Notes: Gen Tosh fic. Yeah, I just re-watched "Fragments" and "Exit Wounds", and this came out of that.
Pairings: Canon (nothing overt)
Disclaimer: Torchwood and its characters are the property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies. I make no profit from this fanfic.
Jack gives Toshiko a week before she's required to report at Torchwood. He brings her to Cardiff, where he's got an flat already set up for her and clothes in the wardrobe (along with a credit card to buy more). She's not allowed to return to London to clear out her flat there, but Jack promises he'll have all her personals brought to Cardiff, and his word is good: before the week is out, the new flat is full of boxes. She assumes her things were gone through by UNIT, since her home computer's hard drive is wiped clean; but it's unimportant. She has her life back.
Maybe not all of it yet, but Jack said something about getting time for good behaviour, and she hopes it means eventually she'll be allowed more.
On her first day, she shows up at 8 am as ordered to Roald Dahl Plass. She's standing in front of the Millenium Centre, hands cupped around a paper cup of coffee. After weeks of that dark cell in UNIT, she's still blinking at her new freedom, at the pedestrian traffic, everyone walking around so freely, so innocent. The day is grey and overcast, but she's outside; she doesn't care.
"Right on time!" says Jack Harkness, and Toshiko nearly spills her coffee.
"Where did you come from?" she gasps.
He grins and offers her his arm. "Come and see."
Tosh isn't sure what the biggest shock of the day is: that there's an invisible lift in front of the water tower sculpture in the Oval Basin, that there's a gigantic secret facility hidden underneath it, or that said facility is stocked full of technology more advanced than she's ever seen. Jack shows her all over, shows her where she'll be working, tells her she'll be trained in the use of firearms. Tosh is nervous about that, but it's part of the job and she'll make herself deal with it.
When the alarms go off to announce the cogwheel door opening, Tosh lets out a little gasp despite herself. Jack catches her by the shoulders. "Just the door alarm," he says. "You'll get used to it."
Tosh gives him a nervous smile and nods. "I'll be fine," she tells him. The more she says it, the more she hopes she'll believe it.
"That'll be... ahh." Jack's been leaning on the desk to walk Tosh through the mainframe system, though she thinks she's already got more of a grasp on it than Jack does. Tosh turns to look as the slight, dark-haired figure enters through the rolling door. "Doctor Owen Harper," Jack calls, standing, "meet Toshiko Sato."
"Whatever," Owen calls back in a tired voice, heading straight for the autopsy bay. "I'm fucking hung over, is there any coffee?"
"You learn to get along with him," Jack says as if he's making an excuse. Tosh glances after the doctor, already disappearing behind the plastic sheeting separating the bay from the main area of the Hub, and smiles a little.
"Doesn't seem that bad to me," she says diplomatically.
A week later, she's cursing Owen Harper's name in every language she knows while riding the train up to London to pretend to be a medic and dissect the alien they've fished out of the Thames. Toshiko Sato promises herself she'll never forgive Owen for disappearing and subjecting her to this.
Suzie circles Tosh like she doesn't know quite what to make of her. Tosh has been settled in at Torchwood for six months now and she wants to be friendly, but Suzie's coolness puts her off. Suzie reminds Tosh of a predator. A tiger, maybe, stalking shady jungle paths, all that menace contained behind her eyes. At first, Tosh was looking forward to having another woman on the team; she got sick of all the testosterone in the Hub sometimes. Now, she's not so sure.
"Suzie's the best," Jack says when he introduces her to Tosh and Owen, though he doesn't elaborate on what, precisely, Suzie Costello is best at doing. "She's going to be our primary field agent after me. Kids, be friendly."
Owen starts showing off for Suzie within two weeks, and Tosh quietly loathes her even as she grows to respect Suzie's natural intelligence and way with planning. By then, she's forgiven Owen for what she now calls the "space pig incident", and they laughed together when he found Muppets videos ("Pigs! In! Spaaaaaace!") on Youtube. Still, Owen is as likely to snap and snarl at her as he is to give her a friendly word, and so Tosh isn't entirely unhappy when he and Suzie start screwing. At least it puts him in a better mood. Most of the time.
She's not too proud to admit she's jealous of Suzie, but at least she can recognise it in herself. Besides, she knows she's not a looker. She'd never have a chance with Owen. Might as well let them have each other.
