Torchwood/Doctor Who; PG
Owen, the Doctor, Donna, team; Owen/Tosh
Summary: There are some events in one's life that really do seem set. Thing is, that rarely takes into account certain mysterious blue boxes.
Notes: Spoilers for Doctor Who Series 4 and Torchwood's Exit Wounds. Birthday fic for crooked - CJ, this isn't really either of your prompts, because every time I sat down to write this it kept becoming denial!fic instead. I hope you enjoy in any case, and happy birthday once again!
Funny things, stomach wounds. Inches can make all the difference. Tosh clutched at the source of the bleeding, trying to keep herself upright even as static buzzed at the end of the line where Owen had once been. There were footsteps, and she looked up to see the impossible - Jack running towards her, yelling for Ianto to call an ambulance. Gwen's hands fell over hers, pressing down.
She could feel consciousness slipping away. "Owen," she murmured, "he's -- I couldn't save him."
"It's okay, Tosh, it's going to be okay," Gwen was saying.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Owen…" The darkness overtook her.
"It's all right," Owen breathed, blinding light filling the room. "Oh, God…"
There was a whooshing sound, must have been some kind of vent loosening. Owen gritted his teeth, mind spinning frantically through the oddity that had been his life. Then he evidently started hallucinating, a final defence before the end, because he thought he felt hands griping his arms, dragging him so hard he stumbled, falling through a doorway and into--
"What the…" Owen stared. He was standing in some kind of control room, vast pillars arching up to the ceiling and metal grating underfoot. A woman stood next to him, patting him down.
"There, you all right?"
A man peered over a console in the middle of the room. "Ah, yes, if you wouldn't mind just standing over to your right for a moment."
Owen obeyed out of sheer bewilderment. Hot air hissed down on him, blasting at his skin.
"There you go, fully deradiated."
The woman grinned. "Safe and sound, you see!"
"But how did you--"
"We…" she started, then glanced over at the man. "What is it we did?"
"We picked up massive amounts of energy coming through the Rift," he prompted.
"Yeah, the Rift, right. And we noticed that there was some kind of, erm, transmission signal right bang in the middle of it, and well, we thought we'd best get over there and save the day." The woman beamed. "Ta-da!"
Owen gaped. "Woah. Um. Thank you, then. That's… where are we now?"
She jerked her head over in the man's direction. "Alien boy's spaceship."
"Yeah, right, ok," Owen said, with more confidence than he felt. "Look, it's not that I'm not grateful, because really, I am very, very grateful, but if you could just drop me off somewhere nearby, I was sort of in the middle of saving the world there."
The pair of them exchanged looks while Owen turned away, hastily tapping his earpiece. "Tosh? Tosh, can you hear me? Listen, I'm still alive! Well, not alive exactly, but not any more dead than I was before… Tosh? Are you there? Tosh!" He whipped around furiously, voice rising. "Are you blocking my signal? I've got to go back, right now, because somewhere out there my city's being destroyed and a fat lot of good I'm doing standing here!"
The man winced. "Blimey, you've got quite the set of lungs on you there. Look, my ship's just taken on a huge dose of radiation and I need to let her spin it out of her engines for a couple of hours, all right?"
"A couple of hours?"
"Hey hey, let me finish first!" the man continued, rolling his eyes. "Thank you. Lucky for you, this travels in time as well, so soon as we've finished this little jaunt through the vortex, I can hit this lever right here and get you back to just where you started."
"That lever there?" the woman asked suspiciously. "Isn't that the one that nearly made us explode the other week?"
She shrugged. "Just making an observation. Anyway," she continued, turning to Owen, "my name's Donna like he said, and spaceboy over there can get you back, don't you worry. What's your name?"
For someone was clinically dead, Owen felt strangely close to faint. "Err. Owen, Owen Harper."
Donna grinned. "Nice to meet you. So, didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with nuclear reactors? What on earth were you doing in there?"
"Owen Harper…" the man interrupted thoughtfully, "aren't you one of Jack's lot?"
"You know Jack?" Owen's eyes widened. "Bloody hell, you're not Jack's Doctor, are you?"
"Aw, he's told you about me!"
"Our very own captain of the enigmatic brigade? Ha, that'll be the day. Still, we're not stupid," Owen said.
"You know, I've been meaning to drop in, I really have. Been a bit busy though, sorry about that! Better late than never, eh?"
"Who's this Jack, then?" Donna asked. "Not another broken heart you've left trailing in your wake?"
The Doctor suddenly became very interested in something on one of his monitors.
"Oh for God's sake! Owen, do you see the appeal? Everywhere we go, we get these lunatics throwing themselves at him, it's mad!"
Owen laughed. "He's not exactly my type, love, no." He looked at the Doctor. "It's funny, you know. I'd always imagined he'd be… I dunno. Although, just goes to show Jack really does go for the pretty ones."
"Don't know about pretty, more like just scrawny," Donna said, wrinkling her nose.
"Oi!" The Doctor shot them both an indignant look. "Do you mind? I'm trying to fly through a temporal eddy the size of three solar system here. See if I rescue either of you from mortal peril again."
"Come on," Donna said, taking Owen's arm. "Let's fix you up some tea - there are some bits of civilised society in this old box of tricks."
They walked through winding corridors filled with strange light. Owen looked around him in amazement. "Nice place you've got here!"
"Not bad, is it? Gets a bit on the chilly side, mind."
