Suddenly I'm no longer in the hub and I can't feel Jack's arms around me anymore. The light that had been shining brightly on my face has been replaced by darkness. That's all I can see, darkness. Everywhere around me is black, like someone forgot to turn on the lights. I shakily raise a hand and place it on my chest. There's nothing there, no heartbeat. In shock I try to gasp but nothing happens, I'm not breathing. And that's when I become aware of the fact that I can no longer feel the aching pain in my stomach. I frantically rip open the top that I chose to put on this morning and gaze down in desperation. There's no sign of a bullet wound, simply smooth pale flesh. There are no bloodstains on my t-shirt and my face is dry with no trace of my tears. And that is when it hits me full on; I'm dead. It feels like the wind has been knocked out of me and I can barley focus. I knew it was coming, I did the moment Gray shot that bullet into me and I felt it tear through me. Just because I knew it was coming though, didn't mean that I was ready. And then it's like I can't think and I let myself fall backwards. Part of me expects to keep on falling forever, falling down into the black where no one can hear my screams, but I don't. Instead I land on what feels like nothing. This goes beyond all the laws of physics – I am floating on nothing. That is when I begin to cry, and I can't help but think that it's ironic that I can't breath but I can still cry.
I sit – float- there and let the reality wash over me. I let the sobs rack through my body and the tears stream down my face. I'm dead. I've dealt with death so many times before, right from when I was five and my grandfather passed away. I mean it was part of my job at Torchwood to cover up the deaths. But this is different; this time it's me that's dead. That thought makes me cry even harder as I realise that I'm never going to live again. Jack, Gwen, Ianto…I'm never going to see them again. My whole life is over and everything I loved is gone. I remember back to this morning and the way I complained about Jack calling me into work early. I'd give anything to be back there. There's so much that I never did and I'm not ready for my life to be over. Jack told me from the very start that we had to be prepared to die and I accepted that. However I never thought that it would really happen. Five years I've been there and we've nearly always made it. Not this time though, this time Owen and I didn't make it.
My thoughts fly to Owen the moment his name enters my thoughts. Am I ever going to see him again? He's dead, I know that much. I gaze around as if expecting him to walk out of the darkness but I am just met with the black that appears to be closing in on me. I never even told him that I was dying. I didn't really want to worry him. I can sense that I am crying even more as I realise that I may never talk to him again. That thought seems almost impossible; I mean he can't just be gone. When he died the first time I felt so much pain but then he came back, I had another chance. What am I left with now? Am I going to spend eternity here in the darkness, taunted by my memories and despair?
I close my eyes, though it makes no difference, and remember this morning:
"You're late Owen," Jack said as the young medic skidded into the meeting room. His hair was soaking wet and he had obviously been caught in the rain.
"Well my car wouldn't start so I had to walk all the way here."
"You could have called one of us."
"I did but none of you picked up." The three other members of the team who were there scrambled for their phones, all noticing the missed calls they had. "Bloody useful bunch you lot are," he muttered before proceeding to shake his head. Droplets of water flew across the room, mainly landing on Tosh.
"Owen!" she muttered as she ducked to avoid the water. He stopped and smirked at her.
"Sorry." He slid in the seat next to her and gave her a small smile. "So what we got? And where's Gwen?"
"There have been reports of activity at a local warehouse…"
I begin to cry even harder at the thought that there won't be any more meetings, well none with Owen and me there. They'll replace us; I can't kid myself that they won't. Jack had told me that Torchwood was always changing and deep down I know that none of us are irreplaceable. It wouldn't be hard to find another medic and computer whiz, I have a feeling it wouldn't be long until Jack calls Martha. I can't help but ache as I think of there being a new team, someone easily slipping into my world. There will be someone new who can hack into any system and decode any language – alien or foreign. They'll take my seat in the SUV and sit at my desk in the hub. They'll sit in my chair at the meetings and make the suggestions I would have made. And someone else will buy my flat and make it their own. I'll be replaced in every aspect of my life.
