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Stray Thoughts

All I want for Christmas is a Tardis
FESTIVE TITLE BITCHES YO: Stray Thoughts
PERSON WHO WROTE THIS SHIT: lefaym
RECIPIENT WHO HAD BETTER BE GRATEFUL BECAUSE I SPENT TIME THAT I COULD HAVE BEEN DRINKING WRITING THIS SHIT I AM BEGGING TO FORGIVE ME BECAUSE THIS IS LATE AND SHE'S HAD TO WAIT FOR AGES: paragraphs
SUMMARY: Tosh is alone with her thoughts on Christmas day, until Ianto turns up.
BETA: DEFINITELY NOT FOXY lionessvalenti
RATING: A BIT SEXY
WARNING: IMMA REALLY CRAP WRITER AND YOU'RE ALL MUCH BETTER THAN ME
SPOILERS: JESUS PEOPLE IT'S JUST ABOUT THE TORCHWOOD TEAM DRINKING EGGNOG
DISCLAIMER: THEY'RE NOT MINE. EXCEPT WHEN THEY ARE. IN MAH PANTS.



Stray Thoughts

The Hub always felt strangely eerie when no one else was about, Toshiko thought. Not silent—never silent—but her footsteps still seemed to echo more, and it always seemed colder, even if the thermometer by her desk told her otherwise. As she made her way to the thermostat, to turn the heating up a couple of degrees, she passed the tiny Christmas tree that Gwen had decorated a few days earlier, its cheap plastic baubles glittering even in the dull light of the Hub.

Tosh sighed. She hadn’t even bothered to get a tree for her flat this year, not even a small fake one. There was no-one besides herself to see it, after all.

She wondered, briefly, if part of her family was gathering in London today. They’d given up on inviting her to these events after she’d missed her grandfather’s 80th birthday, and part of Tosh was glad, because it meant that she no longer had to invent reasons to avoid any events at which her mother could possibly appear, and it meant that she no longer had to listen to disapproving relatives lecture her because she’d only sent postcards back to Osaka for years now.

Her gut twisted and her hands clenched tightly as she thought about it, as she thought about all the lies she’d had to tell, because she couldn’t tell the truth, because she couldn’t tell them that she’d signed away five years of her life, even if she liked to pretend that this was her choice.

Tosh adjusted the ancient thermostat with rather more force than was necessary, before she walked quickly back to her workstation and opened up her hidden files pertaining to the time lock. Today would be the perfect opportunity to work on it, after all.

There was no real reason to keep the files hidden, she supposed; it wasn’t like any of the others, except Jack, could understand what she was doing here, and she suspected that even Jack might have trouble with some of the trickier bits. And it wasn’t as though she was doing anything wrong either; Jack would be more than happy to have a new way of defending the Hub. If she told him about it, he’d give her one of those grins, they way he always did when she managed something particularly brilliant. One of those grins that said, I own you, beneath all the praise.

She wanted to put that moment off for as long as possible.

Pushing all thoughts of Jack aside, Tosh fell into her work, losing herself in the graphs and equations that she pulled up onto the screen. She entered the spatial coordinates for the lower levels of the Hub and processed them using the temporal coordinates for this past year, and the next year and the one after that, although it wasn’t really years she was dealing with here, because they were just an arbitrary unit of time, after all, a convenient way of dividing life into a series of before and afters when time was really so much more than that, concentric circles and waves and loops. She found herself smiling as she delved deeper into her project, stunned, as always, by the sheer beauty of it all.

Tosh couldn’t suppress a small flash of annoyance when she heard the giant cog begin to rumble open behind her, and worse, she couldn’t suppress the tiny surge of hope either, that maybe it was Owen, because what else would a living dead man do on Christmas day, anyway? And there was fear, too, that maybe this was Jack returning early, and that he’d see what she was working on, and it wouldn’t be hers anymore.

But when she turned around, it was Ianto she saw stepping into the Hub—a Ianto who seemed strangely out of place, wearing a crisp new Welsh rugby jumper, which hung low over a pair of dark blue jeans.

“Ianto?”

“Oh! Hi, Tosh,” he replied, as though he was surprised to see her there.

“I thought you said you were spending today with your sister’s family,” she said, remembering a discussion they’d had a couple of days ago, while hunting down a rouge Vimian.

“I did,” said Ianto.

Tosh looked down at her watch and tried to hide her shock when she realised that it was just after five. “Er—you didn’t stay for dinner?”

Ianto shook his head. “I ate enough at lunch to last me a week, I think.”

