You walked out of your apartment. You were going to the store because you had run out of water. It felt like a typical winter's afternoon, warm even, for the season, of course, so it wasn’t warm enough that you didn’t have to bundle up in a ski jacket. You walked down the street, looking at the ground in front of you. The sun reflected off the snow on the ground, making it sparkle. You thought it looked pretty.
As you walked to the store, the sky started to grow darker as storm clouds moved in.
I'd better hurry, or I'll get caught in the storm, you thought and ducked into the storm.
You quickly located the isle and grabbed two jugs of Poland Springs water. Then you went to stand in the express checkout lane, which was packed. Every line was filled with people.
It seems everyone is getting ready for the blizzard. You thought.
Eventually, you got up to the register and paid for the water. You walked to the automatic sliding doors. When they opened, a strong gust of wind rushed in with lots of snow and almost knocked you down. You sighed. You needed to get home quickly. You stepped out of the store, holding your water jugs, and you immediately started shivering.
You tried your best to ignore it and started walking home. After twenty minutes of walking, you still weren’t at your apartment, and worse, you stopped shivering. You looked around you. You didn’t recognize where you were, either. You weren’t anywhere near your apartment complex. It looked like the small suburban neighborhood in the complete opposite direction of your home. You sighed, yawning.
I won't be able to make it home before the hypothermia starts taking its toll, you thought sleepily, I wonder if I'd be able to hunker down in one of these homes till the storm ends.
You dragged your heavy legs, yawning again. You hoped the first door you knocked on would open. You weren’t going to be able to stay conscious long enough to make it to another house. You knocked on the door loudly, hoping to get an answer. No such luck. The jugs started to feel really heavy. So you set them down and started banging on the door again.
No answer and you sighed, sitting down on the ground, leaning back against the wall. The blizzard raged on around you, but you didn’t care anymore. If you were going to die here, in this winter storm, you might as well accept it. You closed your eyes and ignored everything.
"Man it's cold!" said a young man with sandy brown hair, cobalt eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses and a curl that stuck up, defying laws of gravity. "I'm freezing my berries off!"
The man walked down the street with the wind of the blizzard so he would walk faster back to his home. Eventually, he arrived. When he did, he saw something, or rather someone, about half covered in snow. He got closer and dusted the snow off. There you were with you (h/c) hair whipping around in the wind, sleeping.
"Holy shit, DUDE!" He said.
He quickly unlocked his door, pushing it open. Then he gently picked you up bridal style. When he walked in, he laid you down on the couch, and then he whipped out his phone.
"Hello?" Came a British voice.
"Dude! Britain!" The man said.
"Don’t call me that, Alfred. It's not my name! It's Arthur." The Brit said and sighed. "What do you want?"
"Yeah, Yeah. Whatever." Alfred said. "Dude! There was this girl sleeping in front of my house, in a blizzard! What should I do? She feels like a popsicle!" He practically shouted. "Come to think of it, she looks familiar…"
"You idiot! If she was asleep in a blizzard, then ten to one says shes got hypothermia! Take her to a bloody hospital!" Arthur said.
"Can't. Roads are closed." Alfred said.
"Then wrap her up in blankets, put her in dry clothes, heat up your damned house and start a bloody fire!" Arthur said. "Don’t be stupid!"
"Fine, fine. But I'm not changing her; she can do that when she wakes up." Alfred said.
Before Arthur hung up he said, "If she wakes up." And the line went dead.
You woke up in a strange house, wrapped up in strange blankets, on the lap of a strange man whose arms were around you. But surprisingly, you didn’t care, either it was because you were mentally slow after having almost froze to death, or you thought you were dead. You lifted your head and looked at the man who was holding you. He had sandy brown hair, glasses, and a curl. His head was leaning backwards and his mouth was hanging open, sleeping.
