As I stated before, this was inspired by something I personally experienced. Though it didn't quite turn out like this, I did trip in a hole and I nearly had to have my gentleman friend carry me. Fortunately, I was fine, though. Lesson: autumn walks and leaf-covered holes = inspiration. Enjoy!

The cold wind nipped at my ears as we walked along the sidewalk, but I didn't care. I was more worried about missing something that he was going to tell me. He walked next to me, going slower, I knew, than normal due to my walking pace. Thanks a lot, heeled boots I don't wear very often...

We came up on a crosswalk where yet again a car had stopped at the sign across the white lines, making it impossible for us to cross. There were many crosswalks like this; of course, we were walking from downtown to the church where I parked, which was approximately a mile. I didn't like driving in the city, you see. But, seeing as how many times we'd reached the obstacle of waiting for these stupid drivers to move, and the fact that my legs were beginning to hurt, I started to wish I had driven all the way to the new video game store.

"Hey, come on." He tapped my arm.
I snapped out of my trance and walked along with him. We continued to be silent as we went, which was a bit odd for him. He liked to talk. Actually... Sometimes it was hard to get him to shut up. Go figure.

My mind was more on walking up the hill than him, so when he finally spoke I had to ask, "What?"

"Do you think I look weird with this coat?"

I glanced over at him. To be honest, I thought he looked rather dashing and heroic in his cosplay coat. It was based on Kirito's jacket from Sword Art Online. But, instead, I said, "No more weird than I look in mine." My coat was a lovely edition from Forever 21. Very feminine, very stylish, but also very practical, just like everything else I wore. Well... Almost everything.

He smiled, obviously pleased. "Heh, thanks. Sometimes I feel like I just look strange."

"Nah, you're good."

"You know, on Halloween I jumped off this ledge thingy, y'know, just enough for the coat-tails to flare up, and everyone said it was really cool..."

"I can imagine." I tried not to let my breathlessness show in my voice. This hill was getting the best of me...

Suddenly he groaned. "Are you serious!?"

I looked ahead to see a van parked on the sidewalk. "What the fuzz-diddly, man!?" We walked up to it, since it happened to be in our path. "Looks like it's from the fire department... So sayeth the license plate."

"Still don't trust it. Come on, let's go around."

Fortunately there was enough room between this van and a light pole to get past comfortably, if one at a time. He went first, with me picking my way carefully. I felt my foot plunge into a hole concealed by leaves after the second step, squeaking as I fell to my knees. Pain pricked at my ankle.

"Are you ok?" He knelt by me.

I took a deep breath, nodding. "Yeah, I think so. Sorry about that. Didn't see the hole." I added a small chuckle at the end, trying to make light of it.

"It's all right. Just didn't want you to be hurt." He stood and held out his hand for mine, ever the gentleman.

As I tried to get up, my ankle flared in protest. I sank back to the ground, a soft moan on my lips. "Ow..."

"What is it?" His voice sounded patient, worry edging in.

"I just twisted my ankle. I'll be all right in a few minutes." I forced myself to smile at him.

A sharp gleam in his eye, he proceeded to take the matter into his own hands right then and there. He reached over, grabbed the zipper pull on my boot, and promptly unzipped it. Then, holding my calf with one hand and my shoe with the other, he slid it off. I could feel my ankle begin to swell as soon as it was released from its faux fur and leather prison.

I leaned back against the van as he held my foot in his lap. "Tell me if this hurts, ok?"

I nodded. "You really don't have to— Ow!"

He pressed two fingers to my ankle. Taking note, he moved to another spot. I yelped in pain. "Would you quit that!?"

"I'm trying to make sure you didn't break anything." He pushed up the leg of my skinny jeans.

My face turned scarlet as he kept feeling over my injury. Not only was it mildly embarrassing, not to mention painful, but also I hadn't shaved my legs in about a week. I groaned as my embarrassment grew, which he took to be a vocalization of agony. "Whoa..."

"No, that one didn't hurt as much." I sighed. "If you'd let me put on my boot, we can keep going."

He shook his head. "I don't think you should walk on this." He pulled down my pants leg again and gingerly held my ankle between his gloved hands.

"B-but... How am I supposed to get back to my car? I can still drive. That's my left leg. Come on..."

He smiled mischievously. "We'll, I guess I'll just have to carry you then."

"Uh... What?"

He replaced my boot, zipping it up about halfway, and pulled me up. I balanced on my good foot as I made sure my purse wouldn't fall off of my body—provided it was a cross-body type deal, but still... He turned his back to me and crouched. "Hop on."

I inhaled sharply as I jumped on his back. My arms looped around his neck and he supported me under my knees. "Hm. You have lost weight, haven't you?"

Under normal circumstances I'd be insulted, but he knew about the special diet my mother and I were trying out. "Mm-hm."

"You look great, by the way."

"Oh... Thank you." To be honest, I didn't necessarily need to be on a diet, but I always had a bit of chub around my middle that I finally managed to shave off. At this point I continued to drink the fancy-schmancy protein drinks because they tasted good, plus they were healthy.

