based off a prompt taken from otpprompts . tumblr . com : 'Imagine person A is FtM trans and is getting horrible period cramps. So while A is sleeping, B stays up and searches the internet for what to do to make person A feel better and not hurt so bad.'
warnings for mentions of past violence
Freddie's not an idiot. He knows that when Alec pulls away whilst they're hugging, his hand flying immediately to his stomach, to the same spot where he was stabbed all those years ago, that something's up.
"What? What is it?" he says, immediately.
Alec just shakes his head. "It's nothing. Don't worry about it."
Freddie leans back against the kitchen counter. "Alec, if you're hurting, I want to help you. I'm not going to leave you in pain like that."
Alec shakes his head again. "Seriously. Don't worry about it."
"Telling me not to worry about it makes me worry about it more, funnily enough." Alec laughs at that, though the motion pulls his hand up to his stomach again. "Seriously, Alec."
Alec shrugs. "I'm okay. It's not—it's not that, I promise. It's something else. I don't really want to talk about it."
He turns away, and that's the end of that.
It takes three more encounters like this over the next two days before Freddie decides to take matters into his own hands.
Of course, every time he tries to bring it up, Alec shuts down the conversation, so Freddie has to find an alternative.
The alternative being?
Shuffling his way to the person who knows Alec best in this world and doing his best to convince her to help him.
After the usual lecture from Thea regarding the fact that she may be Alec's sister, but Freddie's the one who loves him most in the world, and never forget it, Freddie finally gets the chance to speak.
He swallows, coating his throat so the words he's about to speak aren't so raw. "I think Alec needs to see the GP."
Thea doesn't react to that, just raises her eyebrows and asks, "Oh? Why's that?"
Freddie sighs. "He's—irritable. And he says that the stab wound isn't hurting him, but he keeps holding his stomach and I don't really believe him, to be honest. Would you try talking to him about it?"
Thea looks around then; first at Freddie, then at the clock on the wall, then at the calendar, then back at Freddie, then bursts out laughing. "Well, that makes sense."
Freddie locks eyes with her. "What? What makes sense?"
Thea slips a hand into her pocket, then pulls it out and holds up a small rectangular packet in front of his face. "Freddie. You know what this is?"
Thea laughs again. "Right. Okay." She rips open the packet to reveal a yellow, plastic thing with a string dangling off the end of it. "This, Freddie, is a tampon. I'm guessing you know what those are?"
Freddie nods. "I definitely do, Thea. But why are you—oh." He puts a hand over his eyes, wondering why he hadn't realised it sooner. "He's on his period, isn't he?"
Freddie removes his hand to see Thea nodding at him. "Yup. Though the stomach thing is a little surprising if I'm honest."
He narrows his eyes at her. "Why?"
"Oh, it's nothing to worry about, really."
If he could narrow his eyes even further, he would have. "Seriously, Spencer. If there's something up with Alec, I want to know. Please."
Thea sighs. "It's really nothing. The stomach pains are routine, really; I know Alec's the only one with actual experience, but period pain generally feels like you're being stabbed in the stomach. Lucky me, being pregnant and all—haven't had one in the last couple of years." She pauses, sighing again. "No, it's just surprising because it's not generally his stomach. It's usually his back that hurts, and if it hurts enough for him to complain about, then it's worse than usual. But sometimes those things happen. I'm sure it's nothing, and if he doesn't want to talk about it, you can't force him." She smiles. "Knowing my brother, he's probably got it all under control."
Freddie shakes his head. "I—I just don't like seeing him in pain. If there's anything I can do—"
"Oh, I wouldn't know about that," Thea replies. "Back there, you just kind of grin and bear it." She shrugs. "I'm sure there are places where you can find remedies and stuff like that."
And so that's how Freddie finds himself sitting at the computer on one of those wonderful nights when he's too scared of his own mind to fall asleep, just—searching.
Wondering whether green tea is an appropriate substitute for chamomile—Alec deserves so much better but Freddie doesn't have the strength to go out—working out when the best time to boil a kettle of water is so that no one will see and think that he's at risk to himself again.
He'll never be perfect, really—but he can try his best. For Alec, he has to.
Freddie lays it all out on the coffee table, mentally checking everything over again. Chamomile tea, made from a box kindly donated by one of Adam's many cousins, hot water bottle, recently filled up to the brim from the kettle—and no, he didn't burn himself, thank you very much—and a bowl of toffee ice cream, scooped from the rarely tapped pot at the very back of the freezer. He says rarely tapped because though Alec is partial to said ice cream, the chef in him usually wins over his sweet tooth.
If there is a day for the sweet tooth to win, it is today.
After that's all done, Freddie sits back down on the sofa, leans back, and waits for Alec to come home from work. Judging by the clock, it shouldn't be too long now—
The sound of the key in the lock calls him to attention, snapping up on reflex. His fingers twist around one another, waiting for Alec to come in.
Alec's head pops around the door. "What are you doing in—what's that?" he says, noticing the assortment on the table. He takes a moment to scan his eyes over the items, then his face seems to melt. "Oh, Freddie—you didn't have to do that."
Freddie shakes his head. "I wanted to. I don't like seeing you hurt."
Alec smiles, stepping through the doorway. Freddie taps his lap twice, and Alec crosses the room and settles there. The weight is always unfamiliar, but unwelcome—never unwelcome. How could Alec ever be unwelcome?
Freddie reaches around and starts massaging Alec's stomach. Alec practically moans and leans back into him, and given that Alec doesn't relax easily, Freddie knows that he's done right.
Alec places the hot water bottle over his stomach, then takes up the ice cream from the table. "My goodness, I needed this right now," he says, sticking a spoonful in his mouth. "You always know what I need. You always did."
Freddie smiles. "Is any of this helping?"
Alec nods. "All of it. All of it is helping, and I don't know how you figured out it was this, but I'm so glad you did, and my goodness, I love you. I love you so much."
"I love you too," Freddie replies. "And for the record, I only knew because Thea tipped me off."
Alec laughs at that, taking another mouthful of ice cream. "I should have known. Though I'm not sure that she'd think to do all of this," he muses.
"She didn't. I did this myself. Had to Google it and everything."
Alec laughs again. "And this is why I fell in love with you."
That sets Freddie off too, and even though he knows he hasn't made the pain disappear completely, knowing that he's helped somewhat makes him happy enough.