“I know the feeling,” said Tosh sympathetically, even though it had been a long time since she had been that full.

Ianto shrugged. “Can’t complain.”

“I suppose not.” Tosh cocked her head to the side and looked at Ianto curiously. “Why are you here though? I thought you’d want to enjoy the rest of your day off, at least.”

“Er—” Ianto looked down at his feet. “Well, I thought I would see if Jack was here, actually.”

“Ah.” Tosh knew she should have guessed that.

“He’s not in, is he?”

Tosh shook her head. “He never is, at Christmas. Not unless the rift throws something at us, anyway.” As she spoke, she wondered how it was that Ianto didn’t know that, but then, he’d only been with them for two years or so, and she rather suspected that whatever the relationship between Jack and Ianto was, it wasn’t exactly one that was based around talking. “You could try calling him, I suppose.”

Ianto sighed and shook his head. “No. I’m sure Jack has his reasons.”

“I suppose so,” said Tosh quietly, wondering if he was afraid that if he called, he’d overhear Jack in some other lover’s arms.

“He’ll call if he needs me,” Ianto mused quietly, almost as though he was speaking to himself, rather than to her. “He always does.”

For a moment, Ianto’s face seemed to be raw, stripped bare of the well-controlled facade that he usually kept in place there.

Toshiko wondered, then, what sort of deal Ianto had made with Jack, after that terrible day with the cyberwoman who had once been his girlfriend. She wondered how much of his life, how much of his body, he’d had to sign over in order to escape retcon or a bullet through his brain. And she wondered if maybe, beneath the suits and the sarcasm, and the suggestive glances that Ianto would throw in Jack’s direction when he thought no one was looking, if beneath all that, there was a part of Ianto that hated Jack, just like there was part of her that hated him, even as she loved him too.

“—for you?”

Tosh blinked as she realised that Ianto had been saying something. “Sorry, what was that, Ianto?”

“Uh—I just wanted to know if you’d like a coffee.”

“Oh, yeah—sure. That would be great, thanks.”

Ianto nodded and gave her a small smile in acknowledgement, before he turned and made his way to the coffee machine. All signs of tension had left his shoulders, and he moved easily, his mask clearly back in place.

Tosh closed her eyes and an image of the contract she’d signed swam before her, except that this time it was Ianto’s signature at the bottom of it in bright blood-red ink. How many more contracts like this were hidden in Torchwood’s archives?

Breathe, she reminded herself. Breathe.

As the air entered her lungs, she felt herself relax slightly, and when she exhaled, she allowed herself to open her eyes.

Tosh turned back to her monitor, trying to lose herself in the flow of numbers and the simple elegance of her calculations. She frowned and shook her head, trying to ignore the sound of trickling water and the hum of the mainframe. She tried to block out the cool air on her arms and the gentle trilling from Myfanwy’s nest. She tried—

Damn it.

Tosh sighed, realising that she wouldn’t be able to regain her concentration now, and she turned her attention instead to some paperwork that Jack had left for her. She skimmed over the forms, wondering if they’d be suitably boring, wishing that they weren’t all printed in the same even Arial font as the contract she—and who knows how many others—had signed all those years ago.

It was a relief when she finally heard Ianto’s footsteps heading back towards her, and the smell of coffee filled her nostrils. Of course, she thought wryly, coffee probably wasn’t the best thing to calm her nerves right now, but it would at least be strong and warm. She looked up at him and smiled as he approached.

“Here you go,” he said, handing the mug across to her.

As she raised her hands to take the mug from him, their fingers brushed together, and all at once she realised that it was the first direct human contact that she’d felt all day. It was appropriate, she supposed, both of them trapped here, both of them trying to escape but only falling in deeper. Instead of taking the mug away from him, Tosh found herself covering Ianto’s hand with her own, and squeezing it as best she could.

It would be so easy, Tosh thought suddenly, to put the coffee down and take his hand again. So easy to draw him close, and let him know that it was the same for her, that she was trapped here too. To tell him that Jack couldn’t absorb them completely, even if it was lie. But maybe it wouldn’t be a lie anymore if she did that, if she pulled him closer still and kissed him, simply to show Jack that they could. If she pressed their lips together, hard at first, and then softly, prising his mouth open with her tongue, teasing him.

