seems familiar. But…"

“Ixion WAS one of the great Oldblood Houses. One of the Ancient Houses, sired our Creator.”

“An honourable name on your world then?” Dúre asked with a superior smile. “I am from a great lineage?”

“No,” Chrístõ answered. “That line died out a couple of centuries ago, and it was far from honourable. The last of the Ixion House… and his wife… became Renegades, who fled from our world under sentence of death.”

“For what crime?” Duré asked, his expression changing dramatically.

"I don't know. I could find out. I could ask my father." Chrístõ found his own clothes lying in a neat pile by the dresser and took his TARDIS key from his jacket pocket. "Best go outside. The TARDIS makes a mess of carpets when it materialises."

His companions were outside in the garden. He was surprised. None of them seemed particularly to be enjoying the 'facilities.' Rather they were sitting on the benches by an ornamental fountain and talking quietly among themselves. Chrístõ looked at Duré and asked him to wait while he talked to them. Duré seemed surprised at being asked to do anything, but waited anyway.

"What's up with you guys?" he asked.

"We're bothered about YOU being so friendly with HIM, if you must know," Terry said. "He's trouble. And you can't see it."

"You're wrong. Duré is vain, stuck up, full of himself, but he's not bad. Believe me."

"We don't believe you, Chrístõ." Cassie looked shocked at herself for saying it. "We think…. That the likeness between you… is blinding you to the truth."

"Please," Bo said, putting her arms around his neck and kissing him. It was a shameless trick, playing on his love for her, but she felt so strongly about this she was prepared to use any means of persuasion. "Please, my Chrístõ. I am frightened for you."

"There's NOTHING to be frightened of," he assured her, responding with a gentle kiss. "I'm trying to help Duré find out about himself. I'm sure he is a Time Lord like me. But his heritage has been lost."

"Epsilon is a Time Lord too, Chrístõ," Terry reminded him. "I REALLY don't like this."

"I KNOW what I am doing," he insisted. "Please… trust me."

"Trust." Terry looked uncertainly. He never expected that to be a word he called into question where Chrístõ was concerned. He had trusted in him from the first. His mind went back to their first meeting, when he had told them he was from another planet, and it never occurred to either of them not to believe him. Trust was something that radiated off Chrístõ and infected all he came in contact with. To doubt him at all was the hardest thing.

"Will you trust US?" Terry said. "And believe our concern is real."

"Yes," he said solemnly. "But I promise there is no cause for it."

"We trust you," Cassie conceded. "And we DO believe you. I'm sorry for saying I didn't. But we're not sure we believe HIM. And we just want you to be careful."

"I will," he promised. "But if Duré IS what I think he is, he ought to know his true origins. Just like our friends on Aquaria. Remember how much it meant to them, knowing where they come from."

"Chrístõ," Duré approached, clearly impatient. "I thought you were my brother." He pouted childishly and Chrístõ glared at him.

"I won't abandon my friends for you, Penne," he told him. "I should like to count you as a new friend. I should love to call you brother. But do not claim my exclusive attention."

"I could lock them in my dungeon," he said.

"Then we would not be friends," Chrístõ answerd. "And never brothers." He stood in a clear space and pressed his TARDIS key. "This is my spaceship," he said as the TARDIS materialised as a classical folly with a door behind ionic columns. "It's the technology of my world. And you could learn much from it, Penne. If you will be guided by me." Chrístõ opened the TARDIS door and stepped inside. Penne Duré followed. The others looked at each other then went inside after him.

Duré's reaction to the interior of the TARDIS was predictable, of course. They all enjoyed watching his face as he came to terms with it. Again, momentarily, he seemed a genuine person before he caught up with himself and resumed his haughty manner.

Chrístõ went to the console and keyed in the necessary sequence for a videophone connection to his father. He smiled happily as he saw him appear on the viewscreen. His father looked equally pleased. They exchanged the usual pleasantries, asking after each other's health.

"Your friends are with you still?" his father asked.

"Yes," he said. "And a new friend." He turned and reached out his hand to Duré who came closer. "Father, this is Penne Duré, Lord of Adano Menor."

Chrístõ's father looked in undisguised interest as the two stood side by side, dressed identically as they were.

"By Rassilon…" he said. "How can it be?"

"I don't know," Chrístõ said. "But…. Father, I think Penne may be Gallifreyan. I think he is of the House of Ixion." Chrístõ noted the expression on his father's face change. From one of astonishment to one of grave anxiety. Duré saw it too and glanced uneasily at Chrístõ.