They entered a room that looked as though it was trying to be a kitchen, and Donna started rattling around with equipment that looked more suited to splitting the atom than making drinks, but a familiar whistling sound soon followed. "Milk, sugar?" she asked.
"Ah, no thanks. Don't really drink much these days."
Donna frowned. "Come again?"
"Well, clinically, I'm dead," Owen explained, sighing. "My digestive system's not really up to much."
"I got shot a little while back. Jack brought me back."
"He what?" Donna gaped at him.
"Look, it's a long story. Point is, I can walk and talk and everything but other things don't work very well."
"Huh," she said faintly. "So no tea, then."
"Ok. Well, Owen, reckon that's the weirdest thing I've seen all week - well, top five, anyway."
He laughed. "Yeah. Knocked me for six, too."
Donna nodded and busied herself with what was probably a teapot, though it seemed to have an awful lot of corners.
In the quiet, Owen's thoughts return back to his friends. They'd be all right, wouldn't they? Ianto must have got back to the Hub with Tosh, and Gwen was probably the most capable of all of them when it came to looking after herself. Jack-- Christ, Jack was a whole other story. Owen was very definitely not thinking about the sorts of atrocities that could be inflicted on the captive man that can't die. Something must have shown in his expression, because when Donna sat down her face was sympathetic, and she reached out to touch his arm.
"We'll get you home again, I swear to you."
"Yeah." Owen's heart was still sinking. "I just hope to God it's not too late."
"Tell me about them," she said softly. "Your friends. They must be quite something, fighting aliens and all that."
"That they are." Owen smiled. "One of them particularly - she's incredible, really. Saved my arse more times than I can count. Her name's Toshiko."
Gwen, Jack and Ianto stood in the observation area, staring down as surgeons bustled around Tosh's prone body.
"She'll be all right," Jack said, fighting down the quake in his voice
"I--" Ianto started, then trailed into silence.
"We can't, Jack," Gwen whispered. "We can't lose her, too."
Jack tightened his grip on both their shoulders. Below them, medics exchanged urgent glances and prepped tools. It was going to be a long night.
"Right then!" the Doctor said, striding into the room. "Ooh, lovely, is there still tea in the pot? Owen, I've vented the worst of the nuclear waste, should be safe to land again soon as you're ready."
Owen nodded fiercely. "Yeah, I'm ready."
"Ok then, allons-y!"
Donna squeezed his hand. "Let's go find her."
The TARDIS landed with an ominous thud. "Right then," said the Doctor, "back in Cardiff. Let's go see what's out there."
Owen raced forwards and pulled the door open. Bright sunlight filled his vision, and beyond that there was mostly silence. He stepped outside. The city was still standing. There were ordinary people walking up and down the high street, getting on with their lives, even though there was a strange, muted sound to conversations, and he spotted nervous glances in his direction as he seemingly appeared from nowhere.
"We might have skipped ahead a few days," the Doctor said quietly. "I'm sorry."
Owen didn't stop to yell at him, didn't even think about Donna and the Doctor, just set off running at breakneck speed, haring down roads and alleys and side streets until he hit the Plass, before bursting through the entrance to the Hub.
Ianto was sat in the tourist office, not even bothering to look as though he were busy, merely staring numbly into space. He leaped out of his skin as Owen entered the building, then stood upright, hands fumbling for his gun.
"Ianto, Ianto," Owen said appealingly, not all that surprised to find himself at gunpoint. "It's me, it's really me, I swear."
Ianto took the safety off. "You're dead," he said shakily.
"Never stopped me before, did it?"
"No, no you can't be, there's no way…"
Owen heard movement behind him. "Oh, this must be Ianto," Donna said. "Say hello, Doctor."
"Hello! I'm the Doctor, old friend of Jack's, just dropping off something I think belongs to him - is he around?"
Owen had never seen Ianto look so flabbergasted, and he had to confess, the sight made him feel somewhat warm and smug inside.
Ianto hit his comm piece. "Jack. You need to get down here, you're not going to believe this."
"Don't you ever do that to me again," Gwen muttered into his shoulder. "I keep thinking I've lost you!"
"I know, I know, I'm sorry. Gwen, hold on," Owen said, prising her away from him. "Where's Tosh?"
Gwen's face fell, and if Owen's inner biology still worked, his stomach would have plummeted right through the floor.
They drove him out to the hospital, and even though the doctors said she wouldn't be awake for visitors for a good while yet Owen refused to leave her. He paced her room endlessly, adjusted her curtains, pushed her hair off her forehead.
"Come on, Tosh," he said, time and again. "Don't you go giving up on me now."
The others visited when they could, and occasionally Owen made half-hearted suggestions that he ought to get back to work, but Jack told him they'd let him know as soon as he needed a medic, and that if his place was here, that's where he should stay.
He'd been staring out of the window for two hours - amazing, really, the time you could spend doing the simple things when you were dead - when he heard a sound behind him. He jumped to his feet, running to Tosh's side in time to see her eyes flutter open.
"Hey, you," he breathed, taking her hand. "How are you feeling?"
"Owen?" Tosh frowned. "But you're-- the power station."
"Oh, well, takes a little more than that to stop me!"
Her mouth curled upwards into a small smile. "You're here."
"Yeah, I am," Owen told her, running a hand across her shoulder, and bending down to kiss her forehead. "I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere."
"Good," she said.