Title: Ianto’s Blue Christmas - Part 1-2
Word Count: 1847
Characters: Ianto, Jack, Rhiannon. Johnny, Mica, David, OC
Warnings: Jack being Jack, graphic descriptions of hospital food ;)
Written For: jo02’s prompt ‘Ianto has to spend Christmas day in hospital with a work-related injury. What happens when visitors who don't know about each other converge on the sick?’ at torchwood_fest.
Summary: Christmas isn’t going at all as Ianto had planned, but it that really such a terrible thing?
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ianto hadn’t been at all happy to be told he’d be spending Christmas in hospital. He’d had very definite plans this year, and they hadn’t included having to suffer through the hospital version of Christmas dinner. It wasn’t an appealing thought, which was a large part of the reason he was so down in the mouth.
He’d come to know hospital food far more intimately than he would have liked earlier that year when he’d needed surgery to repair a badly broken leg. It simply wasn’t fair that now, not only was he being denied all the succulent delights he and Jack had planned for the holiday season, but he was going to miss Rhi’s traditional turkey dinner too. The universe clearly had it in for him.
Ironically, it had been an encounter with a wandering Weevil while doing some last minute Christmas shopping that had led to him being hospitalised in the first place. He hadn’t even been working; Jack had let everyone take off at lunchtime because they’d all been so busy with work in the run up to Christmas that they hadn’t had time to buy gifts.
At a little after four that afternoon, when it was almost dark, Ianto, heavily laden with his purchases, had made his way back to where he’d left his car at the far side of the supermarket car park. That area didn’t have good lighting, but it had been more convenient for the shops he wanted to visit. He’d just dumped all his bags in the boot and was slamming it shut when the Weevil had seemed to appear out of nowhere, snarling and slashing at him with its claws. Pinned against the rear of the car and with no easy escape, he’d fumbled for his gun, intending to shoot his attacker, but it had sunk its fangs into his arm before he could even pull the automatic from his belt holster and in the struggle, the gun had gone off. He still couldn’t believe he’d managed to shoot himself in the leg.
Perhaps frightened by the loud bang, the Weevil had let go of him and when a crowd of other shoppers had begun to converge at the sound of the gunshot, it had fled back into the shadows. People could be rather dense, Ianto had thought as they’d gathered around him. Anyone with any sense should have run the other way on hearing gunfire rather than deciding to investigate. Not that he’d been in a position to complain; their curiosity had most likely saved his life. He’d been lying on the cold tarmac by then, right upper arm and shoulder well chewed by the Weevil, and a bullet deep in his left thigh. If the Weevil hadn’t finished him off then blood loss probably would have. Just went to show that it was never a good idea to let your guard down, regardless of circumstances. Blaming the holiday season for his inattention seemed a bit scrooge-like, but it was amazing how quickly the festive spirit had deserted him while he waited for the ambulance to arrive, surrounded by complete strangers gawking at him and asking if he was alright. Why do people insist on asking stupid questions?
He’d been pathetically grateful that the first police officer on the scene had been Detective Swanson, who’d also been doing some last minute shopping. At least she’d known he was Torchwood and therefore fully licensed to carry a gun, so she hadn’t tried to arrest him. That would’ve been the icing on the cake.
So here he was, Weevil bites freshly stitched and dressed, bullet removed and wound treated, feeling thoroughly sorry for himself. He didn’t care what anyone said, he planned on wallowing in his self-pity; he’d earned the right. At least the nurses had let him call Jack and Rhiannon to let them know what had happened, or at least as much of the truth as he could tell Rhi, which wasn’t a lot. She was under the impression that he’d been savaged by a vicious stray dog; he just hoped no one would mention anything about the bullet. His sister still thought that he worked for the Civil Service; the fact that he’d been carrying a firearm while doing his Christmas shopping might come across as a bit suspicious.
The only consolation Ianto could see to his current situation was that he had a small side ward all to himself instead of being out in the main ward surrounded by other patients and nursing staff trying to convince him to be jolly.
Jack had stopped in briefly while Ianto was still too groggy to feel like having company, so after making sure he would be well cared for he’d said he was going to collect Ianto’s car and take it home for him, then go after the Weevil. Before he’d left, Ianto had told him, “Don’t get yourself killed, and be careful with your coat because the dry cleaners are closed tomorrow.” Jack always needed reminding about stuff like that. The trouble was, Ianto wasn’t sure now if he’d said it out loud or if he’d just thought about saying it. Thanks to the painkillers, he fell asleep while he was still wondering.
Christmas Day dawned way too early. It was practically the only day of the year when Ianto could almost count on getting a lie in, but apparently that wasn’t allowed in hospital. He was woken unceremoniously at a quarter past six by a nurse who had no right to be so cheerful at that hour.