The man stirred. He lifted his head and cracked his neck. When he opened his cobalt eyes, you gasped. It was your co-worker, Alfred F. Jones. Well more or less, he was your boss. How could you not have known you were in your boss's neighborhood?
"Well, I'm never sleeping like that ever again." He said and saw you awake. "Oh, good morning, (name). Haven't seen you since last week at work."
"Am I dead?" You asked, not believing this was reality.
He laughed a little bit. "No. I brought you inside when I saw you sitting on my door step."
"How long have I been asleep? Why are you holding me like this?" You asked.
He looked up and thought. "Since about… two PM yesterday. And you had hypothermia, or have... not sure how to say it… and online it said that body heat and blankets would help. So I did both." He said with a triumphant smile. "Oh. These are for you, so you can get out of your cold wet clothes. The bathroom is the first door on the right in the hallway." He motioned to some clothes folded neatly on the other side of the couch.
You nodded, but he didn’t let go of you. You bit your cheek to stop from blushing. You cleared your throat. "Ah… Mr. Jones, I can't change if you don’t let you."
"Oh… um. Sorry." He said, looking to the side and released you. "Call me Alfred. We aren’t at work, no need to be so formal with me in my own home."
"You're still my boss where ever we are, so you are Mr. Jones to me." You replied, standing up awkwardly, your knees kind of wobbly.
"Do you need help? Getting to the bathroom, I mean?" He asked.
You shook your head and turned around, grabbing the clothes he had got for you to wear and, when you took a step, your knees buckled and you went down. Alfred called your name and caught you before you hit the ground.
"Damn." You said.
"Are you ok, (name)?" He said, standing you up.
"Well, come on. Let's get you to the bathroom so you can get changed." Alfred said.
He walked you to the bathroom, a firm grasp on your arm, ready to catch you if you fell again. When the two of you reached the bathroom door, he opened it and let you in, closing the door behind you. You dropped the blanket on the ground around your feet and unfolded the clothes. It was an oversized tee shirt with some sort of cartoon character on it and a pair too big red lounge pants.
You quickly stripped out of your soggy cold clothing and changed into the ones Alfred gave you., so you wouldn’t collapse before you got changed. Then you grabbed the blanket that you dropped on the floor and wrapped it over your shoulders. You walked out to find Alfred looking at his phone, leaning back against the wall by the door, the screen reflecting off of his glasses faintly. When he saw you some out he looked at you and smiled.
"All set?" He said.
You nodded. "After my clothes are dry I'll get out of your hair and go home."
He chewed his lip. "Hate to say it, dudette, but you're going to be stuck here for a few days. The roads are closed and the snow is piled so high that the door won't open." He said with a nervous chuckle and rubbed the back of his head.
"Ah… Uh… Ok." You shivered.
"Still cold, huh?" Alfred said.
You nodded and Alfred leaded you to the couch. You wrapped yourself up more in the blanket and Alfred pushed the couch closer to the fireplace. You sat down on the couch and he started a fire. You curled up, bringing your knees to your chest. Once the fire was started, Alfred sat down next to you and turned on the TV.
The two of you watched in silence until your stomach growled audibly. You felt your face heat up, despite your shivering. Alfred looked at you and smiled.
"Looks like someone could use some food." He said. "Wait here and let your hero get you some food."
You looked at Alfred in shock. "My hero?"
"I did save you from dying of hypothermia, didn’t I?" He said, and grinned.
You didn’t know how to counter that. He did save you, if he hadn’t brought you inside, you would have died. You sighed. "Yeah, yeah."
He grinned. "Call me your hero and I'll get you whatever it is that you want to eat."
"I will do no such thing!" You said, just as your stomach growled again.
Alfred grin widened. "That’s not what your stomach said."
You sighed. "Fine. You're my hero." You muttered. Damn this guy is so obnoxious. I can't believe I ever thought he was attractive when we worked together, you added as an afterthought.
"That’s more like it." He said, the grin still a permanent part of his face. "So what would you like?"
