Characters: Tosh, Jack, Ianto.
Summary: Tosh doesn’t consider herself a genius, even if Jack does. But that’s okay; she’s comfortable being who she is.
Word Count: 1837
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Challenge 118: Genius at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Right from the start, Jack has called her his genius, but Tosh was raised to be modest and simply can’t see herself that way. Oh, she knows she’s quite clever compared to many people; she loves puzzles and figuring things out, but a genius? She’s no Einstein, or Galileo, or Newton. She’s just an ordinary woman who happens to have an affinity for computers and technology. She’s learned to speak their language, although sometimes she wonders if it’s they who speak hers. Most of the time she understands them better than she does people.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that technology, whether human or alien, is a source of endless fascination for her. There’s nothing better than finding a new device and having to figure out what it is, what it does, how it works and, this being Torchwood, how to undo what it’s done to one of her team-mates, or to an innocent civilian.
She prefers to take her time delving into the inner workings of the ingenious pieces of technology that fall through the Rift, repairing the broken things and making safe those that could prove dangerous, but naturally if something has accidentally been activated and affected someone, she has to work as fast as possible. She’d enjoy the challenge more if the stakes weren’t so high, but she can’t deny the frisson of excitement she feels when everyone is relying on her to find the solution to a potentially serious problem.
There was that time with the elderly man who accidentally interfaced with an alien astrogation device and started writing advanced mathematical equations all over the walls of his home. And then there was the device that gave the entire team labels designating their species and most notable personality traits… Come to think of it, that had labelled her a genius too.
Tosh shrugs; it was an alien device, so maybe by the standards of the race who built it, she would qualify as such, but she just fixes things, and sometimes combines bits of tech into handy devices for the team to use. Occasionally she improves on existing earth technology, phones and PDAs and laptops, that sort of thing, but anyone with a basic understanding of electronics and micro-circuitry could do the same if they had access to the tools, raw materials, and components she does. It’s just that a lot of the things she gets to play with haven’t been invented on earth yet, or are made from materials that only exist on other planets, or far in the future. She has an unfair advantage, that’s all it really is.
Her IQ isn’t even all that high, no matter what Jack would have people believe, not compared to some of her heroes in the field of scientific discovery. Jack always exaggerates though. Anyone who knows him is aware that most of what he says should be taken with a grain of salt. She loves him dearly, he’s like the older brother she never had, or a surrogate father figure, a favourite uncle, or a really dear friend, or maybe a combination of all of the above, but he does have a habit of telling tall stories. So much so that it’s often hard to know what to believe when he starts talking. It’s really not at all difficult for her to believe he used to be a conman; he could probably convince anyone of just about anything if he set his mind to it, but he’ll never convince her that she’s a genius. As much as she appreciates his faith in her, sometimes his praise and his determination to tell everyone how brilliant she is just serves to embarrass her.
She’s happy working for Torchwood though, far happier than she was at the ministry of defence. There are fewer people here for a start, and she doesn’t feel so awkward around them. Neither does she feel left out the way she used to when groups of her colleagues would go out on the town without inviting her. Here, she feels more like she belongs, and she’s found a firm friend in Ianto; they have more in common than it would appear on the surface, both loving hot curries and classic Star Trek, among other things. Ianto is easy to talk to, and far more intelligent than a lot of people give him credit for. He can’t always keep up with her explanations of what she’s working on, but he can a lot of the time and often comes up with some seriously brilliant flashes of inspiration when they’re working together on one of their shared projects. Brainstorming with him is so much fun, even if their sessions often end up going wildly off track. He’s sparked some of her best ideas, although he always refuses to take the credit.
Sometimes Jack will drag the whole team out for dinner, or drinks, and it’s fun because they’re all sort of misfits in their own way, and accepting of each other’s little eccentricities. Nobody cares if she sits at the table working on a complex problem, jotting equations on a beer mat while sipping her wine. She’s never made to feel bad if she doesn’t want to join in the conversation, and for some reason that makes her more inclined to chat with them than she otherwise might be. They allow her to be just the way she is without trying to change her, and she grants them the same consideration. The people she works with have become more than just her teammates and friends; they’re her family, and she’s grateful every day that Jack found her and rescued her from the UNIT prison. She’d never imagined finding such fulfilment in her work.
