The first time she senses something different between them is three weeks after the world has been put back together, and it’s anyone’s guess how permanent that might be. It’s very fragile, the world. She knows that now, more than ever.
Gwen has gone home to a very much alive Rhys, and god knows where Owen’s gone off to. Tosh is tapping at her keyboard in the dim light of the Hub at night, her face awash with the glow of the monitors.
“Ethereal.” The word comes from everywhere and nowhere all at once, and the only hint she gives that she’s even taken notice is the lack of tap, tap, tapping echoing through the open space.
“I know you’re a man of few words,” she says finally, “but you’ll have to give me a little more if you want me to catch your meaning.”
“Sorry,” he says, and even though she can’t see him--she hasn’t drawn her eyes away from the computer screens--she would bet fifty quid that he’s blushing. “It’s nothing. Silly of me.”
“Well, now you have to tell me,” she says, tries to say the words matter-of-factly, like she usually talks to Ianto. Only, they seem to have a mind of their own, her words, taking on something close to sensuality, something close to the strange, deep atmosphere of the Hub this time of night. “If you don’t, you’ll keep me up all night thinking about it.”
She twirls around in her chair, her eyes searching for him before he can retreat. She doesn’t know why she thinks he will, but there’s an odd mood that’s crept up on them both, alone together as they are.
Ianto’s not far from her, just a few feet away, leaning against the wall. He’s fiddling with his tie, but stops when he sees her looking at him.
“I was just thinking,” he says, his eyes darting back and forth from her glasses-framed face to his polished shoes, “I was just thinking, if I were to describe how you looked just then, that would be the word I would use.”
“Oh,” Tosh says, unconsciously smoothing out her skirt and crossing her legs at the ankles. “Well, it’s a word that doesn’t get much use, I suppose.”
“Then you approve?”
“Well, I’m hardly going to argue with you over a compliment. I mean, it is a compliment, isn’t it?”
“Oh, yes. Very much so.” Ianto says, looking slightly taken aback.
“Ah. Well, there we are then.”
“There we are,” Ianto murmurs.
“Actually, maybe we should turn some lights on in here?” Tosh suggests. Perhaps then they would both stop acting so weirdly. Really, what was wrong with them both? They were friends. Friends didn’t go around calling each other obscure terms of endearment, now did they? “I mean, if we’re both going to be working. I think that Torchwood can probably handle the electric bill.”
“Right.” Ianto slips away like a spider‘s web disappearing with the dawn, and Tosh’s fingers return once more to the keyboard, clack-clack, tap-tap.
The second time Tosh senses something, it’s less subtle and more like Ianto’s turned up the dial on his efforts to eleven. But it’s Ianto, so it’s still pretty tame.
They’re both hovering over an object on her desk, their chairs pulled close and their knees almost touching. The object is new, recently coughed up by the rift, and is smooth and round and kind of like a miniature bowling ball. It’s when they both reach for it at the same time, their hands grazing impossibly gently, that Ianto finally speaks.
“I’ve often thought that your hands were lovely.”
“Sorry?” Tosh pulls her hand away and gathers them both in her lap self-consciously.
Ianto looks up at her warily, almost skittishly. “I mean, that’s not what I meant. Well, it is what I meant, but I won’t say it if it bothers you.”
“It doesn’t,” Tosh says quickly. “Sorry, I guess I’m just not used to getting compliments.”
“Should I stop?”
“No!” Tosh squeaks, and immediately claps a hand over her mouth. She keeps the hand there, can feel her face reddening beneath it. Her knees knock against Ianto’s and she feels a sudden warmth in an area that isn’t her face. “No, please continue,” she says, her words slightly muffled underneath her hand.
Ianto reaches up and slowly drags her fingers away from her lips, replaces them with his. She glances down at his neatly manicured fingers ghosting over her lips and nearly crosses her eyes trying to see them.
“Would a kiss be out of the question?” he asks.
“No. No it wouldn’t.”
There is no third time, or if there is, Tosh is counting something entirely different.
Ianto is every bit the gentleman she thought he would be when at last she takes him home to her flat. She lets him lay her out reverently on her sheets, her long hair splayed out around her head like a sunburst. He asks her if she likes to be kissed here or there, and does she want it faster or slower, and is he being too rough or too gentle?
She gasps her answers, lets her lips call his name to the echo of her own, lets herself be free and vocal and joyful.
Even so, as they lie side by side and catch their breath together, there’s a part of her that thinks he might walk out, now that it’s happened. She normally wouldn’t mind either way, except it’s Ianto, and she rather likes him. A lot.
Not all of her insecurities are done away with as he falls asleep beside her, but it helps, it certainly helps.
They’ve been seeing each other for a month when Tosh is woken up to the sound of a mobile ringing. She reaches across Ianto’s sleeping form--he’s unexpectedly a heavy sleeper--and grabs the phone off the nightstand, flipping it open and answering in a voice she hopes isn’t too groggy.
“Ianto?” A woman’s voice on the other end asks.
“Um, no. Sorry. Just a moment.” Tosh belatedly realizes she’s answered Ianto’s phone by mistake and moves to nudge him awake.
“Wait,” the woman says, her voice entirely too awake and excited for eight a.m. on a Saturday--a slow rift day, at that. “Who am I speaking with, please?”
“Tosh,” Tosh answers, before she can stop herself.
“Oh, Tosh!” the woman exclaims, and Tosh winces at how loud it is. She turns the volume down on the phone. “You work with Ianto, don’t you?”
“Sorry, who is this?” Tosh asks. This conversation is not going well. It’s too early in the morning for this sort of thing.
“Oh, silly me. It’s Rhiannon. Ianto’s sister.” Rhiannon explains as if Tosh should be very happy to meet her. Tosh tries to sound enthusiastic for her.
“Oh, hello. It’s great to meet you. Should I get Ianto for you?” Tosh frantically shoves at Ianto’s shoulder in an effort to wake him.
“So, are you Ianto’s girlfriend?” Rhiannon asks, ignoring Tosh’s question.
“Why would you say that?” Tosh deflects, tugging Ianto’s pillow out from under his head and causing him to blink confusedly before glaring at her. Tosh glares back.
“Well, who else would be answering his phone? Come on, you can tell me. I have to find out from someone, anyway. He never tells me anything.”
“I--uh--here’s Ianto,” Tosh says, shoving the phone in Ianto’s face. Ianto begrudgingly takes it and Tosh tries not to listen as Ianto continues the conversation with his sister. It isn’t until Ianto says goodbye that Tosh lets go of the breath she wasn’t even aware she’d been holding.
“So, you talked to my sister,” Ianto says, pillow-less and propping himself up on one elbow.
“Sorry. I answered your phone by mistake.”
“Right. Well, no harm done, unless you really hate meatloaf.”
“She’s invited us over for dinner.” Ianto’s voice sounds surprisingly hopeful.
Tosh takes a deep breath. Sleeping with Ianto is one thing, but meeting his family is another. Still, she‘ll hate herself forever if she says the wrong thing. “I’m okay with meatloaf.”
“Excellent. Now, for the important question…”
“Yes?” Tosh says anxiously.
“Can I have my pillow back?” Ianto pouts. Really, who could say no to that pout?