Barry/Eddie, 2294 words, pg-rated
can be read as a standalone. prompted by missrainbowkami on tumblr.
Slept In Last Night's Clothes
He barely manages to stifle a yawn as the heavy metal door to his lab opens, his best friend soon filling his blurred field of vision. In her hand she balances a carton with two? three? coffees, he's not sure.
"Not you too," Iris says as he rubs his eyes, her heels tapping off the floor a little too loud, his ears more sensitive now that he's running on no sleep at all. The centrifuge grinds overtime to his left, the fan next to the overheated printer squeaking every few minutes, the steady rap of the rain to the skylight subtly offbeat.
He grimaces. "Twelve victims also means twelve crime scenes."
Iris sighs, her lips set in a tight line, but she keeps any comments to herself. She knows this drill. Serial killer cases are the worst for small precincts like theirs; they're equipped to handle burglaries, murders, hell, even the odd metahuman or two, but twelve people all killed by the same man over a ten-year timespan, that's a little above any of their pay grades.
Three days ago they found a body half buried over a much older one, and a few hours later three other precincts were funneling their information – and case files – into their station. No detective in their right mind ever wanted to catch a case like this. Not even the ones in it for the glory.
He snaps off his gloves, Iris sidling a fresh cup of coffee his way. "Thank you," he breathes, gratitude spreading all throughout his limbs. He's had five of those high-calorie protein bars Cisco whips up for him at the lab, but they fail to provide his body with what it craved the most. Sleep.
Luckily there's Iris West, with her ever so sharp powers of deduction, bringing by decent coffee when they need it the most, even though she hasn't worked at Jitters for a while. She's a full-fledged reporter now, credentials and all, but does him the courtesy of not taking advantage of his weakened state to pry for details on the case.
He glimpses the second cup Iris carried inside, his brain working at half speed. "Who's that for?"
"Eddie. I can't find him."
He yawns, nodding. "I'll take it to him."
Iris reaches out a hand and cards her fingers through his hair, the gesture thoughtful enough to get him to close his eyes for a few blissful moments. "I really wish you'd get some sleep."
He breathes in and stands up, forcing his head to spin a few times. He can't fall asleep. "We'll sleep–"
"–once the case is closed," Iris concludes, rolling her eyes. "I got that. But soon none of you are going to be thinking straight anymore."
"As long as you keep supplying caffeine and pep talks," –he kisses Iris' cheek–, "we'll be just fine."
Iris scoffs, though fails to hide the twinkle in her eyes. "Go find your boyfriend before you fall asleep standing."
He chuckles and shakes his head, somewhat unsteady on his legs as follows Iris outside. He walks her down to the elevators, two cups of coffee in hand now, and gratefully accepts one of her tight hugs, which she somehow manages to lace with judgement as well – they'd probably all do well taking better care of themselves. Once this case breaks the workload will be a lot more intense than this, though probably not so extensive.
He catches sight of Joe rubbing at his eyes in the bullpen, nursing his own fresh cup of coffee. Eddie's jacket hangs draped over his chair, his desk otherwise empty. Luckily he knows where his boyfriend's hiding; he loses his ability to focus in crowded rooms the more sleep he loses, so he'd secluded himself to the old file room in the basement, a dark and cold place, but quiet.
The heat from the coffee cups sinks steadily into his skin as he descends into the basement, temperature dropping by a few degrees, the ceiling claustrophobically low – the basement was part of the original building, torn down decades ago to make room for the twelfth precinct. Somehow the renovations hadn't included this part of the building. Now it was only used for storage of the janitor's supplies, old solved cases, and cold cases.
"Eddie?" he calls, the small door at the end of the darkened hallway ajar, a single beam of light seeping through. "Iris brought some–" He lowers the cups to his sides, eyes falling to Eddie as soon as he pushes into the room, his boyfriend curled up on top of some old blankets on the floor, fast asleep and softly snoring.
"–coffee," he huffs a laugh, taking a quick sip of his. So that's why he'd disappeared down here, he thinks, though rationally he knows Eddie's just catching what little sleep he can before he starts working again.
Looking around the room there's a bright light over a small desk directly behind Eddie, where he'd been reading through his half of the case files; he puts the coffees on top of Eddie's notes and crouches down next to him, checking his watch – counting down from thirty minutes, a little power nap to get him through the rest of the day. He's seen Eddie take one often enough to know they never leave him satisfied or rested enough, even though Eddie argues that's not the point; the point was to get back to work. But if Eddie's not sharp he might miss something, and he'd take the blame should this case fall apart.
So he reaches for Eddie's left hand, and turns off the alarm, gently coaxing his fingers through Eddie's hair once he's finished. Part of him is tempted to lie down next to Eddie, pull an arm around him, set an alarm for an hour from now, but he'd never hear the end of that; Eddie hates power naps, but even he has come to realize their benefits. Still, it's nice to see him so unguarded, unburdened by the job and not worried about him being The Flash. This is just Eddie, his Eddie. They've come such a long way.
"Hey," Joe's voice sounds behind him. "You okay?"
"Yeah." He stands up, knees cracking. Everyone knows about him and Eddie, but they've both made it perfectly clear to each other that they'd remain professional when on the job. This, however, definitely counts as special circumstances. "Just making sure he gets some sleep."
Walking over to Joe it's clear the other man is in need of sleep as well; they really need a break in this case, or they're all going to burn out before long. "I got through all the evidence. Computer should have results any moment."
Joe points at Eddie. "He's gonna kick your ass when he wakes up."