Looking back, she’d thought her life was over when she was tossed in that cramped, bleak little cell and locked away from the world, but now she can’t help wondering… If none of those terrible events had ever happened, her mother’s abduction, the blackmail, her incarceration for treason… she might not be here now, among people who truly value her for everything she is, and doing things she never would have believed possible a few short years ago. If the world were to end tomorrow, she thinks she could die happy… or almost. There are one or two things she’s still holding out hope for.
The first is Owen of course; if he’d only look at her as a woman for once instead of just as a colleague and friend, maybe he’d like what he sees. If not, maybe there’s someone else out there for her. Having someone to love who loves her in return would make her life just about perfect.
The other thing… Well, a while back when she was in London, standing in for Owen investigating the inhabitant of a spaceship that crashed into Big Ben, she met someone extraordinary, a strange man with big ears and the most brilliant mind she’s ever encountered. She knows now that was Jack’s Doctor, the one he waited so long to catch up with only to have his hopes dashed, and perhaps even more than finding true love, she wishes their paths could cross again, because he is someone who absolutely deserves to be termed a genius. There’s so much he could teach her, if he had a mind to; all of time and space must be like an open book to him. It makes her breathless just trying to imagine the wonders he’s seen. Perhaps he’d even be willing to take her with him on a short trip, show her just a little of what’s out there beyond the planet she’s lived her whole life on.
It’s wishful thinking, she’s sure, but surely a girl’s allowed to dream now and then. Sometimes, dreams even come true, but it’s okay if hers don’t; she won’t be disappointed. Her life is already full of so much more wonder and adventure than she ever could have expected to experience.
Speaking of which… The Rift alarms are blaring and Tosh’s fingers dance over her keyboard, pulling up information on the latest Rift spike.
“What’ve we got, Tosh?” Jack is leaning over her shoulder, peering at her screens.
“It’s in Splott, near the swimming pool,” she tells him. “Something fairly small, inorganic… probably tech of some kind. Let me tap into the CCTV network; I might be able to get you a visual… There.” The picture on the screen is a bit grainy, but a few moments’ work cleans the image up enough to give them a reasonably good look at the new arrival, a small device about the same size and shape as a TV remote control, but with a central screen and several small dials instead of the familiar buttons. “Sending coordinates to the SUV’s SatNav.”
“Excellent work.” Jack kisses the top of her head. “Where would we be without our resident technical genius?”
There’s no point in telling Jack again that she’s not a genius so she just shrugs. “Probably driving around in circles trying to find your way out of the one-way system.”
Jack laughs. “That only happened once; it’s hardly my fault that I don’t understand Swahili. Who knew the device I picked up would reprogram all the SUV’s computer systems with a foreign language? Good thing I had you to set everything back to English again.”
Tosh is laughing too. “Go, find whatever this thing is before someone else does. I’ll keep an eye on it from here, just in case.”
“I know you will, and I’ll have whatever that is back here for to play with in no time.” Jack turns in a swirl of coat, shouting to Owen to go with him. The rest of the team probably think Jack chooses who to take on retrievals at random, but Tosh knows better. He has a complicated system that takes into account who he took last time, who’s the least busy or the most in need of a break from their other work, and whose particular talents might prove most useful. Tosh can predict who he’ll take more than ninety percent of the time, and she’s right again on this occasion, but that’s not being a genius either, just a matter of statistical probabilities. Owen’s been looking kind of down today, brooding because it would have been Katie’s birthday. He could do with a distraction.
Tosh doesn’t care that she’s not the genius Jack seems to think she is. She’s secure in her ability to do her job and she has no doubt that given enough time she’ll be able to figure out the new piece of tech; she’s looking forward to getting her hands on if, but there’s no need to wait to get started. She can estimate its dimensions from the image on her screen, and search Torchwood’s database for any similar items already stored in the archives. This is what she lives for. She really does have the best job in the world!