How to juggle a mayfly and a cicada.
Pairing(s): Tommy/Toshiko, Marco/Toshiko, Owen/Toshiko.
Character(s): Marco, Tosh, Owen
Rating: PG-13 for language. (c'mon, it's Owen and Marco - did you think there wouldn't be language?)
Disclaimer: I own none of them. 'And the peasants rejoyce!'
Warnings: My attempt at writing a – is this a love triangle? Or just convoluted?
Summary: When Tosh’s relationship with Marco goes awry after Tommy’s death, it’s up to Owen to sort things out.
Author's notes: The title was the first thing written…then my Tosh muse up and vanished for most of the fic.
Owen watched as Tosh returned to work, passing the ginormous cog and settling at her terminal. Jack was off doing something, and Ianto and Gwen were gossiping like schoolgirls over at the coffeemaker – he didn’t know how they were going to divide Jack between them, and quite frankly, didn’t care to find out.
He was all done his assigned work, and the computer was looking for an answer to what he’d asked it five minutes ago.
So he watched Tosh.
Her eyes were dry.
And Owen knew that that didn’t mean a damn thing. Tosh didn’t let tears hang about, no matter how miserable she got.
He knew from experience.
So he got up and strolled over to her, looking like he was leaning on her workspace – a deceptive appearance he cultivated when he was alone and bored. “You all right?” Owen asked.
Tosh looked up. The gal had no hesitation in making eye contact – Tosh didn’t let fear and sadness reach her eyes, Owen knew that too. “I’m fine.”
Just as he knew she was talking bollocks. “That ‘Merican leave you standing?”
“I should get to work.”
And she hated to lie. So she spoke honestly, hoping Owen would get the hint and drop the subject.
“Okay,” Owen said. “Need any help?”
“I’m fine,” Tosh said. Repeating herself was never a good thing. And Owen was pretty sure he heard her voice come perilously close to cracking.
“Great,” Owen said, clapping his hands silently. “You hungry? I could go for a curry ‘bout now.”
“Thanks, Owen, but maybe later.”
Later? Tosh hated curries. No, not entirely – more of had an allergic reaction – a flamboyant rash, last time Owen had witnessed it.
“Alrighty then,” Owen said, “later,” heading out of Torchwood, taking the stairs. “You’d better be dead,” he grumbled once he was past the stairs, thinking of one and only one person, “cause if you’re not, you will be.”
* * * * * * * * *
There was a certain symmetry – or just a jealous universe – to finding Marco Pacella standing at the same railing Owen had found Tosh at, after Tommy’d gone back to 1918. “You pommy git! Bloody idiot!”
Marco didn’t look up or over. “Id-jut, or id-ee-yut.”
“What?” slamming one hand on the railing.
Though shaking with the resonating rail, he didn’t get off it. “I didn’t know why you came out here, so I thought I’d tell you how we say it.”
“On your side of the Pond, I don’t give a shit. I -”
“Given your tone, I’d say there’s only one thing you could be here for. The fact that I broke up with Tosh.”
“Damn right.” What the hell was going through your mind??
Marco looked at Owen. “She’ll be better off with Tom.”
“The Army officer she’s seeing.” Mistaking the look on Owen’s face for another expression, “Yes, she told me. And I congratulated her.”
“Bet that took her by surprise.” And me.
“It did. And I wished her well.”
“What?” She loves you, you sheep-brained git.
“I was getting out of her way,” Marco said. “It’s something of a recurring theme in my life.”
Owen blinked. “You… What?”
Figuring Owen was a safe person to confide something of this magnitude to, Marco said, “I build up a friendship with a woman…the friendship starts to turn romantic…then the woman starts a relationship with another guy. Every time, I stand aside.”
“You don’t fight?” Owen asked.
“I want them to be happy. And every time it’s happened, I’ve never been as able to give her – them – as good of a life as the other man – men – could.”