By the third time Jack's run into Ianto Jones, it seems pretty clear that Jack's going to hire him -- to everyone, perhaps, except Jack. Tosh does a night of research on the Welshman and comes up with a profile of a young man with a troubled childhood, who seems to have rattled around a bit before settling down into work at Torchwood One. He's in an incredible minority of survivors of Canary Wharf, and since his girlfriend died in the fighting, Tosh's heart melts a little for him.
She's glad Jack hires him, even if it does include a prehistoric creature into the bargain. Ianto makes amazing coffee, neatly relieving Tosh of her attempts to do so. He makes himself part of the Hub so effortlessly that it's only a few days before she starts to wonder what they would have done without him.
Ianto's dapper in his suits, friendly without being forward, occasionally offering a subtle bon mot or smile to make Tosh chuckle. Sometimes she wonders if he's-- But she's seen the flirting between him and Jack. Even if Ianto did have a girlfriend before Canary Wharf, it hasn't been that long since. And Jack, it seems, has already staked a claim.
Tosh's first impression of Gwen Cooper is that she's a scared little PC who has no idea what she's gotten herself into. Jack is entirely too forthcoming, in Tosh's opinion, even though she knows there'll be a Retcon cocktail later and (with luck) PC Cooper will have forgotten the whole thing.
But Gwen shows a persistence that frankly surprises Tosh, what with the way she comes back to confront Suzie about the knife without even knowing what she's there for. And though she mucks up her first official day on the job, Tosh has to admire the way Gwen works to make it right.
It gets her out of some of the fieldwork, too, and that's fine with Tosh, who'd rather be surrounded by her banks of monitors anyway.
She and Gwen aren't girlfriends, not chatty and close like Tosh imagines office co-workers might be. But she thinks of it as almost a sisterly relationship (which pleases her, since she's never had siblings). They might not be close as all that, but either of them will fight for the other, take a bullet or bleed for the other. They're teammates, and that's what teammates do.
"Why do you keep staring at that wanker?" Owen asks once. They've both got their hands in a muddy patch of field, soaked up to the elbow while they try to lift some old gadget out of a pond. It's not deep enough for them to need any mechanical assistance, and Owen kept insisting he just needed to clear some roots out from underneath, so Tosh hangs on to the top while he does and thinks longingly of hot showers.
Now, though, she jerks her gaze to Owen and blinks at him. "What?"
"You're always staring at him," he says. "Don't tell me you're bloody in love with him too."
Tosh feels her cheeks heat up a little, though it's more at the idea of being in love with Jack than anything. Jack is way too much for her. He's so intense, so alive and energetic all the time. Tosh knows she couldn't handle being the focus of his attention for very long.
"You are, aren't you?" Owen snaps. "Jesus Christ, I knew it -- fuck! Hang on--" he yelps, as the mud suddenly sucks him down. Tosh shrieks. Her arms are trembling from holding the gadget up, and Jack, alerted by her yell, comes running over from where he was prowling by the fence of the property. He grabs Owen before he goes under and manages to pull him back.
She doesn't get a chance to answer Owen until much later, back at the Hub, the three of them trooping in from the invisible lift and heading toward the showers. Jack's peeling off his coat, Ianto hurrying up to take it and making a face at how mudstained it is. Tosh smiles a little, seeing Gwen's wide eyes take in the state of their clothes and of the muddy, waterlogged bit of alien tech Tosh and Owen are carrying between them.
Jack glances back at them. His eyes catch Tosh's and his smile is warm, approving. She nods to him in acknowledgement and then glances at Owen as they set the gadget down by the base of the water tower. Owen's looking at her again with that same question in his eyes.
"He saved my life," she says, smiling. "That's all."
She's dying. It hurts like hell; the shot of adrenaline she gave herself to keep alert has faded, all too quickly, and the pain spreads out burning fingers through her body from the hole in her stomach where Jack's brother shot her. One part of her wants to protest that it wasn't supposed to end like this, but really, Tosh knows better.
Owen's already gone. She can picture him standing there in the sealed room at Turnmill, facing his doom, meeting it with head held high. Her breath rattles in her chest. Not long now. Footsteps pound down the stairs and she sees the swirl of Jack's greatcoat. Jack. She can't stop him from gathering her to him, even though it's too late; too late for the shot Gwen gives her, too late for Ianto, reaching for supplies from the tray by the wall, to help at all.
But they're there, at least, gathered around her as blackness closes in on her. She knows she did good. Her last vision is of Jack's proud, fond smile. Keeping her eyes fixed on him -- the only thing she can do, now -- Tosh lets go of Torchwood.
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this page last updated on 27 april 2009