He carried me up the hill, across the railroad tracks, and past the library. I began to get a little concerned. "Um... Don't you need to rest?"

"Nope. I could carry you all day. Is your ankle hurting you at all?"

I buried my face in his neck. "A little... It's throbbing."

"Well, you did give it a nice sprain." He turned his head to look at me. "Unless you're in a hurry to get home, I could take care of it when we get back to my place."

"Yeah... We can do that."

I remained silent as he plodded on. My mind, however, would not stop whirling in circles. All I could think about was how angry my mother would be with me (we were supposed to go see a movie after this, but not anymore), how much my ankle hurt, and how close I was to him. Each time I breathed I smelled the cologne he donned this morning, which didn't help at all. I closed my eyes, deciding to concentrate on the last thought. I breathed deeply...

"I assume you're not going to make it to sword practice then for a while?"

His words drew me out of my thoughts. "Hm? Oh, no. Not until my ankle is completely healed. I'm not taking any chances on re-injuring it or anything."

"Good idea." He stopped. "I have to let you down for a minute."

I slid off his back to the ground, where I proceeded to lean against the decorative fence of some-one's yard. He rolled his shoulders and cracked his back. I giggled at him. "Didn't know I was that heavy."

"You're not. I just needed a quick break." He kept stretching.

"Thanks, for... For helping me." I limped up to him, wincing as I put weight on my left leg. "And for that, you deserve a hug." I wrapped my arms around him.

He returned the hug gently, as if he thought squeezing me too hard would cause me to break. "If you're gonna hug me, hug me like you mean it." I tightened my grip.

He pulled away. I noticed a light blush along his cheeks. "Let's keep going."

I jumped on his back again and he continued to walk. "Not much farther now." I huddled against him. "I'm cold."

"You're keeping me warm." He turned into the grocery store parking lot to cross it.

I knew he would walk across the parking lot, down a small alley, across the strip mall parking lot, behind some furniture store I didn't remember the name of, and then to the side entrance of the apartment complex he lived in. All in all, only five more minutes before we were out of the cold. I shivered against him, whimpering as it jostled my leg. "So c-cold..."

"We're nearly there."

It seemed forever until he finally stopped. "Here." He allowed me to slide off again. I slung my arm around his shoulders. He opened the door to his apartment and helped me in. "Dad!" He called.

This wasn't the first time I'd been in his apartment, and I still couldn't believe all the computer stuff around. His father worked with computers; fixing them, building them, hacking into them... You name it. Fortunately, though, it was kept tidy except for his father's organized mess of wires and motherboards.

He directed me to the couch. "Lie down."

I eased onto the cushions, swinging my injured leg up onto the sofa. He removed my boot again and gingerly placed a pillow beneath my foot. "Is that comfortable?" After I nodded to him, he turned to call for his father again.

Soon he came down the stairway. "What?"

"My friend sprained her ankle. Can you get the first aid kit for me?"

The older man nodded and turned to go back up the stairs. My friend looked down at me. "I'm gonna get you some ice."

I laid limply on the couch, my ankle throbbing painfully. Wincing, I shifted my weight so that I could wriggle out of my coat. I put it on the floor next to my other boot. "Oww..." I whimpered.

He soon returned with a bag of ice wrapped in a towel. "Here." He placed it over the injury. "How's it feeling?"

"Still hurts quite a bit." I smiled slightly. "But the ice is helping."

"And how are you feeling?"

"Eh..." I shrugged.

He chuckled, turning as he heard his dad. "Thanks, Dad." He took the kit and opened it up, fishing out an elastic bandage.

I propped myself up on my elbows. "You don't have to take that much care of me... I'll just be going home soon."

"I think it'd be best if your parents came for you..." He replaced the pillow with his lap under my foot. "I mean, I just don't want you to get into an accident."

My eyes narrowed. "I drive with my right foot."

"Please." He gazed at me, his eyes pleading with me.

I groaned. "Fine..."

He began bandaging my ankle, his warm hands dancing over my skin. I jumped as he passed over the more sensitive areas, but for the most part I managed to stay calm. He laid the bag of ice over the injury once he finished. "There."

"Thanks. I'm just sorry I fell."

"It's all right. Could've been a lot worse. I mean, you could've been hit by a car, or broken your leg, or... I don't know..."

I sat up, reaching out to him. "Enough. The main point is that I'm OK now."

"Yeah. Right."

I suddenly leaned forward and kissed him gently on the cheek. "My hero. Gallantly carrying the fair lady to safety after she accidentally injures herself."

His cheeks reddened and he looked at me incredulously. "Wha...?"

I had picked up my phone. "I'll text my mom."

He remained silent, absently running a finger along the contours of my foot. I finished typing out my text to her and sent it. As much as I wished I could stay like this for a while, I knew I couldn't. Oh well. Maybe some other day.

Thanks for reading! Reviews are appreciated.