A/N: For InSilva. Happy Christmas, mate.

A/N2: Day 19 of Advent Fic

Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognise, including O11, Porridge, and all the songs mentioned.


Rusty figured that lying in a hospital bed had to be one of the worst ways of spending Christmas imaginable. So, lying on hospital bed with a number of policemen outside who were interested in making sure he stayed there until he was fit enough to be detained at her Majesty's pleasure...well, that was probably on some new level of 'lousy Christmas'.

Strange phrase, really. At her Majesty's pleasure. Sounded...kinky, if he was being honest. Like her Majesty was a fan of prison flicks, and he wasn't talking Green Mile here.

Mind you, maybe she was. He really wouldn't know. The lives of British royalty wasn't his specialist subject. He could always ask Basher. If it wasn't for the fact that he wasn't sure he'd ever see Basher again. If it wasn't for the fact that he had several more pressing questions that needed answered. Like where the hell were he and Danny, and what the hell had happened?

Danny and Bash had to be safe. Surely. He'd know otherwise.

Trouble with that was, the last thing he remembered with any coherence was the taxi ride from the airport to Basher's apartment, and that had been the twenty second. The taxi driver had been wearing a set of plastic reindeer antlers, and Danny had been gravely trying to convince him that satsumas were the delicacy of choice in a British Christmas. If he screwed up his eyes tight, he could just about remember Basher opening the door, remember the grin, the mistletoe hanging from the doorframe, and Basher howling with laughter, but all that was fuzzy round the edges, and afterwards...nothing. Nada. Just...blank.

And now he was reliably informed it was the evening of the twenty fourth, and he'd been found buried beneath the basement of a burning house, with a pocketful of stolen diamonds, a broken leg, a few broken ribs and a concussion.

Safe to say he'd committed the crime he'd been arrested for. He just wished he had a better idea of what it had been. And why.

And he wished he knew where Danny was.

Fuck, he wished that Danny was here. And that the cops weren't. But he hurt. A lot, even with the drugs, and he had to admit he was a little worried about the future.

He didn't think he'd suit a British jail. He'd seen Porridge. He was gonna stick out like a sore thumb. Though it'd be good if Ronnie Barker was there. Mind you, what Ronnie Barker would've done to be arrested, he really couldn't imagine.

Staying focused was tricky. He wasn't sure if it was the drugs or the concussion, but something had put paid to coherent thinking.

If he was arrested, he should really have a phone call, and if he had a phone call he could Catherine, or someone similarly innocuous, who would know who to call in order to track Danny down.

Though really, Danny had to be fine, didn't he? Rusty had been found alone, after all, he'd managed to get the cops to tell him that.

Alone, trapped beneath a burning building, with several broken bones and a concussion. And that didn't exactly reassure him as to Danny's well being. Cos Danny would never have left him like that if he could help it.

He had to do something, except right now he was handcuffed to the damn bed, and honestly, wasn't that an overreaction? Hadn't they noticed the way that the plaster cast went all the way up from his foot to his thigh? Even if he wasn't cuffed down, did they really expect him to try walking on that?

He considered for a moment. If he wasn't handcuffed right now, he would definitely be trying to walk out of here.

Made him wonder if the doctors here had somehow been talking to Stan. He'd threatened handcuffs the last time, when Rusty just hadn't had time to sit and have his stitches done. Course, he hadn't actually gone through with it...

He had to get out of here. He had to find Danny and he had to get out of here.

Except right now, it looked far more likely that he was going to moulder here for a few days before being shipped to some prison hospital or something. He sure as hell couldn't see any way out of it.

The door swung open and a nurse bustled in, closely followed by a bored-looking cop, who stood in the doorway, presumably ready to spring into action should Rusty decide to attack the nurse with his one good leg.

"Oh, good, you're awake," the nurse said, with what Rusty considered unwarranted cheerfulness.

"Yeah," he agreed. "I'm awake alright."

"And how are you feeling?" she asked keenly, while she bent over to fluff his pillows, and he couldn't quite hide the wince as he was forced to bend in a way he really wasn't fit to bend in. She was very pretty, he noticed absently, as she leaned over him. By the way the cop was staring, it looked like he wasn't the only one who'd noticed.

