Characters: Owen, Tosh.
Spoilers: Exit Wounds, Fragments, Reset.
Summary: It’s almost the end of the line for Owen, but he’s still going to save the world first.
Word Count: 1053
Written For: juliet316’s prompt ‘Author's choice, author's choice, one last time,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
In the Turnmill Nuclear Station, Owen studies the problem. He has no clue what most of the readouts mean, but he doesn’t need to; they’re Tosh’s business, not his. All he has to do is follow her instructions, only their connection’s gone worryingly quiet. When the lights come back on he figures she must have been concentrating on getting the power back. ‘Good girl, knew I could count on you,’ he thinks as he relays the information back to her, just in case she can’t tell from her end. Now they’re in business! Knowing Tosh, the rest should be smooth sailing; he’ll be out of here and on his way back to the Hub in no time!
There’s something niggling at the back of his mind though, a vague worry, and he has to ask.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine; it’s just my arm. I’m sorting out another painkiller.”
Of course, how’d he forgotten that? Her left arm got busted when the bombs brought that old warehouse down on their heads and he hasn’t had a chance to set it properly yet. He feels bad about that, expecting her to save the world when she must be in a lot of pain. Soon as he gets back to base he’ll make Tosh his first priority. After this she’ll have more than earned it.
“Come on, let’s do this together.” They have kind of an urgent situation here; it’s no time for getting distracted. This is Tosh though, and he has complete confidence in her no matter what; if anyone can deal with a nuclear meltdown while injured it’s her. Only…
“Oh God. Owen… There’s no way to stop the meltdown. It’s too far gone!”
That’s not good, if fact it’s seriously bad, but Tosh is a genius! She’d better not be thinking of giving up, not when they’ve come this far.
“Come on, Tosh, there’s got to be something, there’s always something!” If anyone can pull victory from the jaws of defeat, it’s Toshiko Sato, miracle worker. He is NOT gonna panic. She’ll get him out of this.
On the other end of the line, Tosh takes a ragged breath, calming herself, focusing on the problem. “The only option is to vent the flow channels internally.”
‘That’s my girl! Knew you’d think of something.’ “Vent them where?” he says out loud.
She tells him what to do, finishing with, “And obviously, remember to get out.”
Ha! Like he’d forget that crucial step.
Everything’s going to plan, because Tosh is genius incarnate and Owen’s no slouch himself, especially since she already set everything up for him and he has next to nothing to do beyond pressing a few buttons. Tosh is the brains, Owen’s the hands in this venture, and he’s always had steady hands. Surgeon, see? Rock steady.
Then the beeping starts, and that’s way beyond bad. Tosh yells at him to get out, that there’s a power surge about to trigger an emergency lockdown, and he tries but… he’s not fast enough. The door closes before he can reach it, he’s locked in a room that’s about to be flooded with irradiated coolant, and he freaks out. Who wouldn’t? So what that technically he’s already dead? He doesn’t want to die again, not like this! It’s only Tosh’s soft pleas that get him to stop screaming. He’s breaking her heart, and that’s SO not the last memory of her he wants to have, or the last memory of him he wants to leave her with.
So he gets a grip on himself, calms down. Hell, he’s already dead anyway; at least he’s getting to save the world one last time.
In a way it’s bittersweet. Why did it have to take dying and everything that’s happened since for him to realise just how much Tosh means to him? She’s beautiful, brilliant, and she loves him, despite the shitty way he’s treated her over the years. Maybe if he’d been braver… Then again, if they’d been together this, now, would hurt her even more than it already is.
‘Regrets, I’ve had a few…’ An old song flits through his mind. Appropriate as fuck, because he had done it his way, and maybe it hadn’t been the best way, or even the right way, but there was a lot of it he wouldn’t change even if he could. The thing with Tosh though… yeah, given a second chance he’d do that differently.
“We never did get that date, did we, you and me? We sort of, er, missed each other. It was my fault. I didn't... didn’t notice until it was too late. I'm sorry.” It’s not much, but it’s the only thing he can give her now.
Tosh say’s she’s sorry too, but she has nothing to apologise for; it’s not her fault he was so blind and stupid.
Then the machines start bleeping again and he wishes he could shut them up. There’s more that he wants to say but there’s no time and the bloody beeping is so loud he can barely hear himself think.
“It's all right. Really, Tosh. It's all right.”
And it is, because they’ve saved Cardiff and who knows where else from a massive nuclear disaster, and if he has to die… Well, there’re worse ways of going out than as a hero. That’s what sucked about his first death; he was just standing there telling that arsehole Copley, “I know you don’t want to shoot,” when the fucking idiot went and did just that. Talk about an ignominious end! This though…
He’s done a lot of good since joining Torchwood, made good friends, had a lot of laughs, saved the world more times than he can count. He’ll miss the team, or maybe he won’t; depends on whether there’s anything after this for him. But at least he got this at the end, a chance to be a hero one last time, with the help of the woman he thinks maybe he could have loved if he’d let himself.
‘Be safe, Tosh.’ Closing his eyes, he lets the coolant wash over him and slips silently from the world he’s helped to save. Maybe if he’s lucky and there’s more to death than black emptiness, he might see Tosh again someday. He hopes so.