For Jack, aboard the Valiant and at the Master's cruel mercy, the constant death and resurrection was not what he considered the torture to be. In his mind, he could block out much of the pain. He could distance himself from it. The torture was not knowing about his friends - about Martha, about the Doctor, about his team. The Master had told him he'd sent them on a trip to the Himalayas. Part of Jack rejoiced - okay, so they were probably knee-deep in snow with no idea what was going on, but what did that matter? They were alive.
Some time and many more deaths later, the Master came to see Jack with a huge grin plastered across his face.
"I've found them," was all he simply said. Dread welled up in Jack's heart.
"Who?" he asked. 'Them' could be anyone, he told himself.
"Your little team. They came back from the Himalayas - realised there was nothing there. Started messing with my plans. Now they're paying for it."
Jack's heart flipped in his chest. "Are they all right?" he pressed, worry and strain cracking his voice. The Master beckoned with two fingers, and suddenly guards were flanking him, walking from the door towards Jack. They let him loose of his chains, but held his hands behind his back and gripped him tightly by the shoulders. The Master walked out of the door, calling back to Jack who was being led behind.
"They're dead - except this one. She was leading them when they were found. The others were shot - executed in your name."
Jack stopped, his will and his feet refusing to carry him any further. His face was carefully moulded into a mask of neutralism. He couldn't let the Master show how much he cared - that would only make this all the more amusing for him. But inside... he felt like he was being ripped in two. Then something else hit him - the Master had said one was still alive. A female, leading the team. Jack's heart flipped again - it must be Gwen. She must still be alive. Part of him was so proud of her. The guards on either side of him dragged him forwards again.
He was led into a little room, with a cold stone floor and white walls. There was only one door, just one way out. And then he saw her, hanging from the ceiling in the centre of the room, cuffs around her wrists holding her up, with her feet dangling away from the floor. Her head was down, flopped against her chest in resignation. She looked terrible, Jack thought, bloodied and bruised, and one of her legs was hanging at an odd angle - broken, he realised.
The guards left them for a moment, and Jack walked over to her, dread welling up inside at what he might find, what they might have done to her.
"Gwen?" he said softly. Her eyelids fluttered, and then opened. Hanging the way she was, her eyes were level with Jack's, and he was the first thing she saw.
"Jack?" she managed, croaking out his name in a hoarse voice, a whisper that suggested someone had been abusing her voice box. On closer inspection, bruises around her neck could clearly be seen. Jack reached out a hand to touch her cheek, and instinctively she flinched away from it. Jack quickly drew his hand back. Gwen's eyes filled with tears.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"What have you got to be sorry for?"
"Everything," she said. A pause. "They got the others. Are they-"
"Dead," Jack confirmed quietly, not meeting Gwen's eyes. Her shoulders visibly sagged further and he eyes drifted closed again. Then they were open once more, that fierce determination blazing in them.
"Jack," she said. Jack looked up at her. "Thank-you."
"Everything." A small smile. "I don't blame you for anything. It's not your fault. And... Jack?"
Just then, the guards stormed back in, and grabbed Jack by the shoulders to drag him away again. As he was pulled out of the door, he heard a feeble whisper behind him.
"Jack? Jack? I love you..."
Then the door had slammed shut behind him, and Jack had been marched back to his room, where he was chained up once more. Even in this part of the ship, he could hear Gwen's screams.
It lasted for days, the periods of screaming and then silence. Jack didn't know which was worse - knowing Gwen was in that much pain, or not knowing if she was still alive in the silence . The Master seemed to have a perverse pleasure in coming to see Jack and telling him what they were doing to her. He told Jack all about the cuffs that heated up to such an intense temperature that they burnt through her skin, the knives slashed across her flesh, the punches and the kicks, the number of times they had raped her whilst she screamed in pain and humiliation and fear. Jack couldn't keep a neutral expression over this any more, and often burst into tears and shouted at the Master, raging in his hatred for him. Then the Master looked amused, liked he'd accomplished something even, and left Jack alone again.
One day the screams reached a new pitch, rising higher and louder than before. And then suddenly, much more suddenly than before, the silence again. The Master came in flanked by the guards for a second time. At first Jack thought he would be taken to Gwen again, but then the guards threw her body down on the floor in front of him. Jack instantly felt numb - she was dead. Gwen, his Gwen, dead. He'd recruited her, he'd brought her into all this. As much as he tried to believe what she'd said - she didn't blame him, she forgave him - this was still all his fault. He'd cried and cried at the sight; Gwen lying cold and alone and dead on the floor, hair dishevelled, skin a mixture of purple and black from the bruises, scorches and burns all over her, and covered in so much blood it was impossible to tell where the cuts were any more. Then the Master had killed him too. When he woke up, Gwen's body was gone. He was alone again.
During his time aboard the Valiant, Jack had worked out many things he'd like to say to his team if he ever saw them again. To get to go home, it was the best gift Jack could have hoped for. And for them not to have to remember - that was just for the best. He wouldn't want them to remember what happened. Especially Gwen, his poor Gwen. He'd had so many things to say to her, but he'd never had the chance. He'd lost her before he could say them. Then the Doctor had saved everything, like he always did, and things had been put back to normal. He'd made up his mind that once he got home, found her alive and well, the first thing he would do would be to tell her all those things.
Then he found the ring on her finger, and his heart crumbled - he'd lost her again.