"I'm just fine," he said, before adding in a low voice. "But you might want to check who's standing behind you before you bend over like that."

A flash of anger flickered over her face. "That wanker," she muttered, and Rusty blinked. Something...?

She straightened up. "I just need to check on a few things," she said, the smile pasted back on her face, and Rusty came close to nodding off as she checked his pulse, his blood pressure, his temperature. "You're doing very well," she said, beaming. "You'll be able to get out of here in no time."

"Can't wait," he said lightly. "What time is it?"

She looked at her wrist before biting her lip and quickly checking the watch hanging from her scrubs pocket. "It's almost nine," she told him brightly. "Just time for the Christmas show on the hospital radio."

She reached out towards the radio on the bedside table.

Nonplussed, Rusty watched her. "Uh, I don't want the radio on," he tried.

"Nonsense. It's a special Christmas program," she told him firmly.

Right. Right. The Christmas Shoes. That was not what he was in the mood for. "I'd really rather not," he said with a hopeful smile. "I was thinking about getting some sleep, actually?"

The radio went on regardless and Mistletoe and Wine blared out, and he couldn't help but wince.

"He's under arrest," the policeman grumbled. "He shouldn't get to laze around listening to the radio. Especially when he doesn't even want to."

The nurse sauntered towards the door, smiling evilly. "He wants to sleep? He shouldn't make obscene remarks to his nurse."

The cop laughed appreciatively and the door slammed behind them, leaving Rusty absolutely bewildered.

What the hell?

The song came to an end. "Good evening and welcome to our radio show," said the voice that Rusty knew best in the world. "Tell me. Do you believe in Christmas miracles?"

Rusty turned to stare at the radio.

Seriously. What the hell?


"I'm really sorry, Danny," Basher said, for the hundred and sixteenth time.

Danny looked over at him and smiled slightly. "It's okay, Basher," he said, and maybe now that he was actually in the same building as Rusty, a mere three floors away, he meant it slightly more than he had the other hundred and fifteen times.

Wasn't like Basher didn't mean it. Hell, Danny hadn't been the only one trying to run into a burning building after everything went bad. He supposed, rationally speaking, they were both lucky that the firefighters had stopped them. Hadn't felt lucky at the time. Didn't feel lucky now.

His heart was in his mouth as he'd heard the firefighters shout out that they'd found someone, as they'd taken someone out, and the ambulance had sped off and he hadn't been able to see if Rusty was...or even if he was... and Basher had put an arm around him and led him away from the house.

"Come on now mate. We got to get out of here."

Danny nodded, taking a deep breath. "Where's the nearest hospital?" he asked, and he should already know that, if it was Rusty standing here, chasing after Danny, Rus' would already knew exactly where the nearest hospital was, and exactly how good it was, and who to talk to to get in.

"Hillingdon," Basher said, after a half moment's thought. "It's about two miles. Oh, God, Danny I'm sorry."

"It's fine," Danny said, only it hadn't been.

Basher had been the one to set the explosives, after all. The one to flick the switch on the gas main, and everything went sky high ten minutes before it was supposed to.

Ten minutes later and Rusty would have planted the fake diamonds, the fire would have neatly covered their tracks, and no one would have been any wiser. The Collingwood mob would have been left trying to figure out exactly which of them had turned traitor, the smuggled diamonds would be back with Basher's smuggler friends, and everyone would be set for a fucking happy Christmas.

That was what was supposed to happen. Only Basher's usual suppliers had let him down, one being unavailable, another being on holiday in the Costa Del Sol, which was another kind of unavailability, and he'd gone to some new guys who'd talked a good game, and been highly recommended, and who had skimped on the materials and put Rusty in the hospital.

Not that Basher saw it like that. Basher blamed himself entirely. Something about a good craftsman never blaming his tools. Of course, he'd also muttered darkly about exactly what he was going to do with his supplier.

Danny figured he'd be only too willing to help. Once he knew that Rusty was safe.

