Ianto finds Tosh and Owen in a nearby pub, ensconced at a table in the corner. Owen has a pint and a shot glass in front of him; Tosh a glass of wine, white because red seems in poor taste under the circumstances.
Ianto’s only been working at Torchwood Three for a few months, he doesn’t know his colleagues all that well, and that’s deliberate; he doesn’t want to get too close to them because of Lisa, so fraternisation is a bad idea. But the occasion seems to demand some show of solidarity; Suzie is dead, and though he didn’t know her any better than he knows the other two, Ianto still feels her loss.
Jack won’t talk about what happened, he’s holed up in his office brooding, probably blaming himself for Suzie’s death even though she pulled the trigger herself. Ianto feels guilty because he’d been sensing something off about Suzie for a while now but didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to get involved. That seems rather shortsighted now; could he have prevented any of the murders she committed if he’d brought his concerns to their boss? He’ll never know.
He hesitates beside the table, fumbling with his pint glass and taking a quick swig to hide his nerves. The other two haven’t noticed him yet so he clears his throat. “Mind if I join you?”
Owen looks up, surprised, but shoves one of the empty chairs out with his foot and nods at it without speaking; Ianto sits.
“She’d been actin’ a bit weird; well, weirder than usual,” Owen mutters into his glass before draining the rest of his beer. “I should’ve said somethin’, but that was Suzie, always gettin’ obsessed with some piece of tech or another. Workaholic, like you.” He looks at Ianto.
“I noticed too,” Tosh admits. “We used to talk about what she was working on, but the last month or so, whenever I asked she changed the subject, and I didn’t want to pry.” She tucks her hair behind her ear and downs half her wine. “I feel so bad about it now. If I’d said something to Jack, maybe she’d still be alive.”
“What about you?” Owen nudges Ianto’s chair with his foot and Ianto nods.
“She was… I don’t know, furtive I suppose. Couple of times she came back to the Hub really late and brought the glove back with her, hidden in that big bag she’d started taking everywhere she went. I just thought she didn’t want Jack to know she was taking work home. I know we’re not supposed to take alien tech out of the Hub.”
“We all do it though, right?” Owen looks around at the other two. Tosh nods and Ianto shrugs. “So we all screwed up and now Suzie’s dead.” Owen stares morosely into his empty glass.
Ianto finishes his beer. “My round, I think. Same again?”
The other two nod and Tosh finishes her wine, pushing the empty glass towards Ianto. “House white please, Ianto.”
“Best bitter and a whiskey,” Owen adds.
Ianto gathers up their empties and makes for the bar, ordering the next round and buying a few bags of crisps as well, snagging a tray to carry everything.
“Crisps?” Owen gives a lopsided grin. “I think you’re missin’ the point, Teaboy. We’re supposed to be drownin’ our sorrows, gettin’ completely smashed.”
Ianto just shrugs, refusing to take the bait; now is neither the time nor the place to get into an argument, even if he was so inclined, which he’s not. “I missed lunch.” He tears open a bag of cheese and onion.
“You’d be better off with a burger. We all would, come to that. Ah, what the hell, why not? I’m famished.” Sliding from his seat, Owen heads for the bar and is back a few minutes later with three cheeseburgers and extra chips. “Dig in.”
Ianto raises an eyebrow. “What happened to getting smashed and drowning our sorrows?”
“Harkness’ll be pissed off if we all show up tomorrow hung over, or worse, don’t show up at all, especially now we’re a man down. He’s bad enough when it’s just me.”
“Good point.” Ianto waves a chip in Owen’s direction before eating it.
Owen demolishes half his burger in three bites, washing it down with beer; his eating habits are as bad as Jack’s. Then he raises his shot glass. “Here’s to Suzie Costello; wherever she is now, may she find peace. At least she went out on her own terms.”
Picking up their own glasses, Tosh and Ianto clink them against Owen’s.
“To Suzie,” they murmur.
“I’ll miss her,” Tosh admits.
“So will I,” Ianto agrees, surprised to realise he means it.
“She could be a solid gold bitch when she wanted, but she was okay,” Owen adds. As testimonials go it isn’t great, but it will have to do.
They fall silent then and concentrate on eating, but it’s a companionable silence, and that disturbs Ianto in an odd way. He’d wanted to keep his colleagues at arm’s length because he doesn’t intend to stick around once Lisa is herself again, but he’s starting to realise he’s already far closer to these people than he’d imagined. If he’d thought his life was complicated enough already, it might just have got a whole lot worse, but that’s something he’ll have to deal with some other time, because tonight is for Suzie, an odd sort of wake. It’s just one more reminder of how short a Torchwood Agent’s life can be.