Pairing: Tosh/Owen, Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys (canon pairings)
Summary: Owen is forced to chop off his own hand to extricate himself from a bomb. No one expected that, following this, his severed hand would still work.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood & Co.
Notes: For shinealightonme - happy birthday! Crack fic, AU after Reset, I really don't know where the idea came from. I'm a sick sick girl. *shrug* Apologies for any American-isms.
Left Hand Lovin’
Nancy boy. Owen hates dithering.
“I can make another run to the Hub,” he says, looking worried like the nancy boy that he is. “I think I remember something—”
“There’s no time, now hand me the fucking hatchet,” Owen snaps, swiping a hand into the air but missing.
Next to him, Tosh is breathing hard. “No, wait, I think I can deactivate this, it’s almost done translating.”
“And what good will a translation do?” Owen demands, swiping for the hatchet again with his only free hand. “Unless it magically turns out to say ‘press here to make it not go boom’, I’m still going to be blown to bits in three minutes.”
“We could try—”
“Give me the fucking hatchet, right now. It’s not like it’s going to hurt, all right?”
“Owen, no,” Tosh says desperately. “You can’t.”
“Do it,” Jack orders, looming over them all.
No one looks as Owen inhales, lines up the hatchet with the joint, and chops off his hand, but there’s a collective, unspoken wince at the sound of it hitting the floor of the warehouse with a soft thump.
But everyone looks when Owen screams and skitters backward, staring in horror at his amputated left hand that is still moving.
“It’s like a… spider. But fleshy,” Gwen says, staring at Owen’s hand as it crawls across the table on its fingers.
Owen grins and curls his fingers, making his palm parallel to the ground and giving it a distinctly more spider-like appearance.
Gwen wrinkles her nose.
“There’s no energy connection between Owen and his hand that I can see,” Tosh tells Jack, eyes fixed firmly on her little device.
“Huh,” says Jack, peering over her shoulder.
“We should get it its own little box,” Ianto suggests, “and call it Thing.”
“Fuck off, Lurch,” Owen says, making his hand—which is not a thing, it’s his bloody hand—flip Ianto off.
“Pugsley,” Ianto shoots back.
“Oi! I’m Gomez!”
“If anyone, Jack would be Gomez,” Gwen breaks in, smirking at Jack. “He’s all toothy and badly swashbuckling.”
“Hey!” Jack protests, though he clearly doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about.
“Can I be Wednesday?” Tosh asks.
As they all join in, assigning Addams family characters left and right while Jack sits and looks annoyed that he’s missing yet another pop culture reference—martyring wanker, it’s not like he couldn’t spend some time with the telly at night, what with his not needing sleep and all—Owen directs his hand to the edge of the table and then down to the floor.
He finds Tosh’s leg after a bit of feeling around, and takes immense delight in the shriek of terror that follows seconds later.
There’s talk of trying to re-attach Owen’s hand (Velcro and superglue are the most popular suggestions), but in the end nothing’s really feasible, and having a detached hand is sort of cool anyway.
Owen comes into work and finds a small wooden box sitting on the autopsy table, wrapped neatly with a red ribbon. Inside the box is a hook.
For Owen, reads the note on the hook.
For Thing, reads the note on the box.
When Owen isn’t using Thing to tie peoples’ shoes together, steal the good pens from Tosh’s desk, or save people from certain death, he doesn’t really pay attention to it. It’ll sit on the counter until it falls off because Owen accidentally moves it too many times, and might mysteriously wind up across the Hub once or twice, but Owen always has it when he needs it and that’s pretty much all he cares about.
Until he tries to ask Tosh out.
“Up to anything tonight?” he asks her, the definition of casual.
“What?” Tosh asks, looking up and blinking eyes that are clearly still seeing the world in lines of code.
“I asked if you were up to anything tonight,” Owen repeats, now significantly less casual.
“Oh,” says Tosh, blinking twice more. Owen wonders what his face looks like in binary. “Nothing really, I suppose. Why?”
“Let me take you out to dinner,” Owen says, and realizes too late that his familiar script needs some updating.
“But you can’t—”
“Right,” Owen interrupts, more sharply than he means to. “Well. What I meant was, uh… d’you want to go see a movie?”
Tosh beams. “I’d love to! What did you have in mind?”