"Uh… chicken soup or stew, I guess. What ever is available." You said. "That should probably help warm me up."
"Not a problem!" He said and disappeared into the kitchen.
"Shit, shit, shit. I don’t have soup or stew. And I don’t know how to make it!" he said in a hushed yell. "Who should I call? Who should I call?" he paced around the kitchen. "I know! I'll call Arthur!... no wait. That Brit can't cook to save his life." He scrolled though his contacts. "Wait! Kiku should know! I'll call him."
He quickly dialed the number and the familiar Japanese voice of Kiku Honda picked up. "Herro?"
"Kiku! DUDE! You gotta help me!" Alfred said.
"What are you tarking about Arfred?" Kiku said.
"You need to tell me how to make that niku-something-or-other!" Alfred said.
"Nikujaka? But that takes a furr day to cook. What do you need it for anyway?" Kiku asked.
"My co-worker almost died of hypothermia, and I can't get her to a doctor because the roads are closed because of a blizzard, and yeah. I just need to make some soup or something but I don’t know how! YOU GOTTA HELP ME!" Alfred replied.
"Werr then. Why not try just simpre soup. I can terr you how to make it. Just risten to my directions very carefurry." Kiku said.
"Ok, Ok. Just, help me!" Alfred whined.
"Arright, arright. Why are you so worked up over this girl anyway?" Kiku asked.
Alfred blushed, thanking God that Kiku couldn’t see it. "No reason."
"If you say so." Kiku said. "Here’s what you need to do."
Kiku ran off directions and Alfred followed them to a tee. Not long after, Alfred had a steaming pot of chicken soup. He got a bowl, a ladle, and a spoon and then ladled the soup into the bowl. He thanked Kiku and hung up. Then he walked out of the kitchen, careful not to spill the soup.
You heard Alfred's footsteps coming out of the kitchen. You looked over at him, he smiled and set the bowl of chicken soup on the coffee table in front of the couch. You slid down and kneeled on the floor in front of the table. You smiled up at Alfred.
"Thank you, Mr. Jones." You said.
"Seriously, just call me Alfred." He said.
You put a spoonful of the soup in your mouth. It slid down your throat and it seemed to warm you up from the inside. It felt so good. Not to mention tasted good too.
"Why are you so adamant about me calling you by your first name?" You asked.
He shrugged. "Because there's no need to be formal if it's just the two of us."
You took another bite of the soup. "Fine then. By the way, this is really good."
He gave you a triumphant smile. "Why thank you (name). A hero must always know how to cook for his damsel in distress."
"So I'm a damsel now?" You said and rolled your eyes.
He laughed and you ate your soup. For the rest of the day the two of you just talked, watched TV, and ate the soup. When it got late, however and there was a problem, when you both got tired. Alfred's home didn’t have a spare bedroom. The two of you stood side by side, staring at the bed, the blankets still draped over your shoulders.
"You sleep on the bed." Alfred said. "You almost died, and you’re the woman. I'll take the couch."
"No. It's your house, your bed. You take it." You said. "I can handle myself on the couch, Alfred."
"No, I insist. Really." He said.
It was clear to both of you that neither of you wanted to sleep on the couch, but it would be increasingly awkward to sleep together in the same bed willingly. He was your boss and you were, in essence, his underling. Half an hour of arguing later, the two of you agreed to sleep on separate sides of the bed, not crossing a specific point.
You laid in the bed curled under the covers, your head resting on one of Alfred's amazingly comfortable and fluffy down pillow. You were rubbing your cheek against it, admiring how good it felt when Alfred walked out of the bathroom shirtless and in a pair of green lounge pants. You looked at him and bit your cheek to try to stop yourself from blushing.
He crawled into the bed, under the covers. "Good night, (name)." He said, taking off his glasses and smiled at you.
"Uh… good night, Alfred." You said and rolled over so your back was too him and forced yourself to sleep.
