Rating: PG (for Owen's mouth)
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood. Season three should make that obvious.
Summary: There will always be a light in the darkness. Tosh/Owen, spoilers for "Exit Wounds."
don’t worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest.
Dying, Tosh had decided upon a bit of reflection, was more or less the most god-awful experience she had ever gone through. Between dragging herself across the ground on one broken arm, the bullet piercing her, and the slowly encroaching numbness as her life bled away…well, it was something she was sort of grateful she would never have to repeat.
And now she was in the darkness. Although she was startled at how expansive and oppressive the darkness was, she was not completely surprised at actually finding herself here in the first place. They had brought people back to life with the Resurrection Gauntlet who had all spoken of this darkness.
…no, she reminded herself as her thoughts went off on a tangent. It was the Risen Mitten, not the Resurrection Gauntlet. She smiled sadly as she thought of Ianto piping up with one of his first little puns. Rhyming had become almost a game for him after that, with the whole team taking it in turns to try and stump him. To Tosh’s knowledge, she was the only one to have beaten him at the game.
Poor Ianto. There was no word that rhymed with “silver.”
She had grown so close to the team’s youngest member after the incidents with Lisa and Mary. After all, she understood him better than anyone; she knew exactly what it felt like to have to chose between the world and one’s most important person, and decide that the world could go to hell in a handbasket with a pretty pink bow on it. And he had understood how it felt to lose one’s lover to Torchwood; he had taken her deposition and made her a cup of strong tea later.
She hoped he was all right. She hoped they were all okay.
Tosh had been wandering the darkness since Death had ferried her there. She had no way of knowing how far she had gone or how long she had been walking about; such things had no true meaning here. There could have been others meandering around in the same manner as her, and she would have had no way of knowing it. The darkness was too thick. When she held her hand out at arm’s length, she could just barely make out the line of her fingers; that was it.
It was because of these facts that Tosh was more than a bit surprised to run headlong into someone in the darkness. Quite literally, actually – it was an outright collision. She stumbled backwards at the impact, but quickly righted herself and instinctively reached up to brush herself off. “I’m so sorry, are you all right?”
Belatedly, she realized that if that someone else was here, in the darkness with her, then chances were that he or she was dead, and thus by definition, they were not all right. Or they had to be all right because in this place, the dead were beyond injury. Right?
Tosh’s head was starting to hurt, both because of her thoughts and because she was squinting through the darkness in an effort to see who she had crashed into. She could just barely discern the shape of an outline if she squinted something fierce, but no defining features.
The other person was silent for a long moment. Or rather it might have been a long moment. Tosh was certain that time did not move here in the same way as it did in the world of the living.
“Hello?” she tried again, suddenly feeling a bit apprehensive. Why wasn’t this person answering her? As she was contemplating turning and walking away from the first other person she had encountered here in the darkness, she got a reply.
“You lied to me.”
If Tosh’s heart had still been beating, it would have stopped right then and there. And possibly leapt into her throat in a dramatic bid for freedom. She knew that voice. She knew it as well as she knew her own name. “…Owen?”
“I asked if you were all right,” he said. “And you fucking lied to me.” He sounded as angry as he ever had in life.
She looked down. “I did.”
There was a pause before Owen spoke again. “What the hell happened?”
“He shot me,” Tosh said softly. “Gray, I mean. I wasn’t paying attention, and he snuck up on me, and…” She trailed off, torn between wanting to tell him the story as he had asked, and just not wanting to talk about the final, painful experience of her life.
She saw Owen’s head move; he seemed to be nodding. “So why didn’t you tell me?”
“You were trapped there. You couldn’t have done anything for me.” She chose not to add to that statement, leaving the ’just like I couldn’t help you’ unvoiced. “I didn’t want you to worry. You had enough on your mind.”
“I might have been able to—“
“I know you better than that, Owen,” she interrupted. “You would scream in the face of Death itself if it meant you could save another life or three. I’ve actually seen you do it.” She actually felt a smile tug at her lips at that. As terrifying as it had been when it was happening, she looked back on that moment with pride in his courage. “I didn’t want to put anymore guilt on you for not being able to help me.”
He was silent.
“Owen, you saved Cardiff by stopping the meltdown. I think that’s more important than one life,” she pointed out, ever the logical one.
