Title: Being Together
Disclaimer: Not mine, no claims, all property of the BBC.
Notes: Set midway through Torchwood series 2. Spoilers for 2x05, "Adam". With thanks to my beta-reader, kelticbanshee, whose help was invaluable. Cross-posted to my lj, my Dreamwidth account, to torchwood_fic, and to gwentoshiko.
Toshiko jumped, startled, when Gwen came to stand at her shoulder. She'd been cross-referencing databases of temporal drift in the stratosphere, and thought she'd detected a significant wave pattern. Like so many phenomena, it was elusive. If they could only map the Rift in space or time, they'd be so much further ahead, and much closer to controlling it.
It remained an impossible dream.
Gwen put a hand on her shoulder. "Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. Do you realize you've been staring at that screen for seven hours straight?"
Toshiko blinked. "I'm working. Is that a problem?"
"You must be hungry. Doesn't your back ache?"
"Maybe. Not... much." Toshiko smiled ruefully. "I'm used to it. Where are the others?"
"Owen's gone home. Jack and Ianto are off somewhere together." She grinned, as if it were funny. "Hope they're making the most of it."
"The most of - ? Oh. Yes. I see." Which meant that Gwen thought Jack and Ianto somewhere making love - again. They'd taken to disappearing together at intervals, and Tosh had to swallow the envy she felt. She took a deep breath, realizing that yes, she was achingly tired. Tired and hungry. It was as if she'd been tired and hungry so long it was like background noise, easy to ignore. She shook her head to clear it. It didn't help.
Gwen said sympathetically, "I know how eager you are to get answers, but really, Tosh, making yourself sick won't help."
"It isn't that," said Tosh, and amended that quickly. "I mean, it isn't just that. I was working to forget."
"I don't know."
Understandably, Gwen looked baffled. Her expression was so endearing that Tosh found herself smiling in spite of everything. "I want to forget what I can't remember happened to me in those two days we lost."
"When I didn't even know Rhys? Or so he says." Gwen shuddered. "That's so weird."
"It's all weird. Why would we just forget two days?"
"Jack says it's better that we don't know. He left himself a note saying not to look into it. If he says that, there's a good reason."
"I know. But there's something more..." Tosh looked anxiously into Gwen's wide eyes, then glanced down. "I'd like to talk about it, if you don't mind."
"Of course I don't mind!"
Tosh looked around as if expecting someone or something to appear from the Hub's deep shadows. "Maybe not here."
"Let's go for something to eat, then," said Gwen. "The place across the way will be open still. We can munch and talk at the same time."
They locked up the Hub and wandered across the Plass. Usually Tosh loved damp evenings like this. She found it refreshing and comforting - the smells and sounds of Cardiff, so distinct from London, a place that after a few years at Torchwood, felt like home now. It was not quite raining, with the smell of salt air heavy on her skin. She buried her hands in her jacket pockets. She was sure she could feel the warmth of Gwen's body from three inches away. She moved a little closer. Gwen didn't mind. She wondered if Gwen would mind if she held her hand.
Gwen would probably think that was infantile, wanting to hold her hand. She didn't feel like a little girl. And Gwen certainly didn't look like one, with that form-fitting black leather jacket she'd taken to wearing. Toshiko envied the way she wore it, pulling off a careless toughness and an appealing femininity at the same time. Tosh had never mastered style. She'd never really tried. But she admired it when she saw it.
The place across the way was dry and noisy, with a rock band playing in the back and some people dancing. Tosh did a double-take, noticing two women dancing together. It comforted her already, as if she was just a little less out of place than usual. There were a few het couples dancing, and, at one of the tables, two men who were probably gay. She'd been here before, mostly for lunch, and never noticed this indifference to... quaint categories.
That made her feel at home, too.
They sat at a small table in the back. Gwen left her coat on the chair, and went to get their drinks. Tosh watched her go. She liked the way Gwen moved. That comforted her, too.
After a while (and a bit of noisy banter), Gwen came back with two pints and finger food, artfully balanced. She put the mugs and plates on their table and sat in the corner seat. Tosh took a long drink and relaxed against the back of her bench. She let her knee touch Gwen's, just lightly. Gwen didn't move away.
"Thanks," said Tosh. "I feel better already." With the prospect of food, and Gwen at her side, how could she not? Suddenly it was easy to forget the cross-referencing graphs.
"Work getting you down?" asked Gwen, sympathetically.
"No. No, it isn't that." Tosh opened her eyes, met Gwen's eyes, and reached for her hand. "Can I hold your hand while I talk?"
Gwen held her fingers warmly. "You're cold. Tosh - are you scared?" She wrapped Tosh's hand in both of hers.
"Not exactly. Unnerved. What do you remember about those two days we're missing?"
"Not a blessed thing."
"I can't, either."