Three days have passed since the blizzard. The roads were supposed to be reopened today, which was good… you thought. Part of you didn’t really want to leave. But you had to go home. You woke up that morning to a coughing fit of your own. You were coughing incredibly loudly, covering your mouth with your hand. You even woke Alfred up. He scrambled for his glasses. When he put them on you stopped coughing, your hand still over your mouth.
"Are you alright?" Alfred said, practically shouting.
You shook your head and brought your hand away from your mouth. There was red on it. Blood. Damn it. You thought. Even worse than that… I can't seem to catch my breath.
Alfred saw your hand. "Holy shit, dude, is that blood?" he said, his voice still loud.
"I can't catch my breath either." You said trying to suck in oxygen that your body needed so badly.
He put the back of his hand against your forehead. "You're burning up! Come on. We're taking you to a hospital." Alfred said.
"Are the roads open again?" You wheezed.
"They should be." Alfred said. "Can you walk?'
You tried standing up, but then you put weight on your feet, they wobbled and you went down, thankfully, pitching to the side and landing back on the bed. Alfred quickly grabbed a shirt from the ground and pulled on a pair of boots. Then he went around and picked you up, grabbing the covers as well.
"Don’t worry. We're going to get you to a hospital." He said.
You nodded weakly and rested your head on his chest. It felt so warm. You blinked sluggishly, trying still to catch your breath. Then everything went black.
"(Name)? (Name)!" Alfred said as he was putting you in the car.
Your eyes were closed and you haven’t responded to anything since he picked you up. He opened the passenger side door and put you in the seat, buckled up. Then he put the covers over you and checked your forehead again. You felt really warm. And you were sweating. He pushed some of your (h/c) hair away from your face. Your cheeks were really red. He had to get you to the hospital, quickly.
He closed the passenger side door of his car and made his way to the driver's side. He put the key in the ignition and backed out of the drive way. He drove as fast as he could without getting pulled over to the hospital. When he got there, he parked, picked you up and then carried you to the front door to the Emergency Room. He walked in. A woman looked at him then saw you in his arms and her eyes widened.
"We need a pulmonologist stat!" She said urgently into the intercom.
Seconds later, a man in blue scrubs and a white lab coat came rushing over with two nurses wearing pink scrubs pushing a stretcher. He directed Alfred to lay you down on the stretcher. He did as he was told. Then they started wheeling and rushing down the hall.
"What happened?" the doctor asked Alfred.
"Well, she woke up this morning, coughing and hacking. And then she coughed up blood. She told me that she couldn’t catch her breath. She also had a really high fever." Alfred said. "I should also say that she almost died of hypothermia three days ago. She was stuck in that blizzard and fell asleep on my doorstep. When I got home I brought her inside and warmed her up. She woke up. But since the roads were closed I couldn’t bring her here right away. And now shes really sick, isn’t she?"
"We'll find out." The doctor said and the stretcher was pushed through the door. "Wait out here. We'll tell you what we find out."
Alfred nodded and stared at the door as the doctor disappeared through it. He paced the hall for what felt like hours, but in reality, it was really more like half an hour. Eventually the doctor came out.
"She has pneumonia." He said.
"Is she going to be alright?" Alfred asked.
The doctor nodded. "If she gets the proper care. She needs to take this antibiotic twice a day. Keep her hydrated and make sure she gets plenty of rest. She woke up in the middle of the tests and started to freak out, asking where you were and where she was. We were able to calm her down." The doctor said. "Just answer another question and then you can take her home. What is your relationship to the patient?"
"I'm… uh… her boss." Alfred said. "I was taking care of her hypothermia at my house until the roads opened up and until she got this sick."
"Well, she's lucky you found her and took such good care of her. If you hadn’t, her pneumonia would have been worse than it is now." The doctor said and handed Alfred a piece of paper. "Here's the prescription. Once you get her home, put her in bed and get the medicine. Hopefully in about a few weeks, she'll be better."
