TITLE: The Torchwood Widower
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
DISCLAIMER: Torchwood is copyright of the BBC.
SUMMARY: Torchwood through the eyes of Rhys Williams in drabbles.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Thanks as always to the awesome pinkfairy727 who indulged me in cheesy lines: "The name's Williams. Rhys Williams." "Licence to cook, clean the oven and tape wife swap." "I'll have a pint of Brains - shaken, not stirred." All of which are completely relevant. ;)

Aliens. In Cardiff.

It's all kind of exciting really. He's been shot. Actually shot. He's never even seen a gun before today. It all feels oddly surreal. And exciting.

Gwen doesn't seem to share his enthusiasm for his new found knowledge, and to be honest the novelty wears off quickly when the next morning he's trying to pull on a pair of jeans one handed and almost falls headfirst into the wardrobe.

Rhys finds it easier than he thought to keep it secret from everyone else because it's not like anyone will believe him.

I mean, aliens? In Cardiff?

"You know those two blokes you work with? Your boss and the one that wears the suit."

"Who? Jack and Ianto?" Who else would Rhys mean?

"Yeah, are they – you know." Rhys makes a funny sort of face that implies Gwen is to fill in the blanks. Shagging? Going Out? In love? A couple? Batting for the other team? She isn't sure herself. Gwen doesn't answer, just gives him a look implying he needs to elaborate.

"Well, I saw them in the pub last night and they looked – cosy."

"Then I guess they are - you know." Gwen smiles.

Rhys likes to think he's used to Torchwood interfering with his daily life now. He doesn't know if he'll ever get used to Gwen's fantastical tales over the dinner table or the odd hours she keeps or how she sometimes comes home smelling less than fresh. But he likes to think he's coping.

So when three soaking wet bodies come crashing through the front door at three in the morning Rhys fetches the first aid kit from the bathroom before putting the kettle on. He takes it all in his stride, because Gwen says it'll be fine and Rhys likes to believe her.

Rhys' Mam always used to say that he was a bottomless pit when he was kid. Gwen now says not much has changed as she gives him an affectionate pat on the stomach. She says she likes that he has a bit of a belly, gives her something to hug at night. But every time Rhys sees Jack Harkness he gets self-conscious, sucking in his gut and pushing the half pint he has left to the side.

He gives up the beer, tells Ruth not to bring him any more pastries and plays football with the lads every weekend. Gwen doesn't even notice.

Ian Fleming. Colin McKinnon. Tom Clancy. John Buchan. Rhys likes his spy novels, likes his action and adventure, but he likes it to stay on the page, or in his mind. Unlike his wife.

Gwen's in the shower trying to rid herself of the smell of Cardiff sewers and Rhys is reheating the lasagne when he notices Gwen's bag is open on the counter. He can't help himself really.

He takes down the two men from U.N.C.L.E. crouching behind the plant in the corner, putting a bullet between Blofeld's eyes as he does half a forward roll into the coffee table and comes up facing Gwen in a towel. He blows the imaginary smoke from the end of the gun as the microwave pings.

Funerals. Memorial Services. Wakes. Call it what you will, but they're still bloody awful. People hanging round all dressed in black with faces that could turn milk sour. Rhys never knows what to say – that's the worst part. He says he's sorry, but that word has got less feeling than the numb look of the mourners.

At least with Gwen he knows what to say. Which isn't really much of anything to be honest. He just sits there while she cries.

He doesn't like being on the other side of loss. He still doesn't know what to say. Definitely doesn't know what to do. Not now she's gone.