It wasn’t at all what Ianto had expected to find when he’d stepped out into his back garden that morning, but there on the washing line was a very incongruous, bright green little bird. It cocked its head at him and chirruped.
Ianto frowned. While he wasn’t an ornithologist, he knew enough about birds to be certain that lovebirds weren’t native to Wales. Without hesitation, he reached out and grabbed it, so fast that it never had a chance to fly away. He regretted his impulsive action almost immediately. There was nothing even remotely loving about this bird.
With a loud and aggrieved squawk, it sank its beak into the tender flesh between his thumb and forefinger. In moments there was blood dripping down his hand but try as he might, he couldn’t persuade the feathered menace to even loosen its vice-like grip. With tears in his eyes, he stumbled into the kitchen, shouting for Jack.
“I need help!”
“What’s wrong?” Jack asked, running into the kitchen, looking worried.
Holding up the hand with the lovebird in it, Ianto gasped out, “Either find something I can put this in or make it stop biting me! It bloody well hurts!”
“Why don’t you just put it down?”
Ianto stared at Jack in agonised disbelief. “It’s a bird, Jack; they fly! If I let it go, it’ll escape again and I’ll have put myself through this torture for nothing. Besides, I don’t think it would do much good. Even if I let go of it I’m not at all sure that it’ll let go of me! Find a box or something, and hurry…” He voice rose into a pained squeak as the lovebird bit down even harder.
Jack dashed out of the kitchen again and returned a few minutes later with an empty shoebox. “Here.” He held it out.
“Punch some holes in the sides first, otherwise the bird will suffocate,” Ianto ground out in a tight voice.
Grabbing a skewer out of the cutlery drawer, Jack did as ordered and put the box with its new air holes on the table. Ianto stuck hand and bird inside, put the lid awkwardly over the top and released his grip on the lovebird. For a few moments it continued to chew on him, but at last its grip loosed and he was able to snatch his mauled hand away, slamming the lid down firmly before the bird could make a break for it. Aggravated squawks and fluttering came from inside as Jack put a couple of rubber bands around the box to make sure the lid stayed on and the tiny menace couldn’t get out and attack Ianto again. He wasn’t taking any chances.
Meanwhile, Ianto had gone straight to the sink and stuck his hand under the cold tap, letting the water wash away the blood and numb the pain.
Jack fetched the first aid kit and took Ianto’s hand, gently cleaning and disinfecting the wound before covering it with a plaster. “I had no idea a cute little bird like that could be so savage,” he said in wonder.
“Neither did I,” Ianto admitted, “otherwise I wouldn’t have grabbed it. I’m never doing that again. A bird in the hand is fucking painful!”