Alfred nodded. "Thank you, doctor."
"She's lucky to have someone like you to care for her." He said. "Come on. It's time to take her home."
Alfred and the doctor walked into the room. You were lying in an adjustable bed that was raised up so it looked like you were sitting. Your head was turned to the side and your breathing was shallow, but at least you were awake.
Thank god she's ok. Alfred said.
You saw Alfred walk in; you turned your face to look at him properly. His face was twisted with an expression of worry mixed with relief. You tried to give him a weak smile.
"Hey, Alfred." You said slowly.
"Hey." He said, giving you a small smile. "Let's get you home."
He picked you up and sat you down in a wheel chair. He wheeled you to the front desk. When he finished signing you out, he wheeled the chair to the front door. Then he picked you up and carried you the rest of the way to the car on his back, making sure you were wrapped up well in the blanket so you wouldn’t be cold. He set you down in the passenger side of the car, and then he got in the driver's side.
For most of the ride, no one spoke. When it became too much, you decided to break the silence.
"Alfred?" You said.
"Hm?" he replied.
"Thank you. For taking me to the hospital, I mean."
"Don’t worry about it, it was nothing."
"No, really. Thank you." You said. "You can take me home, too. I'll be able to take care of myself."
"Absolutely not." He said. "You're staying at my place until you get better." He said.
You didn’t have the energy to argue. You just fell asleep. The next thing you knew, you were laying in Alfred's bed again, wrapped up in the covers. Seconds after you woke up, Alfred walked into the room.
"Good, you're awake." He said and walked over to you. "Take this, and drink all the water." He said, handing you a pill and a tall glass of water.
You nodded, trying to sit up. When you couldn’t, Alfred sat next to you and held you up so you could drink and take the pill.
"I'll pay you back for the hospital bill and for the medicine." You said.
He shook his head. "Don’t worry about it, it's really nothing."
"Why wouldn’t you take me home to take care of me?" You asked, trying to take deep breaths as you spoke.
"I, um… just thought it would be easier here because I don’t have a key to your apartment." He hesitated. He let you lay back down, making sure you were comfortable. Then he pulled the covers up. "I'll come back up with some more water and some soup if you're hungry."
You nodded and close your eyes. You felt Alfred lean in close; you could feel his breath on your forehead. He hesitated there for a moment and then he pulled away. You were glad at that moment that you were sick so he wouldn’t notice the blush on your cheeks. Then you heard his footsteps walk away from the bed and out the door, it closing behind him.
Oh god. I almost just kissed her. He thought to herself. He sighed and paced around the kitchen. God, why does she have to be so cute, even when she looks so sick? Why do I want to make sure she gets better? Shes just one off my coworkers. I know, I'll call Francis and see what he thinks…
He whipped out his phone out and dialed the Frenchy's number. The Frenchman picked up in a matter of seconds.
"Well hello, mon ami." Francis said.
"DUDE! I'm so confused!" Alfred said.
"With what?" He replied.
Alfred explained the whole situation. How he found you out front of his house and how you had to stay with him for three days until the roads cleared up. How he made you food, slept in the same bed, albeit on different sides. How he took you to the hospital when you were sick and were so worried and how he almost just kissed your forehead when he thought you were asleep.
"Ohonhonhonhonhonhonhonhonhon." Francis laughed. "You, mon ami, are in l-o-v-e!" He said, spelling out the word love.
Alfred's eyes half closed with disbelief. "What?"
"You heard me, Alfred, you are in love." He replied.
"How do you know?"
"The tone in your voice. The way you spoke about this girl, (Name), I believe you called her." Francis said bluntly. "Even Feliciano would have been able to tell that."
"Then what do I do?!" Alfred asked.
"You really are such an idiot." Francis said. "Tell her how you feel. It's as simple as that. Tell her that you love her. Just come right out and say it. Showing her your butt wouldn’t hurt either."