"Rhys goes over it with me, everything he remembers. Me not knowing him. Him teaching me about who he is, what our relationship was. He's so patient with me. It sounds incredible. It is incredible. But I believe what he says is true. I just wish he knew more about what happened, but he's told me all he knows. Practically nothing, same as us." When Tosh didn't immediately answer, she said, "Do you know something about those days I don't?"
"In a way. I know I was sexually active."
Gwen squeezed her fingers. "Oh? How?"
Tosh almost jerked her hand away, but didn't. "How do you think? Do you think I'm so sexually inexperienced I don't know what it feels like, after? My vagina felt stretched and sore, as if it had been used. A lot. In a good way. And other parts of me - I had marks all over my body. Signs of intimacy. Fingerprints, a hickey, bites, rug burn.... Owen checked me out and said it looked as if I'd had a good time. I guess I did. Too bad I don't remember. And good thing I'm not pregnant."
"And you don't know who you were with?"
"That's just it. Gwen, I don't have a boyfriend. You know that. Or girlfriend. Or anything. I couldn't have made those marks myself. I keep thinking about what might have happened, and I can't come up with an answer. Seems I wasn't raped. Did I become a slut for a day? Was it some alien sex gas? Did I fall in love with someone - who disappeared without a trace? What?"
Gwen looked thoughtful. She stroked Tosh's arm to comfort her. "Might it have been Jack? I know he likes you. I don't think you'd turn him down."
Toshiko thought about the possibility. "It could have been him, but... that explains 'who' without explaining 'how' or 'why' or what happened after. He and Ianto are so into each other just now, why would he come to me?"
"...Maybe it was both of them," said Gwen thoughtfully, musing aloud, and then, with an apologetic laugh, took another sip of beer. "I shouldn't have said that. Oops."
Toshiko's eyes widened. "Do you think they would?" She pulled her hand away from Gwen's, and took another sip of beer. Jack and Ianto. It was an answer she hadn't thought of.
"Of course they would. This is Jack... and Ianto'd love it. But I don't think you would. Or at least...." She grinned. "Nice fantasy, though."
"Yeah," said Tosh. "I can't quite get my head around it. It's easier to imagine that, than some stranger."
"You're not the 'some stranger' type," agreed Gwen. "Not like Owen." There was a pregnant pause, and Tosh knew she was remembering Mary, who had been, by any definition of the phrase, 'some stranger'.
Gwen said softly, "Maybe it was me."
"Why not? Is there any reason a woman couldn't have left those marks on you?"
"None at all," said Tosh, her mouth suddenly dry. She knew she couldn't look at Gwen without her feelings showing all over her face, so she looked at random at the cafe, at the dancers, and at the dance floor where the woman in the jeans was dancing closely with her pretty girlfriend.
Gwen took Tosh's hand again, stroking the back of her fingers. "I don't know what happened, Tosh, but it could have happened between us. You're so pretty, I sometimes.... Well. It's another possibility. I'm not a stranger, either."
"You sometimes what?"
"I think about you. That's all."
"You think about me? You mean, like, sexually?"
Gwen leaned back and would have let go of her hand, but Tosh gripped her wrist. Gwen entwined fingers. "Yeah. I do. Sometimes. Often. It's just... Tosh, you're gorgeous. You must know that. And working together and all, I like you. A lot. So I think about it sometimes. What it would be like. So if something happened in those missing days, and you... and we... I don't see it as impossible, that's all."
"Oh," said Tosh, staring. A moment ago she couldn't look at Gwen. Now she couldn't look away from her.
"You must have known. You must have seen the way I look at you sometimes. I thought was being indiscreet."
"I had no idea."
"I envied Mary so much I wanted to scream."
"Really? But you and Owen - you and Rhys - "
Gwen flushed slightly, but didn't look ashamed. "Feelings are feelings. I wanted to kill her even before she tried to kill you."
"I thought you just hated my boots."
"She had your love and she didn't appreciate it. She loved you and wanted to hurt you. That's insane. And it's not fair to you. You deserve...." she swallowed. "The best."
Tosh reached over and ran her finger along the back of Gwen's hand, along her middle finger to the tip. "Say that again. The part about me being pretty." Gwen's sudden shyness made her feel bold. Bold enough to ask. Bold enough to think.
"Pretty?" Gwen smiled. She lifted Tosh's hand to her mouth and kissed her index finger. "Tosh, you are bloody freaking gorgeous." She kissed the middle finger. "Gorgeous." The ring finger. "Gorgeous." The little finger: "Utterly and cosmically gorgeous." And, dipping her head a little, licked the ball of Tosh's thumb. "...And incredibly sexy."
Tosh, suddenly reduced to a heated wordlessness, said nothing.
