51stcenturyfox: (Tosh thinking)
[personal profile] 51stcenturyfox
Title: No Rush
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] pocky_slash 
Author:  [livejournal.com profile] 51stcenturyfox 
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Pairings: Tosh/OFC
Wordcount: 1,950
Spoilers and Warnings:  Series 1
Summary: Written for the tw_femficfest for [livejournal.com profile] pocky_slash's prompt: "After Mary, Tosh begins a relationship with another woman."
Beta: Mr Foxy  *cough*




Two days after Mary had... gone, Toshiko returned to work. Well, it wasn't a big deal coming to the office on Monday morning like everybody else in the working world, but Jack had taken her off the rota for the weekend. Tosh hadn't realised how long it had been since she'd had a Saturday and Sunday completely free; even if she wasn't actually called in to bag and tag a Weevil, someone would contact her via the comms to ask her a question or she'd head to the Hub on her own steam to work with whatever chunk of puzzling tech had most recently washed up or caught her fancy from the inventory list.

But this weekend, no one expected anything of her and she was glad for it, even though there was a sexy piece of mysterious and tiny titanium-encased machinery waiting for her to tease out its true purpose. Every time Tosh had thought of going in to work on it, she'd seen Jack in her mind's eye, leaning over Mary's transporter and giving her the hairy eye. Screw you, Jack, she thought.

So she'd gone shopping on the high street and bought some silky plum cushions from Next for her sofa and a new pair of boots and had read a book in a restaurant while drinking a frozen margarita and tried to forget Torchwood existed for a couple of days.

And on Monday, she went back to work. Of course.

"Morning," she said in passing to Gwen as the rotary door shut behind her. She pulled off her jacket and settled it on the coat tree, then settled herself at her workstation and typed in her password. Please don't say anything, Tosh implored Gwen silently. Please don't bring up the necklace, or Mary, or any of it. I just want to forg-

"Tosh?" Gwen asked, and Tosh felt Gwen's fingertips on her shoulder, and remembered that Gwen couldn't read minds any better than she could, anymore.

"Mmm-hmm," she answered, and opened a file on her desktop.

"D'you want one?" A tin appeared on her other side, and she turned to see Gwen shake it with a wry smile. "Homemade biscuits. But I didn't make them, so you know they're edible."

"No, I'm-" Tosh began as Ianto swept by, flashing a smile, and set her tall mug in front of her. Gwen shook the tin again, temptingly. "Oh, all right." Don't ask if I'm okay, Gwen. Don't ask or I'll probably cry.

"Good." She could hear her workmate swallow hard, and Tosh thought it was probably taking all the concentration Gwen had NOT to ask. She turned in her chair again with a sigh.

"Gwen, I'm fine, okay? Really."

Caught out, Gwen blushed. "That obvious?"

"Yeah." Tosh nodded and took another biscuit from the tin. "What's in these? Nuts?"

"Macadamias."

"Delicious," Tosh said around the bite, as crumbs fell on her desk. "Cheers."

*

The week passed in relative calm, then the next, and then there were the killings, and Pilgrim, and Suzie came back from the dead and that was just weird. As was the revelation that Owen had slept with Suzie. Tosh truly didn't get that one, but in a way she did; Suzie couldn't stand Owen when she'd come to Torchwood, and Tosh figured that that was what it probably took for him: the challenge. And she had been, appallingly, NOT a challenge. Screw Owen, too.

As she gained a bit more distance from the whole whatever-it-had-been with Mary -- not a relationship, or had it been a relationship, really? -- Tosh was able to compartmentalise. Maybe Mary had wanted something from Tosh, and from Torchwood, but that didn't mean she'd lied about everything. Toshiko was sorry about what had happened to Mary. However, she refused to feel responsible for it.

She did wonder, though... if she'd been too quick to trust Mary.  Well, if someone could read your mind and know what you wanted, it wasn't exactly hard for them to gain your trust, was it?

*

Tosh pushed in the heavy wooden door of the pub on Charles Street. Right then. Gay bar. Bar Five, said the name over the entry. Free Wifi! She stifled a snicker and stepped in. It was ladies' night and indeed Bar Five was full of women. None of them seemed to be alone except for her, though -- everyone was either chatting to a partner or with a group. She thought of glancing at her watch or into her bag and looking as if she remembered she had to be somewhere else before giving her head a tiny shake and making for a seat at the bar. She waited for the busy barman to head to her side and sensed a presence to her left.

"Hiya," said a voice under the Dusty Springfield on the jukebox. Tosh tilted her head and looked up beneath her fringe at the woman next to her. Gingery short hair, delicate features, white shirt and jeans, Welsh accent. "Can I buy you a drink?"

Tosh cleared her throat. "Hmm. Okay. Yep. If you can get his attention." She gestured towards the bartender, who caught their eye and headed over at that second. The woman laughed.

"Good timing. What'll you have?"

"Lager. No, cider, or..." Tosh managed. She picked up a cardboard beer mat and toyed with the edges.

"Got it. Two snakebites. Red," the woman said, and took the beer mat from Toshiko's fingers and turned it over. "You like 'em mixed, right? What's your name?"

"Tosh," she said, and looked at her benefactor. "You?"

"Jenifer." Jenifer offered her hand. When the drinks arrived, red indeed, she grabbed both pints and angled her head toward a booth. "C'mon." Hefting her laptop bag, Tosh followed and slid in next to her in one of the circular booth tables.

"Thanks," Tosh said, over the music.

"Hey, no problem," Jenifer nodded and raised her glass. "Cheers. You're English, yeah?"

