DISCLAIMER: Doctor Who and Torchwood are the property of the BBC. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Torchwood 2.06 and 2.07 (Reset and Dead Man Walking)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

What They Have in Common
By Wonko


"He should be dead."

Martha looked up sharply at Tosh who was sitting with her legs curled under her on the couch opposite. She was looking at the glass in her hand, still half full of red wine.

Martha considered her response for a moment. She hadn't expected she would be having this conversation when she'd accepted Tosh's invitation for a quick drink at her flat. Truthfully Martha had been reacting to her own need for company after the bizarre events of the day. It seemed she had let herself in for a lot more.

She rose from her seat and silently crossed the room to sit by Tosh. "Yes," she said simply.

Tosh raised her head but found herself unable to meet Martha's eyes. She dropped her gaze back to her wine glass and sighed. "Yes," she repeated, with finality. She took a gulp (definitely not a sip) of wine and this time she managed to look at Martha. "Do you know how I felt after I'd said goodbye to him?"

Martha hesitated. "You were upset..." she hedged, unsure of her answer.

"Yes," Tosh admitted. She downed the rest of the wine and carelessly dumped the glass on the edge of the coffee table where it teetered for a moment before falling and shattering on the polished wooden floor. Tosh didn't seem to hear it. "I was upset," she said. "But I was also...relieved?" She covered her face with her hands. "Does that make me a terrible person?"

Martha scooted closer and closed her hand around Tosh's shuddering shoulder. "No, Tosh," she said earnestly. "It doesn't."

Tosh let her hands fall from her face to reveal tears slowly sliding down her cheeks. "But I loved him! How could I be..glad he was dead?" Her voice had dropped to a whisper and shame dripped from every syllable.

Martha was silent for a moment before replying. When she did her voice was distant.

"It's not that you were glad exactly," she murmured. "You were sorry he was gone. You knew you'd miss him more than anything, but...rising up from the pain was this incredible relief. That you were free of him. Free from the roller coaster of hope and disappointment. You could stop thinking about him. Stop wishing for him to give you a second glance. Stop waiting for him to be something he wasn't. And you had the knowledge that one day the pain would fade and you could be you again."

At some point Martha's eyes had drifted over Tosh's shoulder to stare at the sheet of stars visible from the window. She seemed very far away.

Tosh made her jump a little when she touched her hand. "Yes," Tosh said. "That's it, exactly. How did you know?"

Martha smiled ruefully. "I guess we've both fallen for our share of emotionally crippled Doctors," she said.

Tosh managed to smile in return. "And where's yours now?" she asked.

Martha got that faraway look in her eyes again as she answered. "Still out there," she said. "Just...unreachable."

Tosh let her eyes travel down the lines of Martha's face. "Mine too," she murmured.

Martha eyes refocused as she concentrated on the woman beside her. Owen was unreachable. Maybe he always had been. But Tosh had to keep living with this because Owen wasn't going away like he was supposed to. Like a ghost, he lingered in the shadows.

Gently, Martha lifted her hand and stroked Tosh's hair back from her face. At the same time she shifted her other hand slightly so that she was holding Tosh's, rather than just touching it.

Tosh looked up almost shyly as Martha continued to stroke her hair. For the second time since they'd met she allowed herself the thought that Martha really was exceptionally beautiful.

"Tosh," Martha breathed as her hand finally came to a rest at the base of the other woman's neck. "You deserve...so much better...than him."

After that it seemed to take only the slightest pressure on Tosh's neck before she found herself on her back with Tosh's body covering her, being kissed with a slow-burning intensity that made her heart race. Tosh's hands slid down her body, painting a desperate tingle on her skin. When Tosh slipped them under her shirt Martha needed to break the kiss for air.

"Do you want me to stop?" Tosh breathed as she transferred her attention to the racing pulse in Martha's throat.

Martha didn't need to think. "Never," she moaned. "Don't stop..." But there was still a niggling question in the back of her mind. "Do you want to stop?" she asked. "I mean...Owen..."

Tosh slowed her hands as she looked down at Martha. There was a long moment of silence in which Martha thought her heart might burst.

"Owen," Tosh said eventually, "is dead. He may still be wandering around...looking like Owen...sounding like Owen...but inside...he's dead. And if I don't let him go...that'll happen to me." She looked into Martha's eyes. "I want to be alive, Martha."

Martha nodded slowly. "So do I," she said. Something passed between them, like a shared shiver. "I want you, Toshiko..."

Tosh claimed her lips in a needy, bruising kiss. "You've got me," she whispered. "Just don't let go."

Martha didn't.

The End

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