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Posted on 2006.10.23 at 15:30
 Title - Aftermath Series
Fandom - Torchwood
Character - Toshiko
Rating - PG13
Author - magpie_quills
Spoilers - Ep 2 Torchwood


When Toshiko was a little girl her grandmother used to leave the light on for her in her bedroom.  It was to keep away the oni.  Then her grandmother died and her father told her to turn the light off.

"You're too old to be scared of the dark," he told her.  "There's no such thing as oni.  It's an old wives tale."

It took Toshiko weeks before she could fall asleep without dreaming of monsters.  Father had been right, of course.  There were no such things as oni.  Instead, there were weevils and shapeshifting aliens and things that didn't have a name but just sat and went bloop until Owen got sick of it and flushed it down the toilet.

Toshiko thought she'd rather have the oni.  At least you always knew where you stood with them.

Jack had asked her to clear out Suzie's desk; get it ready for the new girl.  Toshiko wondered they were going to tell Suzie's family.  They couldn't give the body back.  It had to kept here, under quarantine, for at least twenty five years, standard operating practice.  No-one wanted another Stoker-gate on their hands.

Owen's predecessor, Tosh remembered, had a terrible car crash that caused burns over twenty percent of his body.  The family had to identify him by his teeth.  That had been a messy job.  She wasn't sure what had happened to Suzie's predecessor, or Jake.  She'd have to ask Ianto.  He'd been here longest of them all.

Tosh stood in front of Suzie's desk and stared at it.  The wood was cluttered with post-it notes and screws.  It was burnt black in a spray pattern from Suzie's welding iron.

Where to start?  It wasn't the 'done' thing to go into other people's desk.  Torchwood wasn't quite as cut-throat as the academic community but advancement was linked to research success.  So, everyone was a bit protective of their pet projects.  Except for Jack, of course.  Other than Thing he didn't have any pet projects and he didn't seem to care about promotion.

Besides, it was easier to turn a blind eye if you never actually saw anything.

Toshiko sighed.  She supposed it didn't matter anymore.  Suzie wasn't going to be publishing any papers from beyond the grave.  She glanced at the coolers were the body rested and rapped her knuckles on the table.

Then she got to work.  Once she started it was easy enough to organize everything: personal information, photos and mugs and so on; Suzie's research on the Resurrection Device; the psychological profiles that Toshiko wasn't sure she should be seeing (although she agreed with what it said about Owen) and a report from the Xenoprofiler in Glasgow.  He really was an odd little man.

She found an envelope full of neatly stapled and marked up expenses in the bottom of one of the drawers.  The month was written on the front of it in a neat, no-nonsencse hand.  Tosh opened it and lifted out the receipts.  How had Suzie done it, she wondered tiredly.  How had she kept up with paperwork, filed her expense claims and made jokes with them while she went around killing people.

There was a receipt from the Indian a few streets over.  Suzie always ordered from there when it was her turn to pick.  Owen went for pizza, Toshiko for fish and chips, Ianto ordered bizarre sandwich wraps full of fish and slivers of things.  Jack never seemed to care.

Toshiko rubbed her thumb over the receipt.  It was for the 4th.  She remembered that night.  They had been called to a sighting outside the city only to find it was a false alarm.  Jack had uttered the immortal threat to stick a florescent Frisbee so far up a uniforms ass that it would require an act of good to get it out.  By the time they got home, they were all exhausted.  So they had ordered in and eaten here.  They'd talked about Suzie's theory on the resurrection device and Owen's research into alien liver flukes, between him talking about the girl he was shagging.

When Jack finally ushered them out they had lost all semblance of propriety and were comparing new to old Battlestar Galactica.  He'd called them sad bastards; but magnificent sad bastards.

Toshiko closed her eyes and wiped her fingers across her lower lids.  She wondered if it would be that easy again.  The new girl was nice, and all, but she didn't know the in-jokes, she didn't know how pissy Owen got if he ran out of Red Bull.  She was new.  It wasn't her fault.  It was just how she was.

But perhaps Jack and Ianto and Suze had felt the same way when she and Owen arrived.



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