Title: You Put Your Arms Around Me and I'm Home
A/N: Title taken from the song "Arms" by Christina Perri. Thank you to Tumblr user cmoolas for requesting this!
"Hugging is good medicine. It transfers energy and gives the person hugged an emotional lift. Scientists say that hugging is a form of communication because it can say things you don't have words for. And the nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can't give one without getting one." ~unknown
Barry found her sitting on the tail of an ambulance, talking with a cop he hadn't really spoken to much before. He couldn't see anything physically wrong with her, much to his relief. The shock blanket the paramedics had given to her was still folded across her lap, and if the rapid notes that the cop was taking was anything to go by, Barry would say that she was recounting in extreme detail everything that had occurred.
Basically, he was a mess compared to her.
He waited patiently off to the side, and she noticed him only moments later. She said something to the officer, who dismissed her with a nod of her head, and walked slowly over to where he stood.
He didn't hesitate to wrap his arms around her shoulders, inhaling sharply when her tight shoulders relaxed in his arms.
He opened his mouth to speak, but she beat him to the punch.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
Confused, Barry pulled away, keeping his hands on her shoulders. He searched her eyes, but all he saw was genuine remorse. "What could you possibly have to be sorry for? I'm the one who messed up."
Caitlin blinked, like he was the one surprising her, not the other way around. "I'm sorry that I had to distract from your training. You were working so hard to try to find a way to defeat the man in the yellow, and now I've set you back."
Barry gripped her shoulders a little tighter. "Caitlin… you're not a distraction."
She seemed to sag under his gaze. "God, maybe if I were a little less helpless you wouldn't have had to get involved at all," she paused to drag a hand down her face. "I basically just stood there and let them take me."
Barry shook his head, at a loss for words. How could she possibly think she was helpless? She was one of the strongest people he knew.
So he told her so.
Caitlin barked out an abrupt laugh but it was anything but warm. "I've been so… out of it lately. I'm anything but strong at the moment. Just everything with you and Ronnie has been messing with my head and I let myself get careless."
It didn't escape him that she included him on her list of things distracting her but he decided that it wasn't the time to point that out.
"You're kidding right?" Barry's hands slid down her arms and he loosely grasped hers. "Most people would be freaking out if they'd gotten kidnapped by known criminals."
Her lips quirked up so slightly that he almost didn't catch it.
"I think after all that I've seen, you couldn't exactly categorize me under 'most people,'" she replied, her tone regaining some of the teasing she reserved just for him.
Barry laughed. "No I suppose not," he admitted. "But Cisco told me about the bomb and the trip wire. You were literally sitting on top of a bomb and you don't seem the least bit fazed."
Caitlin pursed her lips and shrugged, looking just as confused as he was. "Trust me I was plenty scared, just…"
"Just what?" He watched her eyebrows knit together, as though she was trying to piece through it as well.
"I wasn't really… thinking about me," she explained.
She paused for a minute to meet his eyes. "I was thinking of you. I was worrying about you."
An overwhelming wave of gratitude and affection rushed over him so quickly that the only logical thing to do seemed to be to pull her into a hug for the second time that evening.