Stable. That's as much as he'd been able to get out of the hospital. Stable and unidentified, and he didn't even know what that meant. Dead was stable, after all. Unconscious, in a coma,, maimed and broken...stable.

Getting near the hospital was impossible. The police had been everywhere, and anywhere they hadn't, the Collingwoods had.

Net result; he'd spent the day trying everything he could think of to get close to Rusty, going out of his mind, and trying not to blame Basher.

It hadn't been till nightfall that they'd found a way in. Jerry Banks, the nice young man who did the nightly hospital radio show, was delighted to spend Christmas Eve with his family in exchange for a large sum of money, and he and Bash had walked straight into the hospital with their shiny new volunteer passes.

Not that they'd been able to get close to Rusty just yet. The corridor outside the radio room was as close as they'd been able to get, and Danny had waited patiently until Basher finished talking to his cousin.

"Lisa pulled his notes," Basher said, once she'd walked away. "He's okay."

For a second he had to close his eyes against the relief. "He's okay."

"Yeah. Well." The guilt on Basher's face returned full force. "He's got a broken leg and three broken ribs and a concussion. But Lisa says he's going to be okay...they'd thought there might be spinal damage. But there isn't," he added hastily, apparently in response to the look on Danny's face. "Lisa said they've got CTs Xrays..." Basher shrugged. "Once she starts in on the jargon, I never know what she's talking about."

Mmm. Danny knew that feeling well. "But he's going to be okay?" Danny repeated.

Basher nodded. "Lisa said that it'd be better for him to stay in hospital, but if it's a choice between that and being arrested...we should take him and run like hell."

That sounded like a plan. "And Lisa doesn't mind helping us?"

"Course not," Basher said, sounding faintly scornful. "I'm her favourite cousin, aren't I? I let her stay with me while she was studying. She always says she doesn't mind what I do, long as I don't get caught."

"Good," he said, and that was one less thing to worry about.

Basher looked at him earnestly. "I'm really sorry, Danny."

He smiled slightly. "It's okay, Basher."

The door to the radio room swung open and a tired-looking blonde girl stood blinking at them. "You're not Jerry," she told them after a few moments.

"No," Danny agreed.

"We're covering his show," Basher told her, holding out the paperwork Jerry had given them.

"Oh. Right." She shrugged. "Your first time, right? Well, here's the key and you're on last, so lock up when you go. I've left Winter Wonderland playing with Mistletoe and Wine lined up, so you've got a few minutes at least."

Cliff Richard. Fuck. That sounded cruel and unusual.

The girl wandered off, probably in search of a happy Christmas, or at least some caffeine pills.

"So let's get on with this then," Danny said tersely, walking into the radio room. Immediately he was greeted by a large board with a truly intimidating number of dials and sliders. Automatically he took a step back. "Uh, you know what you're doing, right? You've done this before?"

"Oh, yes," Basher said confidently, walking in and flipping a couple of switches. A second later the sound of Cliff Richard filled the room and all the lights went out.

Danny just looked at Basher through the gloom.

"Right," Basher said, abashed. "Not that switch..." The lights went back on. "Right. You sit here, mate," he said, giving Danny a headset and a microphone. "And press this switch and talk in here when I tell you to." He sat in the seat opposite, frowning at the switches, and as the song came to its dreary conclusion, he pushed a button and pointed at Danny.

He leaned forwards, hit the switch, and spoke into the microphone, and really he was only talking to one person. "Good evening and welcome to our radio show. Tell me. Do you believe in Christmas miracles."


For a moment Rusty seriously considered the possibility that whatever drugs the doctors had him on were a lot stronger than he'd thought. Hearing Danny's voice on the radio was somewhat surreal.

It was Danny though. And that meant that Danny was alive, and more than that, Danny was here in hospital. And maybe that wasn't as good as having Danny beside him, but it was a hell of a lot better than it had been five minutes ago.

Danny was here and that meant there had to be a plan.

His head sank into the pillow and he closed his eyes and even as the relief washed over him, he was grinning as he listened.