“Er. You know,” says Owen, who for some reason can’t remember any of the movies at the cinema right now, despite the fact that he usually watches the telly all night long. “The one… with the bloke…”
“Oh!” Tosh gasps and jolts in her chair, her hands flying to her chest. She whips her head around.
There, on the back of her chair, is Thing.
“Owen!” Tosh snaps, one hand across her breasts. She’s somewhere between hurt and furious, unlike Owen, who is firmly planted in the land of bafflement.
“What?” Owen asks, looking between her and Thing in confusion. “Wait, how did it get over here?”
“It’s your hand!” Tosh replies irritably, standing and stepping away from Owen. “You tell me!”
“I didn’t put it there, and I didn’t make it poke you!”
“It didn’t poke me,” Tosh hissed.
Owen abruptly understands why Tosh’s arm is over her breasts.
“Look,” he says, now trying very hard not to stare, “I swear I didn’t do it. I thought I’d left it in the autopsy bay.”
Tosh glares. “Well, how else did it get over here?”
Owen has no idea.
He resolves to keep a better eye on it in the future, though, when he discovers that night that he’s apparently been blacklisted at every cable company in Cardiff and his internet is on the fritz.
Only no matter how hard Owen tries, Thing keeps getting away and doing things that Owen definitely isn’t making it do.
“I think that my hand is no longer entirely mine,” Owen says one morning in the conference room, “In case anyone’s interested.”
“Er, that would be the hand that’s not attached to me anymore,” Owen clarifies.
“I thought that massage was a bit strange,” Gwen mutters, as Jack pulls out his Webley and aims it straight at Thing.
“So who’s controlling it?” Jack asks. “Ianto, containment box. Tosh, change the main Hub codes.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Owen says, making Thing go limp before snatching it off the table, away from Jack’s gun. “It’s not being controlled by someone else, it’s developing a mind of its own.”
“How do you know?” Jack demands, not putting his gun away.
Owen attempts to remember the last time Jack got to shoot something, and the fact that he can’t means it’s been way too long.
“Because I really doubt that its plot to invade Torchwood involves giving Gwen clandestine massages,” Owen says crankily. “Now put the gun away, you trigger-happy freak.”
“Can you control it at all?” Tosh asks, as Jack sourly puts his gun away.
“Of course I can,” Owen says, as Thing makes a rude gesture at Tosh and then squirms out of Owen’s hold to scamper out of the conference room.
Thing builds itself a nest by Owen’s computer. Unlike the pterodactyl’s nest, though, this is a nest built of a cashmere sweater, a silken waistcoat, and something made of red velvet whose origins Owen is unsure about.
“Does it sleep?” Tosh asks, watching Thing fuss over the positioning of the sweater.
“Don’t know,” Owen says. “But, look, now that you know I didn’t—you know—with your bra—”
Tosh looks away from Thing to stare at Owen, startled.
“Do you want to go see a movie?” Owen asks. This time, he’s even got one in mind. He made sure to look up what was playing at the cinema about ten minutes ago, on the internet.
Tosh smiles beatifically. “I’d love to. But, um, you’re not going to bring…”
“No!” Owen says immediately. “No, no, I’ll leave it here in its nest, it’ll be fine.”
“Good,” Tosh say, looking relieved. Then her eyes widen. “Not that I—I mean, it’s your hand—”
“It understands,” Owen says, with a grin and a wink.
Tosh frowns, like she knows, and that’s actually kind of… nice.
Owen changes his mind about the film. “Listen, I’ve got the cinema listings up on my computer. Take a look at it and tell me what you want to see, all right?”
“Sure,” Tosh agrees after a beat of silence, and she settles down next to Thing’s nest to examine her choices.
Unfortunately, just as Owen and Tosh are leaving the cinema and en route for a walk through Bute Park, Owen’s phone goes off. It turns out to be Gwen, shrieking about something, Owen doesn’t really know, all he catches is “your bloody hand” and “get here before I throw it in the food processor”, and that’s pretty much the end of his date with Tosh.
Owen arrives at Gwen’s place, alone, and promptly has a shoebox shoved at him.
“Might do to keep a better eye on your body parts,” Gwen says, scowling furiously.
The box thumps. Owen abruptly realizes what’s inside of it.
“I thought you liked the massages,” Owen replies, picking at the end of the long strip of tape that’s wound around the box multiple times.
