Coda: Con Amore e Speranza

Exactly two hundred and fifty-seven souls had made it through the crack between the worlds, escaping their dying planet. Not very many, some said, not enough to start a viable colony, a stable, growing population. But it was all they had. And Tis'hania, for one – and Romana, for another – were not about to just give up. Countless new species had become well-established on countless worlds from just such tiny original numbers.

When word had swept through the group that Lady President Romana herself had come back, seemingly from the dead, and joined them, many had latched onto her as if to a life preserver – and perhaps she was. They'd unanimously voted her back into office, effective immediately, and she'd taken it to heart, throwing herself into the job of organizing various work crews for shelter, food, scouting parties. There had been protests, especially from the most august elders on the Council – but when she'd declared the Council dissolved, and after a single night sleeping on the ground, out in the open drove it home that this was their new, permanent home – the protests died off.

Romana, and Tis'hania, were absolutely determined to make a brand new start on New Gallifrey, and build a society of which they could at long last be proud, after so many centuries of stagnation and decay – and evil, soul-killing rot. This time they were going to do it right. They had no time machines, no vortexes – and perhaps they never would. The Time Lords were no more. They were simple Gallifreyans.

And that's just how it should be.

^..^

Far across the universe, a small red crystal began to glow, and a mother's heart, and a father's, each gave a single, painful lurch, and began beating again. They cried together, tears of joy – and then wiped those tears, and turned to their families, and their friends, and began living once more. Living life to the absolute limit, squeezing every drop of joy and love and goodness they could from every second. They would not detract from their missing son's memory by anything less worthy.

^..^

In another world, another universe, a new family of four stood in a circle by the console of their ship, hands clasped, grinning, weaving the bonds of love and respect that would bind them together forever.

"So. Where do you want to go first?" asked Jenny.

The Doctor laughed at her. "Sweetheart, I couldn't care less. As long as we don't get there for about five days." He dropped her hand, and wrapped his other arm possessively around Rose's waist. "Excuse us," he told the others, and turned and led his wife away down the hall towards his room, to re-establish their Life Bond. (Among other things.)

Jenny turned to Joshua. "Want to see something spectacular, that hasn't been seen in about, oh, a hundred years?" she grinned at him.

"Sure!" Hoping his eyes weren't giving away that he thought she was pretty spectacular herself.

She led him over to the front door and snatched it wide, revealing the Porterion Nebula in all its reestablished glory. Immense swathes of eye-bending colors swirled joyously around the center, the Eye, in which two sister stars could be seen circling each other in their endless dance. All around them, sprinkled throughout the plasma clouds, stars and proto-stars danced and sparkled.

Joshua gasped, as the heavenly songs flooded in. "Listen! Oh, listen!" he breathed.

Jenny looked at him, confused. "Listen?" she asked.

He looked at her, and saw she could not hear what he did. He grinned shyly, and took her hand, then reached out with his mind to hers, offering her his own personal perceptions of the cosmos.

She gasped, even louder than he had a moment ago, and gazed out at the nebula with wide-eyed wonder. Wordlessly, they sank down together and sat for hours, hand in hand, watching and listening as the stars of Gallifrey danced their endless, joyous dance once more.