“I know that!” he exploded, finally sounding like himself again. “But bloody hell, Tosh, that doesn’t mean I have to like it!”
“There’s my Owen!” she cheered, unable to stop the words, nor was she able to keep herself from clapping her hands. Truth be told, she didn’t really care. He knew how she felt; no reason to be quiet about it. It wasn’t like she had anything left to lose. “That’s the first time you’ve really sounded like yourself since we bumped into each other!”
She felt, rather than saw, his glare, but was undeterred. “Thanks, Tosh,” he said. It was sarcastic, but without any real heat.
Tosh let the smile slide from her face as she looked down towards feet she could barely see through the shadows. “Owen, listen…”
“I know I said I don’t do apologies, but…that might have been a bit of a lie,” Owen said. The strutting confidence had vanished, along with his almost trademark swearing. This was the Owen she had seen about to be embalmed, the one who had both worried and comforted her after Tommy had been sent back to his own time, and the one who had sat on the other side of a speaker and spoke quietly to her just before he died for the second and presumably final time.
“You don’t have anything to apologize for,” Tosh said, surprised.
“Yeah I do. The fact that you’re here means I fucked up something terrible,” he said. The silhouette of his head turned, as though he was looking off towards some unknown point on a distant horizon. “I’m sorry, Tosh.”
She knew he meant it. “You could have done anything with your last few minutes,” she pointed out. “You spent them talking to me. It helped, Owen. It helped a lot.”
“Helped you, or helped me?” he said.
“Why not both?” Tosh pointed out. Logic had always been her strong point. Logic, reasoning, deduction, practicality. Her one failing in that respect had always been the man standing in front of her. She had rationalized herself out of a lot of things over the years, but this one had stuck.
Deciding to take a risk, she threw him a grin that she knew he couldn’t see. “And if you’re worried about it, looks like we’ve finally got time for that date.” She willed him to see the statement for what it was: a desperate joke.
Amazingly enough, he chuckled. "Yeah, all right. I suppose we do. So what'll it be? Dinner, movie, a game of I Spy?" The silhouette turned, and he seemed to be glancing out towards the seemingly neverending expanse of night around them. "Or maybe we could just go for a bit of a walk. You with me?"
"You want us to--"
“Do you really want to go wandering around here by yourself?”
“Well, that’s that, then, isn’t it?”
There was a moment of silence between them, more companionable than awkward. Something felt…right, somehow, like some unknown element had finally slotted into place to make things a bit more complete. It seemed like there were things that needed to be said still, but neither was in a terrible hurry to break the silence by actually saying them. There really was no rush.
Goodness knew they had plenty of time.
“You know, Tosh,” Owen said finally, “I think there’s an end to the darkness somewhere. I didn’t remember it when Jack brought me back, but I swear I saw a light somewhere around here.” He shifted, as though squaring his shoulders. “What say we go find it? Sure as hell beats standing around, right?”
If Tosh was surprised at the possibility of there being a way out of the darkness, she didn’t really register it. “I think that’s a very good idea.” For a brief, delirious second, she almost wondered if this qualified as their unfulfilled date, but she pushed the thought from her mind as soon as it registered. “Let’s just stay together, okay?”
She felt fingers brush against her wrist before dropping down to her hand, where they grabbed on and held on. Her own fingers instinctively returned the hold, neither wanting nor daring to let go. It would be far too easy to get lost, alone, in the darkness again, and though neither outright said it, neither wanted to risk that happening again. Not when it had taken them so long to find each other.
And not just in the literal sense.
“Yeah, all right,” Owen said. Was it just her imagination, or did his hold on her hand tighten ever so slightly? “Let’s stick together and see what we can find.”
For the first few steps, Owen walked ahead, leading Tosh by the hand; his back was to her. Had he looked back, he would have seen the expression on her face quite clearly, even through the darkness.
Her smile was just that bright.
PS. So my BFF kaitodoushi ships Tosh/Owen. Well, as do I, obviously XD So after we both bawled our eyes out at the end of "Exit Wounds," I set out to write her a fic. Because I WANTS A HAPPY ENDING, DAMMIT! This is the result. Hope you enjoyed it! Thanks!