“It followed me home,” Gwen hisses. “And then it tried to join in when Rhys and I were—”
She flushes, and jerks her head toward the bedroom.
Owen’s eyebrows shoot up. “Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously—it’s not funny, Owen! What am I supposed to tell Rhys?”
Owen gets the tape free and rips it off the box, unwinding it enough that he can crack the lid open.
Thing flies out of the box and immediately clamps onto Owen’s hand, trembling minutely and gripping him hard enough that, had he been able to feel it, Owen is sure that he would be aching.
“So you shut it up in a box?” Owen asks, raising an eyebrow.
Gwen looks guiltily at Thing. “Well—I mean, Rhys sort of kicked it across the room, and then it scuttled under the bed and wouldn’t come out, and I didn’t want to lose it or anything.”
“Yeah, well, maybe next time you should just let me come and get it, all right?”
“Maybe you should keep a better eye on your body parts,” Gwen shoots back.
Owen throws the shoebox at her head and stalks off, Thing still clinging to his hand like a lifeline.
Owen thinks that if he wanted to, he could still direct Thing to do as he wanted, but he hasn’t tried in ages. He has no real interest in trying.
Thing continues to steal the good pens from Tosh’s desk and deposit them into Owen’s desk drawer.
It isn’t the first time Owen’s walked in on Jack getting off behind his desk.
It is the first time that, instead of waving at Owen cheerfully and telling him to come back in about two minutes, Jack’s eyes widen and he sits up straight, looking distinctly alarmed.
“Owen!” he says, staring.
“Jack,” Owen replies, staring right back and wondering what in the hell sort of sex act could make Jack Harkness embarrassed.
“Just—ah—let me—” There’s the sound of trousers rustling and a zipping noise, and then there’s a familiar thump. “Shit—”
Owen hasn’t gotten past the thump.
He knows that thump.
Blood rising to a boil, he stalks into Jack’s office, ignoring Jack’s protests, and he’s fast enough to catch the sight of familiar hand darting under Jack’s desk just as he comes around the corner. His hand.
“You molested Thing?”
“Well, technically, it was doing the molesting—”
“YOU MOLESTED THING!” Owen bellows, vaguely aware of the fact that the Hub has gone silent.
“I didn’t molest Thing!” Jack says, looking annoyed now. “It was all perfectly consensual!”
“Thing!” Owen snaps, and through some combination of obedience and residual neural pathways, Thing scuttles out from under Jack’s desk. Owen snatches it up and glares at Jack. “Stay away from my hand, Harkness, or we’ll find out what happens if we cut off yours.”
“It’s not your hand anymore!” Jack yells after him, as he stomps out of the office, a wriggling Thing in his grasp.
“Hey, Owen,” Gwen says.
Owen looks up from his clipboard to see Gwen standing at the railing above the autopsy bay, and Jack just behind her, bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“Friday, movie night at my place. We’re watching The Addams Family,” Gwen tells him, holding up the DVD case with a grin. “Did you want to come?”
“There’s gonna be popcorn!” Jack puts in excitedly, like this is some sort of novelty.
“Team bonding?” Owen asks, unimpressed.
Gwen shrugs. “Thing wants to see it, and it knows that I’ve still got my shoebox if it misbehaves. It’ll be fun!”
Owen glances over to where Thing is riding around on Ianto’s shoulder as Ianto delivers the afternoon’s round of coffee. Ianto has been helping Thing learn to put in the appropriate amounts of creamer and sugar into the teams’ coffees, and Thing has taken to this task with an excitement that Owen would have never believed possible of something that used to be attached to him.
“I’ll think about it,” Owen tells her.
“So, you’ve heard about this movie night thing?” Owen asks Tosh, the very first chance he has.
Tosh nods. “Yes. It sounds like fun, don’t you think?”
“As much fun as team bonding ever is,” Owen replies, rolling his eyes.
“You liked Tiki Night,” Tosh points out.
“I don’t remember Tiki Night,” Owen says. “Just waking up the morning after and vomiting a lot.”
“Well, there you go,” Tosh replies, smiling.
Owen pulls in a quick, unnecessary breath. “Did—did you want to get dinner, before the movie?”
Tosh bites her lip, looking uncomfortable. “But… Owen, you can’t…”
“Yeah, I know that,” Owen says irritably. “But whatever. We can go anyway, can’t we?”
