The Blonde in the Straw Hat
It was a sunny afternoon and Tosh was reading a textbook under a tree near the Cam.
Tosh was used to not being noticed: by boys, by girls, by anyone, really, apart from her professors. So when she felt an unfamiliar prickle at the back of her neck, it was a moment before she realised it was the sensation of being watched. She looked up and about almost frantically and then nearly dropped her book in shock when she realised that it was a girl doing the watching, and that she was now approaching along the path. A petite, round-faced blonde, exquisitely girlish, wearing an old-fashioned straw hat.
For some reason, it was the hat that caught Tosh's attention. The rakish angle of it, the insouciant way the girl wore it, the way it balanced the lines of her face and made her eyes even brighter. No one, Tosh realised, wore hats these days, and certainly no one wore that ... what, Edwardian sort of suit? Was she an actor? Or just a Cambridge eccentric?
Either way, she was now bending down next to Tosh and tilting her head to get a better look at Tosh's textbook. "Hallo there. Organic chemistry?"
Tosh flushed. "I–yes. It's–I–that is to say–" she stammered, and then blurted out, "Hydrocarbons!"
"Hydrocarbons! Fascinating. And so important on this planet, wouldn't you agree?"
On this planet? "Er. Yes." Tosh blinked owlishly.
"Though hydrocarbon combustion isn't really a workable long-term energy source, is it?" the girl went on blithely. "Now, fusion, that's–"
And then a tall man in a long coat with great huge eyes and electroshock hair came dashing across the lawn; he seized the girl by the hand and the two of them took off at a run. The girl cast an apologetic glance back at Tosh and as they hurried away, Tosh heard her protesting. "Look, I was having a perfectly pleasant conversation–"
"No time! Come on!"
Tosh never saw them again.
Tosh never really caught her first name. Johnson was a bit older than Tosh and apparently twenty times more experienced. Tosh reckoned later that she would've probably been dazzled by someone with only half-again as much experience as she had herself; for one thing, that hypothetical someone would have probably figured out a lot faster that there were implications to the fact that the bar's clientele was almost entirely female.
They were both working for the government (Tosh was at Lodmoor then, mere weeks before things began to go so horridly wrong) and couldn't talk about their jobs, and it turned out that talking about how they couldn't talk about it was a highly amusing topic of conversation, especially after a couple of vodka tonics. Somewhere in the giggles, Johnson's hand slipped under Tosh's thigh, and when Tosh leaned in closer to ask Johnson to repeat something she'd said, the whisper in her ear turned into a brush of lips against the jawline, a heated kiss, a twining of the fingers in the hair, bodies closer, curves on curves–
That, of course, was when Johnson's mobile went off, and she answered it. Tosh was so dismayed by this that she barely heard any of Johnson's hurried goodbye, and what's more, she didn't even remember to give Johnson her own phone number.
Of course, she thought later, there was one valuable lesson to learn from this: if the person you're snogging drops it all to answer the phone, maybe you're better off not calling them anyway.
It was hard to say what hurt the most. Learning what Owen thought of her. Learning what Gwen thought of her. Being used.
No, being used was definitely the worst. She thought about Mary's pendant, smashed on the ground; thought about the knife at her throat. Hell with relationships, she thought. Hell with men, hell with women; I am not letting myself get hurt like that again.
Sarah Jane Smith
Tosh was pretty sure that Jack sent her to Ealing to distract her from the loss of Tommy Brockless. She was supposed to meet up with one Imogen Smith and get her statement on some lights-in-the-sky thing, and it so happened that the café designated as the rendezvous was also where one Sarah Jane Smith was meeting with a source on that same lights-in-the-sky business.
"I'm Toshiko Sato. I was supposed to meet with you, about–"
"Oh! Yes, yes, of course. Have a seat. Thank you for meeting with me; would you like something to drink?"
"I–well, really, I thought I ought to be buying for you."
"Not at all. I'll get this round."
Tosh and Sarah Jane had each been delicately attempting to suss out the other's background for about half an hour before they realised they had the wrong people. But Sarah Jane was willing to wait while Tosh went to get Imogen Smith's statement (a process not helped by the fact that the woman had been convinced she'd been left hanging in the breeze for all that time, and had lost any goodwill she felt toward Tosh). Sarah Jane's contact never showed up–"Well, sometimes they get cold feet or decide that they must have imagined it all anyway, particularly when aliens are involved"–and afterward they went for a walk and ended up back at Tosh's hotel.
They were shy with each other at first, self-conscious, almost wary. They were neither of them, perhaps, entirely accustomed to being desired, and they touched one another as if half expecting the other to simply fall to dust or vanish. But it soon became clear that neither of them was going anywhere, at least not for now, and shyness gave way to an exhilarating, surprised passion. Tosh thought she might never get tired of the sensation of Sarah Jane's soft skin under her mouth and fingers; the way Sarah Jane's back arched just so when she was touched in the way she liked best filled Tosh with delight. And Sarah Jane was warm and generous and surprisingly daring, playing subtle games with Tosh's body. "I came of age in the seventies, dear; I like to think I learned a thing or two," Sarah Jane said later to a sleepy, quietly ecstatic Tosh.
But Tosh had to go back to Cardiff, and Sarah Jane back to her own work and family. They exchanged numbers and e-mail; they promised they'd see one another again soon. They stayed in touch, but somehow circumstances were never quite right. We're both too busy saving the world, Sarah Jane wrote.
It's all right, love, Tosh wrote back. Once I'm done saving it this time, promise I'll come up to London. Got to go now; something's turned up in an abandoned building here in Cardiff and we've got to investigate. Figures, yeah? See you soon.