"If he is, then he is no Gallifreyan. That House was eradicated five hundred years ago."

"I know something happened," Chrístõ said. "I remember people at the Academy talking about Ixion as if it was a bad word. But I don't know what."

"The last member of that house committed a grave crime," his father said. "He and his wife murdered every member of a rival House, the House of Pretarion."

“I’ve heard of Pretarion.” Chrístõ said. “It was also one of the Twelve Ancient Houses. But in the Academy we were simply told that the line died out.”

"It's not a bedtime story, my son. And I would hesitate to tell it in HIS presence if he IS of that family."

"If you know something of my family, I demand you tell me," Duré said.

"Demand?" Chrístõ's father looked at him coldly. "DEMAND is not a word the young use towards their elders here."

"I am Lord of Adano Menor. And I am not spoken to in such tones."

"If you are the son of Mordlock and Dannan of Ixion, then you are lord of nothing but bloodshed." His tone was one of barely contained anger that startled even his son. Penne Duré, who had never had anyone speak to him with authority blanched.

"Those WERE my parents' names," he admitted. "But their surname was Duré."

"And you are Penne Duré. They had no shame. They took such a surname and named their child after the method by which they murdered men, women and children." Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow senior's face was ashen. "I remember the day we entered the house of death. The bodies…. Broken bodies. Even the tiniest baby crushed in their infernal machine." He related the story without elaboration, without seeking to deliberately horrify. But the massacre of every member of the Pretarion House from the oldest to the youngest was a gruesome tale. Cassie and Bo cried openly, comforted by their men who held back tears themselves as they wondered how such cruelty could be stomached. Chrístõ understood why his father had never told him. It was not a story he would have gladly told anyone, let alone his own son.

"It's vile," Terry said and he looked coldly at Penne Duré, who stood a little apart from Chrístõ, looking dazed and shocked.

"Peine forte et dure?" Chrístõ said. "It's an Earth method of execution. How is it used on Gallifrey?"

"I don't know how Earth came by the term or the method. But we stopped using both 100,000 years ago. Until Mordlock devised a mechanism that would press a body till it cracked. And he and his wife used it in their act of bloody vengeance."

"Vengeance for what?" Terry asked, interested despite himself.

"For a petty political victory. The Patriarch of the Pretarion family had been elected to the High Council ahead of Mordlock."

It can't be," Penne Duré exclaimed. "You are lying."

"I do not lie." Chrístõ's father pressed a series of keys on a keypad in front of him and a still picture appeared on the viewscreen; two people, a man and woman, in the regalia of Gallifreyan high society. Penne gave a groan of horror and seemed to collapse in on himself. When Chrístõ's father returned to view he saw his son bending to comfort the other young man as he knelt on the floor. "ARE they your parents?" he demanded coldly.

"Yes," Penne admitted, and Chrístõ knew that if he were not a pureblood Gallifreyan, without tear ducts, he would be crying now. "Yes, they are. But…. But it can't be true."

"Of course it can," Terry replied angrily to him. "Don't be such a snivelling prat. Your parents were murderers. They probably murdered to get where they were on this planet, too. And you're probably no better."

"I have never…." Duré began, then he drew himself up and glared at Terry. "By what right do you accuse me, Lord of Adano Menor of any wrong doing?"

"I am a free citizen of Earth," Terry snapped back. "And I take orders from nobody. And I have every right to question the likes of you."

"Father," Chrístõ spoke urgently before the argument went further. "Even if his parents were killers, they are dead now. And HE had no part in it. It happened before he was born. He cannot be held responsible."

"By OUR law, yes, he can," Chrístõ's father told him. "Not of the capital crime, of course. But Banishment is extended to the fourth generation. He can never set foot on our world."

"Anyway," Cassie said. "What kind of a person is he? He rules this place by fear. His militia were going to arrest us just for being in the street."

"Don't you have discipline on your planet?" Penne Duré answered her.

"We have police," she said. "And they arrest people who do wrong. But ordinary people doing no harm are allowed out of their homes at night without fear of arrest."

"The curfew has always been part of our way of doing things."

"So is killing your enemies," Terry said coldly.

"I have NEVER killed an enemy," Penne Duré screamed. "Those who break our laws are sent to work in the mines on the other side of the planet, but they are never killed. I rule by right. And I rule rightly. The guilty are punished. Those who obey my laws live in peace."