Owen snorted. “I don’t know about the others, but I think you coulda beaten Tommy.” Guy with his own apartment, vs a guy with his own icebox.
Marco shook his head. “You don’t know that.”
“Yes. I. Do.
“You’ve been inside Torchwood, remember?”
Marco nodded, remembering the feel of Tosh as he’d thrown his arms around her, startled as the ground had given way under them…which had turned out to be the paving stone lowering itself to the other floor.
“Tommy lived there.”
“Do I look like I kid?”
“No, not really. But then, I’ve tended to work with people who weren’t what they appeared to be.”
Owen nodded, accepting the backhanded compliment. “So now what?”
Marco blinked. “I don’t follow.”
Fooled me, ya yes-man. “I mean, what’re you going to do with Tosh, now that you know?”
“She deserves to be happy.”
“Absolutely.” And if you don’t, I’ll kill you & make her happy myself.
“I’ll be sure to send them a wedding present.”
Owen had to restrain the urge – impulse – to slam Marco’s thick skull into the railing…just once. “We woke Tommy up once a year. He wasn’t awake for more than a single day.”
“Tosh knew him for all of four days.” Tommy-time.
“She seemed pretty…cheerful, talking about him,” Marco said. It was more than cheerful, really. It was more like Toshiko’s entire being seemed to glow with enthusiasm.
“No surprise, really,” Owen said. “No matter how bad things got, Tosh could always console herself that at least her time with Tommy’d be good.”
A life preserver, Marco nodded, understanding the concept far too well.
“Then Tosh met you,” Owen said. “And she was cheerful a lot more often,” which he admitted grudgingly. Much as he just wanted Tosh to be happy, he’d have preferred her to have found happiness with him…but he wouldn’t begrudge her a chance. “D’you know she actually brought donuts to work?” Jack had just looked at the things with horror written on his face. Ianto’d beaten everyone to the coconut ones. And Suzy had split the chocolate ones with Owen.
“Was right after you sent her those plane tickets,” Owen said. She’d gushed about front-row seats at the Philharmonic for weeks afterwards…well, as much as Tosh was given to gushing. “So you go apologize to Tosh,” Owen told Marco, steel in his voice, “or I’ll do everything in my power to make sure the Weevil community moves to Seattle.”
Much as he doubted Owen was bluffing, it was a moot point to Marco: “I was already going to go say I’m sorry,” Marco said.
* * * * * * * *
Tosh came into the pizzeria, joining Marco at one of the tables. “Owen called me,” Tosh said, hating the feeling of being left out of a joke – or being the punchline. And since Owen wasn’t here…
Marco nodded and handed her the scrap of paper Owen’d scribbled a note for Tosh.
Tosh read it: ‘You hate curry.’ She smiled. “I do.”
“And he said you like the pizza here,” Marco said.
“Did he now?”
A nod. “Told me it was here, or take you for jellied eels.”
Since there was another fifteen minutes before their order would be ready – Dr. Harper, in his infinite helpfulness, had placed the order, then skeedaddled out – Marco told Tosh, “I’m sorry.”
Tosh blinked. “For what?”
You know. “For letting you think I was dumping you, earlier.”
“Did Owen put you up to this?”
“No. He just connected the dots. I’d put them together wrong on my own, Toshiko,” Marco said. “I’d figured you’d be happier – you’d be better off with Tommy than you would with me.”
“Please, let me finish.”
Tosh put one hand on one of his, which made it difficult for him to focus.
“I didn’t know he was only here for a day a year,” Marco said, his voice hushed – even though he doubted anyone could or would overhear them in the noisy bustle of the pizzeria, it was a caution he’d grown up with, one drilled into him. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, Marco,” Tosh said. “And I appreciate your kindness,” now that I know you weren’t stiffing me.
“I’ve no objection,” he said, “to you seeing him. I’m not always here, I know…and you always look forwards to seeing him.”
“I look forwards to seeing you too,” she told Marco. And wondered if Owen had mentioned that Tommy was dead.