Torchwood ficlet: Centre of the Universe
You'd think I'd be posting something porny, wouldn't you, seeing as I'm running the Porn Battle. But you'd be wrong! Instead, a little bit of minor character fic, that I suspect will interest pretty much no one! Sometimes I just like to write for me.
Centre of the Universe [Torchwood, Rhys, Rhys/Gwen, PG-13, 750 words]
Down the pub, his mates tell him he's barmy when he heads home after just three rounds, on the off chance Gwen's home. "Stay 'til the end of the match, at least," they'll tell him, and he'll smile and edge his way out, promising he'll stay longer next time. He'll be turning the key to their flat, hoping, and when the door's open and the place is dark and silent, he'll wish he'd stayed, drunk a few more beers, waited to see if Swansea might have won for once. Sometimes he'll wish he'd worn his pulling shirt, stayed out, seen what happened. Not that he'd have brought anyone back or anything, but it wouldn't hurt to chat a bit, flirt, see if he's still got it.
Always the same empty flat, but he keeps on hoping, and he keeps on coming back, even though he knows in his gut that Torchwood comes first to Gwen now, and that bit by bit he's losing her to something he can't fight. He's not stupid, see, for all the way the smarmy little doctor guy she works with looks at him. Bloody Londoner.
He pops into town in his lunchbreak, picks up a Shapers meal from Boots (wants to trim up a bit, he does, but he's not got no time for the gym right now) and takes a look around for something for Gwen. Something pretty, a lipstick or nail varnish or something. The displays go on forever, and he has no idea what half the stuff is or what would suit her, and obviously he's got that lost look on his face because a ginger-haired assistant takes pity on him and guides him up and down the rows. He ends up with Revlon's Always Starlet nail polish and some lipstick to match – your girlfriend will love them, the assistant promises him – and smiles as he imagines Gwen with scarlet finger nails. She likes to run her fingers across his chest, scratching just a little too hard, even though her nails never get that long, not with the work she does. They'd get in the way, she says, though she bites them sometimes too, so it's a bit of an excuse. Mostly practical, she is, which he likes, but she's fond of pretty stuff too, dressing up for the night of a weekend. He always feels proud, having her on his arm when she's all dolled up to the nines. Showing her off, his girl.
Not that he'll say that. She'll ask if her bum looks big in these trousers, and he'll hem and haw and say maybe, a bit, and she'll slant her eyes at him and tell him he needn't try grabbing it later if he thinks it's that big. He'll call her snaggle-toothed, affectionate like, and she'll punch him one, hard. Packs a right wallop she does, no holding back. Then she'll laugh when he wheezes from the punch and calls her cariad and tells her she's gorgeous. "Too right I am," she'll say, and strutt like she's a little Elle McPherson. He thinks she's ten times prettier than some fancy super model with no flesh on her bones and air for brains.
She's got tough though, these days, and they don't have those evenings often like they used to. Rhys knows it's the new job. He's fine with that, with the secrets and the mystery and even the disappearing at all hours. It's part of who she is, and who he's proud of. His Gwen, special, always wanting to do something good, smart enough to do it too. He's even okay, sort of, with her bringing strangers home from work, though he's still smarting from the lies. He's fine with all that, can be fine, will be, once he's got used to it. It's just the look in her eyes he's not fine with. Or really, the look that's not in her eyes anymore. She used to look at him like he was a chip butty, like she couldn't keep her hands off of him, like she wanted to eat him up. Like he was the centre of her universe and everything revolved around them, together. Now she looks like she's full up all the time, or like she's gone off chip butties, which is plain wrong.
He thinks the centre of her universe is a long way away now, and he's not sure where he is any more. Cast off with Pluto, in the cold, feels like.