Chrístõ lay comfortably on the grass and watched Julia practice her rhythmic gymnastics, which always struck him as one of the most beautiful things a Human body could do. Her lithe young figure in a leotard and a ballet practice skirt moved in perfect harmony with the love aria from Madame Butterfly playing on a perfectly contemporaneous portable record player he had found in the depths of the TARDIS somewhere. The length of ribbon on a short baton swirled around her as if it was a spirit of a dance partner that wanted to match her beautiful movements.

It was a perfect summer day in London in the early 1960s. Not for any particular reason had they landed in such a time and place. But if he had chosen he could not have chosen better. It was beautiful. It was peaceful, and he had checked the historical records. Nothing he needed to worry about happened in the hours he planned to stay here. That was how he wanted it. They hadn't had a quiet and untroubled day for at least a month.

The past week had been one he would not forget in a hurry. As his assignments for the Time Lords went Dinos II had been hard work. Even his father's diplomatic skills would have been stretched trying to persuade the blind, but telepathic underground dwellers and their sighted but psychically unaware neighbours above ground to live in peace and harmony together after nine centuries of each race believing the other to be ghosts to be feared. Both sides had accused him of heresy. One side had tried to psychically fry his brain, the other to put him in an atomising chamber before he finally managed to make them see sense.

His father would have been proud of him, he thought with a smile. He HAD ensured finally that both peoples could begin to progress together into an age of enlightenment and understanding. It WAS a job well done. But between resisting the brain frying and the half mile of ventilation shafts he had crawled through to escape the atomiser he had been mentally and physically exhausted by the experience and he felt he deserved at least one afternoon of peace.

He closed his eyes in this safe, quiet place and let himself drift to sleep. It wasn't something he often did, but he actually felt he wanted to sleep in the sun and dream quiet dreams. And there was nothing to stop him. Julia was safe enough here.

Julia saw that he was asleep but she continued her routine. She wanted to get it right so that she could perform it for him. She liked to put on performances of her ballet and her gymnastics for him. And he was always an appreciative audience.

"Hello, Julia." She was startled to hear her name called. She looked around and saw an old man standing on the path. She looked closer at him and her brow furrowed. She didn't know him. And yet….

And yet she instinctively felt that she could trust him. She took a step nearer. He looked about 70 years by Human standards, although since she had come to know Chrístõ she knew not to take anything like that for granted. He had white, thin hair brushed back from his pale face. He was dressed in a black coat and checked trousers and a white waistcoat with a black cravat rather than a necktie. It was fastened with a silver clasp. As she stepped near to him she saw it was the she had come to know as Chrístõ's own mark. She glanced around at the wooden hut in the trees with the same symbol cut into the locked door. The TARDIS's disguise for today.

"I remember when the chameleon circuit worked," the old man said with a nostalgic smile. "It was always rather fun seeing what it would be each time it materialised in a new place. Though now that I'm getting a bit old and absent-minded it's probably just as well it decided to stick to being the one thing. Makes it easier to find it."

"Chrístõ?" Julia looked at his eyes and that clinched it for her. His deep brown eyes, so gentle and kind, that she had first learnt to trust and then to love. She had trusted them the very first time she laid eyes on him, when she had been a frightened, near feral child hiding from a nightmare she could not wake up from. And by the time that nightmare was over and he took her away in the TARDIS she was already starting to love him.

"Chrístõ! Nobody has called me that for a VERY long time," the old man told her. His eyes seemed moist. "Not for a very long time, indeed. Mostly these days I am called The Doctor. Except by my granddaughter. She calls me grandfather, of course. Yes, of course she does. What else would a granddaughter call a grandfather? But Chrístõ… That name is so far in my past now I had almost forgotten it."

Julia turned and looked at HER Chrístõ, still asleep on the grass. She bit her lip thoughtfully.

"He's quite alright," The Doctor said. "He's more than all right. He has his life before him, and he can see only happiness in it. And much of it WILL be happy. So very happy. And all because of you, my dear. And when it is not happy, you will be there as his comfort. He's dreaming of you, even now. His plans for your future. And most of those plans will be fulfilled. That part of his life that you will share - very little will darken it. You may be sure of that."