"When you work," said Gwen, "With your glasses on, frowning because the numbers aren't coming out right, and you lean in close to the screen - gorgeous. Sometimes I can't take my eyes off you."
"Really?" said Tosh, in a small voice.
"Sometimes I want to touch you."
"Touch me," said Tosh, and she could hear the ambiguity: was she parroting Gwen's words in puzzlement? Asking a question? Or was it a command? She didn't know. She looked at their untouched veggie plate, and whispered, "I'd like you to touch me."
Gwen put a finger under her chin and lifted it. Looking slightly mischievous, Gwen said, "Ms Sato, may I have the pleasure of this dance?"
Tongue-tied, Tosh simply nodded. Still holding her hand, Gwen rose, and led her to the dance floor, and took Tosh in her arms. Tosh was glad she had Gwen to lean on, because she wasn't sure how well she could hold herself up. She was mush. She felt like floating. She didn't care that there were other people dancing, of all ages and types, and music blaring, and lots of loud talking. She inhaled Gwen's scent and dropped her head to Gwen's shoulder, settling her hands on Gwen's waist. "I like this."
She looked up. "I want to kiss you."
"Here? I wouldn't mind."
Instead of kissing her, Tosh dropped her head again, and said, "What about Rhys? I don't want to... cause trouble."
"Rhys understands," said Gwen. "He doesn't mind. I mean, I haven't talked to him about you, but - in general. He says he wants our love to be a haven, not a prison."
Tosh moved a little closer. It was becoming harder to think at all, with Gwen's body against hers. Gwen hadn't removed her jacket, so she could feet the heat of her body through the red t-shirt, and the leather was like a carapace where she pressed a hand to the back of Gwen's shoulder, while her other hand rested on Gwen's waist, where she could feel the warm, breathing woman beneath. She let the sensations wash over her: music, Gwen, warmth, softness, someone calling to someone else, the scent of salt and rain in the air, stale beer and chips.
Gwen. All she wanted was Gwen. She said, "Then I want to take you home to my place tonight."
"God, yes." Gwen squeezed her briefly tight. Tosh moved her head and kissed her ear, touching it with the tip of her tongue. She really was floating, now. It was like being drugged.
When the music changed tempo they sat down and sipped their beer together, not talking. They ate some veggies, glancing at each other, smiling, thinking, touching hands occasionally. There seemed to be no need to talk. This was anticipation spiced with impatience. Tosh wondered when she had last felt so happy.
Then after a while one appetite overcame the other. Gwen said, "Shall we go?"
Tosh nodded, and put on her coat, watching Gwen gracefully shrug into hers. The air outside stung with sharp dampness. "It's getting colder," said Gwen. She put her arm around Tosh's shoulders on the way to the car - Gwen's car. Tosh dropped into the passenger seat and watched Gwen slip behind the steering wheel, and then Gwen kissed her in a way she hadn't yet, all urgency and lips and tongue and teeth, moaning as Tosh gasped for breath.
Gwen said, "Tosh, I don't know what's going to happen but I want you to know that even if we never do this again, I love you in ways that aren't just about sex. Do you understand?"
"Yes," said Tosh. And as Gwen sank back into the driver's seat, "If there's anything I've learned from Jack, it's that you take life as it comes and you take love as it comes. And treasure it."
Then Gwen had to kiss her again, and go on kissing, and she was touching Gwen wherever she could reach - under her jacket where the warm shirt was loose over her back, over her round butt where the jeans stretched tightly, her soft hair, her softer face. Gwen put one hand on her breast, stroking, touching her nipple in a way that made Tosh ache. Gwen reached one hand under her skirt where the nylon tights stretched between her legs, too thin to bear and yet astill not thin enough.
"Gwen," she whispered. And then, a little louder, with Gwen raining soft kisses over her neck, "Gwen! Let's get going or I'll explode."
"I want to make you explode," said Gwen, laughing, and her breath ticked the skin between Tosh's breasts as she moved away. "I'm going to make you explode."
The car started. Gwen added, "If there's anything I've learned from Jack, it's that there are no rules."
"No rules," repeated Tosh, wondering what it meant.
"Except kindness, maybe," said Gwen. She turned up the radio. The music was loud and jarring, and somehow played on Tosh's nerves in a sensuous way, as if pounding to the rhythm of her blood. It made her laugh. Or maybe that was the lingering effects of Gwen's breath on her skin, and her hands on her body. While Gwen was touching her, she'd stretched her legs as far apart as she could. Not she squeezed them together, as if she should capture the memory of Gwen's fingers. The windscreen wipers might have been dancing in the dark, catching and scattering light as Gwen drove, a little too fast, under one street lamp and then another. Tosh could tell by the movement of her mouth that Gwen was singing, but she couldn't hear the words. Presumably it was the same as on the radio.
