After a long hiatus without inspiration or time, I have a new story for you. Just a short one but I hope it will be the first of many. Ianto is shot ...
Nothing had prepared him for this.
The pain came thirty seconds after the bullets entered his shoulder. It was so sudden and so overwhelming that he staggered and was momentarily unable to breath. The weakness came next. His legs turned to water and his knees gave way. He fell as if he had been poleaxed. Gasping in much-needed air he lay on the pavement. His whole being was centred on the injured shoulder. He couldn't think of anything else. Blood oozed from the wounds and soaked into his suit jacket unheeded. A wave of icy coldness swept through him. He shivered violently.
Warmth surrounded him and came with a very familiar smell. Jack. Forcing open his eyes, Ianto recognised the greatcoat swathed over his lower body and legs.
"Gotta get this out of the way. It'll hurt." Jack used a penknife to slice through the jacket and shirt and pulled the fabric away from the shoulder. He worked fast and was not gentle. It was imperative to stop the bleeding and keep the area as clean as possible. Infection was the real killer with gunshots.
Ianto hadn't thought he could feel any more pain. He was wrong. He bit his lip until it bled then gave up and yelled. The pain did not go away but vocalising it helped. For a second or two. He yelled again.
"Want the morphine?" Gwen had the med kit open.
"Fuss he's making? Sure."
Ianto heard the amused undercurrent in Jack's voice. He stopped yelling and would have tried a wry quip but his teeth were chattering too hard. Ice flowed through his veins despite the greatcoat. He didn't feel the prick of the hypodermic needle. His vision blurred and narrowed as blackness took over.
"Oh no you don't. Stay awake." Jack slapped Ianto's face. Not hard, but sufficient to keep him conscious.
"Leave me alone." Ianto got it out somehow. His voice sounded far away.
"Don't be daft, sweetheart. You've done this for us often enough." Gwen softened her words by stroking Ianto's hair back from his clammy forehead. She watched as Jack applied the pressure bandage. "I'll get the SUV."
Ianto felt her depart. He was sorry. She had been kind at least. Not like Jack who was pressing down on the shoulder and wrapping it in bandages. The worst of the pain had receded with the administration of the drug but he still hurt. Finally Jack was done and Ianto relaxed, expecting to be left alone. No such luck. Jack was undoing Ianto's shirt buttons.
"Really, Jack? Now?" The words were slurred but clear.
With a chuckle, Jack gently placed Ianto's injured arm in the gap Napoleon-style and buttoned the shirt around it. "Nothing to use for a sling," he explained. "Although we could …" He bent and brushed Ianto's lips with his own.
"You're probably right. Come on."
Ready to float off into drug-induced fog, Ianto was shocked when Jack pulled his arm, the good one, and made him sit up. The movement jarred the injured shoulder and a spasm of pain ran up and down his spine. "Bastard."
"That's right, abuse the one who's helping you." With another heave, Jack got the injured Welshman to his feet. He wrapped the greatcoat around Ianto who stood on unsteady legs shivering. Slipping his arms under Ianto's back and knees, Jack carried him across the grass verge. "Hub and me or hospital and a doctor?"
"Hospital." Ianto was floating again. He felt far away from the cares of his body but still opted for the safety of medical professionals.
"Aw! Was looking forward to playing doctors."
From his unusual position being carried by Jack, Ianto saw the trademark grin at close quarters. At least someone was enjoying himself.
"I'll dig out the nurse's uniform instead. For later," went on Jack, still grinning. He could afford to be jovial; the bullets had gone straight through and the wounds – remarkably close together - were now clean. Ianto hadn't lost much blood either. The injury wasn't serious and he would be fine in a few days.
"In here." Gwen held the front passenger door open. "You can keep an eye on him better here than in back." She stood aside as Jack eased Ianto into the seat and fastened the seat belt, avoiding the injured shoulder.
"You be able to manage?" Jack closed the door. Reggie Porter lay sprawled on the pavement in a pool of blood from multiple bullet wounds. Both Jack and Gwen had shot him but not before he had got Ianto.
"Already called Andy. We'll sort out a story. Where will you be?"
"St Helen's." Jack indicated the SUV with an upraised thumb. "His choice."
"And a good one. Go on, get him looked after."
