Your eyes felt heavy like lead as you laid in bed next to Alfred. No matter what you did, you couldn't find a comfortable position due to your recent back pain. There was this stabbing feeling in your lower back. You could feel it all the way down your hamstrings and to the back of your knee. There was even a painful stiffness to your ankle because of your tensed leg muscles. This aggravated you to no end. You were tired and you wanted to sleep, but your bodily pain was far too difficult to repress. Not only were you aggravated, but you were just flat out grumpy. The kind of grumpy where you know you can't do anything about the thing you don't like. The tired kind of grumpy where you only wanted to do one of two things: sleep or cry. Since the more preferable option was unattainable, you altered for the other.
You lay on your back, inspecting all the little grooves in the ceiling. Your chest flexed as your breath became strobe-like. You had your arms crossed over your stomach and frowned, your eyebrows knitting together and your eyes squinting. Little tears of displeasure rolled down the sides of your face.
To your surprise, a loving arm wound itself around your waist and the bed shifted as you felt the warmth of the man next to you slide closer. Apparently he had been awake and felt your rapid muscle spasms and heard your brisk heaves.
"Babe, whats the matter?" he whispered, his voice pacifying.
You placed a hand on your forehead and shut your eyes tightly, whimpering, "It hurts so much."
Alfred immediately knew what you were implying, having watched you cringe in pain for the past week. He was the one that finally said you needed medical attention and took you to the hospital. However, the doctors were flabbergasted. They did x-rays and found out that your spine somehow pitted out of line with your pelvis. They had managed to re-align it, but your muscles had coiled around the spot, making it onerous. Once your spine and pelvis were in proportion, your tightened muscles would all but force them out of whack again. That's how they knew a chiropractor wouldn't help. So you've been going to physical therapy almost every day, trying to release the tension so that your back can finally be situated correctly.
"You wanna try some of the stretches that the physical therapist taught you?" he asked, sitting up and rubbing your arm comfortingly. His messy bed-head was undeniably adorable, though your sheering pain wasn't allowing you any relief.
You nodded, attempting to sit up, only to be met with violent pain in your entire lower back and the back of your leg. You seethed, your face squeezing into an expression of pain. More tears fell down your face. But you weren't the only one in pain. It hurt Alfred to see you so distraught.
You let go of all the will in your body to hold back tears and pursue through the pain. You allowed yourself to hunch over in pain, shoulders surging as you let out quiet weeps. Alfred's immediate reaction was to encase you in his arms and console you, to make everything okay. But he stopped when he realized that a person's back is the center of everything. He was afraid that if he hugged you, he'd hurt you.
He bounded out of bed and hurried to your side, "Come on, you can do it." His voice wasn't like it normally was. It wasn't full of happiness, it was full of worry. It was terrifyingly quiet.
He did his best to help you up without hurting you. You were crying profusely out of pain. Alfred knew before you could even attempt the stretches you would have to calm down. So he led you out to the kitchen, thankful that the bedroom was on the first floor instead of the second. The only reason he didn't pick you up and carry you was because he'd already done that before and it had hurt you more than simply walking on your own.
Your one leg was fine, however the leg on the same side as the back pain couldn't straighten out, causing you to limp. It hurt to put weight on it. With every step you took on that leg, you almost collapsed. All Alfred could do was hold your hand and support you like a crutch.
He flicked one set of lights in the kitchen on and led you to a seat at the small fold up table that you guys used as a dining table. He pulled out the chair and held your hand tightly as you lowered yourself carefully into the seat, still crying. He knelt in front of you and looked up at you sadly. He couldn't bare seeing you in so much pain and the fact that there was nothing he could do to help you made him even more upset.
He put his glasses on and took your hand in his, looking up at you. His other hand wiped a tear off your cheek, "_______________, please don't cry."
You opened your eyes at him and opened your mouth to speak. All that came out were sobs and you leaned forward to hug him awkwardly. He very carefully hugged you closer, gently rubbing at the part of your back that hurt, "I wish I could make it all better. I'm your hero, _______________."
"I know," you cried, "It just hurts so much!"
Alfred gulped and stood, parting from you and grabbing a cup out of the cabinet. You tried to turn and look at what he was doing, but pain pinched at you again and you winced with more cries. Alfred got the milk out of the refrigerator and poured it in the glass. Finally he knelt back down and held the glass out to you. You just shook your head.
"Please take a drink." he said, looking up at you with those sparkling blue eyes, "For me."
You furrowed your eyebrows and held the glass to your lips, taking in the creamy milk.
"'Atta girl. A nice big gulp." he encouraged you, rubbing your calf a bit with a lopsided smile.
After you swallowed and put the cup down on the table, your breathing returned to normal and your weeps ceased.