She reached over and touched Gwen's knee. Gwen reached down, took her wrist, and moved her hand higher on her thigh. Tosh squeezed. Gwen said, "Oops, distracting," and, laughing, moved her hand further down again. That made Tosh laugh out loud.
Then they were at Tosh's place. The street was dark and so quiet it was startling when Gwen turned off the radio. "No rules to protect us," said Gwen. "So we have to take care of each other."
They dashed through the rain to Tosh's doorstep, where Tosh fumbled for her keys and Gwen touched her from behind, almost an embrace, except for the rain and her coat being in the way and a gust of wind blew her hair across her face. They tumbled into the entrance way . Tosh flipped the light switch and dropped her keys and they started kissing again. Gwen had pushed the door closed behind her and leaned against it as they kissed. Tosh dropped her coat onto the floor and held Gwen tight. Gwen leaned against her, bending her gently backwards, and once again her hand was under Tosh's skirt, but this time she was pulling down her tights and her pants, and those were Gwen's fingers on her body, touching her skin, stroking her, inside her body and stroking her some more, and Tosh found herself trembling and screaming and trying to pull herself together. "Gwen!" she shrieked. "I still have my boots on!"
"So?" said Gwen, impish. She gently but firmly lifted Tosh off her feet, and lowered her to the ground, so that Tosh was lying there, breathless, laughing, on her own wet coat and scattered bedroom slippers from earlier, tights tying her legs together at the shins, boots crossed, and Gwen sucking at her clit and playing inside her with wet fingers. Gwen's hair tickled her abdomen and she shrieked again and came, right there in the hallway, arching and gasping.
Gwen sat back on her heels, her eyes shining with desire and triumph. "Told you so," she said. "You exploded."
"You fiend," said Toshiko, still gasping.
"Yup. C'mon, let's go to bed where it's more comfortable."
"I can't move."
"That's because you still have your boots on." Gwen unzipped the right one, and pulled it off.
"No," said Tosh, her voice still shaky. "It's because you just exploded me and I've got maybe one muscle left in my body."
"Oh, did I miss one?" Gwen was sitting cross-legged on the floor, tugging at the other boot. Tosh shifted a little to help her get the angle. "I'll have to work on that."
"I've got no dignity left at all," moaned Tosh.
Gwen looked her over critically. "Dignity? No. But you're the loveliest thing I've ever seen." She lay beside her and kissed her, softly, lingeringly. Tosh thought she suddenly tasted of Mary; then realized it was neither Mary nor Gwen she was tasting, but herself.
The kisses were soft and sweet and began to taste increasingly like Gwen. Tosh pulled Gwen's jacket off her shoulders and Gwen wriggled out of it. Tosh pulled the red t-shirt up and off, smiling at the soft touch of Gwen's skin against her hands. Gwen's chest was a little freckled, like her face, and so very soft to the touch. Tosh unfastened Gwen's bra and kissed her breasts, startled by the sudden hardness of the nipples. "You're so responsive," she breathed.
"Don't stop," whispered Gwen. "It's perfect."
Tosh smiled, looking down at her. Gwen was on her back now, almost against the wall; one arm above her head, her hair tousled, her eyes wide. Half naked. Tosh unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans, fingers teasing her belly. "Okay, bed," she said, and Gwen groaned.
Tosh rose, a little shakily, and pulled off what remained of her tights. She was barefoot and disheveled and filled with amazing happiness. She took Gwen's hand and led her into the bedroom. She paused to tell herself not to think about Mary, but suddenly thinking about Mary was no longer painful, because this was Gwen, and Gwen was warm and sweet and loving and tough in ways Mary had never been.
It didn't take long to remove Gwen's jeans and Tosh's dress. They cuddled together, naked, and Tosh felt Gwen's body quivering against her. She kissed her shoulders and breasts and back, murmuring endearments, then pulled Gwen against her. She poured lotion on her hands, and stretched her leg akimbo over Tosh's body, caressing her breasts, sucking her nipples, then moving a hand down to her clit , rubbing, playing with Gwen's lips, pressing inside her, fingering her where she was so deep and soft and wet, feeling her own excitement grow at the desperate sounds Gwen was making. She played with Gwen's ear with her teeth and tongue, and Gwen's whole body twitched. She whispered into her ear, "Are you going to come for me, my dear?"
Gwen screamed, putting her fist against her mouth as she climaxed, ejaculating, moaning. Tosh gently covered her mouth and Gwen sucked at her fingers as if desperate. After a while - a very long while - Gwen stopped twitching and faded into relaxation. Tosh caressed and soothed her, fingers sticky over hot skin. She pulled Gwen into her arms and cuddled her.
Falling asleep, Tosh feeling a peace she hadn't felt since those lost two days. She snuggled closer to Gwen, whispering, "I love you," but Gwen was already asleep.
~ ~ ~