“I—of course we can,” Tosh says, after a beat.
“Look, if you don’t want to go, just—say so, all right?” Owen mutters, averting his eyes. “I know it’ll be weird for only you to eat, and we’ll have to figure out something for my arm, and people will stare, and…”
He trails off as he begins to realize what a fantastically stupid idea it really is.
There’s another, even more extended pause, and then he sees Tosh’s hand come out to cover his own, and Owen looks up in surprise.
“Take me out to dinner, Owen,” Tosh says with a soft, warm smile that Owen has only ever seen once or twice in his life. “Please. I’d be honored.”
Tosh’s smile widens. “Really.”
Owen is debating whether wearing his hook to dinner with Tosh tonight would be cool or just make things more awkward, when he hears the sound of a throat clearing and nearly jumps out of his skin.
Jack and Ianto are standing in his autopsy bay, Thing perched on Ianto’s shoulder.
“I’m buying bells for both of you,” Owen grouses as he slides his feet off of his desk and sits up straight in his chair, moving strategically so that neither one of them will be able to see his game of Space Invaders.
“We have a, ah, request,” Ianto says, eyes darting to Jack.
“No, my equipment may not be used for role playing,” Owen says. “And neither may my lab coat. Does that cover it?”
“Oh, it’s way too late for—”
“That wasn’t what we were going to ask,” Ianto cuts in quickly, the tips of his ears going pink.
Owen makes a valiant effort to erase the last five seconds of his life from his memory, but is unsuccessful.
“Right, so now that I’m scarred for life and have to buy deadbolts for my desk drawers, what was it you actually wanted to know?” Owen asks, glancing between them.
“Well,” says Ianto. “Ah. We wanted to ask your permission to, ah…” He’s not looking Owen in the eye by this point. “Ah…”
“We like Thing,” Jack says, taking over. “And Thing likes us. We’d like to…” Jack frowns. “Well, adopt isn’t the right word, not for something that’s touched your—”
“What we’d like,” Ianto interrupts, “is for Thing to belong to us.”
Jack opens his mouth, but apparently changes his mind and shuts it again. He nods rapidly, indicating that Ianto’s spoken for both of them.
“You’re asking for permission to start dating my hand?” he finally manages, after several false starts.
“Well, ‘start’ wouldn’t be quite the word I’d use…” Jack muses.
Owen’s eyes widen in sudden horror. “Wait, so that time when I found you in your office—”
“It’s not just sex,” Ianto says quickly, his whole face flushing lightly now. “It’s—we like Thing. As a… hand.”
Owen suddenly realizes where the velvet fabric in Thing’s nest must have come from, and stifles a sigh of resignation.
“Thing,” Owen says, addressing the hand still perched on Ianto’s shoulder.
Thing perks up attentively.
“You really want to be with these two lunatics?”
Thing holds up its index finger and makes a nodding motion with it.
Jack and Ianto glance at each other.
Owen can’t believe this is happening.
“All right,” he sighs. “Fine. You have my… permission. Whatever.”
Instantly, he’s being dragged out of his chair and into a massive bear hug, Jack completely ignoring his squawk of protest.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Jack says happily, squeezing Owen tightly, before dropping him and bouncing up the ramp. “Ianto, c’mon! Work to do.”
Ianto follows at a more sedate pace, cooing at Thing with a creepy little grin on his face.
“And next time, just don’t tell me, okay?” Owen yells after them. “It’s not my hand anymore!”
Later that night, they’re watching The Addams Family in Gwen’s living room with a massive bowl of popcorn being passed around. Gwen and Rhys are snuggled up together in an armchair, Ianto’s on the floor between Jack’s knees, and Jack, Owen and Tosh are squashed together on the couch. Thing is sprawled out on Jack’s knee, looking as content as a hand can.
“Popcorn?” Owen murmurs in Tosh’s ear, as Ianto passes the bowl up to Jack.
“Please,” says Tosh.
Owen grins and jabs his hook into the bowl, making Jack quickly pull his hand back and give Owen access to the last of the top of the bowl, with the best butter and salt coverage. Smugly, he retrieves a handful for Tosh and passes it over.
Tosh kisses him on the cheek, and for a moment, Owen could swear he felt his heart beat.