A few weeks later, early one fall morning, Jenny walked down the path to their little front gate with her father and her son as she did every morning, seeing them off to school. They would stop by to pick up Kylie and Kriston on their way. Rose had already left for her stint at the garden co-op, and Joshua was bunking at a large farm on the other side of Rockyford Village where he had been hired to help bring in their bean harvest.
She gave them each a last, warm hug, Brandon protesting as usual; he wanted to be away to play with his friend on their walk to school, and had never understood the reasons for his family's sudden fussing over him that summer. Laughing, she let him go, and the two of them walked up the path over the hilltop, the boy dashing ahead.
She stood at the gate for several long minutes after they'd disappeared over the horizon, gazing after them, just breathing. She'd somewhat forgiven the Doctor for his abrupt departure from the past, but... it still hurt.
"Jenny?" At first, she didn't realize the soft call had come from anywhere other than her own memory. Then she turned and saw him walk out from between the trees a few yards away.
"Jor... Jack," she corrected herself midstream. She felt like the wind had been knocked out of her lungs.
"Jack," he confirmed as he came to a stop on the other side of the closed, waist-high gate. He stood there gazing at her silently, face weathered, eyes ancient.
"How did you find us?" she asked to fill the silence that stretched out between them.
"You told me. 'Boring old Rockyford Village.' And I got the date from the TARDIS as I made up my fake report." He didn't bother explaining why he'd waited past that date; he didn't need to. To give her, and perhaps himself, time to process things.
"Jenny..." he went on. "I know this is going to sound incredibly, unbelievably cheesy, especially coming from me, but... I've been looking for you my whole life. The Doctor blocked my memories back then, but he didn't, or couldn't, take away the image of your face. And for three hundred years, that face has been haunting me. And now I know why." He paused, then rushed on. "I was going to leave the Agency. I was going to stay here on Serenity, with you."
Her hands were gripping the top of the gate, knuckles white. She couldn't breathe.
He went on. "I know there's been a hell of a lot of water under both our bridges since then. But I was wondering... I was hoping..." His voice trailed off, uncertain.
"Now that both of us know who and what each other really is, I was hoping that maybe... we could try again." There. He'd said it.
She bowed her head, her eyes dropping to her hands. After a long moment of silence, he took a step forward, one hand reaching tentatively to cover hers, but she stepped back, out of reach. His hand dropped again to his side, as devastation threatened to flood over him.
And then he realized she'd pulled open the gate between them. And raised her eyes back to his, tears prickling.
"Come into the kitchen," she said simply. "We've got a mountain of beans to shell."