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"Second Best" Torchwood fic Suzie/Tosh Rated R 2300 words

Title: Second Best
Fandom: Torchwood/Dr. Who-verse
Pairing: Suzie/Tosh
Rating: R
Wordcount: 2300
Notes: Belated birthday present for fallen_arazil who requested Suzie/Tosh femslash. Beta-ed by Beta Goddess Carol, but a bit of tinkering after that. Any typos or suckage have my fingerprints on them.

Summary: Mary wasn't Tosh's first woman, or even her first murderer.



“We know exactly what you’re doing here, Dr. Sato, and we know who sent you, even if you don’t.”

Things had barely gotten back to normal when she was summoned for a meeting with a tall woman with long, dark hair worn in a braid, who had shown up with her entire CV, including the bits that weren’t supposed to be there anymore. Furthermore, she seemed to know more about Tosh’s assignment at Albion Hospital than Tosh did herself. It was disquieting, yet not really a surprise. Neither the briefing she’d been given by GCHQ nor the cover story they provided for her had made much sense, so it was nice to know that somebody knew what was going on. She’d seen so many things that she couldn’t understand and now there was the chance for an explanation.

“Who are you?” she asked, wanting to know the name of the woman who seemed so sure of herself and her mission, almost arrogantly so. Instead she got the answer that would change her life.

“Torchwood. You’ll have to meet my boss first, but we certainly need someone with your skills and background. Are you interested?”

“Yes,” she said softly, following behind the long legs and flowing trench-coat, without bothering to give notice or call her handler. Let them find her if they were so “intelligent.”

She didn’t find out Suzie’s name until she’d been brought into the Hub and met the almost too-handsome leader of the pack in his dated but undeniably flattering attire.

“Hey, Suzie,” he’d greeted his colleague breezily. “Is this our new recruit? Toshiko, I’m Captain Jack Harkness. Are you ready to stop spying on innocent people and start saving the world?” He turned to her with a smile, the kind that made it impossible not to smile back. She put out a hand for him to shake and the deal was done before she knew what she was getting into, only what she was getting out of.

Jack left her training to Suzie, who managed to make the most ludicrous statements about time and space sound perfectly rational, and was able to crack codes in three different computer languages while applying quotes from the Romantic poets to the possible love lives of the aliens who’d fallen through the rift. On the other hand, Tosh had computer hacking in her blood and everything she’d learned in the security services. With Torchwood’s resources at her disposal, she was able to find those who didn’t want to be found or interpret impossible data to produce results. Suzie’s face would light up as Jack congratulated them on jobs well done, but Tosh’s happiness came from making Suzie happy.

Then Owen Harper came along.

Dr. Owen Harper as he insisted on reminding her and everybody else the first day Jack brought him in. Tosh wasn’t clear why they needed a doctor. Her medical training was as good as anybody’s and here was this lout strutting in like he was a cross between Jonas Salk and Superman. Complaining to Suzie had produced both a reminder that Torchwood valued her ability to break through firewalls, not cut up the deceased, human and otherwise, and a rather sharp comment about piping down and being glad of the extra help.

She didn’t know which was worse, the realisation that Suzie liked Owen, as in really liked him, or having to admit to herself how much it hurt to share Suzie’s attention. What was so great about Dr. Harper anyway? At least Jack was witty and attractive, although not in any way Tosh’s type. Owen’s attempts at “humour” verged on the purely nasty, as well as being borderline racist, sexist or whatever else was sticking in his craw that day,

Ianto didn’t like him either, she thought, although with Ianto, it was hard to tell what he thought about much of anything. He couldn’t have approved of the new employee’s sloppy habits or dismissive attitude, but when Tosh tried to draw him out on the topic, looking for an ally, she was treated to an expression so inscrutable she wondered if he’d learned it from her grandfather.