“Good morning, Mr Jones! Merry Christmas to you!”
“Did you have a good night?”
Ianto contented himself with glaring balefully at Nurse Cheerful. He must have been off his game because even his best glare didn’t have any noticeable effect on her.
“How’s your pain?”
Now that she mentioned it… “Painful.” What did she expect? He’d been mauled by a Weevil, and shot into the bargain!
“We’ll soon fix that. Here you go, you just take these and relax.” She handed him two pills and a glass of lukewarm water from the jug that had been sitting just out of his reach on his tray table all night. “Will you be having visitors today?”
“God, I hope not,” Ianto muttered despairingly. That was the last thing he needed. The nurse was already on her way out of his room, so hopefully she hadn’t heard. No doubt she was on her way to spread Christmas cheer to the other lucky patients. Ianto would have pulled the covers over his head and tried to pretend that he wasn’t there, but predictably they wouldn’t pull up that far. Nothing was going his way.
Christmas breakfast proved to be barely warm, lumpy porridge that even Scrooge would have found inedible, cold toast, and a cup of weak tea with too much milk. NHS fare at its best. To keep his strength up, Ianto forced down the tea, still better than hospital coffee, and the toast, but the porridge was more suitable for use as glue. Anyway, he would’ve needed both hands to pry the spoon free and right now he only had one that worked.
After breakfast, two nurses insisted on giving him a bed bath, despite his assurances that he could manage perfectly well on his own, and changed the dressings on his wounds. It was a relief to finally be left alone with his gloomy thoughts.
Mid-morning brought the doctor on his rounds, accompanied by two very bored looking medical students who looked as though they’d rather be anywhere else. They did perk up a bit at getting to look at an actual bullet wound, but seemed disappointed that it didn’t look more dramatic. You just couldn’t please some people.
Christmas dinner was served at precisely one o’clock. Tired looking slices of dry turkey, a few greyish sprouts, a single rock hard stuffing ball, and mashed potatoes from a packet, all drizzled with greasy gravy. It was enough to make a man weep. He poked at the main course, nibbled at the stuffing, but couldn’t make himself eat anything else no matter how hungry he was. At least the mince pies for dessert proved more or less edible. Closing his eyes, he imagined Rhi, Johnny and the kids tucking in to succulent, moist turkey, an assortment of perfectly cooked veg, roast potatoes, Christmas pudding… He should be there stuffing himself until he was too full to move. Damned Weevil; it had ruined his Christmas.
“Well, don’t you look cheerful!”
Ianto’s eyes snapped open. “Rhi! What’re you doing here?”
“Visiting my little brother, of course. God, Ianto, I hope animal control catches the dog that attacked you. It didn’t have rabies or anything, did it?”
“No, nothing like that. I’ve been tested,” he lied. “I thought you’d be sitting down to dinner about now.” Ianto sniffed the air. “I can practically smell all that delicious home cooking.” His stomach rumbled, reminding him just how hungry he was. Man cannot live on a slice of dry toast and two mince pies alone.
“We ate early so we could be here for visiting hours. Johnny and the kids will be here in a bit; I wanted to make sure you were up to having visitors first so they went to the park for an hour. I got you some grapes for later.” Rhi held up a bag. Ianto could’ve kissed her; at least now he wouldn’t die of starvation. He gazed longingly at the grapes, then realised that Rhi was still speaking. “And knowing what hospital food’s like, I brought you this too.” She opened the insulated bag he hadn’t noticed she was carrying and took out a foil-covered dish, unwrapping it to reveal a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. “You couldn’t come to us for Christmas, so I thought we’d bring Christmas to you!”
Tears filled Ianto’s eyes at the sight. “You are the best sister in the world! I thought I’d have to starve! I hope you brought cutlery too because I’d rather not have to eat with my fingers. It’s undignified.”
“Right here,” Rhiannon smirked, handing him a knife and fork, then pouring gravy over the meat from a little pot she’d taken from the bag. “Better eat before it gets cold.”
Ianto didn’t need telling twice. He dug in, a little awkwardly because of his injured arm and the IV line, sticking his fork in roast potatoes, carrots, and sprouts and biting bits off. His sister cut up the rest of the dinner for him so he could manage more easily one-handed.
Rhiannon had also brought him a generous helping of Christmas pudding for dessert, and assorted mince pies, Welshcakes, sausage rolls and Christmas cookies for later. There was even a flask of tea.
“No wine?” Ianto mock-pouted.
“Cheeky bugger! Not while you’re on painkillers; the nurses would kill me.”
“Ah well, I suppose I’ll survive without it,” Ianto teased, stabbing a bit of bacon. “This is delicious enough not to need a wine accompaniment.”