And she could make sure Jack saw it, she knew that. He may have been lax about checking the CCTV footage most of the time, but she knew how to ensure that these particular files would appear on his desktop, ready to open automatically when he switched his computer on. She tried to imagine his face when he saw it, when he saw her kissing Ianto, when he saw her hands slipping beneath his shirt and pulling it over his head. When he saw Ianto lifting her skirt and tugging at her panties, letting them slide down her legs. Jack would be flushed and angry and turned on, she thought, as he watched them tumble onto Gwen’s workstation, letting all her pens and stationery fall to the floor, as he watched Ianto sliding his cock into her, as he saw her lock her legs around Ianto’s hips and bite at his neck, marking him as he moved inside her, as he—

“Tosh?”

Tosh felt heat rising to her face, and she hoped it was just because she’d turned the thermostat up too high earlier.

“Uh—thanks, Ianto,” she said, taking the mug from him, drawing back from any contact.

He smiled at her uncertainly. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes,” she said quickly. “Everything’s fine.”

“Right then.” He gave her a brief nod. “Well, I’ll just be—” he gestured towards the stairs that led down to the archives, “—if you want anything.”

“No problem.” Tosh forced herself to smile at him, as though everything was normal, as though she hadn’t just been thinking of his hands on her skin and how his cock would feel pressing into her.

She took a sip of her coffee, letting it scald her throat and distract her.

Tosh watched Ianto as he turned and walked away from her, and for a moment she considered calling him back, and telling him that she did want something, that she needed—

Ianto turned a corner and disappeared from her sight, and Tosh sighed. It would be a bad idea, she knew that. Sighing, Tosh made her way back over to the thermostat and turned the heat down again, gently this time.

And then she turned back to her workstation, to her secret project, her calculations, her time waves—her life—and allowed herself to pretend that she was alone again, in the not-quite-silence.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
paragraphs
Jan. 2nd, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
There is absolutely nothing to forgive. This was very well worth the wait! You gave me Tosh! Ianto in a jumper! Sexy thoughts, deep thoughts, sad thoughts and introspective thoughts and wonderfully wayward thoughts...you gave me TOSH!! I missed her terribly after she was gone, so always adore finding fics that make her come alive again.

This is definitely very special, Anon--thank you so much for writing it for me. Thank you thank you!
51stcenturyfox
Jan. 2nd, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Ohh, anon...

This was just fantastic. A part of her that hated Jack. Ouch.

it wasn’t really years she was dealing with here, because they were just an arbitrary unit of time, after all, a convenient way of dividing life into a series of before and afters when time was really so much more than that, concentric circles and waves and loops.

This sort of made me think of the seal of Rassilon, oddly.

I really loved your story! &hearts
paragraphs
Jan. 2nd, 2010 03:46 am (UTC)
I really liked that bit too.

Heck that's another thing I like about this fic: the rhythm of the words. I so love rhythm in a fic, and knew this would please that part of me after reading just a few lines. Like this one!

Her gut twisted and her hands clenched tightly as she thought about it, as she thought about all the lies she’d had to tell, because she couldn’t tell the truth, because she couldn’t tell them that she’d signed away five years of her life, even if she liked to pretend that this was her choice.

LOVE that!
nancybrown
Jan. 2nd, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Toshiko wondered, then, what sort of deal Ianto had made with Jack, after that terrible day with the cyberwoman who had once been his girlfriend. She wondered how much of his life, how much of his body, he’d had to sign over in order to escape retcon or a bullet through his brain. And she wondered if maybe, beneath the suits and the sarcasm, and the suggestive glances that Ianto would throw in Jack’s direction when he thought no one was looking, if beneath all that, there was a part of Ianto that hated Jack, just like there was part of her that hated him, even as she loved him too.

THIS. OMFG, this is PERFECT.
lawsontl
Jan. 2nd, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
Oh, worth the wait! Fine wine, it was :)

I'm always fascinated by the tension between love and hate, and you bring it out beautifully here, stringing it on Tosh's natural awkwardness (that, like Ianto, hides a fire within).
blue_fjords
Jan. 2nd, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
So sad, and lovely, and achey. I got a real sense of loneliness from Tosh in this, and also flashes of her brilliance. Was she designing the time lock? Clever Toshiko.

Really gorgeous writing, anon!
used_songs
Jan. 2nd, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
This is SO GOOD! I love seeing this side of Tosh, all the thoughts she never reveals - so realistic that she would harbor these resentments against Jack and believe that Ianto has them too. And I love the ecstasy she finds in her work.

invisible_lift
Jan. 2nd, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
Love this. Tosh always struck me as the sort who lives most richly in her own mind, and this nailed that for me. Bravo!
tree00faery
Jan. 2nd, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was so lovely! I love Tosh! I'm actually in the middle of writing a short little Tosh/Ianto friendship fic. I'm glad to see that other people like them as much as I do!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )