Jack's gasp spoke of a thousand knives slicing through his lungs. The Doctor hurt with it, face hidden by the makeshift tent in the conference room.
In the quiet of the Valiant's night, Jack asked, "You there, Doctor?"
"I've not gone on a pleasure cruise," the Doctor said. He hated the quaver that age lent his voice. "How're you . . . holding up?" Jack had made himself the Master's whipping boy; his earlier death was chilling. It took him hours to revivify.
Jack rattled his chains. "Still hanging around. Dying's no picnic, but it beats losing people--the paperwork's a bitch."
The Doctor thought of Rose--not dead, but lost. "I'm so glad she's beyond his reach."
A beat passed. "I know, Doc." Jack's voice held a wealth of words he wouldn't say before the Master's eyes and ears.
The Doctor's throat tightened. Understanding slowly dawned: Jack had been talking about him.
A/N: WMR's prompt: "The Doctor and Jack, talking about death/dying." Poetry's prompt: "Why not try to see things from a different angle?"