"So, me and my associate the - "

" - associate?" That was Basher, muttering in the background, and Rusty found himself grinning a little more. Basher was there too. Must just have been him that got hurt by the whatever.

" - sorry, me and my friend the Fireworks Kid are going to be here till midnight, playing the tunes that you want to hear. Want to say hi, Fireworks Kid?"

"Sure thing, Yanker," Basher said pleasantly.

Rusty could picture the look on Danny's face right about now.

"Anyway," Basher went on, a second later. "Hello to all of you in hospital tonight," he said, and then he hesitated. "And I wanted to say...I mean..."

There was a click as if a switch had been thrown, and then Danny said " - don't apologise."

"It wasn't that...oh, fuck look what you've done!"

"You can't swear on the radio," Danny said calmly.

"Give me that," Basher muttered, and something crackled disturbingly. "Alright, well...no, wait...we're going to play some tunes now."

There was a long and unsettling pause.

"We're just going to play some music now," Danny said brightly, as though nothing had happened, and in a very literal way, nothing had. "Here's Slade with Merry Xmas Everyone."

Another uncomfortable silence, and then John Lennon started singing that war was over.

"What?" Basher demanded, sounding surprisingly dumbfounded.

Rusty grinned to himself as he lay back in bed. Oh, this was more entertaining than Ronnie Barker.


"I thought you said you knew what you were doing," Lisa hissed, punching him lightly in the arm.

"I do," Basher protested, nursing his arm guardedly.

"It's a hospital radio station for fuck's sake, Eugene, you prick. There could be kids listening. You can't fucking swear."

He shifted uncomfortably listening to her. This was why Auntie Trish said he was a bad influence. "It was an accident," he tried. "I've got it sussed now. I know what I'm doing."

"Yeah? Bet you said that when you blew your friend up too, didn't you?" She slapped her hand over her mouth immediately, an expression of guilt and horror on her face. "Oh, fuck, Eugene, I'm sorry."

He sighed. "It's okay, Lisa. Believe me, I can't feel any worse than I do already." Seeing the house go up in flames, knowing Rusty was in it...it had been among the worst moments of his life. For a long moment he'd been sure Rusty must be dead.

Of course, if Rusty had been in the house proper when the stuff went up, instead of being in the cellar, he would be dead. Rusty had just been going easy in, easy out. Two minutes, either way. That's how close he'd come to killing one of his closest friends.

"You saw him, Lisa?" Danny asked, and Danny could out-stiff-upper-lip anyone Basher had ever known, but right now, he couldn't hope to hide the hunger in his eyes. "How is he?"

"Like I said," Lisa said again. "He's awake an' he seems okay."

Basher could have told her that wasn't going to be enough for Danny. Hell, it wasn't even enough for him. "What did he say?"

She grimaced. "Not a whole lot. I was mostly occupied getting his medical info. I thought that would be what you need." She sighed regretfully. "Sorry, Eugene, I make for a lousy nurse. Normally my patients are unconscious before I start working."

"No one was suspicious though, right?" Basher asked anxiously. "They didn't ask you for your ID or anything?"

"Nah." She rolled her eyes. "Trust me, I get called 'nurse' all the time even when I'm wearing the right colour uniform. And that's on a good day. Bad day, I get asked to mop the floors. No one expects the doctor to be a black woman."

"Careful," Basher warned. "You're starting to sound like Frank." She shuddered lightly at the thought and he moved on quickly. "Is there anything else you can tell us?"

She thought for a second. "He was smiling. Didn't seem to be taking the cops very seriously...he was fucking sharp too. He noticed one of the cops leering at me and warned me." She smiled slightly, her eyes distant. "Seems like a good guy. Cute too."

Basher frowned. "Which cop was leering at you?"

"Not important," she said definitely. "Anyway, not that I know him, but he really seemed fine, considering."

Danny nodded and flashed Lisa a dazzling smile of bright relief. "Thank you, Lisa. I guess we'll get the next part of the plan up and running." He walked back into the radio room.

Lisa sighed happily. "He single?"

Basher glanced at her. "Which one?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Do I look bothered?"


Danny looked up impatiently as Basher walked into the room. "You ready?"

