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Even Breathing Feels Alright

Word Count: ~1.600
Summary: It's Tosh's first evening away from UNIT prison and her new boss decides to pay her a visit.
Characters: Toshiko Sato, Jack Harkness
Pairing: Jack/Tosh
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Fragments
Warnings: Language
Author's Note: Written for the redisourcolor challenge #19 - Celebration. Using the words portmanteau, dense and ravel and the phrase "I'm so hungry I could eat an elephant!". I had given up on writing something for this challenge. I started two different stories and didn't finish them. Then the extension came along and I had this idea. The title's from Alexi Murdoch's All Of My Days, one of my very favourite songs of all times.
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Torchwood and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.


The flat – her flat, Toshiko corrected herself mentally – came fully furnished with a lot of windows and a big, airy kitchen. The shelves in the living room were empty and it lacked the feel of someone actually living in it, yet, but she was sure that, given some time, she would be able to remedy that and make the place her own.

She stood at the kitchen counter and looked out the window. It was dark outside, already night, and her flat seemed like an isle of brightness in an ocean of soft orange city lights. She stared at the reflection of herself – the tired face, the scared eyes – and tried to find a smile. Maybe it just hadn't really sunk in, yet, that she was free. Not officially free, of course, but Captain Harkness – “call me Jack” – had made it clear that he wouldn't treat her like a prisoner. He'd explained everything on their way from UNIT to Cardiff. She would work for him, have her own flat and the possibility to go on vacation, provided the Rift didn't act up, which, unfortunately, it did a lot. Tosh didn't care about vacation, though. Where should she go? She wasn't allowed to see her mother (“UNIT would get suspicious. I told them that I'd take over custody, but they were insistent that you remain a prisoner. You can write her letters, though.”) and there was no one else she wanted to visit at the moment. No, the real freedom, to her, was the opportunity to work, to busy her mind that had got a bit dense during her imprisonment.

A knock on the door startled her. She opened hesitantly.

Jack grinned at her, holding up a bottle of wine. ”I stocked up your fridge, but it just came to me that I forgot alcohol and you have something to celebrate after all,” he explained and entered without waiting for her permission.

Tosh closed her eyes when she caught his scent – something unidentifiable and spicy – and closed the door. When she entered her kitchen, Jack was already opening the bottle. ”So,” he asked, ”how do you like the flat?”

She crossed her arms. ”It's beautiful. It's too much, really.”

”Don't worry about that. It's not a gift, you know. All I did was sign the papers. You can afford the rent, I made sure of that, and it's near the Hub.” He got two glasses from the cupboard – her cupboard – and poured the wine. With a broad grin, he handed her one glass and held up his own. ”To freedom, genius and beauty,” he said and they clinked glasses. Tosh took a long sip to hide her blush. Something about Jack Harkness was so attractive, turning his flirty comments and innuendos into heavy promises. It wasn't his looks, even though he was an extraordinarily handsome man. It was the way he projected security, comfort and confidence and she'd always felt drawn to these things. She was a bit scared that she was falling for him and that was something she just couldn't do. He was her boss and he wasn't interested. Who would be? She was a mess.

Jack leaned against the counter, one of his arms resting on the surface, mirroring hers. His fingers tangled with hers, causing goose bumps up her arm because of the contrast: his warm hand and the cool top of the counter. She watched his fingers play with hers. It seemed like such an innocent gesture, tender and comforting. Tosh avoided his eyes, feeling embarrassed. She had never been good with physical contact.

”Alright,” Jack said, tapping her back of the hand. ”Tomorrow, I'll introduce you to Owen and Suzie and you can start working. I want you strictly confined to the Hub, no field missions, until I made sure that you had some proper training. Ever fired a gun before?”

She shook her head.

”Do you know how to fight?”

Again, she shook her head, feeling intimidated and small. It was becoming clear that she was no use to them other than sitting at her desk. What if she couldn't provide the technical knowledge Jack seemed to want from her? Would he just bring her back to UNIT? He was polite now but she had no doubt that he could be a very dangerous man.

A large, warm hand cupped her cheek and tilted her head up to look into friendly, blue eyes. ”You're just what I was looking for, Toshiko. Don't doubt yourself.”

She couldn't help herself; a soft sob escaped her throat, a broken, ugly sound in this perfect, beautiful – her – kitchen. More sobs followed, then tears and before she knew what had happened, she found herself wrapped up in strong arms, her cheek pressed against the wool of Jack's coat. She slid one hand beneath the coat, looking for something to hold on to, and found braces. She curled her hand around one of them, pulling Jack closer, anchoring herself to his warmth and strength. A voice in the back of her head insisted that she was making a fool of herself, but she couldn't stop. She was so relieved to finally be free, so scared to fail, so happy to be able to feel again … her emotions had been ravelled up and locked away during her imprisonment, she'd been so numb because she wouldn't have been able to cope otherwise. These emotions now overwhelmed her.

Fingers tangled in her hair, threading through the strands slowly, soothingly, and she could hear Jack hum softly, a melody she didn't know. His scent was clearer now, an intoxicating mix of spices, wood, leather and something sweet.

Jack bent his knees and pressed a kiss to her forehead, and, impulsively, Toshiko turned her head and captured his lips. His hand settled on the small of her back, pulling her closer. He returned the kiss carefully until Tosh pulled away, embarrassed. ”I'm sorry, I don't know where that came from.”

”I don't mind,” he answered. He nuzzled her cheek and added, ”In fact, if you want to, we could ...”

Tosh let go of him and stepped out of his reach, laughing in embarrassment. ”Is that part of the contract? Pity shags?”