For Ianto, the next few hours remained disjointed and fragmentary snatches of memory. He could put them in order but never found the missing pieces. First there was the SUV and Jack making him sing along to the radio. To keep him conscious, Ianto realised later, but at the time it seemed weird. Next was the white-walled cubicle in St Helen's A&E department and men and women in blue scrubs. This image was accompanied by acute pain. A bed in the noisy recovery ward followed, with someone holding his hand while also chatting-up the nurses. Even half-conscious Ianto recognised Jack. Finally another bed in a quieter ward. Jack was there again but this time he was silent, sitting staring off into space.
"Hey yourself. They've sorted you out and you're going to be fine." Jack smiled and took the hand that lay conveniently close. He stroked the back with a thumb, taking care not to dislodge the drip.
"Umm." Ianto recognised the floaty feeling. His shoulder felt tight and larger than normal but the drugs were keeping all pain at bay. "You owe me."
"I told you to stay back. Not my fault you never listen."
"Not for that." Ianto fought to keep his eyes open. "For the suit."
"Ah." Jack leant closer. "I'll buy a new one soon as you're out of here. If," he paused provocatively, "you let me measure you for it." He waggled his eyebrows.
Unable to stay awake any longer, Ianto murmured, "Deal," and closed his eyes. A satisfied smile lingered on his lips. He could never be sure, but he thought he felt Jack's kiss.
Ianto was back at work three days later. His arm was in a sling, he took painkillers regularly and rested a lot but that was better than staying home being idle. He pottered round the Hub doing what he could and supervised Jack and Gwen when they took up the slack. Luckily the aliens stayed away – mostly – leaving the three Torchwood operatives time for routine tasks. Returning from a frustrating trip to the archives – the papers were mounting up and he couldn't file them with only one hand - Ianto found Gwen at her desk - alone.
"Jack?" He sank onto the couch.
"Out getting a snack. Probably doughnuts again." Gwen swung round to face her colleague. "Tired?"
"No. No more than usual anyway." He smiled and was pleased to see her anxious frown fade. "Never thought it would be like this. Being shot."
"Bit of a shock, isn't it? Amazed me too." She shivered, remembering the shotgun blast in Brynblaidd. "Not like on the telly."
"No." He was silent, lost in his thoughts.
"Penny for them," she said after the silence had grown.
"Umm? Sorry?" He shifted his gaze back to her.
"You were having deep and interesting thoughts," she said in a vaguely 'mystical' tone. "Want to share?"
He hesitated for only a moment; she was the only one who would understand. "I hadn't realised what it was like. For him. Every time he goes through that pain, the shock. And not just bullets. Remember after those Sleeper agents?"
Gwen nodded slowly, recalling the nightmarish drive back to the Hub with Jack bleeding to death in the back seat. It was easy to forget the pain he experienced when, within minutes or hours, he was back on his feet none the worse for wear. "Hard to appreciate," she said finally.
"Yeah. Must be hell."
They sat in silence considering the unnatural state of their immortal boss until the door alarms sounded and the man himself came bounding up the steps, greatcoat tails billowing out behind him.
"Look what I've got!" Jack flourished the box he was carrying before them. Emblazoned across it was the name of one of Cardiff's finest patisseries. "Cream horns. Haven't seen them in years."
Gwen looked at Ianto who met her gaze. They smiled at the same time, thinking the same thoughts. No matter what he went through Jack never let it get him down. He enjoyed his life and didn't lingered over the painful or unpleasant. And nor should they. Gwen sniggered then laughed aloud. Ianto joined in, wincing when he jarred his injured arm.
"What?" Jack looked from one to the other, confused. Then he looked down at himself. Flies were done up and he couldn't see anything else to make them laugh. "What's the joke?" he demanded.
"Nothing." Gwen recovered first. She stood and took the box from his hands, placing it on the table. "I'll get some plates. Want a coffee?"
"Please," said Ianto. She had proved an adept pupil and now made acceptable coffee.
Jack watched her go. He frowned, not liking being out of the loop. Much as he wanted his colleagues to get on together, he did not want to be excluded especially from the jokes.
"Knife." Ianto held out a hand like a surgeon.
Reminded of his role as nurse, Jack grinned and put his penknife in the outstretched palm. He had to find that old uniform and get Ianto to play for real. Maybe later, when Gwen had gone home. Back in a good mood, he flung the greatcoat on the couch before following it.
Ianto cut the thin ribbon securing the box and opened it. Inside nestled four beautiful pastries oozing with cream and bright red jam. He looked at Jack, his expression one of complete innocence. "That's kind of you, Jack. Getting an extra one for me. I need to build up my strength again."
Jack's grin faded. That hadn't been the idea at all. He was too busy feeling hard done by to notice Ianto's satisfied smirk.
Hope you liked it. Don't forget to let me know!