Tosh knew before she opened the door who stood waiting on the other side. Owen was never predictable when sober, but when in a drunken stupor he always, always found his way to her.
He banged heavily on her door, each thud of fist on wood echoed within her empty flat and resonated within her chest.
"Hey," Tosh said as her door creaked open. She found Owen leaning on a concrete pillar, his left hand clasped around a bottle of Grey Goose.
"Sorry Tosh. I didn't mean to wake you," Owen replied, his slurred words barely audible, his breath hot on her face as she helped him cross the room and on to the sofa.
"No problem, I was just about to sleep," Tosh lied gaily through her teeth - these were lines they seemed to have rehearsed. They settled down on the sofa, Owen slouched forward with his elbows on his knees and his head hung low. Tosh leaned in and put her hand on his back, speaking as she patted him tentatively.
"Rough night, Owen?" Tosh inquired. Owen shrugged and took a swig of vodka. He winced as the hot liquid burned a path down his throat, and shrugged again.
"Huh. Not as bad as when I woke up to Janet spooning me." Tosh choked back a laugh as she recalled that embarrassing moment in Owen's personal history. She had been the one to discover him lying on the cell floor, dead asleep with the Weevil wrapped contentedly around his body. It took Tosh a bucket of cold water, a dog whistle and her favorite lipstick to get Owen out of the rather compromising situation. They had never spoken of it since that day, and to have Owen mention the mortifying incident so casually surprised her.
She excused herself to get him a glass of water, and when she returned to the dimly-lit room she found her midnight visitor staring into space, brows furrowed in concentration. Tosh cleared her throat and smiled sheepishly at Owen who answered with a grin, the warmth of it not completely reaching his eyes.
He accepted the glass of water with a murmur of thanks and settled back on the leather sofa, the bottle of alcohol forgotten on the side table. Owen stretched his legs forward and patted the empty space beside him, inviting Tosh to sit. Tosh accepted his invitation, her hands primly clasped on top of her knees. He let out a deep sigh and focused his gaze on her.
"Tosh, are you happy?" Taken aback, Tosh shrugged and reached out for the nearest object to relieve her dry throat. In this case, it was the bottle of vodka Owen had brought in. She took a measured sip, winced briefly, and then shrugged again.
"It's all relative, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I suppose." Tosh reached over and took the glass of water from Owen's hand and switched it with the almost-empty bottle before she threw the question back at him.
"Are you happy?"
Owen raised the bottle and replied, "Yeah, I'm just a fucking ray of sunshine, Tosh. Never better." He lowered his voice apologetically and raked his fingers roughly through his hair. He composed himself and began again.
"You know, don't get me wrong. I love what I do. Saving the earth one weevil at a time. Fighting crime with a 45 and a retcon pill for afters. But I just want someone normal to go home to, you know what I mean?" Owen stood up and began to pace back and forth on the carpet, his heavy steps beating a path on the white fabric.
"Gwen's got Rhys to go home to, Jack has Ianto, hell, even Janet's got her weevil mates scampering around Cardiff, and what do I have? An empty flat and a half dozen case of beer in the fridge." The glass of water felt slick and heavy in her hand when Tosh answered.
"You've got me." Owen chuckled appreciatively as if Tosh just told a very funny joke.
"Yeah, right perfect pair we'd make, eh, Tosh? 'Hi honey, how was your day?' 'Oh, it was smashing, love. I managed to hack into the military controls without causing world war three, how about you?' 'Fantastic dear, I saved an outer-space sea cow from being consumed by the entire city of Cardiff, or was it save the entire city of Cardiff by being consumed by an outer-space sea cow? Meh, details.'"
Owen exhaled and plopped down shakily beside Tosh, oblivious to the pained expression on her face. He groaned and drunkenly lowered himself on his back, his head dropping heavily onto Tosh's lap and his legs stretched far beyond the sofa's arm. The bottle of vodka had long been emptied; its remnants glistened on Owen's lips.
"I lose everything I love the moment I close my eyes," he whispered in the air, his eyes fought desperately to keep awake. Tosh clenched her hands to her sides and sat still; she wanted so much to comfort this man who bared his soul to her yet was so oblivious to how much his words were breaking her.
"I just want someone to stay," he rambled on, each sentence more disjointed than the first.
"I'll stay. I'll be here."
"Stay… Love…" Fragments left his mouth, and each word stabbed at her heart.
"I'll stay. I'll be here." Tosh whispered repeatedly as he drifted off to sleep, her thumb caressing the side of his face and trailing down to the edge of his jaw. Her gentle touches smoothed the lines on his forehead and left a contented expression in their wake.
"I'll still love you in the morning," she breathed, her fingers threading through his hair as a single tear fell from her cheek.