Jack had spoken about Torchwood protocol a few times and I had seen it happen with Suzie. I sob even more at the thought of my body being stored in the morgue alongside all the other fallen officers. They'll come up with some story to tell my family, that I'd been in a car crash or something. My mum will be heartbroken. I'd never been able to tell her why I had barely spoken to her for the past five years and now I won't get the chance. She won't even be able to have any of my belongings. The team will pack up my flat and place everything in storage, all those things that meant the world to me. My life will be boxed away and no one will ever see it again. The thought of all my clothes and photos and books being packed up, causes another flood of tears to fall.
It isn't fair. There was so much I wanted to do in my life and now it's all too late. I'm stuck here in the darkness and I'm all alone.
As that thought hits me, that this is the end, I feel the worst pain I've ever experienced. It feels like my body is being pulled apart and all I can do is scream. I scream louder than I ever have before but it's swallowed up by the darkness. However I keep on screaming, desperately trying to let out the pain that is breaking me from the inside. I scream and scream, letting out my rage about the fact that I am no longer alive and living. I scream in anger about the fact that my life has been cut short and that I never got the chance to do all the things I wanted to. I know my throat is becoming hoarse but I continue to scream because there is nothing else I can do.
I don't know how long I scream for but I suddenly become aware of arms wrapping around me and pulling me into a body. I stop screaming and I begin to cry once again as I recognise the familiar smell of Owen's aftershave. It comforts me but the anger is still inside of me and I can't help but pound my fists against his chest. I beat against him, pummelling him relentlessly. He doesn't try and stop me though; instead letting me hit him again and again. He doesn't even wince – maybe he can't feel it. But then I can't fight anymore. I fall into him and we sink into the nothingness as he clutches me in a tight embrace like he's afraid to let me go. I can feel him holding me tight and rubbing my back as he gently kisses the top of my head. I cry and he lets me, just holding me.
Time passes and the two of us sit there as he comforts me and eventually I stop crying. I pull away from him, partly thinking that he is just a figment of my imagination. But there he is, looking exactly as he did the last time I saw him when we parted at the warehouse. I notice that the bandage is gone from his left hand and his little finger is no longer broken.
"I thought you were never going to stop that whining," he smirks. For that small minute I feel like I'm alive again and back in the hub, joking with him as I try to finish a file for Jack, and it's like everything is normal. But then I remember that that's never going to happen again and that I'll never see Jack and the hub again, that nothing will ever be normal again. I feel the tears starting up again and I don't try to stop them falling down my cheeks. Owen gives me a small smile and reaches out for my hand. I take his and it's warm like it was when he was alive.
"We're dead aren't we?" I cling to the desperate hope that he'll laugh at my suggestion and explain that this is all due to some piece of alien technology. I can tell from his face though that that isn't what he's going to say.
"Yeah we are. Why didn't you tell me about getting shot?" I meet his eyes and stare at him through the tears.
"I didn't want to worry you anymore than I had to. I thought you were going to make it." He nods and stands up, pulling me with him.
"Well it looks like it's just going to be you and me for a while babe," he smiles before pulling me into him. He wraps an arm tightly around my waist and I feel safe. "I always thought we were the best two." I laugh slightly,aware of the fact that he's trying to make me feel better, before staring at the claustrophobic darkness.
"What do we do now?"
"I think it's this way." He points in a vague direction and for some reason I trust him. If anyone's going to keep me safe then it will be Owen. So I walk by his side, relishing the warmth of his body against mine and I thank God that he's here with me. I couldn't do this alone.
A/N: This is my second post-'Exit-Wounds' fic of the day. I'm hoping that it will eventually numb the pain and make me feel better. This idea hit me when I was writing the last one and I hope I captured what Tosh would be feeling right – it's not very easy to imagine being dead.
Please review and tell me what you thought.