”No one said anything about a pity shag,” Jack answered. He sounded almost offended. ”You're a beautiful, desirable woman. I'd be honoured.”

”Well, it stays a pity shag,” Tosh answered and wiped the last tears way. ”I turn to the first guy who shows something like kindness. What kind of woman does that make me?” She sipped her wine, avoiding Jack's too-clever eyes.

Jack was silent for a long time, then he said, strangely hesitant, ”I'm sorry if I misunderstood. Sometimes, I get confused … I forgot myself.”

Tosh glanced at him and gifted him with a smile. ”Don't worry. You're a gentleman.”

He seemed relieved, but still a bit unsure. ”What do regular bosses do in a situation like this?”

She laughed. ”Sit down and learn the handbook about sexual harassment by heart?” she suggested.

You assaulted me,” Jack answered, his eyes shining happily, enjoying the banter. ”Besides, I forgot where I put that handbook. Maybe I filed it away under Q.”

Q?” Tosh asked.

Quaint,” he explained. ”You people ...” He seemed to stop himself and then he just shook his head, his smile dimming. ”I know what you're going through. The starting anew,” he said earnestly. ”I came here with nothing but the clothes I wore and … I lived out of a portmanteau for years. I want you to know that you can call me any time, Toshiko. Just to talk … or maybe for a snog.” He winked and Tosh giggled, this time not bothering to hide her blush. She trusted this man. Something about him was just right. Not perfect, something lingered in his eyes that was dark and sad, but he was a good man.

She nodded. ”Thank you.”

He drained his glass. ”Well, I guess this is it. I should leave you alone. It's late.”

”I'm not sleepy, actually,” Tosh said, wishing he would stay. She needed some company but she was too afraid to ask.

”I know the feeling,” he answered with a sigh.

”In fact,” Tosh said, ”I'm hungry.”

He smiled. ”I know a very good pizza place just around the corner. They deliver 24/7.”

”Sounds heavenly.”

”Should I ...” He seemed insecure for a moment – a strange look on someone like him – and put his hands on his hips. ”Should I order in?”

He was obviously trying not to pressure her, to give her some space. She appreciated the effort, but she really didn't want to be alone. Nevertheless, she also knew that he was a busy man. ”I understand if you would want to leave. You must have work to do,” she said.

”No,” he answered. ”Nothing urgent. Plus, I didn't have anything to eat since lunch. I'm so hungry I could eat an elephant right about now.”

”Me, too,” Tosh answered with a relieved smile. She poured more wine for Jack. ”Let's celebrate some more,” she suggested, gaining confidence. It was easy with him looking at her like that, as if he was proud of her.

Jack raised his glass. ”Toshiko Sato, I like you already.”


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( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 19th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Love the easy way they get along. Even with all the angsty history and uncertain future. They just work so well together
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
I think so, too. There's a big affection between those two characters that's very subtle.
Jul. 19th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
I'm a sucker for the Tosh/Jack friendship. It was one of my favourite things about the show. This was lovely and a bit heartbreaking.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
This might be the very first "Toshiko comes to Torchwood" fic I've ever read. We need more.

No, we don't. This one was about perfect :) Head canon...
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Wow. Thank you. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
Very lovely.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
love tosh/jack friendship fics. i always have thought that tosh & jack had a far deeper friendship then show canon, that jack would confide in tosh far more than gwen.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I think that he would confide more in Tosh, too. But there's no denying the deep connection between Jack and Gwen. I think that, generally, Jack finds a special link with all of his team members. Even with Owen, there are very beautiful scenes in the series that show how much they respect and trust each other.
Jul. 19th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was so very lovely. Tosh's emotions were both very palpable but also very subtle. Her uncertainty about the whole situation, her future was extremely realistic. I also thought her breakdown made complete sense and was so in character. In times of heightened emotions, especially when they conflict, there's no other option but to break down from the sheer force of it all.

This perfectly fleshed out that first evening after Tosh met Jack. I really enjoyed how you explored this, and I'll forever think of this as being exactly what happened. Beautiful job!
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
Very lovely look at the start of their friendship. I've always thought that jack was extra-protective of Tosh.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I think so, too. And while he can be rather aggressive and cruel towards the others (even Ianto) he is less so towards Tosh.
Jul. 19th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
I've always said there should be more about Tosh coping after coming out of that UNIT cell - thanks for this it's lovely and who would blame her for cuddling Jack.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I would cuddle Jack, too. :) Don't know about the kissing, though.
Jul. 19th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
very lovely story! I love Tosh-Jack-friendship stories ;)

Nice descriptions: Jack's too-clever eyes, the lingering dark in them, Tosh's insecurity after her imprisonment - if I go on, I'll repeat your story ;)
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! You write great Tosh POV, and the whole scene was very believable for them both. :D
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, very lovely! The world needs much more Toshfic! This was perfect!
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Jul. 20th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
This is lovely! I love the slow, quiet pace and the fact that Jack's happy to offer Tosh comfort without being condescending. So them. :-) Love the realism of Tosh feeling not quite at home in a flat that isn't lived-in yet.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Jul. 21st, 2011 07:46 am (UTC)

This was lovely - it had such a nice tone to it :)
Jul. 21st, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Jul. 22nd, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this a lot. The dynamic between them makes a lot of sense, and it's something that I don't think is explored often enough. Really nice piece. :)

(And it completely made me miss Tosh all over again. ;__;)
Jul. 23rd, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I miss her, too. :(
Jul. 23rd, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
Really nice...this fills in an interesting narrative gap. Very nicely done.
Jul. 23rd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
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( 34 comments — Leave a comment )