"Probably." He smiles fondly, crossing his arms over his chest. "There's a cot up in the lab, if you need it."
"Yeah, okay," Joe concedes without much of a fight. "You wake me if–"
He nods before Joe has to say it. If there's a break in the case he'll wake up Joe and Eddie. "I promise."
Watching Joe leave the file room he shrugs out of his jacket, even though he could use the extra layer. He turns and carefully drapes it over Eddie, who stirs slightly at the added warmth, but doesn't wake up. He should be in a proper bed, their bed, after a decent meal and a hot shower. But he doubts they'll be seeing the inside of their apartment any time soon.
He downs his coffee in a few quick gulps, as well as Eddie's, and seats himself behind the small desk. Eddie's gotten through one-fifth of the case files; witness statements, arrest reports, call logs – with another protein bar he can get through these in about five minutes. He looks at Eddie with one quick glance over his shoulder; he finished his work upstairs, all the evidence has been processed and double-checked. Least he can do is lend a hand now.
As he predicted, he gets through the files in record time, four minutes and thirty-seven seconds to be precise, having made ample notes for Eddie to reference later; he leaves the files of note on top of the pile.
He heads up to his lab again, where Joe lies snoring heavily on the cot he keeps handy; he hasn't actually used it himself since his accident, but he needs to keep up appearances. One by one he adds the printed lab reports to the appropriate case files, putting aside a pile of copies for Eddie, Joe, one copy everyone can look at, and last but not least, one for Captain Singh. The work goes slow, his metabolism burnt through whatever glucose remained in his bloodstream, sleep nipping at the corners of his eyes.
Taking a few deep breaths he deposits the files in all the right places, and with twenty minutes to spare he races over to Jitters, to make sure Eddie has one less reason to kick his ass. He won't like that he let him sleep longer, but it'll pay off.
One hour after he found Eddie down in the basement he's back in the room, kneeling down next to him.
"Eddie," he calls, shaking at one of Eddie's shoulders. "Eddie, wake up."
Eddie groans and twists his face in the old raggy blankets.
"No, babe," –he draws a hand down Eddie's spine, pulls a little closer– "It's time to get up."
It takes a good few moments for Eddie to stir again, to lift his head off the blankets and open his eyes; he clears his throat, turns around, and sits up, all with great difficulty. There's a good reason why Eddie hates power naps.
"Bar?" Eddie mumbles.
He chuckles. "Rise and shine, detective pretty boy."
"Don't call me that," Eddie snaps, rubbing the back of his neck. "How long was I out?"
"Just an hour, I swear."
"You know I don't like it when you–" Eddie looks up, straight at the big cup of coffee he'd strategically placed between their bodies. Eddie's beautiful blue eyes find his, narrow, and then, with a small huff but a genuine smile, Eddie accepts the coffee. "Thanks, babe."
"Joe's been out upstairs for the past hour," he says, as if he needs more of a defense should Eddie still decide he let him sleep too long. He still looks like hell, much like himself, he presumes, but it's an hour of sleep to run on he didn't have before.
He shrugs, "Protein bars and caffeine," and pulls Eddie up from the ground.
Eddie glances at the desk, eyes ticking over the notes he added to.
"Top three are the ones you want." He taps a finger at the pile of files. "My reports are on your desk."
And instead of a reprimand, instead of another sleep-deprived shouting match about how he's the detective, not him, and how putting himself in danger when he's wearing the suit is one thing, but police work an entirely different matter, about how he might heal rapidly and run fast he's still just a forensic specialist, not a cop – instead of all that Eddie simply disregards his coffee on the desk, reaches a hand around his neck, and pulls him down into a kiss.
He graces into it without thinking, without really being capable to in spite of sleep deprivation, his lips part for Eddie without question, an arm at his waist locking them tighter together, a kiss that's hard and dirty yet somehow slow, more teeth than tongues and nipping at each other's lips.
His back hits the wall, Eddie gently easing off, slowing down their mouths.
"When we close this case," –a finger traces down his neck– "I'm taking you somewhere nice."
"Yeah?" he mutters to bruised lips, his eyes closed, no strength left in him to open them again.
Open-mouthed kisses along his jaw, strong arms coming around to the small of his back. "Right after we both sleep for a few days."
"That sounds nice."
"Yeah," Eddie breathes, nuzzling his neck. "Manchiano's."
"Hmm," he hums, some distant image of a small Italian place playing behind his eyelids.
A hand grabs around his ass. "Red wine over dinner."
"Red wine makes you horny," he whispers, winding a hand through Eddie's thick blond hair.
"Exactly," Eddie says softly.
He bites playfully at Eddie's ear. "Sounds too good to be true."
When we close the case sounds almost like a dream to him, a fledgling fantasy not considered carefully enough. He has no forensics, Eddie has few leads to follow up on; this dream of theirs might still be a long way off. But it's nice to know Eddie's been thinking about it too – if either of them had it in them he's certain they'd get undressed now, bump mouth hard and clumsy, grab for parts of each other's bodies in the stark black room, he'd feel Eddie move inside him and bite down in his shoulder as he came.
"Come on." Eddie tugs at his shoulder, his voice a distant echo in dreams of his own. "Your turn."
"No, I'm fine," he complains, though his voice lacks conviction and his body follows on autopilot. He lies down on the mess of old blankets, already lost the heat Eddie's body provided, and lays down his head for the first time in what seems an eternity.
"One hour, babe. I'll be here," is one of the last things he hears before falling asleep, a hand carding through his hair, lips to his forehead, a promise of what's to come.