"Helpful." Alfred said sarcastically. "Bye Francis."
"Au revoir, mon ami." The line went dead.
Alfred sighed and put some soup on the stove. While it was cooking he went upstairs to the bedroom. He looked at you, watching as you breathed shallowly and he walked over, kneeling by the side of the bed. He put his hand on your forehead, checking your temperature with the back of his hand. You felt so warm. He sighed.
"Get better soon, please." Alfred said. "I want you to smile a real smile for me."
Before he left the room, he placed a light kiss on your forehead. Then he went to the kitchen and finished making your soup.
About two weeks have passed since you first went to the hospital. Alfred made sure you took the medicine once in the morning when you woke up and again before he crawled into bed with you. You had no recollection of what happened the first day you came back when Alfred kissed you.
You had started to get some of your energy back, but not much. You were able to get to the bathroom and take a bath every so often and were also able to get to the living room to watch TV with Alfred. Your breathing was still bad and you coughed often and your fever was still pretty high. But at least you were on the way to getting better.
While sitting in the living room, waiting for soup to cook, and you were watching TV, Alfred came him with his hand behind his head, looking to the side. He looked nervous, which was very out of the ordinary for him.
"Uh… (name)?" He walked up you so he was now in front of you.
"What is it?" You said slowly, still trying to catch your breath.
He didn’t say anything, just bent down and placed a kiss on your lips before going back into the kitchen to keep an eye on the soup. You stared after him, a look of shock on your face as you covered your mouth with your hand. He kissed you. That’s why he was acting so weird the past couple of weeks, constantly checking on you, skipping work, making sure you drank your water and always looking at you with a sad and worried expression like you were on your death bed.
You tried to suck in a deep breath and stood up, keeping the blanket wrapped tightly around your shoulders. You made your way into the kitchen and over to Alfred. He didn’t hear you walk up to him. You pitched forward and your forehead rested on his back and you wrapped your arms around his waist half to steady yourself and half to hug him.
"(Name)?" He asked, turning to look at you. "What are you doing up? You're still sick, you should still be sitting down." He said in a worried tone.
"Thank you." You said. "For taking care of me."
"Don’t mention it." He laughed nervously. "I'm doing it because I care for you." He said and picked you up. "Now you are going to stay sitting on the couch until I get back with your soup."
He carried you to the couch and laid you down on it. Then he turned to leave.
"Wait, Alfred." He paused, turned to you. "Come here." He obeyed and knelt on the ground beside you. "Come closer." You whispered. He leaned his head closer. You smiled at him. "Thank you." You said and kissed him.
The kiss didn’t last long because Alfred didn’t want to keep you from being able to breathe. When he broke apart, he smiled at you and promised you would be right back. Then he disappeared into the kitchen. When he came back, he had two bowls of soup, one for him and one for you. He set them down on the coffee table and the two of you began to eat.
That night you didn’t sleep on separate sides of the bed. He closed the gap by moving closer and also pulling you closer to him. The two of you slept with your head resting on his. At first you protested a little bit, saying that he was going to get sick. But he said that he didn’t care, that he would be alright.
You got better within the next few days, your energy had returned, your fever was gone and you only has a slight cough. So it was time for you to leave. You didn’t want to, but you were better and it was time. You gathered up your stuff, Alfred had insisted that you still take the medicine until it ran out. You nodded and thanked him. When you walked to the door, you turned to say goodbye to Alfred.
"So, I'll see you at work, then?" You said.
"You're making it sound like we broke up or something." He said.
"Well it's not like I'll be living here anymore with you." You said.
Alfred hesitated. "Um… well… you can stay…" He said and looked away. "If you would want to, of course."
A smile broke apart your face. You ran up to Alfred, wrapped your arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. He was shocked at first and then he hugged you back.
"I would love to stay with you, Alfred." He said.
He caught your lips in a kiss.
"I love you, (name)." he sad when you broke apart.
"I love you, too, Alfred."