"And FEAR," Cassie insisted. "Even your militia were afraid. I saw how they looked when they saw Chrístõ and thought they recognised you."

"Chrístõ," his father said to him. "It is difficult for me. I look at the son of a mortal enemy of our world, and I see a face I love dearly. It is hard for me to be objective. But I, like you, wonder if he is irredeemable. Chrístõ…. You must be the judge of his worth. Look into his soul. You know how."

"I do," he said. He turned to Penne Duré and held him by the shoulders and forced him to kneel. He was almost surprised when he didn't resist. He knelt too, and put his hands either side of Duré's head. He closed his eyes and entered his mind. He saw his petty vices, his lustfulness with the house servants, his careless attitude to anyone else's feelings, his lazy indifference to anything but his own comfort, his vanity.

He looked deeper and saw a youth of a mere 15 years coming to terms with the sudden death of his parents when their carriage plunged down a deep mountain ravine. A boy, now ruler of his people, who never changed a single law, no matter how harsh, no matter how outdated, no matter how cruel, because he was too lazy and indifferent to begin to find out how to change them. He believed he ruled well because there was little or no crime among his subjects. He had never realised that was because he ruled by fear.

He looked deeper still and saw a boy whose parents were indifferent to him, who employed nannies and nursemaids and tutors to care for and educate him but paid no attention to him whether he was good or bad. With no encouragement or incentive, he had been a lazy and indifferent scholar, barely pulling through what he was taught.

In short, in his entire life Penne Duré had never TRIED to do anything. Never made an effort for his own behalf or for anyone else's.

But he was not bad. He was not a murderer. He was not a cruel man. He was simply lazy, mentally and physically, indifferent to others and very self-centred.

"He IS redeemable," Chrístõ said. "If he WANTS to be a good ruler. He COULD be just that."

"DO you want to be a good ruler, Penne Duré?" Chrístõ's father asked him.

"Yes," he said. "I…I thought I was."

"No," Chrístõ insisted. "You're not. But you could be. And… and you have time to do it. You're only 190. You could live a long life even as a non-regenerative Gallifreyan. You have plenty of time to become a good ruler."

"He has never transcended?" Chrístõ's father queried.

"Who would have overseen it?" Chrístõ replied.

"Transcended?" Penne Duré looked at him. "What…."

"You'd best tell him," Chrístõ's father told him. And Chrístõ explained to him about the 12 lives a Time Lord has on 'stand by' in case he is fatally wounded.

"And I have not…. Transcended, so I do not have these 'lives' stored for me."

"No. You have only one life. But it should be enough. You could do great things for your people in the course of that one life."

"Chrístõ," his father said. "He may be under Banishment from our world, but there is no law preventing him from transcending. That is a physical process. And it would be latent in him. He IS of Gallifreyan blood. He SHOULD be able to do it. All he needs is a mentor."

"ME?" Chrístõ looked at his father in astonishment.



"The same way I mentored you, my son. You can do it."

"I'm…" He was on the point of saying he was too young to do it. But he knew that was not true. He could do it. He could bring a new Time Lord into being. He had the power. He had the awesome responsibility.

"This is something you two should talk about," Chrístõ's father said. And as he ended the transmission he smiled at both of them. That was something in itself.

Penne Duré looked around at Chrístõ’s friends. They seemed less convinced. The youth with the blonde hair still looked fiercely towards him. The girl with the yellow complexion looked with love at Chrístõ but cold disdain at him. So did the beautiful chocolate coloured woman whose eyes seemed to burn into his soul. And their censure of him cut like a knife into his soul. For the first time in his life, Penne Duré felt he needed to prove himself to somebody else.

“There is a LOT we need to talk about,” Penne said. “May we do it in a spirit of friendship between us all? I give you my word I will be open to all you have to say to me. I shall try to make amends for my faults.”

“I think…” Cassie said slowly. “I think we should give him a chance. Maybe he DOES mean it.”

Terry looked at his gentle sweetheart. If she believed Penne might be worth the effort, then he was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Bo looked from Chrístõ to his doppelganger. She wanted this man who looked so much like her lover to be a good man. She was prepared to let him try.

Penne smiled warmly as they all nodded in agreement, their expressions softening towards him.

“I have much to learn, it seems,” he said. “Learning is something I have not made an effort with before. It will be a new experience.”

