Ianto stirs weakly. In the aftermath of the bombs going off, his ears are still ringing. Other sounds, the creaking and groaning of debris shifting and his own pained breaths, are muffled and indistinct.
His body feels strangely heavy, too leaden to move, and it takes several heartbeats to realise why; he’s buried under half a warehouse ceiling, the weight of it pinning him immobile, like some kind of ghoulish display specimen. He almost laughs at the thought, giddy with the knowledge that somehow he’s still alive, but his chest is so compressed by the weight on his back that he can barely draw breath.
The start of a laugh turns into a strangled wheeze and then a gasp of pain as he tries to move. His left shoulder is on fire; it feels as though his arm is being torn from its socket.
‘Dislocated.’ It’s a light bulb moment, a sudden flash of comprehension; if he’s going to get himself out from under the weight that’s slowly crushing the air from his lungs then he’ll have to do it one handed. He can’t count on help from anyone else, doesn’t know if the others are even alive. If they are, they’re likely in the same predicament as he is. He can’t dwell on that right now, he’s no good to anyone if he stays here. He needs to get free so he can help his friends, if that’s even possible.
His right hand flexes, it hurts but nothing seems to be broken. There’s not much room to manoeuvre though, this won’t be easy; bricks move, rubble shifts, too little and too slow. Ianto tries to get a secure grip on something, anything, and pull himself out from under, moves maybe a centimetre or two, but the pain from his shoulder is blinding and a scream is torn from him. His vision fades, he’s not sure if he blacks out, but the next thing he’s aware of is a voice calling his name.
Rubble is being tossed aside and the weight pinning him down is lessening; breathing is easier, though the air is still full of choking dust. Then Jack’s tugging at him, pulling him from the debris; he helps as much as he can, but not as much as he wants to. He’s weak and shaky, still dazed. More hands are helping; when did Gwen get here?
“Argh!” He chokes back a scream as feeling returns to parts of his body he hadn’t even realised were numb. The pain in his shoulder seems to spread through every inch of him, but at least he’s standing, so that’s progress.
“You okay?” Jack’s concerned but relieved.
“My shoulder. I think it’s dislocated.”
Jack’s been around, he knows how to pop joints back in place; it’s not a fun experience for Ianto, but once it’s done the pain settles to a dull throbbing, synchronised with his heartbeat. Tired though he is, there’s no time to sit around nursing his wounds.
“We need your help to get Toshiko out.”
Tosh is still alive then; the feeling of relief that comes with that knowledge is like another crushing weight being lifted from him and he stands a little straighter. He’s ready, whatever it takes.
That’s how it is for the people who are Torchwood; no matter what, you just keep going until the job is done. Right now, there’s work to do and no one can be spared. There’ll be time to rest when this is over.
As he follows Jack to help Tosh, Ianto silently prays that he and his friends will survive that long.