Summary: 'She is Torchwood, and she can't give up now.' Gwen, during those six months at the end of CoE.
Author's Note: Right, well, I don't even like Gwen that much. I mean, she was absolutely brilliant in CoE, but she's usually a bit too self-centered for my tastes. So imagine my surprise when I sat down and wrote this. I'm still heart-broken, and I can't even begin to imagine how they're going to move forward, but they've got to start somewhere, after all.
Lots of love to 'Paint for all the encouragement and feedback she's been giving me lately. You rock, dearest!
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and Torchwood belong to the BBC and a whole list of other people that don't include me. I'm just playing, because it's fun.
She is Torchwood now, and that catches her off guard sometimes, especially late at night when she can feel the Rift thrumming through the heart of the city. The Hub is gone and there's no one to help rebuild it, and she isn't sure if she would want to, at this point, with all the painful memories that would surely be unburied in the rubble.
UNIT offered her a job, and she turned them down, citing her steadily growing belly as a convenient excuse. She had read enough in the Archives, before they had been destroyed, to know that once upon a time, UNIT had been the Good Guys and Torchwood the Bad Guys, but it seems to her now that their roles have been reversed.
She knows she's not entirely alone, but it certainly feels like that. She had never spoken with Harry up in Glasgow, but she knew he was there, and she had been instilled with the fools' hope that someday Torchwood 4 might reappear, but right now, in Cardiff, she was the only one to keep an eye on the Rift, to hope the Weevils would stay in the sewers and the aliens would bother someone else for a little while as they all tried to piece their lives back together.
Andy and Rhys have helped her as best they could, and Lois has started coming round more and more. Martha checks up on her from time to time, and she receives the occasional e-mail from Sarah Jane Smith, who she still hasn't met in person, but they helped save the universe together, so she supposed they counted one another as friends. But she was Torchwood now, the only one with training and experience, and it was worse than those two months where Jack had gone missing, because at least then she had the rest of the team to rely on, even if Owen would undermine her authority at every turn and Tosh would look at her with doubt in her eyes and Ianto would just offer her that sad, lonely smile of his as he handed her a fresh cup of coffee.
Two months passed before she could start digging through the mess of what had once been the Plass, ignoring the UNIT soldiers and the caution tape lines. She was Torchwood, and their rules Did Not Apply to her. It was one of the first lessons Jack had taught her, and she had learned it well in the last two years. UNIT could deal with the undamaged alien artifacts, the charred remains from the Vault, what remained of any files in the Archives. She wouldn't tell them about the backup server, which now ran from the laptop in her apartment that had been heavily encrypted by Martha's friend Mickey. They could take what they could find, and she would keep everything else to herself.
What she found in the wreckage broke what was left of her heart. A picture of Tosh and Owen, burnt almost beyond recognition. Ianto's favorite mug, chipped and missing a chunk off one side. Those silly paper glasses Jack kept in his office, miraculously unscathed. She headed towards the center of the damage, the medical bay that had once belonged to Owen and however many unknown medics before him, and she picked through the fallen rocks and broken, twisted machines until she found what she was looking for. Jack's wrist device, which he never took off, lying half-hidden under what may have once been the examination table.
She wasn't sure how UNIT had failed to find it, but she didn't care, and she smuggled it out with her, knowing Jack wouldn't want it to fall into the wrong hands, and if--when--he returned, he would want it back. And then the two of them would start putting the rest of the pieces back together. The ones that were still big enough to be fixed, at least, though she knows the edges are too jagged for things to ever be right again.
She remembered how much it hurt to go on after losing Tosh and Owen, how she had wanted to give up, and she remembered Jack pulling her and Ianto close and telling her that all they could do was move forward. She had considered giving up again, forgetting about aliens and Torchwood and the Rift, settling down with her husband and their baby to have a nice, normal, safe life, and then it hits her again.
She is Torchwood, and she can't give up now.