"There, see?" Alfred smiled, "The milk washed down all the tears. Now they're all in your tummy instead of on your pretty face." He poked your stomach gently.
You giggled a bit, a small smile crossing your face as you looked down at Alfred, "Thank you."
"Don't sweat it, babe. It's what heroes do." he stood proudly.
You smiled tiredly at him and he walked over to the goody cabinet, "And just to make sure that those pesky tears don't creep back up~..." He held up a pack of oreos.
You giggled again and wiped your eyes, trying to get rid of the redness from crying. He placed the pack down on the table and pulled a chair over for himself. He opened up the pack and held it out to you. Grinning, you took four and placed them on the table.
"Its good to see you smiling again." he said, pulling out about seven or eight for himself.
"Its good to be smiling again." you replied, pulling one of the cookies apart to get to the cream. "The pain isn't gone, but I'm done crying."
"We can work on the pain after we work on the oreos. Sound like a plan?" he said, scarfing down two of the cookies.
"Yeah." you nodded, mouthing the icing off of the chocolate base.
Alfred dipped his oreos in the milk before shoving the whole cookie in his mouth. The both of you ate the oreos in a comfortable silence and you mustered up the courage to move your leg so that you were sitting cross-legged in the chair.
"You eat oreos weird." Alfred said with his mouth full.
You looked at him as you dunked the chocolate part of the cookie in the milk, "Well you are weird, so you shouldn't be talking." Alfred laughed and shoved more cookies into his mouth happily.
After you finished your last cookie, you gulped down the rest of the milk and looked at Alfred, who had been watching you with a smile, "Well, looks like those tears won't be back anytime soon."
"Nope, they're long gone." you said.
"Good. Now lets tackle that back pain." Alfred stood and held out his hand for you.
"Right." you nodded, taking his hand gratefully.
You hobbled to the living room and over to the stairs, with Alfred's help of course. He helped you up onto the first step and you stood only on your good leg, letting your other leg hang down off the step. You held Alfred's hands for balance and he smiled, watching your leg slowly straighten itself out with the help of gravity pulling it down. That way you didn't have to use muscles and strain yourself to straighten it. Once your leg was finally straight, you straightened your posture like the physical therapist had told you to do and swung the hanging leg back and fourth. The swings weren't long, nor were they fast. They were just small little pulses to loosen up the muscle tension in the pelvic area that was keeping that leg immobile.
"Good job, ____________!" Alfred exclaimed. "Should we move on to the cat-to-camel one?"
"Yeah," you said, stepping down, "I think I'm ready." You were now walking normally with just a slight tilt to the side that didn't hurt. It wasn't perfect, but it was progress.
You walked over to the sofa and Alfred followed, glad to see you walking without his help. Not that he minded helping. He just wanted to see you get better. You got on to your hands and knees on the sofa and let your back naturally curve downward. This gave you a little pinchy feeling, but it wasn't near as bad as it was before.
As you held that position, you made sure to stack your shoulders straight, just like the physical therapist showed you. While you stretched out your back downward, Alfred took his hand and pushed down on your back gently, slowly adding more and more pressure to strengthen the muscles there.
Then Alfred removed his hand and you hunched your back greatly, letting your shoulders curl forward like a shell. This was the "camel" part of the stretch. Alfred put his hand against your stomach and lifted slightly, slowly lifter higher and higher. This got the muscles used to converting positions and loosened them up.
After a while of that stretch, Alfred moved his hand again and you stood up, looking as well as ever. Your smile went from ear to ear and you wrapped your arms around Alfred's neck, happily hugging him. Alfred practically jumped with joy, seeing you so well. But he managed to contain his excitement because he knew that although you looked fit as a fiddle, it wouldn't be very smart to push the limits. So instead, his arms wrapped around your waist and hoisted you up. He walked back towards the bedroom, feeling content and particularly heroic.
"Can I just say that when you do the cat part of that one stretch, your ass looks really hot." he whispered to you.
You hummed happily and nibbled his earlobe shortly in reply. This earned you a small purr in his voice as he spoke again, "I love you."
"I love you too, Alfred." you said tiredly as he closed the door with his foot, "My hero."
Alfred smiled when you called him that. He placed you down on the bed gently and tucked you in. He kissed your cheek and then kissed your lips, his glasses sliding off the bridge of his nose a bit. You let out a small chuckle and took his glasses off, placing them on the nightstand.
He made his way over to his side of the bed and crawled under the covers, snuggling close to you and wrapping his strong arms around you, pulling your head into his chest. Finally it didn't hurt. Finally it was perfect again.
However, you loathed the morning that was to come, knowing that it would be filled with newly awoken pain and stiffness. But you didn't let it get to you because you knew your hero would be there to help you again, just like he did that night.
You sighed happily, "Good night, Alfred."
He replied with his lips against your forehead, "Sweet dreams, _________."