spock: logic is sexy

Torchwood Fic: Devil in Your Details (Lois Habiba, gen)

Title: Devil in Your Details
Character: Lois Habiba
Rating: PG
Summary: Lois Habiba was just doing her job. She never expected to become a spy or land in jail, but she's not sorry she did.
Notes: for the Awesome Ladies Ficathon for the prompt "no one ever gets out alive, little girl; no one but you."

"I'm a personal assistant. It's my job to notice details."

They're the first words of her confession. For a second, the smooth white room blurs around her and buzzing fills her ears. A week ago, she was a personal assistant; yesterday, she was a spy; today, she is a traitor. She had thought they would take her some place secret and underground, some place with dirty cinder block walls and a solitary light bulb like she'd seen in the movies. Instead, she is alone with a tape recorder, and she doesn't know what to say.

She wants to tell them that she's a clever girl, that she'd chosen this profession. If all she had wanted to do was answer telephones and make photocopies, she could have been a file clerk, earned a steady paycheck, and never thought about work after she walked out the office doors. But she's more than that. People depended on her. Important people, sometimes even people who ran the whole country. It is -- was -- her job to figure out what they needed before they asked, preferably before they even knew they needed it.

That's why she'd noticed Jack Harkness. Right away, he stood out from all the other callers. A really good PA could tell who was bluffing and who really needed to talk to the boss, and she'd known instantly that this call was important. Of course, she didn't matter enough for Mr. Frobisher to listen to her just yet, so all she could do was log the message and keep her ears open for a chance to mention it.

"So you see," she says to the tape recorder, "that's how it started out. I was just trying to do my job."

It's very important that they understand that. Her job is who she is; they have to know she didn't set out to betray her country, if that's what she's even done. In fact, she had wanted to do her small part to make it better; only, that had turned out to be so much more complicated than she had imagined it could be. But in the beginning, she was just doing her job. She remembered the phone call, dropped it into the conversation at an opportune moment, asked follow up questions so she could understand better what her boss needed. She had known right then that she was standing on the edge of cliff. The more nonsensical his answers grew, the more questions she wanted to ask. Wanted wasn't even the right word; she had needed to know. It wasn't about doing her job anymore. It was something big and important and dangerous that she couldn't put into words but she felt it in her bones.

And then Miss Spears had told her to keep quiet, to speak when she was spoken to, to be blind, deaf and dumb for the sake of duty. It wasn't even what she had said, it was how she had looked at her: as if she were something disgusting she had scraped off the bottom of her shoe. Someone who did not even deserve to be in her exalted presence. All that, when all she had done from the moment she had gotten here was try to do everything right. She had known right then exactly what she was going to do with that password. Yes, she cared about justice, and if there was a conspiracy, she wanted to find out. But mostly she wanted to prove to the Miss Spears of the world that she was clever, brave, and worth something.

"You wouldn't believe the number of people who think that if you make copies and take dictation, you haven't got the brains for anything else," she says into the tape recorder. She wants them to understand that people like her shouldn't be underestimated. Not because they're dangerous or anything, just because they work hard and care about their jobs. And they do snoop when you're not looking, even the very good ones.

That's really what she'd been doing, snooping. Until she saw the files, that is. All those people reduced to statistics, as if their height and weight and birth dates were the most important things about them. They were all 'agents' or 'targets', and none of them were dead, just 'terminated.' Nothing to suggest they were -- or had been -- human. And then it hit her: everyone in this room, everyone who had ordered the death of those people, and everyone who had pulled the trigger, was just doing their job. So that's where her dedication would lead. They would take her loyalty and warp it, turn her into an assassin and an accomplice. But there was nothing she could do about it. She was just a personal assistant, and a temporary one at that. She would go on answering telephone calls, and the government would go on killing who it liked.

And then Gwen Cooper rang. Helping her was not a choice. She would do it, no matter what the consequences, because if she could save just this one person, then she really would matter, even if no one knew it. And because Gwen could stop this. She didn't know why she believed it, but she did. It scared her even to think it, but if only one of them could survive, it had to be Gwen. And she knew that she had. Even after all she had done, even here in this military prison, they think she can't hear anything. But she heard the whispers, and she knew that Gwen had survived.

"I'm not sorry," she says to the tape recorder. "And I'm not a traitor. You're the traitors, every last one of you."

They won't listen, but saying it feels good anyway.
I loved Lois Habiba in CoE and I like how you captured the shifting of her perspective as events progressed.
I think Gwen will spring her! In my head canon, she and Gwen totally run Torchwood after Jack leaves at the end of CoE.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story :)
Beautifully writtten! I loved it! your amazing! thanks so much for sharing! *Huggles* :)

I love your icons its funny! :)
Thank you! She is one of my favorite characters, so I'm really glad you think I did a good job with her :)
Ooh, wow. This is a really great character study, I love the certain, solid pace of this and how you can see how her thoughts developed and the different person she became thanks to the events of CoE. This one little detail about her -- PA -- fleshed out into the context of her whole story. Really nice work. ♥
Thank you so much! I'm quite new to this fandom, but I love this character, and it means a great deal that you think I did right by her.
Lovely scenario, very plausibly teased out. Welcome to the fandom, and looking forward to seeing more from you!
"You wouldn't believe the number of people who think that if you make copies and take dictation, you haven't got the brains for anything else,"

Oh yes. Yes, I would. :-( Thank you for this window into Lois's thoughts!