Title: One Short Night
Characters: Tosh, Tommy Brockless, mentions Jack.
Spoilers: To the Last Man.
Summary: This night is all the time Tosh and Tommy have left before Tommy has to return to the past and his fate.
Word Count: 555
Written For: Prompt #009 – The Night Before at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
In the morning, Tommy will have to take a step back in time, back to 1918 where he belongs. It’s the only way to prevent what’s happening, keep all of time from ripping itself to shreds trying to make two time periods co-exist in a way that simply isn’t possible. By stepping back into his own time he can close the fracture, but it’s a one-way trip; Tosh will never see her brave and handsome hero again. And that would almost be okay, if only she knew the young soldier would live a long and happy life, but now Jack’s telling her it won’t happen like that.
Tommy was hospitalised with shellshock; that’s where Torchwood found him, in a bleak hospital ward, one of many young men, hardly more than boys, whose minds just couldn’t cope with the horrors of war. If he goes back, he’ll be executed for cowardice. If he doesn’t, time will splinter and everyone will be doomed.
It shouldn’t be this way, having to choose between one life and the whole world; it isn’t fair, Tommy doesn’t deserve to die for being the hero who saves the world. Worse, Tosh is the one who will have to send him to his fate, make sure he carries out this one essential act that nobody else can, and it’s killing her inside. She wants to say no, to let someone else do it, but it’s not her choice to make because Tommy trusts her, and anyway the picture is proof that she’s the one who’s with him when he crosses over. It’s already happened in 1918; now it just needs to happen in the present.
Tosh has been at Torchwood four years now, and since he was first frozen ninety years ago, Tommy has only been brought out of cryo storage for one day a year to check that he’s still okay. Four days isn’t a lot of time to get to know someone, but… She thinks she might love him and after today, she knows he definitely has feelings for her. Why does the universe have to be so cruel? It seems as if every time she finds someone to love, they get snatched away. Maybe she’s just not meant to be happy.
It’s almost nine at night already; zero hour is sometime after six thirty in the morning, that’s only a few short hours from now and Tosh can practically hear the seconds and minutes ticking inexorably away. Nine and a half hours isn’t much time, but it’ll have to be enough; if she’s sending Tommy to certain death tomorrow, the least she can do is give him a night to remember, even though she knows he’ll probably forget everything once he’s back in his own time. It’ll be as if all his experiences in the future never happened, or were just a strange dream, but she’ll remember for both of them.
One short night together, the only one they’ll ever have. It’s Tommy’s last night of freedom, and it’s just the two of them in her dimly lit bedroom wishing they could slow down time or have it stop completely, so that morning would never come and they’d never have to part.
If this is all the time they have left, they’re not going to waste a second of it.