Christmas was just over three weeks away, so Jack and Ianto had spent the first half of their day off in town, shopping for gifts and other Christmas essentials. Neither man wanted to wind up having to do everything at the last minute like they had last year. Ianto was determined that this time around they’d be completely organised, so they could actually enjoy the festivities instead of running around like headless chickens, feeling frazzled and exhausted.
They’d bought gifts for the team, their other friends, and Ianto’s family, several extra packs of Christmas cards in case they didn’t have enough when they came to write them, and a few new decorations because Jack could never pass by the displays of sparkly things without giving in to temptation. |He was like a magpie; if it sparkled, he wanted it.
On top of all that, they’d stocked up on wine, beer, and spirits so they could serve drinks to anyone who might drop in, bought a Christmas pudding, and even ordered their turkey since Ianto preferred to buy fresh. It avoided the nightmare of defrosting a frozen one only to find it was still full of ice when the time came to put it in the oven. Fresh was just so much more convenient.
Before heading back to the end of terrace house they now shared, they’d stopped off at the garden centre and bought their Christmas tree, a modest six-footer with a good root ball. They still had the tub from the previous year’s tree, so they’d plant the new one in that and pop it in the back porch for a few days to settle before bringing it into the lounge for decorating. Everything was going remarkably smoothly for once.
Back at the house, with the tree taken care of, they fixed themselves a late lunch and had a welcome rest before getting on with the next stage of preparations, namely the decorations. A small artificial tree went up in the front porch, decorated with baubles and tinsel, then lights were strung, making the area around the front door look welcomingly festive. More lights were hung around the front window, while paper chains criss-crossed the ceiling, and swags of tinsel adorned the walls. It wasn’t exactly to Ianto’s tastes but this was Jack’s home as well now, and the bright colours made him happy. It was only for a few weeks each year, so what was the harm in indulging his lover? Besides, once the tree was brought in and decorated it would draw attention away from everything else.
Jack stood back and admired his handiwork. “Perfect!”
Ianto wasn’t quite sure that was the right word; to his mind, ‘chaotic’ seemed more appropriate, but the delighted smile on Jack’s face made him keep his opinion to himself.
“Okay then, presents to be wrapped next!” Ianto turned to where everything to be wrapped had been left on the dining table.
“I picked up a few bits for you while we were out, so I’ll wrap them upstairs and then I’ll help you with the rest, okay?”
“Fine by me.” Ianto gave his lover a quick kiss on the lips. His own presents for Jack were already wrapped and safely hidden at Tosh’s flat, because if he tried to hide them at home Jack was bound to find them; he never could resist searching and spoiling the surprise. Ianto had arranged to collect them on Christmas Eve so he could pop them under the tree. “Take your time. After everything’s wrapped we can get the cards written. Christmas sorted in a single day!” He felt justifiably proud.
“Leaving us three whole weeks to bask in the festive splendour!” Jack beamed at him.
“Well, we still have the Hub to decorate, unless the others decide to take care of that while we’re not there.”
“They’d better not! That’s something we should all do together!” A worried expression on his face, Jack pulled out his phone and called the Hub. “Owen? No putting up decorations until Ianto and I are there, understood?” He hung up without waiting for an answer.
Ianto smiled ruefully. “I just wish you could be as enthusiastic when it comes to taking everything down again.”
“That part’s nowhere near as much fun.” Picking up several bags, a couple of rolls of wrapping paper, and a few other necessary bits and pieces, Jack bounded up the stairs, taking three at a time.
Ianto shook his head and went back into the open plan living and dining room to get on with wrapping presents.
An hour of so later, he was sitting at the table just writing the label for one of Rhi’s presents when there was a resounding crash from upstairs, so loud the framed pictures on the walls rattled and one fell down, fortunately landing on the sofa. Ianto dropped everything, leaping to his feet and sending his chair crashing to the floor as he raced out of the room and up the stairs.
Bursting into their bedroom, he found the bed listing drunkenly to one side and Jack in a heap on the floor with the door from one of the cupboards above the fitted wardrobes on top of him.
“Ow,” a muffled voice complained. Jack flailed at the door until Ianto lifted it off him.
“What happened? Are you alright? Maybe you shouldn’t move yet; you might’ve broken something. I mean aside from the bed and the cupboard,” he added, sparing a quick glance at the mess before turning his attention to his lover once more.
“No, I’m fine. Mostly. I think. Not so sure about the bed.” Jack sat up slowly, rubbing his head with a hand that was clutching a sprig of mistletoe. “Good thing we have a nice thick carpet in here.”
“What on earth were you doing? And where did that mistletoe come from?”
Jack looked at the little cluster of leaves and berries in his hand. “Oh, that was supposed to be a surprise. I wanted to hang it over the bed, I was going to stick it up with a bit of Blu-tack, so I stood on the bed but I couldn’t quite reach the ceiling, so I started bouncing to get a bit higher, and I was holding on to the cupboard door for balance, but then the bed gave way and the door came off, and the next thing I knew I was on the floor.”
Ianto rolled his eyes. “It’s a bed, not a trampoline; you’re not supposed to bounce on it, and those doors aren’t designed to support the weight of a grown man!”
“Sorry,” Jack said sheepishly. “Does this mean I’m sleeping on the sofa tonight?”
Studying the lopsided bed, Ianto sighed heavily. “From the looks of things, we might both be.”
Jack frowned, looked at the bed… “Oh. Right.”
“If you’re not too badly injured you can give me a hand with stripping everything off the bed so we can see how bad the damage is.”
Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as it looked. All that had happened was that the bolt attaching one of the legs to the bed frame had snapped; the frame and the leg were both still intact, it just needed a new bolt and Ianto managed to find one in his toolbox that, while not quite the right size, would at least do for a temporary fix, as long as nobody started jumping on the bed again.
“I’ll pick up replacements tomorrow,” he said as he fixed the leg back in place, “but no more using the bed as a trampoline. If you want to reach the ceiling in future, use the stepladder; that’s what it’s for.” He looked at the cupboard door. “I’d better get new hinges for that tomorrow as well.”
“I really am sorry, Ianto.”
“I know; you always are. As your punishment, you get to re-make the bed by yourself, and be warned; one more bounce and you really will be sleeping on the sofa. Understood?”
“Good, get to it.” With that Ianto left the bedroom, heading back downstairs. “Never fails,” he muttered. “Any time I think I’ve got things organised and nothing can go wrong, Jack happens. You’d think I’d have learned by now, but I never do.”
Reaching the bottom of the stairs, instead of returning to wrapping gifts he went into the kitchen; what he needed now was a nice hot cup of coffee to soothe his tattered nerves. Honestly, it was a miracle living with Jack hadn’t driven him to drinking something stronger.