Disclaimer: not mine.

Fandom: Torchwood Rating: PG? Violence, language. Maybe closer to PG13? Meh.
Spoilers: all of season one.
Pairings: er... Gwen/Rhys and Gwen/Owen is at least referenced?
Length: 1,000+ Notes: I still don't remember where this came from. Started May 31st of this year. I think I remember there was going to be this long, stupid plot. There is no plot. I have this vague suspicion it was started after seeing one too many "Gwen sucks" posts. Title is from 'The Day Seattle Died' by Cold.

Shattered Voice, Open Chordby ALC Punk!

She has blood on her hands again.

The gunshot is still echoing in the alley, and Gwen is still breathing, but she's not really thinking.

She has ten seconds. Two seconds to fire, two seconds to recoil, two seconds to watch him fall, two seconds to drop to her knees, two seconds to move her hands and press flat (where did her gun go?).

This time it's not guilty blood (probably not. They were just chasing him for information, after all). This time, it's innocent, and the man's expression is so shocked (she'd thought he had a gun--she'd just reacted, like Jack had trained her, like all of them had trained her--don't let your guard down).

Losing track of time, she snaps out a request for medical transport over her open comms. Seconds tick by too fast for her to follow, but she can follow the feel of the blood seeping through her fingers.

The sound of his breath bubbles in his lungs (good shot, Gwen. Damn good shot) as he tries to breathe through a lake of his own blood.

This is not what she does, she wants to tell him as his eyes start to glaze (the team will get here, but they'll be too late--maybe they're always too late). She's a cop, she's supposed to protect the innocent (until proven guilty). She's not supposed to shoot them (unless they shoot first, and she'll never be certain that he did).

Pressing her weight against the wounds, she tries to will him to live (like with the glove and Suzie, like Jack stretched out on his slab, cold as death).

"Please..." the word is choked off, like he can't get his breath ('course he fucking can't, you've shot his lungs full of holes--not holes, hole. Just one bullet).

"It'll be ok," she manages, even as his breath stops, as his body falls into rest.

"Gwen!" That's Jack, worried and not-quite out of breath.

"Fucking hell, what did you do?" Owen. And he is out of breath (too much booze, not enough exercise of the non-horizontal variety).

"I-I-I shot him." She can manage that. Can manage the mechanical movement of leaning back from the body (you heard his last breath, 'course he's dead, you idiot). But she can't manage to look at Jack. Not with blood on her hands again. "I didn't--"

"Gwen," Jack's going to get the filth from the alley on his pants. His nice grey trousers that he probably has to press himself every morning (no one knows if Jack ever goes home). "Gwen, look at me."

The memory of Rhys's blood is thick on her hands, and she shoves it away. Pushes Jack away and stands. Too fast, and the world is spinning (close your eyes, breathe). Breathe. She can breathe and drop her head between her knees and try to ignore the smell of blood. "I'm ok," she mutters.

"Right. Because you normally faint at a crime scene." It's not a surprise that Owen is mocking her. He always has been an ass.

Gwen raises her head and meets Jack's gaze (finally). "No. I'm ok. He just--he had a gun and I thought he was pulling the trigger."

"It's not a gun," Owen notes. He holds out a box.

Just a box, Gwen thinks. Just a stupid box, and now the man was dead--because she'd thought he had a gun. Stupid, stupid, stupid. "Fine. So he didn't have a gun."

"Jack," Tosh's voice cuts across them all, "The emergency services are on their way. D'you want them called off now?"

It's raining, Gwen realizes suddenly. She isn't sure why this momentous observation just took over her thoughts, but it's a distraction from Jack's reply. The rain wets the blood on her hands, and she holds them out, watching as it turns lighter and drips away (down the drain forever, Gwen). There's still a film, though. She'll need sterile pads and alcohol, soap and water to rid herself of the rest (it took scrubbing four times with the sponge at the sink to remove Rhys's blood, and even then, she could still smell it on her clothing).

"Let them come, Tosh," Jack says, his voice distant.

"Right."

Movement at the end of the alley and Gwen jerks her eyes towards it, watching as Tosh walks towards them (dodging the scum of the Earth, and maybe she should stay away from you, now). When she gets abreast of them, she jerks her eyes to Gwen and then down to the body. "I didn't--" Gwen starts, then stops. "I'm going to have to give a statement."

"We're Torchwood," Jack says, standing abruptly.

"And that just means due process--"

"Has its place. But not here and now. Gwen." Jack's tone is sharp, "I want you to go with Owen back to the office. Order a pizza, clean up, and try to forget about this. Tosh, I need your best--"

"Just like that?" Interrupting isn't something she's supposed to do. But she can't help it. "I'm supposed to forget I killed a man?"

"What kind of leader would I be if I wanted you to forget that?"

She knows that tone. It's the one he used when Ianto threatened to shoot him. The one that said he knew things none of them could ever understand, nor would want to (don't let him bully you). She steps back, wondering when she stopped thinking of him as human. "Jack, I shot him. I should stay."

"I know, Gwen." He looks at her again, and there's something almost kind in his eyes. "But I don't want you here."

And like that, she has no argument to make. Because the bigger picture of Captain Jack Harkness's world doesn't contain one colleague locked up for murder (should it ever, Gwennie?). So she straightens and doesn't look at Owen, because she knows he'll be laughing. How he can laugh at a time like this, she'll never know (the same way he fucked you after cannibals, Gwen).

"Ianto can make us a nice cuppa," Owen suggests, tone derisive. Whether at Ianto, Gwen, or the idea of tea after a murder, Gwen doesn't know. And at this point, she doesn't really care.

"Yeah. Maybe he can." She shoves past him (don't get blood on his jacket, dear), heading out of the alley as Jack moves to Tosh, the two of them conversing in soft tones.

Owen's behind her, keeping up easily, but Gwen is mostly blind to it. If she doesn't see, she can't think. If she can't think, she can't remember that tiny instant of satisfaction that she'd gotten her man (well done, darling). More than anything else, that's what sickens her.

Given Torchwood's legacy and current tallies in the win/lose columns, Gwen figures it's all par for the course, though.

Maybe it really would have been better if Suzie had succeeded.

-f-