He wakes up in the middle of the night and has to fumble for the bottle of pills he keeps by his bed.
He hates it sometimes, that he’s not the way he used to be. That just sleeping on his back for too long causes the nerves to flare up, that running down the block starts a steady throb in his lower back that never quite goes away.
He doesn’t even bother with water anymore, taking two of the painkillers dry, before turning onto his stomach. He used to go the whole night in a near coma, content and comfortable. Now he has to wait for the medication to not fully kick in until he can get any semblance of rest.
His dad knows it’s not the same. It kills him that it kills his dad. Because he treats him differently now, more carefully. He only went to two therapy sessions before he figured there wasn’t much that they could help him with he wasn’t doing on his own. His dad will bring it up sometimes, when he rubs his chest after practice or his swings aren’t quite what they used to be because he can’t twist his back the way he did before. It hurts when his dad will take the cases of beer from him and tells him to go clean the counter while he puts them in the back room, because his dad isn’t what he used to be either. It hurts that he’s the one supposed to be taking over the work, but he can’t.
Tsuna asks how he’s doing, and he tells him it’s better. Healing hurts, he knows that better than anybody, after years of fractured wrists and scraped knees and baseballs to the face. But it doesn’t really get better, it just gets easier to tolerate. He’s gotten used to the chronic pain, almost expects the muscles and nerves to act up more often than not. The scars have healed over, still there, but now just fleshy pink marks that’ll fade into the backdrop like all the others. It’s the pain that doesn’t go away, it’s the memory of knowing he wasn’t always like this.
He closes his eyes and sinks into the pillow, remembering what it was like before he messed it all up.