She looked at his eyes again. They could not lie to her. She held out her hand to him and he closed his around it. They, too, were familiar to her. They were old hands now, the flesh loose and opaque, the veins showing, but the long fingers that entwined with hers were his.

Chrístõ's hands.

"Come walk with me, Julia," he said quietly and with one more backward glance at Chrístõ she did so. To passers by in the summery park she was a girl walking with her granddad. But the incredible truth was only just dawning on her. This was her Chrístõ, the man she was destined to marry one day. But he had come from so many years into their future that he talked of their life in the past tense.

"Chrístõ?" She said his name again and he felt her hand tighten on his.

"Julia." He looked at her and smiled. "My Julia. My dear, dear Julia…"


"I… I have… I have something important I had to say. Something you must tell HIM. That is why I risked a paradox to find you here. But now I am here, I feel… I feel…." He stopped and seemed to be looking at nothing for a while, then he turned and looked back towards Chrístõ. He seemed a small figure now, lying in the grass with his leather jacket under his head. Julia looked too. And she felt a pang of guilt about leaving him. His older self seemed to understand that.

"He will sleep a little longer yet. Julia, my dear, will you indulge an old man who wants to remember when he was a young man. Just walk with me a little. I hardly dare to talk to you. There is so much I dare not say, that you cannot know. But I should like to feel the touch of your hand on mine for a little longer."

"Chrístõ… MY Chrístõ…. Is he in danger? Is that why you have to tell me something?"

"He's not in danger now. Nor, indeed, any time today. Or tomorrow for that matter. But there is danger in the very near future. He has enemies who would do him and you great harm, and dangers he cannot begin to contemplate. And he must and he will face it, as he always has. With only his own wits and resources. What I have to tell you won't help him fight those enemies. That would be quite the wrong thing to do. But it will save him some time and trouble."

"What is it?" she asked. "I will tell him."

"Let us not speak of it yet. Let us enjoy the sunshine on our faces. Let me enjoy being in your company."

They walked a little way in silence. The Doctor walked slowly, with the help of a stick. His body seemed very frail. Julia noted it without being disturbed. Of course even Time Lords aged. They did so more slowly than Humans, of course. But they did age and it was natural. At twelve years of age she didn't worry too much about getting old, but she knew she would, one day.

But she would get old with Chrístõ by her side. And that was no bad thing.

They came to a fountain with benches around it and they sat. The Doctor sighed. "We used to walk for a long time before either of us got tired."

"I get tired before Chrístõ. He has two hearts." She smiled. "But so do you?"

"Mine are old though. Getting worn down. I've seen so much, done so many things since we were carefree in the park on a warm summer's day. Yes, indeed, a long time. A long time. I have forgotten so much." Again he seemed to drift a little. And she wondered if he WAS all right. "Ah, but I have never forgotten you, Julia, or the happiness we shared."

The past tense was disturbing. He talked as if she was not a part of his life any more, except in memories.

He looked at her. And he realised, perhaps, what his words implied to her.

"I'm frightening you. I did not mean to do that. I had certainly forgotten how young you were in that first year we spent together. Just a little girl. But so brave. You'd already seen such terrible things before I knew you. And I took you into some grave dangers. How few quiet days like this we had. Too few. But I never regretted a moment we had together. Not a moment."

Julia looked at him. His eyes were the only part of him that did not seem so very old and frail. And they were the part of him she had loved since she knew him. She remembered that day on the Alduos Huxley, another day of surviving, much like any other day, a day of fear that this would be the day the Vampyres would finally get her. And then he had come, with his tender brown eyes and his strength. And he had taken her away in his fantastic ship. He had become her world.

There was no word for what he was to her. He was not her father, not her brother, not her boyfriend. He was a little of all those things and yet none of them. All she was sure of was that she loved him, and would always love him, in different ways, till the end of her life. And he would love her even beyond that.

He didn't say much. But he seemed so very glad just to sit with her, holding her hand, smiling as he remembered things she still had to experience.

"I gave you a pendant," he said, looking at her closely. "On your twelfth birthday - the first birthday we shared together."

Her hand went to her throat, but then she remembered.

"I took it off to practice," she said. "It's the only time I take it off. For gym and ballet. Because it might be dangerous."

