Summary: Torchwood often means working long hours on too little sleep, a situation Ianto is accustomed to, although that doesn’t make it any easier.
Word Count: 1035
Written For: Challenge 156: Light at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
One of the best things about spring, in Ianto’s opinion, was that it started getting light out earlier in the morning. That meant no more blundering out of bed while it was still dark out and his body kept telling him he should still be sleeping, and no more having to turn the lights on in order to see what he was doing, usually dazzling himself in the process so that he couldn’t really see anything at all, at least not until his eyes stopped watering. The daylight filtering in through his curtains was somehow a lot gentler than the harsh artificial illumination provided by light bulbs. Even the energy saving kind that brightened more gradually still seemed way too much for eyes to deal with when they were just opening at six in the morning. It made him want to put his sunglasses on, especially on those days of having to get up after a late night and too little sleep.
This was that kind of day; Ianto had fallen into bed hardly more than three hours earlier after spending half the night helping Jack round up a Weevil that had decided to go walkabout, and now his alarm clock was stridently ringing, telling him it was time he got up and faced the day. Already bright daylight was streaming though the gap he’d left between the curtains the night before, bathing the room in a soft golden glow that told him the sun was shining for a change. Worn out though he still was, forcing himself out of his comfortable bed was always easier on sunny mornings than on cold, overcast, rainy ones. Sunshine was cheerful, making him feel optimistic about the day ahead, so shoving the covers back he yawned and had a good stretch before hauling himself wearily to his feet. A cool shower would help him wake up enough to function, and then a hot mug of coffee would ensure he stayed that way for the drive to the Hub. Wouldn’t do for him to fall asleep at the wheel
Twenty minutes later, showered, shaved, and immaculately dressed in his usual suit and tie, Ianto plodded down the stairs into the sunlit hallway, reversed direction at the bottom, and shambled his way to the kitchen at the back of the house, opening the blinds and gazing out at the back garden, still mostly in shadow since it faced southwest and the house itself was mostly blocking the sun.
Getting the coffee machine going was such a familiar routine he barely needed to think about what he was doing, which was just as well considering the shower hadn’t woken him up as much as he’d hoped it would. He still felt lethargic and half asleep, but he fumbled a couple of slices of bread out of the bag in the breadbin and bunged them in the toaster, remembering after a couple of minutes that he needed to plug it in if he wanted it to work. Little details like that were important.
Coffee and toast wasn’t much of a breakfast, but Ianto knew from experience it would tide him over until he’d done the rounds at the Hub, cleaning out and feeding Myfanwy and the other inmates. Maybe by the time the morning routine was completed Jack would have picked something up from the bakery just across the Plas, freshly baked doughnuts or muffins, maybe even some of those melt in the mouth chocolate croissants. A couple of those would hit the spot perfectly; his mouth was practically watering at the thought.
At the moment, however, there were no chocolate croissants to be had. Ah well, anticipation would just make them taste all the sweeter. Ianto slathered butter and blackcurrant jam on his toast; he wasn’t fond of sliced bread, it was doughy and bland, but when he’d nipped to the corner shop yesterday after finding the bread at home had gone interesting but distinctly unappetising shades of blue and green, sliced bread had been all that was available, and the Rift had kept the team so busy all day he hadn’t had time to visit a bakery. Sometimes you just had to make do with what was available, and sliced white bread was better than nothing. Biting into his poor excuse for breakfast, he decided he’d treat himself to a nice freshly balked granary loaf first chance he got, but in the meantime this would have to do him.
He’d made the coffee strong, not quite at Jack’s preferred industrial strength but not far off, and at the first sip the caffeine boost snapped his eyes wide open, making him feel almost fully alert. By the time he reached the bottom of his mug, with a bit of luck he should be ready to face the day.
Swallowing the last bite of his cardboard toast and downing the last mouthful of coffee, Ianto rinsed his dishes and popped them in the dishwasher. In the hallway he put his shoes on, then checked his hair in the mirror, making sure he looked presentable, and straightened his tie. Taking his overcoat off the hook, he draped it over one arm in case he needed it later, and picked up his car keys, patting pockets to confirm he had his wallet and phone. He glanced at the time as he headed out the front door: six forty. Traffic permitting he’d be at the Hub in less than ten minutes; he didn’t have far to go and the roads weren’t usually too busy this early in the day.
The sunlight felt pleasantly warm as he locked the front door and made his way to his car, breathing deeply of the fresh spring air; mornings like this it felt good to be alive, even after only three hours of sleep. Even so, he hoped it would be a quiet day and that he’d get to bed at a decent hour tonight. Delicious and energising though it undoubtedly was, coffee was no substitute for actual sleep. If despite al his wishing today turned out to be as busy as yesterday, as soon as his head hit the pillow tonight he’d be out like the proverbial light.