"Umm hmm." Tosh took a drink. The redcurrant in the mixture made it go down even smoother than standard cider-and-lager. "Mmm. Nice." They sat companionably for a few minutes and exchanged personal statistics.

"Ministry of Defence. Boring IT stuff, though," Tosh said. It was her stock explanation.

"Oh, really? Mechanic." Jenifer took a sip.

"Mechanic? You know cars, then?"

"Helicopters."

Tosh blinked. "So, you know the instrumentation or the rotary bits or the engines?"

Jenifer grinned. "Try all of them."

Tosh brightened. She could relate to someone who knew how to fix things. She could learn about helicopters. Now would be a good time to start asking questions.

Their drinks were gone after half an hour of conversation and Toshiko barely noticed until Jenifer poked her shoulder and angled her head at the other side of the room. Tosh started. "It's my round, isn't it?"

"It's free jukebox night, come up with me." Jenifer took a long pull from her pint and stood, pulling Tosh's hand. They walked to the jukebox and Tosh didn't see anything that appealing, so pushed the button a few times to advance the CDs. "Peter Gabriel?" Jenifer pointed with her free hand, "he's good." Tosh pressed the button and advanced the discs again. Solsbury Hill started up immediately and Jenifer laughed. "You ARE good luck!"

Jenifer selected a Coldplay single ("I know. I like them, okay? And there's nothing new in here...") and something by Prince, and Tosh chose Sarah McLachlan and Jamiroquai. She glanced at Jenifer, fringe snaking over her brow as she leaned over the jukebox, and chanced sliding her arm along Jenifer's waist, tucking her thumb into the back pocket of her jeans. Jenifer looked at her sideways, all big blue eyes over a sprinkle of freckles, and Tosh clenched her fingers in the denim, felt her gut clench, too.

*

"I was thinking about seeing a film," Ianto remarked a week later, after lunch.

Tosh scrunched her napkin. "Anything good playing?"

"Well, there's 'Best of Both Worlds - the story of Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana'," Ianto read from the paper. "Oh, Electro. How far you've fallen."

Jack stepped into the breakroom. "Wait. What are we doing tonight?"

"Pub," Owen and Tosh said, simultaneously.

"Is it quiz night?" Gwen asked, squinting at one of the foil containers on the table and spearing a cherry tomato with her fork.

"I love quiz night," Jack proclaimed, pulling the tomato away and popping it into his mouth.

"So rude," Ianto shook his head.

"I'm bringing a friend," Tosh said.

"You. Have friends." Owen said, and winced as Gwen kicked him under the table and mouthed something which Tosh couldn't mistake for anything but Prick.

"A date, actually," She blurted, colouring. "Gwen, do you want my tomatoes?"

Owen looked at Jack. "We can bring dates?"

"Thank you, Tosh," Gwen said, ignoring him pointedly. "Appreciate it."

"We go to the same pub every week, Owen," Ianto said.

"So?"

"So if you bring a date, she'll know where to find you every Thursday night. Forever."

Jack shook his head. "We're not switching pubs, Owen. Two words: mini samosas."


*

Toshiko cursed to herself as she walked into the pub with Jenifer in tow. She'd thought she'd be early, but everyone was already there and seated at one of the bench tables. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea. Gwen looked up first and waved. "Tosh!"

"There your friends are," Jenifer pointed out.

Tosh nodded. "Well, they're my... yeah. There they are."

She had already described Jenifer to Ianto and Gwen, but Owen seemed surprised to meet her. Tosh did the introductions: "Gwen works in logistics, Ianto's support and Jack's our supervisor. Oh, and Owen's a doctor."

"You have a doctor?"

"You know the MoD," Owen said. "Always prepared to spend the taxpayers' money on additional support staff."

Ianto raised his hand. "I do have a repetitive stress injury from data entry."

Jenifer sat and smiled at him. "I do know the MoD, as a matter of fact..."

When Jack found out she was a contractor for the RAF, they fell into easy conversation while Gwen and Ianto concentrated on quiz answers and Owen bought another round. Toshiko reached for her pint the second Jenifer's hand stole out and captured her other hand, and Jack winked at her.

*

"Nice-looking bird, Tosh. I'm impressed," Owen said, chewing on a piece of ice he pulled from his whisky glass as Jenifer walked to the loo. "Also, she smells good. So... can I watch?"

Tosh sat back in her chair. "Oh my god."

"I know. This," Gwen said, gesturing at Owen with her lager. "This right here is why I don't bring Rhys out to team pub night."

"Oh, is that why?" Owen sniped.

"Owen, that's enough," Jack barked. He lowered his voice. "Seriously. I'm wounded that you've never asked us if you could watch."

Ianto rolled his eyes and Gwen spluttered. "Sorry," she coughed. "Went right down my windpipe, that did."

"We're taking it slow," Tosh said. "We've only just met. Not that it's anybody's business."

"I think that sounds very wise," Ianto said.


*

Jenifer pulled her Sierra up to the kerb at Tosh's flats. "Thanks for inviting me out, Tosh. I had a great time."

"My colleagues are a little bit... um..."

"No, they're good. Sort of like mine." Jenifer tilted her head and grinned at her in the pale glow from the streetlight.

Not for the first time, Tosh felt a pang of regret at not keeping the necklace. But then Jenifer cut the engine and pulled the key from the steering column, and Tosh realised she didn't need psychic alien tech to know what she was thinking.

"Want to come up?" She asked, her voice a bit breathless, and so what if she wasn't a challenge? Life was about taking chances, Tosh decided. 

She was rewarded with another smile, as Jenifer leaned over and dragged a finger behind Tosh's ear, pulling a stray strand of hair out of her face.

"How did you know?"





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