Author: rabidcrazygirl PM
A sentimental, fluffy fic. After she dies, Tosh wakes up on a train to nowhere with Owen. One by one, the team joins her. Tosh/Owen, Jack/Ianto, mentioned Rhys/Gwen.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 2,572 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 83 - Follows: 3 - Published: 09-07-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4525563
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I was feeling a bit sentimental the other day, so I decided to write this life-after-death Torchwood fic. It's pretty fluffy. I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: You know all that nothing that's out there? I own all of it.
She was swaying gently from side to side, rocking like a baby in a cradle. A strange, methodical clacking echoed in her ears, booming and resonating and thundering in a quiet sort of way. The cool air smelled clean and somewhat sweet, like strawberries or vanilla, or possibly both. It was unlike anything she'd ever experienced.
Toshiko Sato opened her eyes.
She was seated in a train compartment, but something in the back of her mind told her that it wasn't one—or at least, it wasn't just a train compartment. For one thing, the seat was far more comfortable than it had any right to be. The large window to her left overlooked a shifting, moving landscape of green countryside that was much too perfect. And to top all the strangeness off, she was sitting directly across from Owen Harper, a man she knew was dead—properly dead this time, dead and gone with every atom of his body irradiated into nothingness.
"Hey," Owen said.
"Um..." Tosh replied.
"Bit of a shock, isn't it?" Owen asked with a sympathetic smile. "Waking up here. I wish you weren't here, actually."
"Excuse me?" Tosh asked, torn between devoting all her emotional energy to her substantial confusion, or sparing some for offense and indignation.
"You're dead, Tosh," Owen said simply. "We're dead."
Tosh considered this for a moment. "Yes," she said. "I suppose that makes as much sense as anything." She fixed him with a searching stare. "You don't look that surprised to see me here, though."
Owen snorted a laugh. "Why would I?" he asked.
"Well, I think I did a damn fine job hiding it from you," Tosh said.
"Hiding what? The fact that you were dying?" Owen wanted to know. "Hate to burst your bubble, darling, but your acting chops are far less powerful than you think they are. I could hear it loud and clear in your voice."
"Why didn't you say something?"
"There wasn't the time," Owen said. "Besides, it seemed like you really didn't want me to know." He grinned. "But now that we're both here, I can ask! How'd it happen?"
Tosh rolled her eyes. "You are such a child," she said, but she couldn't fight the smile that twisted her lips upwards. She'd never been able to resist Owen, and it seemed like that wasn't about to change, even in the afterlife. "But since you asked...shot in the stomach. By Gray. That bastard." She glanced out the window at the rolling, immaculate countryside. "I hope everyone else is all right."
"I think that they are," Owen said.
"But how can you know?"
"They're not here, are they?"
"You do have a point," Tosh conceded. "Where is here, anyway? How come you never mentioned this?"
"I don't know," Owen replied. "Maybe Death got an interior decorator? The whole 'oblivion' thing must get old after an eternity or so."
"Or maybe you just weren't allowed to remember," Tosh said.
"It's as good an explanation as any other," Owen said, stretching his shoulders so the joints popped satisfyingly. "I'll tell you one thing, though. Mass transit for all eternity? We must be in Hell."
Tosh smiled absently at him, remaining silent. She turned her gaze back to the moving landscape outside the window. Unconsciously, she traced her stomach with her right hand, feeling the place where the bullet had ripped through her. It was odd, she thought, that she was at once so completely destroyed and entirely healed.
"But d'you know what?" Owen's voice broke into her reverie. Tosh looked back at him and was surprised to find him studying her with a broad smile on his face. "If we're going to be stuck in the same place for the rest of time—even if it is in Hell—I'm glad that you're here with me."
Something in Tosh's heart melted. She'd never anticipated hearing those words from Owen's lips in life—but there he was, the twice-dead man, uttering the sentiments that she'd longed for. She reached out across the space between them. Owen took her hand and squeezed her fingers gently. "Me, too," she said.
There was no way of knowing how much time had passed on the train. Time did not seem to exist for Owen and Tosh. They sat next to one another and talked and held hands, or remained in companionable silence, staring out the window or studying one another's faces, not quite believing where they were or what had happened—both options were equally comfortable. The two were in the midst of a lively conversation regarding the Space Pig and Tosh's encounter with the infamous Doctor when the compartment door slid open and Ianto walked in.
He was as immaculate as ever in one of his incredible suits. His scarlet shirt blazed in contrast with his pale skin, but there was something different about him that took Tosh a moment to spot.
It was age. Ianto had a couple of faint lines rimming his eyes and mouth. But those lines quickly smoothed and disappeared as she watched, and in a few seconds, the Ianto she'd always known was standing before them. He was just straightening out one of his cuffs when he spotted Tosh and Owen staring at him. He froze.
"You have got to be shitting me," Tosh heard him mutter. She giggled.
"You caught the train, mate!" Owen said boisterously. "Congratulations!"
"But—but Owen, you're dead!" Ianto protested. "And Tosh—I put your body in the morgue myself! How can you—where am I?—Oh no." The moment of dawning realization was so comically sudden that Tosh laughed outright. "Jack is going to kill me," Ianto said, and this set Owen off laughing as well.
When the original pair had settled down, Ianto took a seat across from Toshiko and began to fill them in on Torchwood's doings as best as he could. The organization had apparently saved the world innumerable times since their respective deaths, once from some ultraviolet space-raccoons, a couple of times from the Daleks (who always seemed to make it back—Ianto had no idea how), and countless times from John Hart.
"I really don't know why Jack didn't just top him," Owen said when Ianto revealed this. "I mean, the man caused enough trouble!"
"I've often asked Jack the same question," Ianto said, grimacing. "I don't even think he knows the answer to that one."
Owen had been replaced—for a time, at least—by Martha Jones. Owen gave a satisfied nod at hearing this, but Tosh was less than thrilled with her replacement, a London-born hacker named Mickey Smith.
"Couldn't Jack have done a little better?" Tosh whined. "I mean, a hacker? Seriously?"
"Jack always said that he was never out to replace you," Ianto said quietly, and Tosh felt slightly mollified. "But don't be so hard on Mickey. He's a nice enough bloke. He and Jack didn't exactly get along, though. It certainly made things at Torchwood more...interesting." He snorted a laugh at some memory, eyes unfocused, gazing into the past.
"But you never told us how you died," Owen prodded. "Something interesting?"
"Well, I saved the world," Ianto said. "Or at least, I'm pretty sure I did."
"Space-raccoons? Daleks? John?" Tosh asked eagerly.
"Some bloke named Gregory Feldman," Ianto replied grimly. "The wanker set Janet on me. And we can't all be King of the Weevils."
"Ouch," Owen said, pulling a grimace.
"If it's any consolation, he probably didn't make it past Jack alive," Tosh said soothingly.
"Oh, I know," Ianto said with a chilling grin. "I know."
In the time that followed, he didn't discuss Jack all that often. Tosh thought that it was because he'd realized that the chances that he'd get to see the American captain ever again were slim to none—with Jack's special ability, he most likely would not be joining them on the train to nowhere. But the former tea-boy put on a brave face and joined in the conversation with Owen and Toshiko, supplying interesting bits of information about Gwen and Torchwood's activities that the other two eagerly gobbled up.
No one was surprised when Gwen suddenly turned up in the seat next to Owen. One moment it was empty, and the next she was sitting there, eyes closed as though napping. The age that had touched her was more pronounced than it had been with Ianto—there were streaks of gray in her dark brown hair, and her face was wrinkled and more leathery than before. But within seconds, the years began to fall away, and by the time she opened those familiar green eyes, she was the same Gwen that Tosh had always known. Tosh watched her glance around the train compartment, taking everything in. The Welshwoman gave a satisfied nod.
"Good," she said. "Hello, everyone."
Ianto chuckled and gave her a one-armed hug. "Hey," he said.
Owen shook his head. "Way to make an entrance."
"Hello, Gwen," Tosh said quietly, smiling. Gwen gave her a gap-toothed grin.
"So, what have we been missing?" Owen wanted to know, nudging the woman repeatedly. She swatted his arm away.
"Oi, stop it!" she protested. "God, death hasn't made you any less annoying, has it?"
"I thought you'd have learned that the first time around," Owen replied. Gwen rolled her eyes.
Mickey had been killed fifteen years before in an explosion set by some creatures intent upon destroying Torchwood. His replacement was a young woman with two years of experience at UNIT and three years experience in hacking into top-secret government files for the CIA. Gwen hadn't liked her that much. Jack had disappeared again with the Doctor, but he'd left a note this time (Gwen seemed to be directing that particular comment at Ianto, who flushed deep pink). Martha had retired from Torchwood, as had Gwen, when they hit their sixties—both record ages for any Torchwood employee.
"I would have stayed on longer," Gwen said. "But Jack made me retire. He threatened to RetCon me so I'd forget everything. But I finally agreed." She sighed. "Besides, Rhys needed help with the kids."
This remark had sparked an entirely new slew of questions from Ianto, Tosh and Owen. Gwen had apparently had two children—a boy and a girl. Rhys had suggested naming them after Gwen's fallen team-mates, but she'd talked him out of it.
"It would have been too morbid!" she said when Owen protested. "I mean, you people are dead!"
"So're you!" Ianto said.
"Yes, but having heart failure in one's old age is quite different than being ripped apart by a Weevil!" Gwen told him. Her expression suddenly softened. "Jack's never gotten over that, you know. When he found you there—I didn't know what he was going to do. And he's still a little bit hollow. More than a little bit."
"Gwen..." Ianto murmured. "Don't. Please."
Gwen shrugged. "All right," she said.
"I still think that 'Owen Williams' has a nice ring to it," Tosh heard Owen mutter to himself. Even Ianto cracked a smile at that.
As the train carried on towards its infinite goal, the quartet kept one another company. One of the benefits of being dead, it seemed, was that the capacity for boredom was eliminated. Tosh never felt restless or bored. She often wondered who would be the next to walk through the door. Would Martha enter, or maybe Rhys? What about the future members of Torchwood, the ones that had joined after Gwen had died, the ones that none of the train's passengers even knew existed.
But the compartment door remained stubbornly closed and the perfect countryside rolled by outside the plate-glass window and Tosh and Owen and Ianto and Gwen talked and laughed and cried through the time that wasn't time, and no one bothered to count the minutes that didn't exist.
The four were in the middle of reliving Gwen's disastrous discovery of Torchwood when the train ground to a halt. Tosh exchanged confused glances with Owen.
"Are we here?" Ianto asked.
"What's 'here'?" Gwen replied. "Has it ever done this before?"
Owen shook his head. "No," he said. "Not as long as I've been on board. It's never stopped before."
"Do we get off?" Tosh wanted to know. She glanced tentatively out the window, searching for something to mark this spot as special, as some sort of arrival-point. But there was nothing remarkable. She shrugged. "I guess...I'll go and see." She stood and reached for the handle to the compartment's door—but the train began moving again, and she lurched and nearly toppled into Gwen's lap as she tried to keep her balance.
"Careful, there." The door was open, even though Tosh hadn't touched the handle. She looked up into a pair of blue eyes and a dazzling smile that she hadn't ever expected to see again. There was the RAF greatcoat—there were the dimples—there was the floppy brown hair—no age fell away, no wrinkles disappeared. There were none to disappear.
"Jack." The strangled word sounded like it had torn itself from Ianto's throat. Tosh glanced at the young man. He was staring at the newcomer with an expression of complete disbelief.
"Ianto—" the man who was unquestionably Jack Harkness said. Ianto lurched to his feet and threw himself into Jack's arms. The pair embraced for a long moment. When Jack finally pulled away, Tosh heard him whisper, "I'm going to kill you for dying like that."
"That's what I thought you'd say," Ianto replied before pulling the older man back into his arms again.
"That's another thing you missed out on," Gwen said to Owen and Tosh. "A lot more of this." She pointed to the two men in the doorway with a grin.
"Oi! Knock it off!" Owen yelled at them. Ianto reluctantly pulled away from Jack. "Now, if you'd care to move away from the doorway, please close it after you. There's a draught."
"There is not," Jack said, leading Ianto by the hand over to the seat and sitting down next to Gwen. He wrapped an arm around Ianto's shoulders and hugged the younger man against him as he beamed at the rest of his team.
"Together again," he said. The train began moving faster than it ever had before. The countryside outside the window was blurring into one continuous streak of green before Tosh's eyes. She grinned, excitement and anticipation building in her stomach. "Are you ready for the next step?" Jack asked her. Tosh nodded. "So am I."