Characters: Tosh, Jack.
Spoilers: Tiny for Fragments, set pre-series.
Summary: Jack thinks Tosh is ready to start her training in earnest; Tosh isn’t quite so sure about going outside her comfort zone.
Word Count: 1547
Written For: juliet316’s prompt ‘Torchwood, author's choice, if you can't use a gun, you won't survive very long in Torchwood,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Tosh had been with Torchwood for almost three weeks, and felt she was finally starting to find her feet when Jack swung by her desk early one morning before she’d even had time to turn her computers on.
“Ah, Toshiko, just who I wanted to see! Brains and beauty, an unbeatable combination; let’s see what we can add to that to make you even more formidable, shall we? Come with me.” The smile he graced her with was so genuinely happy that as always, it warmed her heart.
When UNIT had released her into Jack’s custody, Tosh had expected to be little more than a prisoner at Torchwood, carrying out whatever tasks she was assigned during the day and locked away at night like any other valuable piece of equipment. Instead, right from the start it had been more like she’d been adopted into a slightly weird family, where Jack was the proud father figure, doting on his two girls. She smiled back at him, caught up in her boss’s infectious enthusiasm.
“Where are we going?” she asked breathlessly, almost having to jog to keep up with his long strides.
“Firing range. Now you’ve had a chance to settle in a bit, I think it’s time you learned to handle a gun.”
“A gun?” Tosh’s steps faltered and she came to a halt. “Jack, I’m not a soldier; I work with computers and technology. I don’t know anything about guns!”
Halting in the doorway to the lower levels, Jack grinned back at her. “Of course you don’t! If you did, you wouldn’t need training, would you? Come along now, you’ll be fine. The work we do can be dangerous; I want all my team able to protect themselves. Weapons training is part of that; if you can’t use a gun you might not survive very long, and that would be a tragedy I don’t want to face.”
“But I just work in the Hub…”
Coming back to stand in front of her, Jack took her hands in his; they seemed so small and fragile in his grasp, but his touch was gentle. “Right now you do, but I know you, Toshiko; you’re capable of so much more than you realise, and I’m going to help you realise your full potential. Trust me.”
“I do, I just… I don’t think I could kill anybody, human or alien,” she admitted.
“And I hope you’ll never be in a position where you need to, but if it comes down to you or someone else, it’s better to have a fighting chance than to be helpless, don’t you think? What if a Weevil got loose in the Hub, or alien invaders got in when there was nobody else around? Our security is as good as you’ll find anywhere on earth, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be breached by someone with superior technology.”
When he put it like that Tosh could sort of see his point, but this was so far beyond anything she’d ever expected… Still, Jack was looking at her with such sincerity, and she owed him so much, that she couldn’t refuse.
“Oh, okay, but I don’t think I’ll be very good at it.”
“Leave that to me.” He winked at her, leading her by the hand down the staircase to the cavernous firing range. “By the time I’m through with you, you’ll be able to hit anything you aim at, regardless of any distractions. I trained Suzie, and now she’s Torchwood Three’s weapons expert. She’d never held a gun before either; she used to be a mechanic.”
That surprised Tosh; Suzie handled the various guns and other weapons that were her responsibility as if she’d been doing it all her life.
Steering Tosh to a table where several handguns were laid out, Jack handed her a pair of goggles and a set of ear protectors. “Put these on, then watch me.”
As Tosh stood back and observed, Jack demonstrated how to load, aim, and fire a gun, emptying a full clip into one of the paper targets. Tosh flinched every time he pulled the trigger, sure she could never do it herself, but she didn’t want to disappoint Jack, so she knew she’d at least have to try.
“See? Nothing to it.” Jack reloaded the gun and offered it to her butt first. “Your turn.”
Accepting the automatic gingerly, Tosh found it weighed less than she’d been expecting. Nevertheless she kept the barrel pointed towards the ground and away from her feet, her fingers well away from the trigger, afraid it might go off otherwise. “Um…”
“It won’t bite you,” Jack teased. “It’s a tool, not all that different from a computer. It can only do what you make it do. Here.”
Coming around behind her, Jack guided her into a proper firing stance, pointing the gun down the range towards the target. He was pressed right up against her back so she could feel every inch of him, his hands pushing and pulling at her as he adjusted her posture, his voice quiet and calm through the earphones. The scent of his aftershave tickled her nostrils and she was acutely aware of the way his proximity was making her pulse speed up. How was she supposed to concentrate with him pawing at her like that? It was uncomfortable, exciting, and embarrassing, all at the same time, but she didn’t feel she could object, and if she was honest with herself, she wasn’t even sure she wanted to. Jack was a very attractive man.
“Okay, now squeeze the trigger gently,” he murmured, his big hands adjusting her grip.
Tosh nearly jumped out of her skin as the gun fired, the recoil knocking her back against Jack’s chest, making her suddenly glad he was right there, providing support. She had a feeling she would have fallen over if he hadn’t been.
“You’re doing fine, try again, just don’t tense up so much this time. Keep firing until the gun clicks on empty.”
Doing as she was told, Tosh pulled the trigger over and over, flinching each time, but by the time she was on her third clip her hands were noticeably steadier. She was sure that come morning her shoulders were going to hurt like Hell from the constant jarring though.
By the fifth clip, she’d almost forgotten Jack was there, and by the seventh, he was guiding her more with his voice than his hands. For the tenth clip, he moved aside and she was on her own.
She could scarcely believe she was doing this, firing a gun, even if it was just at paper targets. It was so far outside her experience. She was completely comfortable with her computers, hardly needed to think about what she was doing, her hands moving automatically, but this… She was awkward and ungainly, but she thought maybe she was starting to get the hang of it a little, her arms absorbing the recoil more instead of jerking with each shot, and when Jack reeled in her latest target, she saw she’d hit it with every shot. They weren’t all in the centre or anything, they were scattered all over, and three were outside the target circles, but it was still a big improvement.
“There, see? You’re a natural!”
“I don’t know about that.” Tosh ejected the clip, placing it and the gun on the table, as she’d been taught, before rubbing her sore shoulders.
Jack chuckled. “Oh, believe me, I’ve put a lot of people through weapons training and most of them took way longer than you before they could tune out my distractions and focus solely on what they were aiming at.”
That was what all the groping had been about? Acclimatising her to ignoring distractions? Tosh had to admit it was a fiendishly brilliant strategy; Jack was very hard to ignore.
“You wouldn’t believe how many times people have shot holes in the ceiling by accident.” He pointed overhead and Tosh looked up at the patched concrete above them, clear evidence of very poor aim. It made her feel a lot better about her efforts. “I’m happy not to have to get the ladders and cement out this time, so thank you for that.” Jack beamed at her proudly. “Same time tomorrow, sweet Toshiko; I’ll make a field agent of you yet, but right now I think it’s time for breakfast. After you.”
Jack gestured for her to lead the way back to the main Hub and Tosh started towards the door out of the firing range, mulling over what Jack had just said. Field agent? Could she really do that, go out with Jack and Suzie, chasing Weevils and other creatures? So far she’d only gone with them on retrievals to collect alien technology, that being more her area of expertise, but Jack seemed to think she was capable of more, including things she would have never even imagined herself doing.
Well, whether or not he was right only time would tell; all she could do was follow his instructions and try her best, but… Nervous excitement coursed through her, making her heart skip a beat. If she was good enough, maybe Jack would keep her on when her five years were up. Anything was possible.