Diana tried not to be obvious as she spoke, but she feared her eyes gave her away, informed him that this did not relate to just Jack and Sophie. Or the statement itself would, since she knew what he did with Jack. She continued relating the conversation without the loss of a beat, her confession wrapped up.
And received, for Stephen nodded only slightly, almost as if he was merely listening on the surface, not even blinking.
He had suspected as much. And accepted it as her right.
This was the second time he had done this on departing from her. He wanted to always be able to remember her clearly, because whenever the ship's company came home, there was always the chance that one of them would not be there to greet the other.
At Jack's tone, Stephen put a hand to his forehead. "Brother, this anxiety over your flag is giving you a fever. A lesser yellow fever, perhaps?"
"Maybe not lesser by much...a yellow fever, yes, which every post-captain gets if he lives long enough; I've seen it before. You may record the symptoms, if you like."
"Jack," Stephen was very anxious, "you will not die?"
Jack chuckled sadly. "I made the same plea to you. But though I can fight, in the end my survival is no more in my control then yours was."