Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood.
Summary: Rhys knew it would come to an end sooner rather than later.
There had been days that Rhys cherished, the days when Gwen would come home and they could pretend aliens didn’t exist and that they would have the rest of their lives ahead of them. Those were the days he knew he would miss the most if he could have remembered them when the time came.
They had two and a half wonderful years. Things were far from perfect, horrible enough to make them wonder if anything was worth saving in the universe. Then things were fantastic and Rhys couldn’t have asked for more. He had met aliens at the warehouse and his wedding but the first time he met a friendly sentient alien had been one of the most exciting moments of his life. Knowledge of invaders and helping save the world or just Cardiff, even if it just meant supporting Gwen, came at a price: Torchwood Standard Operating Policy.
When Rhys hadn’t received any kind from Gwen that day he had begun to worry. Nonetheless he set the table, made dinner and recorded the few shows Gwen wanted to see when she had the time. It had been a busy month and the TIVO was nearly full. Gwen never came.
At exactly 12:53 a.m. by the living room’s clock, the doorbell rang. When he opened the door he saw bloody Captain Jack Harkness standing on the other side. He knew then, they would have called if Gwen had been injured. It had happened before and he would ask when he could take her home or visit.
“Rhys,” the one word finalized it and vaporized any doubts he might have held.
“She’s gone.” He said. His voice sounded too hallow and distant.
“I’m sorry.” Harkness said and Rhys had no doubts that he did. It was then that Rhys realized he was alone.
“Who else?” Rhys realized they were still standing at the doorway. He stepped aside and Jack walked in.
“None one else,” Rhys took a breath and opened his mouth only to swallow back a sob. Harkness led him to the coach. He went to wipe his face with shaking hands.
“H-how d-did she…did she suffer?”
“It was a quick end,” Harkness said instead of anything that meant something.
“No, tell me what really happen. I need to know.” He nearly shouted. He needed to know how his Gwen died. He needed to know how he wasn’t there for her. Harkness hesitated. “Please,” His voice almost breaking. Harkness nodded and talked. Rhys listened.
Gwen’s death had been quick but not painless. She saved a little boy who would never remember the woman who saved him. Her body was nearly perfectly intact, nearly unblemished Harkness said.
Rhys would never get to see her. He began to cry. He didn’t know how long it lasted but he had yelled at Harkness for not trying harder to get rid of Gwen (she’d told him how he joined their first anniversary), he yelled at anything and anyone that he could think of. When he had settled down he felt drained.
Harkness sat and listened with the patience of a man who had lost too much and knew how to wait. Wait for things to get better.
Rhys sat down next to him again and looked him in the eyes.
“I guess this is it then.” He said sure what was about to come. “You give me that little white pill and I never remember her again. I’ll wake up and she’ll be gone for good.” He said looking at his belongings, looking at pictures of him and Gwen smiling. All possibilities stood frozen in those frames where they were now gone: of their own home, of children, and of retirement villas in the Mediterranean when they were outlandish. Soon it would be gone forever because no one would remember them.
“No,” Harkness said.
“What?” Rhys demanded. “You have to give me that Ret-con. It’s your bloody policy!” he yelled, unsure of why. The only certainty he had to look forward had vanished.
“I said no,” Harkness took his hands. “She doesn’t deserve it, Rhys.” He looked straight through him. “If I had followed it to the letter you would have been ret-conned after the incident with the space whale and so would have Gwen for disobeying a direct order that risked compromising security.” Harkness voice, which had been steady, fell flat and all Rhys could hear was pain.
“Remember her, Rhys.” He pleaded. “Do you want to forget?”
“No!” Rhys yelled unable to believe he had suggested that. He never wanted to forget Gwen. He didn’t have forever like Harkness but he didn’t want to forget her as long as he lived.
“Then remember her,” Harkness stood and began to pace. “because that’s all we have left in the end.” He said. He stopped and stared at Rhys. “Ianto and I will be back in the morning to collect any thing that’s a security risk. It’s policy.” And with that he left, leaving him alone.
When Rhys collected himself and dialed Gwen’s parents he wondered what he’d say about her death.
“Hello?” A rather irritated voice answered. Rhys talked.
In the end the details about Gwen’s death were small. All Rhys would say was that it was a quick end. The memorial service was beautiful and alien free. There would never be a funeral.
Rhys had said his own goodbyes the day after he had been told. He looked at Gwen’s cold face, kissed her, said his goodbyes, and saw as she was slid back into her own box. Next to Toshiko Sato and what could be recovered of Doctor Owen Harper. Rhys would never see her body again nor would he ever rest bye her again. Gwen’s body was in storage for the rest of Torcwood’s existence because it was Torchwood Standard Operating Policy.