That left Jack and she could hardly go to the boss complaining about something that would make her sound like a petulant child having a squabble because a friend talked to another one at recess. She buried herself in her computers, analysing data that had been retrieved from the hard drives at Torchwood One. The less time she spent at home, the less time she’d be alone, thinking about what was clearly happening between Suzie and Owen. The looks across the hub, the giggles at lunch over jokes that only the two of them could understand, and finally the morning it was obvious that happening had become happened. Owen’s smirk that day was insufferable and Suzie practically glowed.

With what she’d come to think of as “Torchwood Timing,” that was the day a horde of what Jack insisted on calling “Samurai Lizards” dropped in through the rift, and Tosh had found herself aiming a gun at one of them, not sure if she wanted to shoot the alien, Owen or herself. Her indecision had given the Lizard time to point a laser in Jack’s direction and only Suzie shouting “Jack, watch out,” and Owen tackling the scaly creature had prevented a disaster.

Back at the hub, after the Lizards had been dispatched back to their own corner of the universe, Tosh waited for a summons to Jack’s office for a royal chewing out. She’d probably get fired, with no hope of future employment and a dose of ret-con for the road.

“What the hell happened out there?”

Apparently she’d been wrong about the office. He was going to embarrass her in front of everybody, except there was no “everybody.” Owen and Suzie were gone, probably together, no doubt doing all the things she’d spent weeks trying not to imagine Ianto was doing his “ghost” thing, hovering at the edges of the Hub, waiting to magically appear with tea or a piece of paper from the archives.

“I don’t know, Jack. I….I’ve never done that before. I’m sorry.” She closed her eyes, not wanting to see disappointment on his face. “If you need to fire me, I’ll understand, but please don’t…I don’t want to forget everything.”

“Would I do that to you?”

He didn’t sound angry, or even disappointed, just…almost…flirtatious? She’d heard the stories from Suzie, of course, and one night they’d actually spotted him at a pub chatting up an outrageously pretty girl and her even better looking boyfriend. Tosh opened her eyes to find Jack staring at her, forcing her to look back into his eyes, so blue they took your breath away whether or not you liked Caucasian men, or men at all for that matter.

“I screwed up.”

“We all screw up, especially when we’re upset with our co-workers.”

“Who says I’m upset?”

“Who says I’m an idiot? Look, Tosh, the thing about Torchwood is we all have to support each other. Sometimes that means a friendly shoulder and sometimes it takes a different set of body parts.”

“But it’s unprofessional.”

“Which doesn’t mean it’s not tacitly encouraged in every single branch of the security service. You know that as well as I do.”

“This isn’t security.”

“No. It’s worse, or better. Either way, it’s gonna happen, but with those two I’d be surprised if it lasts more than a month. I don’t think Owen knows what’s he’s getting into.”

“That makes me feel lots better,” she said bitterly.

“Best I can offer right now. Unless…”

Suddenly Jack’s hand was on her shoulder and his voice was working his way into her brain. It would have been so easy to say yes to something she hadn’t even been asked yet.

“No. Thanks, Jack. I appreciate the offer, but…no.”

“Then let’s get Ianto in here with some coffee and help me figure out what the hell those Lizards were really doing down here.”

Jack had miscalculated by three days. It was one month and three days later, not that Tosh would admit to counting, that Suzie had shown up at her door. With flowers. And apologies. And kisses. Lots and lots of kisses.

The kisses started at her doorway, before she even had time to protest or remind herself that she wasn’t this kind of a girl and this wasn’t why she’d been so upset about Suzie and Owen. She just wanted Suzie to be her friend, but these weren’t the kisses of a friend. These were kisses that opened her mouth and took her breath away, and arms that were pushing her toward the bedroom and down on the bed itself. Suzie’s lips moved from her mouth to her neck, sending shivers through her whole body, and then nuzzled just at the neckline of her blouse until she felt her breasts rising, as she urged Suzie to continue, possibly in Japanese, although the meaning would have been clear in any language.

