Yay, more story! And it hasn't been six months! Go me!
Some of the more discerning among you may notice something at the end that possibly negates the period within the show that I have set this story. Before I get reviews telling me that I've got myself mixed up...I haven't. It's just a little artistic license.
Also, this chapter is the longest I have ever written...it's basically twice the length of my usual ones. Probably best not to get used to that.
Hope you enjoy it. Constructive criticism is always helpful. Flattery and praise are always welcome :D
As he strolled along the Bay towards the Hub's visitors' entrance, Owen was cheerier than he had been in a while. Who needs Tosh? he thought. I damn sure don't need her. I've got… His train of thought was brought to a sudden halt at the sight of Tosh getting out of a car. The door was being held open by him – Mr Dark-Hair-Blue-Shirt. Except today he was wearing a white shirt. There was a radiant smile on Tosh's face as she pulled him close for a goodbye kiss. Owen's stomach flipped over as he watched, and then he realised that he was staring openly at a canoodling couple. He knew that this was definitely not what most people considered socially acceptable, especially this early in the morning. He bent his head, thrust his hands deep into his pockets and sped up. He had just made it to the door when he heard heels chasing him and he was forced to rearrange his features into an expression he hoped conveyed cheerful indifference. He hadn't expected it to be quite so much of a blow. But as Tosh caught up with him and laid a hand on his shoulder, there was no way she could recognise his inner turmoil.
She looked a little taken aback by his bright tone he noticed, smirking inwardly. Take that.
"Morning, Owen. Good night?" She recovered herself and breezed past him, smiling at Ianto who was sitting behind the counter sorting leaflets into piles and who greeted her with a nod and a Starbucks cup.
"Yeah, it was great thanks." Owen inclined his head at Ianto and accepted the coffee he was being offered.
"I'm glad to hear to it. Get up to anything special?" Tosh peered at him over the rim of her cup and spoke between blowing through the little hole in the lid. Owen tried not to focus on her pursed lips.
"I had a date actually. Amazing woman I've been out with a few times – witty, intelligent, absolutely stunning. I've got no complaints." There's nothing quite like embellishing the truth to get back at someone who moves on faster than you do. Owen didn't realise was that he was usually on the receiving end of the embellished truth and in his own mind, was convinced that he was the first person to have thought of this genius idea. Tosh merely smiled.
"She sounds lovely." Her voice betrayed no emotion – no anger, no jealously – only bland curiosity. "What's her name?"
Their conversation was cut short by Jack calling to them from the Boardroom.
"In here. Now. It looks like we finally have some action."
Owen rolled his eyes, but he was secretly relieved. The more he thought about it, the more uncomfortable he felt about last night. Not uncomfortable in a 'these-jeans-feel-tighter-than-before' way (although that too)…but uncomfortable in an 'I-don't-even-know-her-name' way. It had never been a problem for him before, but it bothered him now. They'd spent one amazing night, they had a second date planned if you could call it that, and, as far as Tosh knew, they were in some kind of committed relationship. But she hadn't even told him her name. He desperately searched his memory – nope…no name, no number, no forwarding address. The horrible used feeling of that morning came flooding back. Fortunately his mind was distracted by Jack slamming a heavy metal box onto the conference table of the Boardroom.
"Who can tell me what this is?" he asked, stepping back and planting his hands on his hips. He looked very pleased with himself as he surveyed the blank faces in front of him. "Anyone?"
"Well done Gwen. Anyone else?"
"Yep, very good Tosh. Owen?"
"I think they've said everything there is to say. It's a big metal box."
Jack rolled his eyes. "You guys have so little imagination, you know that? Sometimes I wonder why I hired you."
"Okay Harkness, tell us what's so special about this particular big metal box," Gwen demanded in her best sardonic, 'don't-mess-with-me-I'm-a-policewoman' tone. At that moment, Ianto walked into the room and caught Gwen's comment.
"If I can hazard a guess, I'd say that this was an alien big metal box," he suggested gently, taking the empty seat next to Tosh. Jack's face broke into a dazzling grin.
"Exactly right! Why can't the rest of you be more like Ianto?"
Owen, Gwen and Tosh stared at him in shock. Then, all at once, they erupted.
"That was it? This is Torchwood! I assumed alien was a given!" Tosh exclaimed.
"If we were all more like Ianto, I doubt you'd let us get any work done and Cardiff would've fallen into the Rift by now," Gwen scoffed.
"Teacher's pet!" Owen muttered and threw the biro he'd been chewing across the table at Ianto.
"Calm down children!" Jack shouted over their complaints. The three of them settled into a grudging silence. "That's better."
Gwen was the first to speak.
"Okay, so what else do we know about this alien big metal box?" She leaned forward to get a closer look.
"Nothing actually. Tosh, that's your job; I want origins, I want purposes, I want reasons for it being here. Get on it. The rest of us are going to investigate what was probably a Weevil attack." He strode towards the door, then looked back when he realised that no one else was moving. "Come on guys, at least try and get pumped about this. It's the most we've had to do in weeks!"
"I know Jack, but it's not quite as exciting as sex aliens and cannibals and – no offence, Ianto – a Cyberwoman wandering around the Hub. You can't expect us to get all psyched up for a routine Weevil clean-up," Gwen sighed, sliding her arms into the leather jacket she had slung over her chair.
"You people are never happy! Next time we're protecting the world from some huge, out-of-control predator and you're praying for a Weevil clean-up, you remember this conversation!" Jack snapped and stalked away. The team exchanged glances.
"I think it's somebody's time of the month," Owen quipped, draining his coffee cup and tossing it expertly into the bin. "Ianto, why don't you run ahead and soften him up a little before the claws come out the next time one of us breathes?"
Ianto wanted to make a sarcastic comment, but Jack had been acting weird for a few days now and he was started to worry that it could be something serious. As he hurried off after the Captain, he contemplated breaking out Jack's Christmas present early. Ianto had managed to talk Martha into getting him that UNIT cap and he'd been planning to save it for a special occasion, but it looked like some cheering up was very much in order…