There WAS much he had to learn. Chrístõ spent much of the afternoon in his study going through the ancient, dusty laws by which Adano Menor was ruled. He showed Penne how so many of them were simply out of date. The idea of curfews and guards patrolling the street at night was the first measure he urged him to change. The Night Watch was necessary but it should be reformed into a force that defended and protected the people, not scared them.

Above all, Chrístõ and his friends urged him, he had to take an interest in his people. He should find out whether there WAS a need for food from his table to be given to widows and orphans. If there WAS, then perhaps a better way might be found. Pensions paid to the widows, homes found for the orphans. By doing such things, he would soon rule by love, not fear and enjoy the greater loyalty of his people.

Penne listened to the advice given to him by his new friends. The only thing he did reject was Chrístõ’s suggestion that he stopped flirting with his servants, both male and female, especially in his bath. Penne declared that he would never give up that pleasure. Chrístõ tried several times but had to admit defeat on that point.

By the evening, as they relaxed in Penne's drawing room after dinner, he thought they were accepting him a little more. Terry had talked to him civilly and even laughed at some of his jokes at the table. The two women had smiled at him, though possibly only because they both - even Cassie, who was obviously Terry's - carried a burning torch for Chrístõ, and he was allowed a small glimmer of its warmth.

Cassie had taken him in hand after dinner. She told him straight out that his hair was stupid. He never thought to ask where she got a pair of scissors from, but she made him sit down while she cut away the pony tail and styled his hair neatly. Everyone gasped when he turned to them, because now there was not one outward difference between him and Chrístõ. Bo insisted she could tell them apart though. And to prove it they blindfolded her and he and Chrístõ moved around the room before challenging her to work out which of them WAS her lover. Penne was a little disappointed when she went straight up to Chrístõ and kissed him on the lips. The selfish, greedy Penne Duré of a few hours before might have grabbed her and forced her to kiss him against her will. The new, improved Penne knew there was no value in unwilling kisses and only wished there was somebody in his life who cared that deeply for him.

Later still, Cassie and Terrie lounged together on the big sofa, while Chrístõ and Penne sat on the rug in front of the roaring fire, drinking wine and talking. Bo knelt beside Chrístõ as he explained about trial by jury and other such practices that might make his rule over the people of Adano Menor less despotic.

"I wish you could stay around and help me," Penne said. "I feel like an empty headed idiot compared to you. You could advise me."

"You need to advise yourself," Chrístõ said. "It's YOU who rules. If I help you, then you'll just be my puppet. And that wouldn't be right either. Be true to yourself, Penne, that's all I can really tell you."

"I wish you really WERE my brother," Penne said. "Then you COULD stay."

"Not sure of that, even if we were," Chrístõ said. "I like being an explorer. I like being out there among the stars. Meeting new people."

"Will I ever see you again when you leave? With a universe out there to amuse you?"

"I'll come visit you," he promised.

“You should make a bond of blood,” Terry said. “Like in the westerns.” He explained the idea briefly as Penne had never heard of such a thing.

Bo looked at him curiously and then at Chrístõ and his Doppelganger. Then she stood and picked up an ornamental dagger that rested on the mantelpiece. She tested its point and then knelt between the two men. She took Chrístõ's arm and turned it palm upwards and gently cut into his wrist. As his blood flowed she turned to Penne and took his rather more reluctant arm and did the same. Then she pressed Chrístõ's wound over Penne's. They both gasped as they felt their blood mingling. There was a strange but not unpleasant feeling, a tingling, not quite a burning, but certainly more of a reaction between the two Gallifreyans than between two Humans. And it did something more. They both felt it in their heads.

“I can hear you,” Penne said wordlessly. “I can see your mind.”

“I can hear you, too,” Chrístõ replied. “The mixing of our blood has activated your dormant psychic skills.”

“It’s wonderful.”

“It’s as it should be. You ARE a Gallifreyan.

"Now you are joined in blood," Bo said, her words breaking into the private world Penne and Chrístõ occupied. "To serve and to defend each other until death." She took a handkerchief from her pocket and cleaned the knife and put it back where it was. She kept the handkerchief, now stained with the orange blood of two Gallifreyans, and watched as they both knelt, their wrists still pressed together. Chrístõ closed his hand over Penne's lower arm and Penne did the same, a more intimate gesture than a handshake, more manly than a hug - though when they did shift position and found themselves doing just that, nobody thought it was anything but a beautiful moment.