So I think it might be like a year since I last posted. That being said, I logged on for the first time in a long time and was kind of overwhelmed by all the comments I've gotten on my various stories since then. So thanks guys :) Anyway, I went back through my files, and realized that I had already written this and just never uploaded it. It's a little bit short, but I figured I'd post it since it was done anyway, and I'm working on the next chapter. No promises, but I hope to get it out within a week or so. Anyway, here you go :)
Caitlin wound up giving in on the tube until the next night, and so Barry was sitting up in his room with Iris when Caitlin arrived. They had to help her get all the stuff inside, and then bring it up to Barry's room. She got it all set up, and then it was a matter of getting the tube in again.
"Can't I just use the IV?" he asked one last time.
"No, this will be easier and safer. Just relax."
She had him lie down this time, on his back, which he did not like at all. Iris took his hand and he squeezed down.
"Don't watch," Iris said as Barry craned his neck downwards to see. He let out a huff of breath and stared at the ceiling. He was twitchy and all tensed up.
"I don't like this," he mumbled.
"We know," Iris said, but she pressed her other hand onto his arm, comforting.
It was quick and painful, and Barry jerked on the bed, wincing and gripping hard on Iris's hand before Caitlin was finished.
"Can't I start tomorrow?" he asked as soon as it was done. "I feel sick – that hurt, it still hurts, can't we just wait until tomorrow, please."
"This won't make it hurt any more, Barry," Caitlin said.
"I'm having a bad day," he tried.
"That's not even true," Iris said, "you just don't want the nutrients. Relax, take a deep breath."
"Please not tonight," Barry said. He felt absolutely drained and he did not want that stuff in him.
"Take a deep breath, Barry," Caitlin said. She hooked up the IV.
"I hate this," he huffed.
"Ahuh," Iris said.
He clenched his teeth tight when the liquid started going down the tube. He swore he could feel it, and it made him squirm. He was going from irritated to extremely uncomfortable very quickly.
"Just relax," Iris said, and she gave his hand a squeeze.
Barry watched the liquid go down the tube, and his stomach churned.
Barry was late coming home the next day. No one knew where he was. It wasn't really that late, only around midnight, but Barry didn't normally just stay out like that, and just as Joe was starting to worry, there was a whoosh of air, and papers went flying.
Joe sighed, called Caitlin back, and then started up the stairs.
He opened the door to find Barry pulling on a T-shirt, already getting into bed. At the sound of the door he froze, and turned.
Joe crossed his arms in front of him.
Barry huffed and rolled his eyes. "I'm not sixteen," he said, "don't give me that look. I don't have a curfew."
"No," Joe said, "but it would be nice if you answered your phone."
Barry's cheeks got red, and he ducked his head, ignoring the comment. There were at least six calls from Caitlin on there, and a couple from Joe, one from Iris, and one from Cisco.
"Caitlin was here waiting for you," Joe said.
Barry felt a twinge of guilt and grimaced, but continued taking off his shoes and socks, not looking up.
"You need to do the IV before you go to bed."
Barry cringed. "It's late," he said.
"You're not supposed to be running."
Barry cringed again. He was already feeling a little dizzy, and it had only been a few blocks.
"Did you –"
"I had dinner with Iris," he said, irritated and rushed.
Joe paused. "I was going to say, did you want to wait for Caitlin?"
Barry looked up. "She's coming?"
"I just called her."
"But it's – it's late, isn't she aslee-"
"She was waiting for you."
"You owe her an apology." And Joe walked out.
And Barry felt like a chastised teenager again, and then realized he should, because of course Caitlin would wait for him, she would make sure he did the IV and she would make sure to be there for him because he had asked her to and this was Caitlin, of course she would wait up for him, it was only the second day, and the first hadn't exactly gone well. He started to fidget, looking at the pole and the IV lines set up there, and he pulled at the hem of his shirt, and he did not want to do this – he wanted to go to sleep.
And he sighed because it was his own fault, this whole thing. He shouldn't have gone out and wandered around so late. He shouldn't have procrastinated and hoped to avoid it, he shouldn't have ignored his calls, he shouldn't have run, he shouldn't have eaten so little in the first place. He was being childish, hoping that if he came in late they'd just give up on it until the next day, and they hadn't, and he should have known they wouldn't, and now he was stuck in his room at almost one in the morning and he was exhausted and a little dizzy and too scared and too guilty to go downstairs and get himself something to eat.