Basher regarded him suspiciously. "Did you touch anything?"

"No," he said firmly. "Come on. I've got them all picked out." He gestured towards the tapes, and Basher picked up the two he'd selected and grinned.

"Subtle," he commented as he started working through the technical part.

"I don't have to be," Danny said with a shrug, just as Fairytale of New York was coming to an end. With a nod, Basher cued him, and he pressed the button on the microphone without incident. "Wasn't that great?" he demanded optimistically. "Now, we've got a couple of very special requests lined up right now, and more coming throughout the evening so listen carefully. First off, here's 'I want to break free' by Queen, followed by 'Tonight's the night' by Neil Young."

There was no way Rusty wouldn't get that message.

They were getting him out of here. Tonight. Now all Danny had to do was figure out precisely how.

The music started playing and Danny stood up. "Back in a bit," he said, grabbing his notebook. "I'll go find out what's what."

Three floors down, and Danny had written down song requests from everyone he encountered, giving him an iron-clad reason to be wandering around, and now he was in the ward Rusty was on. Just through that door there, he'd guess, judging by the two policemen outside. Really, the only bright side here was that the Collingwoods couldn't get in.

Rusty was there. Just on the other side of that door right there. Rusty was in that room, injured and hurting and alone, and it took all of Danny's self control to avoid just marching up to the cops and demanding to be let through.

Lisa said he was doing well, he reminded himself, not for the first time.

Really, he had no idea what he would have done if the news hadn't been good. Come forwards as next of kin, he supposed, and that would mean he wouldn't have a chance to save Rusty from being arrested, but at least he would have been able to sit with him. Until someone figured that he had been involved in the robbery too, anyway. But Rusty was going to be fine, and they were going to get him out tonight, and tomorrow they'd find out whether the Brits enjoyed Jimmy Stewart on Christmas Day.

Okay. So what did they have? Ward full of patients, most of whom hadn't even glanced at him. Five nurses, going about their duties, all of whom had done more than glance at him. Apparently Lisa had seen to it that the ward staff tonight were all friends of hers, or friends of friends at the very least. Two cops, who seemed rather more interested in looking at the nurses than in guarding their patient. A room he couldn't see, but Lisa had talked them through the layout. Door there, bathroom there...huh. He stepped around the corner, out of the cops' sight. Bathroom was there. And the adjoining wall led into a supply closet, filled with mops and toilet paper. He kicked at the wall thoughtfully. Well, that could work...


Rusty hadn't heard Danny's voice for a while. After Danny had offered up Break Free Tonight, Basher had meandered through a Beatles medley, and while Rusty was pretty sure there was a hidden message in 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' he didn't think it was strictly relevant right now. As for 'Octopus's Garden', he didn't think that would ever be relevant. And then, after a few more songs, Basher had suddenly remembered that this was meant to be a Christmas show, and had put on 'Frosty the Snowman' and 'Little Saint Nick' in quick succession.

He wondered what the plan was. God, he wanted out of here. He wanted to be with Danny. It was getting tough to stay awake, if he was being honest.

"Hi there," Danny said brightly, and he sounded so close by. "So, I'd like to thank you for all your suggestions, and now we have another couple of very special requests we're going to be playing, so please, listen carefully. First up we've got The Wonder Stuff with 'Thirty Years in the Bathroom', and then we're going to play some U2. '11 O'Clock Tick Tock'. Hope you've got that."

He'd got that.

Eleven o'clock, in the bathroom. He looked at the four foot distance between the bed and the bathroom door. Then he glanced at the handcuffs. At the cast on his leg. He hoped Danny had a plan for how the plan was supposed to work.


"You okay with this?" Danny asked Lisa in the doorway of the radio room.

"Piece of cake," Lisa said confidently.


The nurse walked back into the room a few moments later. Same nurse as earlier. The one who'd turned the radio on. The one who had to be working with Danny. If she even was a nurse mind you.

"Hi," he smiled up at her.

She smiled right back. "Hi yourself," she murmured, as she fussed around the bed, checking the tubes and wires. "Are you enjoying the radio show?"

