Disclaimer: All characters belong to RTD and the BBC.
Summary: A short look at how the team seek some respite from working for Torchwood.
Author's Note: There will be five chapters over the five days (hopefully) for each of the team. Enjoy.
Everyone thought they knew what Gwen was rushing home for, assumed that Thursday nights, the night she often pushed to finish at a reasonable hour, were the nights when Rhys would be at home waiting for her with a pot of Spag Bol simmering on the hob. They sent her off with a cheery wave, and a "say hello to Rhys," and she could see the flicker of resentment in their eyes that they had no such domestic bliss to return to.
But the truth was, Gwen loved Thursday night because Rhys spent the whole night at the pub with Dav and Banana Boat, and she could finally have some time to herself. It wasn't that she didn't love Rhys, she did; heart and soul, although she hadn't always acted that way. The memories of her affair with Owen flood her with shame, and the thought of how she had acted with Jack, in front of Ianto, had led to an evening filled with tears and recrimination. She doesn't want Jack, not really, but she wants to be understood, and Rhys, lovely sweet Rhys, will never know how it feels to be shot through the head, to stare down the barrel of a loaded shotgun, to be chained to a psychopath, and truth be told, she doesn't want him to understand.
That's why she cherishes her lonely Thursday nights. These are the nights that she doesn't have to lie in answer to almost every question Rhys asks. She isn't constantly on her guard in case, in her fatigue addled state she tells Rhys something that would fill him so full of fear he would never let her out of the flat again. She can take a bath, without considering how best to hide the bruises that mar her pale skin beneath the froth of bubbles if he happens to appear through the door with his cheeky grin. She can cry, deep gasping sobs, at the horrors she has seen befall others, the horrors that have befallen Torchwood, befallen her, and she doesn't have to brush her tears under the carpet so Rhys never realises the depth of her distress.
Thursday nights are Gwen's solitude and her time to come to terms with the changes in her life, and as much as she loves him, she doesn't want Rhys intruding on that. Her nights with him are escapism, a big glass of wine and the episodes of Wife Swap and Supernanny that he has dutifully recorded for her and a chance to hide the memories of work under the screaming cries of ill-behaved children on reality TV shows. But sometimes, she doesn't want to forget, she wants to wallow in the pain of the memories until the ache in her heart is a little less.
Sometimes, she thinks Ianto knows her secret, and isn't too surprised. After all, he knows everything, and recognising Rhys on a CCTV camera is beneath his prodigious talents. She can't be certain, but the way he slips a bar of chocolate into her hand on a Thursday after a particularly tough week, with a tiny, knowing smile leads her to think that he understands. He never mentions Rhys either on those nights, just waves her out of the door with a heartfelt, "Noswaith da, Gwen". So she thanks him for the chocolate with a hug, and brings him his favourite breakfast pastry on a Friday because it's nice to have someone who cares about her, without needing to know all the details.
So on a Thursday, Gwen is always first to leave, not to be with people she loves, but instead to be away from them.