Suzie certainly got the message. In one night, in one hour, she did things that Tosh had only dreamed of, and spent years trying not to admit she did. She’d wondered if she should do something back, but Suzie kept total control, and all Tosh could do was lie back and grab Suzie’s hair, holding on to that strong back, and feel the world shimmer and shatter as Suzie’s fingers moved inside her.

Afterwards, lying in Suzie’s arms, she noticed that she’d gone hoarse from screaming. Just as well she couldn’t talk much because Suzie had enough words for both of them. About Owen, and what a bastard he was, about her father who’d never appreciated her, about Torchwood itself and how it got under your skin. Tosh fell asleep listening to Suzie’s voice and was slightly shocked to find her still there in the morning, seemingly ready to get extremely serious.

Tosh was happy, of course. Flattered. But she’d barely accepted this part of herself, knowing how much her parents would disapprove, and now Suzie seemed keen to skip into work arm in arm just to show Owen how little she needed him. Tosh didn’t think she could do that. To be honest, she really didn’t want anyone to know. She certainly didn’t want to see that knowing look on Jack’s face.

Suzie tried to overcome her concerns with more kissing and more than kissing. It was hard to say “no,” hard to say anything, with Suzie’s mouth on hers and those delicate fingers moving over her body as skilfully as they manipulated data on the computers at work. This time she tried not to scream, but there was no hiding the tears.

Even without giggles and looks, she reckoned that Jack knew, maybe Owen too, although no one said anything.

“You do love me, don’t you?” Suzie demanded that night, after more kissing and more screaming and more lamenting how Torchwood gets into your heart but leaves you empty and alone in the end.

As much as her body was still tingling with the memory of Suzie’s touch, Tosh knew she couldn’t go on like this. It was like eating chocolate. You think you’ll never want to stop until you eat so much that you never want to see chocolate again. Suzie was chocolate. Irresistible and overwhelming.

“Yes, of course I do.” Tosh felt herself shrinking away from the words as they came out of her mouth and she saw Suzie recognise what was happening.

“Always the same. Never bloody good enough. Always second best. You want Jack, don’t you?”

“No, Suzie. It’s not that. It’s just…” How could she explain what she barely understood herself?

“Ianto then. I’ve seen how you two look at each other.”

Like strangers pretending to be colleagues?

“Suzie. Will you please listen to me?”

“I give and give and give and nobody ever gives me what I need.”

How could anybody, Tosh wondered.

“Suzie, I’m sorry. Let me make it up to you.”

She was out of bed, looking for her clothing with an exquisitely cruel smile on her face.

“No, you won’t. You can’t. Nobody can.”

“Where are you going?”

“Like you bloody care. I’m going back to the Hub. Jack said there was a new piece of equipment for me to look at. He wanted me to stay late tonight, but I blew him off. For you. Stupid me.”

“You don’t have to go.”

“Yeah. I do.”

Tosh tried not to feel a weight off her shoulders as the door slammed. The sense of freedom only lasted until she remembered that she’d still have to face Suzie at work in the morning. Oh well. Suzie and Owen were managing to work together. Maybe Jack was right. If everybody had a go at everybody else, they’d just have to be adults and get over it, although a bit of awkwardness was inevitable.

There was none. Suzie barely acknowledged her co-workers, so engrossed was she in the device that had been retrieved from under the Bay and entrusted to her for research, a metallic glove of unknown origin.

After a week of experimenting with lab animals, they had the opportunity to attempt the resurrection of a human being and the expression on Suzie’s face as she made contact with the deceased and brought him back to life, if only for a few seconds, was absolutely beatific. In fact, Tosh thought, it was the only time she’d ever seen Suzie look completely happy.

She looked at Owen, who was watching Suzie carefully and seemed to be seeing the same thing.

“Bit of a relief, isn’t it?” he asked, with a sympathetic smile and more understanding than she would have imagined.

Maybe he wasn’t such a bad fellow after all.

Tags: femslash, suzie costello/toshiko sato, torchwood
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