He tilted his head to one side. "It's had its moments," he said easily. "The presenters are idiots."

"Tell me about it," she said, her lips pursed, and leaning away to be certain the cop in the doorway couldn't see as she pulled her ID badge out from her scrubs.

He craned his head. Dr Lisa Tarr. Well, that explained a lot. He suddenly realised that she was actually carefully removing the wires and tubes. Huh. Normally he had to sleep with doctors before they agreed to do that for him. He flashed her a look of gratitude, but carefully didn't comment.

She dropped a lockpick onto the bedsheet beside his hand. He didn't comment on that either. He'd be able to get his hands free now. But the bathroom was still a long way away.

"I can give you a shot for the pain," Dr Tarr said softly. "It'll last forty minutes or so."

He nodded. Much as he hated the idea of any kind of drugs, he thought he probably needed it. "Thanks," he said quietly, and he kept his face blank as she jabbed him in the arm. Couldn't let the cop see after all. He didn't want to get her in trouble.

"There we go," she said, standing up and turning to leave.

"Hey," he said quickly. "Do you have the time?" If he didn't know what time it was, he wouldn't know when to move.

"It's half ten," she told him, turning round and quickly throwing him her watch before she slipped out the door, followed by the policeman.

Half an hour. He set to work with the lockpick on the handcuffs, while Bing Crosby sang.


"Are you sure about this," he asked Danny hesitantly, looking at the fuse he'd laid. It wasn't that he didn't know it would work, and he wasn't sure that there were any other options, but...it just didn't feel right. He kept thinking about the Collingwood house. About the soft whisper just before the fire raged out of control. About the look on Danny's face. Not grief, not anger, not fear just...nothing. Blank and terrible, like the world was crashing down around his head.

And now, here he was with more explosives, and if everything was going according to plan, Rusty was just on the other side of that wall, and suppose it all went wrong again? Suppose this time Rusty didn't make it?

Danny looked at him. "Are you sure?"

He nodded. "Yeah," he said, because he was, he knew he'd done everything right. He'd triple checked. Quadruple checked, even. Just that the practicalities had nothing to do with what was going on in his head.

"Talk me through it," Danny requested, and Basher considered that anything would be worth putting Danny's mind at ease.

"Well, the paste we put on the edges of the wall weakened the structure," he explained. "So now all we need to do is put a little explosive along the edges here, and it'll be controlled and quiet and we can make a whole in the wall, easy as." He could see the way it all worked in his head, and as he spoke, he felt more and more certain that it would work. "It'll be fine, Danny. No mess, no danger."

Danny looked at him and smile. "Perfect."


The handcuffs finally fell off him. It had taken longer than it should have – hadn't exactly been the best angle. And he'd been so tired too. And now it was ten to, and he still had to make it to the bathroom.

With gritted teeth he carefully swung his good leg over the side of the bed. Then his broken leg and just the pain of moving it had him convinced he was going to black out. Sitting up took an effort, and he pressed his arm against his ribs. Fuck. Oh, fuck, this was bad.

Swallowing hard, he reached out and leaned on the locker beside the bed. Okay. Okay, now all he had to do was... His teeth sank into his lip, as he got up, standing on one foot. Right. Well. This wasn't so bad. It only hurt a lot.

Most of his weight was on his arm and he managed to hop a few steps forwards, going from leaning on the locker to leaning on the wall. The room was spinning fantastically, and he'd only covered half a foot.

Danny was waiting for him. He'd get there. Just might take a while.


10:59 and Basher was putting the finishing touches on the wall of the supply closet. Danny quickly opened the door and nodded at Lisa and she quickly sauntered over to the nurses' station, being sure to catch the policemen's attention. Just as she reached the desk, one of the nurses turned the radio up, and Mariah Carey started singing.

"I don't want a lot for Christmas...there is just one thing I need"

"I love this song!" Lisa exclaimed, and she started singing along, and as the song gathered momentum, she and the nurses started dancing. "Come on!" Lisa grinned, beckoning the cops over.

Apparently they didn't need to be told twice. Police today. A bit of Mariah Carey and a nurses outfit and they were more than happy to abandon their post.