"Yes, yes, of course," he remembered. "And you looked so beautiful doing your gymnastics."

"Chrístõ is holding it," she added. "In his hand, the chain wrapped around his wrist so it cannot be lost. It is very precious to him."

"You are more precious," the old man told her.

"I should go back to him," she said anxiously. "He will worry about me if he wakes and finds me gone."

"Yes, you must. But another moment, please." He sighed softly. "Dear Julia, thank you for indulging me. Will you now listen carefully while I tell you something that he needs to know." And she did listen and repeated the message until she had it right. Then he held her hand tightly for a long time. She thought he looked as if he was going to cry. Then he reached and pulled her near to him and kissed her gently on the cheek.

"Go on now, my dear," he said "Go back to your Chrístõ. Don't mind an old man's silly sentimentality."

"Goodbye," she said as she stepped away from him.

"Goodbye, Julia, my dear." He whispered.

He watched her walk away from him. She glanced back several times before the trees hid her from his view. Almost as soon as she was gone, though, his granddaughter returned from her own walk in the park. He looked up at her and smiled.

How like her grandmother she was. He wished they could have met, but that truly would have frightened the little girl. To meet her own granddaughter who was not even born until more than a hundred years after she died. Time Lord lives were complicated, and never more so than at times like this. It was why they were not supposed to DO what he had just done.

"Are you all right, grandfather?" Susan asked. "You looked tired."

"I am very well," he assured her. "Very well indeed. I was just thinking. As old men do. About the past. You look so much like your grandmother. My Julia."

"You have told me that so very often, grandfather," she said.

"Have I?"

"Yes, you have. But that's all right. I don't mind." She took his arm as he stood and they walked home together - home to their TARDIS parked incongruously in an East London junkyard.

Julia walked back to where Chrístõ was still sleeping on the grass. She was relieved. She didn't want him to be worried about her.

She sat down beside him, cross-legged and straight backed. She saw the glint of her silver pendant in his hand and reached out and touched his fingers before holding his hand in hers. It was the same hand the old man had, long fingered and nimble, yet strong.

He stirred at her touch and opened his eyes, blinking at first then looking up at her. He closed his hand tighter around hers and smiled. "Did you finish your practice?" he asked her.

"Yes," she said. "Then I took a little walk." His older self hadn't told her their meeting was secret, but somehow she felt reluctant to tell him.

Even so, there were things she had to ask him.

"Chrístõ… How old will you be when you really look old?"

"What?" he looked up at her through eyes half shaded by his long lashes.

"You're one hundred and ninety two now. And you look like a young man. But how old would you be when you look like an old Human man?"

"Oh," he said. "It depends. Maybe five or six hundred. Longer if I look after myself and don't worry too much. And of course, when I regenerate I could look just about any age."

So, Julia reasoned in her head. She must have been dead a long time before the older version of him looked like that. No wonder he talked in the past tense. That life he talked about happened so long ago for him. It had not even happened yet for her and for HER Chrístõ. And for HIM it was only a memory.

She felt sorry for him, not for herself. Because she wasn't dead. She was only twelve years old. She had her life ahead of her. Chrístõ was young for one of his race. He had HIS life ahead of him. And only part of it would have her in it. After that he would be alone with just his memories.

"Nobody should know too much about their future," Chrístõ told her. "We already know more than we should. We know we're going to be together. We shouldn't try to think too much further than that."

"Chrístõ… I'm Human. I can't live five hundred years."

"I know that."

"So even if I live a long time, I'll die long before you."

"I know that, too," Chrístõ sighed. "I didn't think you did. At least, I didn't want you to worry about it. Please don't worry. I want you to be happy, Julia."

"I want YOU to be happy, Chrístõ," she said. "I don't want you to be sad one day without me."

"I won't be. I promise. I won't." He sat up and took both her hands in his and held them for a long moment. "Don't let it worry you, Julia. Not ever. Especially not on a lovely day like today. I want to see you do your gymnastics and then we'll go take a walk and get ice cream, and decide where we want to go for tea later."

She smiled and stood up and stretched herself in preparation to show him her routine. He sighed with relief. He didn't know what had brought on so much earnest thought about the future, and it was not something he wanted preying on her mind. Even though he knew she was right.