Caitlin was there about twenty minutes after Barry got home. She came upstairs and walked in and Barry was sitting on the bed and he blurted out, "Sorry."
She sighed, and moved past him, went and got the stuff and pulled it over. He watched her and cringed. She pulled it over and he squirmed away.
"Barry," she said.
"Wait," he said, cringing, hands up, "can we just… can we just talk? Please? Just for a little bit?"
Caitlin tilted her head, eyes hard. "We can talk while you have the IV line in."
But Barry jerked away when Caitlin tried to touch him and he realized belatedly that he was sweating.
"Wait, really – Cait, I'm sorry."
Caitlin sighed again. "Barry, this isn't about anything you did – you just really do need to have this in and –"
"I need to talk first," he blurted out, too fast, too panicked.
Caitlin paused, and her expression softened a little, concerned. "What's going on?" she asked.
"I – I just…" He didn't know what to say, what to do, he just didn't want that thing in him.
Caitlin's expression changed again. She took his shoulder in one hand, drawing him closer to her. "You need to have this in, Barry," she said, "I know you don't like it – we can talk while you have it i-"
"No," Barry said, grabbing her wrist when she reached for him, and he looked down and he was shaking. A wash of dizziness swept over him and he let go of her, shuddering.
I can't do this, he thought, and suddenly it was all he could think, I can't do this, I can't do this. He wanted to throw up. He felt sick, nauseous suddenly, and he went pale. He couldn't do this, he couldn't – couldn't let her fill him up, couldn't eat anymore. He felt horrible for the dinner he'd had already, and now more? No, no he couldn't. He pushed away from Caitlin, into the corner of the bed.
What am I doing? he thought, and he was staring at his hands, which were trembling. He was suddenly terrified of the IV line, and he didn't know why, didn't know why it was suddenly such a completely and utterly intolerable thought, but it was. He just couldn't do that.
"Barry," Caitlin said, and her hand was on his arm and he turned away, hiding his face.
What's the matter with me? He couldn't get a grip, couldn't get a handle on the thoughts, couldn't think straight at all.
"Barry," Caitlin said again, a little firmer this time, "Barry, it's alright."
He shook his head. It wasn't. He wanted to run out of the room, but Caitlin had his arm and he couldn't think, couldn't move.
"Barry, talk to me."
He shook his head. He couldn't talk. He didn't want to talk. He was frozen.
"It's OK," Caitlin said, "I'm right here. Talk to me."
"I can't do this."
"Of course you can. Just relax."
"No, Cait, I can't, I'm sorry, I'm not – I really can't tonight."
"Barry," she said slowly, "you have to do this. I know you don't want to, but you have to and you can. Take a deep breath."
So Barry took a deep breath but he couldn't think. "I'm dizzy," he mumbled.
Her eyes shot wide. "What do you mean you're dizzy?"
"I'm dizzy and I can't think," he said. "I don't want the IV and I can't think straight about it and I can't do this right now when I can't think straight and can't get a grip on it and I really don't want it but I know I need it but I can't right now." He was babbling and he knew it, but he didn't know what to do, didn't know how to make her understand. His head was spinning.
"Do you think you could eat a calorie bar for me?" Caitlin asked gently.
"I – I don't know," he said. Everything was still spinning, kept spinning while Caitlin dug one out and pressed a piece into his hand.
"Take a bite."
And Barry did. He took a bite. When she pressed another piece against his fingers he shook his head.
"Just eat until your head clears," Caitlin said, "just until you're ready to do the IV. You don't have to finish it."
"I don't –"
"Barry," Caitlin said, a strain to her voice, "please, please just trust me, OK? Just stop thinking for five minutes and do as I say and trust me."
And Barry did.
He ate the bar, just nibbling at the pieces, until his head wasn't spinning anymore and he could think straight enough to calm down, and then he let her put the IV in and let her talk him down while it was going on. And then it was finally done, and she was taking it out and he let out a long breath.
"I'm sorry," he said as she packed up the stuff.
"It's OK," she said.
"No, I'm sorry I stayed out late. I didn't think."
She let out a laugh, but she was smiling. "You never do."
He gave a hesitant smile back. "I'm sorry you're always running after me."
She shook her head. "Don't worry about me. You worry about you and getting better."
He nodded as she started to leave. "Caitlin," he said.
She turned. "Yeah?"
She smiled, and left.