Author's note: To tell the truth, I had no intention of adding to this story. But people seemed to really like it, and I've been getting story alerts, and I got some inspiration. So here we are. I hope you enjoy this, too.
Jack was sitting at his desk when he heard a knock at his door. "Come in." He smiled as Martha walked in. She sat at the chair on the opposite side of the desk.
"You have a really great team here, Jack," she said. "You've trained them well. The Doctor would be proud."
"I've got a question, though," Martha said.
"What is it?" Jack asked, leaning slightly forward, folding his hands and laying them on his desk.
"Ianto was telling me he used to work for Torchwood London before coming to work for you."
"Yeah, so?" asked Jack, an eyebrow rising.
"So why doesn't he know about the Doctor? Isn't the whole institution centered on him?"
"Ianto's clearance wasn't high enough over there."
"And over here, too?" Martha asked, staring straight into his eyes.
"You told me more about yourself in the first few hours that we met than you've told any of your team in the entire time they've worked for you."
"It's different with you..." said Jack, lying back into his chair. "You were with the Doctor. I needed him to give me answers."
"But still," said Martha. "I remember the way you spoke of them. You'd do anything for them, yeah?"
"But how can they trust you when they know nothing about you?"
"There are some things I don't think they need to know," said Jack.
"I understand you're not telling them about this last year and everything that could've happened."
"Actually," said Jack. "That was the hardest of all. They wanted answers that I couldn't give them. They thought I abandoned them... I guess, in a way, I did. I left them for the Doctor."
"But you came back to them!" said Martha earnestly. "I left the Doctor to be with my family, and so did you."
"But it's so hard, Martha. You can't understand."
"Oh, so now you're categorizing me along with the rest of them. Why don't you try telling me, and I'll let you know if I need any clarifications."
Jack crossed his arms and looked at her. He knew there was something about her that he liked. He sighed. "Every time I die and am brought back to life, it's so painful that I can hardly bare it. But it only lasts a little while, and then I'm healed. But all the terrible things I've witnessed, all the loved ones I've lost- those scars don't go away. And these four that I've come to think of as family, I'm going to lose them. It may be fifty years from now, it may be tomorrow, but it will happen. And I'm going to live on, move on, and replace them. Because that's the only thing that I can do."
"Jack," said Martha, soothingly. "I realize that I can't imagine what it's like for you. All the knowing." Martha's voice then picked up some more passion. "But think of all the places you've been. You've seen the future. Heck, you've seen the end of the universe! Life goes on. We all survive, not just you."
They were suddenly startled by a knock at the door. Tosh peaked her head inside. "Hope I'm not interrupting, but Owen was looking for you, Martha."
"Thanks," said Martha. "I'll be right there." She stood up from her chair with one final glance at Jack before leaving.
Jack again found himself alone in his office. But Martha's words still laid heavily on his mind. He thought about time. He had plenty of it, all the time in the world. But then again, so does the world.
Another knock broke his silence. This time, it was Ianto holding a mug of coffee. "Coffee, sir?"
"Great," said Jack, smiling as Ianto handed him the mug. "Thanks, Yan."
"My pleasure, sir," said Ianto.
"I thought I was your pleasure?" said Jack, his smile even broader.
"It seems I must have forgotten. You'll have to remind me later."
"Who needs Later," said Jack. "When we have Now?"
This time, they were both smiling.