He closed the door and gave Basher the thumbs up, and he turned his head away, and a second later there was a soft popping noise, and a white flash, and then Basher was kicking the wall away enthusiastically, and a second later Danny was looking at Rusty, pale and shaking and bandaged, leaning against the sink dizzily, but he was alive and he was here.

"Thought you were supposed to come down the chimney," Rusty said.

"Thought you were supposed to leave out some cookies and milk," he answered.

Rusty shrugged, and Danny didn't miss the slight wince of pain. "I got hungry."

"Not that I want to interrupt, gents, but we really need to think about getting out of here before the cops get fed up of Whitney Houston," Basher said tersely, dragging a wheelchair into the closet.

"Mariah Carey," Danny corrected.

"Does it matter?" Basher asked, and probably it didn't really.

They managed to get Rusty sitting on the wheelchair and he looked up at Danny, frowning.

"Won't the cops recognise me?" he asked.

Danny nodded. "Thought of that," he said, and he produced a tweed coat, a fedora and a lot of bandages.

Rusty raised an eyebrow. "You're disguising me as Claude Raines?"

"The Collingwoods will never see it coming," Basher called.

"Uh huh," Rusty nodded. There was something on his face and Danny paused, bandages in hand.

"What?" he asked.

"Should probably mention that the last thing I remember was arriving in London," Rusty said with a grimace.

Danny blinked. "You don't remember...?"

"I remember Basher and some mistletoe, then I woke up here," Rusty nodded. "I'm assuming the two weren't connected?"

He exchanged a quick glance with Basher, then set to work bandaging up Rusty's face.

"It was my fault," Basher said awkwardly. "I set some explosives and they went off too soon. Dropped a house on you."

"And I'm not even a wicked witch," Rusty said lightly.

"Wasn't Basher's fault," Danny said quietly.

"I know that," Rusty said, looking straight up at Basher, and there wasn't even a shadow of doubt in his eyes. "'s fine, Bash. I know it wasn't you. Don't need to know what happened to know that."

Basher's smile was blinding. "Okay. Let's get out of here, yeah?"


They calmly walked out of the lobby, and even though Danny was the one pushing his wheelchair, it was still annoying the hell out of Rusty. Yes, he was prepared to concede that there was no way he was gonna be able to walk, but still. This was intensely frustrating.

Basher still seemed exuberant. "We'll head back to my place. Lisa said she'd drop off some medication for you, Rus', and she'll be by to check on you later. And she said that her Mum – my Aunt Trish – wound up with two turkeys by mistake. She said we could have one, and some veggies and shit. I'll do a proper Christmas dinner."

"You know how to cook?" Rusty asked.

"I'll get Danny to help," Basher said with a shrug.

Uh huh. Rusty made a mental note to find out where the nearest Chinese take away was.

Snow was falling when they got outside. Rusty looked up wonderingly. It looked like Christmas. And a few hours ago, he'd been sure he was going to prison.

He looked at Danny and Basher and smiled. "You make lousy DJs."

Danny grinned and squeezed his hand tightly. "Had to get you back though. I want my Christmas present."

Mmm. Danny's Christmas present. Which had been in his suitcase. He bit his lip.

Danny was a mature and sensible...okay, he couldn't even think that with a straight face. Danny got a little excited around holidays. He tended to want to investigate any packages that might be presents. Even going so far as to get Livingston to x-ray one, on one memorable occasion. And that meant that Rusty tended to hide his presents, somewhere that he'd never think to look. Which meant it had to be somewhere Rusty would never think to hide it.

Which meant that at some point, over the last few days, he would have taken Danny's Christmas present out of his case and put it somewhere he would never ever find it again.

Huh. "I'm lucky you're from Whoville," he told Danny, and Danny smiled at him and his eyes were bright with love and joy and tenderness.

"I can get us a Christmas pud too," Basher said enthusiastically. "We'll pour brandy on it, set it on fire, it'll be fantastic."

Chinese take away number and a fire extinguisher.

He smiled up at Danny.

It was going to be a great Christmas.