So I've recently worked my way through the first season of The Flash and I've absolutely fallen in love with the pairing of Barry and Caitlin. So I'm going to take a shot at writing a fic that's pretty much canon for season one.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. This story title comes from the song "Swallowed in the Sea" by Coldplay.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
The steady beeping of Barry Allen's heart monitor reassuring Dr. Caitlin Snow that he was, in fact, alive. He had already crashed three times since Dr. Wells had brought him in. Of course, by now they knew it was because his heart was simply beating too fast. Still, it was unsettling every time it happened.
For now, though, things seemed to be pretty quiet. Dr. Wells was locked up in his office, doing God only knew what. Cisco was out on a dinner run. Given that Barry need to be watched twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, they had all been practically living at S.T.A.R. Labs. That suited Caitlin just fine, because she didn't think she could spend much time in her now silent apartment.
Shaking her head slightly, Caitlin pushed those thoughts away. She wouldn't think about her empty, silent apartment, or how she no longer had a fiancé to return home to. After the events of the explosion with the particle accelerator, she had narrowed her focus to one thing, and one thing only—and that was keeping Barry Allen alive.
Despite the seizures induced by his accident, Barry had actually recovered quickly. It was impressive and intrigued Caitlin to no end. She had spent the last three days studying how Barry's cells were regenerating, and she was absolutely fascinated by her new scientific discoveries. It was enough to keep her occupied and for that, Caitlin was grateful.
Keeping an eye on Barry Allen gave her life purpose. Perhaps it was unfair to put so much pressure on a man in a coma, but she couldn't help it. If she only focused on keeping Barry alive, she didn't have to worry about anything else.
Satisfied with the readings she was getting on the monitors, Caitlin made a few notes on her tablet before she set it aside. She took in Barry's appearance, making sure that his pallor was acceptable and he was comfortable, even though he probably wasn't aware of his current level of comfort.
He looked cold, Caitlin decided. So she grabbed an extra blanket from the supply room and brought it over to Barry's cot. She tucked it around him, making sure that there was no extra skin was left exposed.
In that moment, as she was bent over Barry, Caitlin caught a glimpse of his face and paused. For the first time in the four weeks he had been brought to S.T.A.R. Labs, Caitlin took a moment to really and truly study her patient.
Even though he was in a coma, Caitlin could tell that Barry Allen had an honest, open face. He probably smiled a lot, too. He seemed like the kind of guy that could find humor in any situation. She wondered what his eyes would be like if they were open and alert; Caitlin was willing to bet that Barry had a definite twinkle to his eyes.
There was a moment when Caitlin realized that Barry was actually very attractive. It wasn't something that you noticed right away—instead it was one of those things that someone would notice over time. The defined lines of his jaw, the messy, thick hair, the laughter lines she could see around his mouth—Caitlin knew that Barry Allen was very attractive.
Caitlin stepped back from Barry's bed and shook her head to rid herself of those thoughts. She felt almost guilty for noticing such a detail about another man… especially one that was lying comatose on a bed in the basement of an abandoned lab.
With one last look at Barry's vitals to make sure that he was stable, Caitlin stepped back from his bed. She had to get out of here and get her thoughts in order, and being around Barry Allen wasn't going to help matters.
They were coming up on three months since Barry had been put under their care, and not much had changed. Caitlin had managed to get Barry's seizures under control, but other than that, he had remained in a coma. No matter what Caitlin did, his body still remained in a constant state of healing.
Those first few days after she realized how attractive Barry was were difficult. Caitlin did everything she could in order to avoid him. She maintained the minimum of contact; she did nothing but make sure that Barry was in as good of health as he could be in.
She hated the guilt that clawed at her whenever she was around Barry. The poor man was in a coma, and he hadn't done a single thing wrong. This man didn't deserve all the pressure she put on him, but she couldn't help it.
Caitlin expertly inserted a needle into the vein of Barry's arm and extracted a sample of blood. She was so focused on her work that she didn't notice Cisco entering the room. When Caitlin realized she was standing there, she jumped and pressed a hand to her chest.
Cisco crossed his arms over his chest and leveled Caitlin with a serious look that wasn't often seen on his friendly face. "What's going on with you?" he demanded.
Caitlin, of course, was quick to deny that anything was wrong. "Nothing," she said. "Everything is fine."
"Yeah, I don't really believe that." Cisco joined Caitlin at the side of Barry's bed. Caitlin belatedly realized that she couldn't run away. She had to stay by Barry's bed and have this conversation with Cisco, because he wasn't going to let it go until she gave him some answers. "So what's up?"
"Nothing," Caitlin repeated. Her eyes latched on to Barry's still form and she didn't look away. Cisco followed her gaze and somehow knew what she was thinking. He had always been weirdly attuned to people's feelings, so she wasn't surprised.
Cisco squeezed Caitlin's arm. "You need some rest," he told her. He gestured to the room around them, at all of the additional monitors that Caitlin had hooked up to Barry. "You need to take a break, Caitlin."
"I can't," Caitlin said immediately. She had practically snapped at Cisco, and she instantly felt awful for it. Cisco had been nothing but supportive over the past three months, and he didn't deserve her attitude. Taking a deep breath, Caitlin dragged her fingers through her hair. "Barry needs to be monitored, Cisco. I have to keep an eye on him."
"Not tonight, you don't," Cisco stated. He took her arm and propelled her towards the door. "I'll stay with him. You're going to go home and get an actual night's rest. I think you need it, Caitlin."
Caitlin thought about protesting. It had been three months, but she still didn't want to go back to her apartment. Things were different now—she had packed up most of Ronnie's belongings, but it was impossible for her to remove every trace of his existence from her life. She was still recovering from the loss of her fiancé, and she probably would be for a very long time. For all intents and purposes, it appeared as though Caitlin was moving on.
The truth was, she didn't have to remember that she was supposed to be "healing" while she was in S.T.A.R. Labs. She forgot about all of her troubles when she was watching Barry, and she wanted desperately to cling to that feeling that she was doing something that mattered. Caitlin was beginning to rely on her time spent in the Cortex.
"Fine," Caitlin relented. She held a threatening finger up to Cisco's face. "But if anything happens to him while I'm gone, I will make you regret it."
Cisco held his hands up. "Dude. It'll be fine. He hasn't even done anything in over a month."
Caitlin narrowed her eyes at him. "And I know you have this new thing about cheese puffs. If you get that gross orange dust all over him…"
"Calm down." But Cisco was smiling, and it made Caitlin give him a barely-there smile in return. "I promise I won't get anything on him. By the way, don't knock the cheese puffs until you try them."
Spinning slowly in her chair, Caitlin glanced up from the book she was reading to check on Barry. It was almost reflex now, to check on him and make sure that he was doing alright, no matter what task she had previously been doing. Realizing that she wasn't going to get any further in her book, Caitlin set it aside and instead sat back to study Barry's face.
They had just passed the six month mark of Barry being in a coma, and things weren't showing much signs of changing. Caitlin was often the one who was in the Cortex with Barry, and she found herself wishing that she knew what Barry Allen was really like.
Sure, she had heard stories from Iris West and even Felicity (she had become somewhat friends with the two women). But Caitlin really wanted to get to know Barry Allen for herself. She couldn't explain the need to know his personality, what his litter quirks were and what made him the person that he was.
Glancing at the clock, Caitlin realized that Detective Joe West would be arriving soon. He visited every day, typically at the end of his work day. About three months into his visits, he started bringing food and coffee for Cisco and Caitlin. The detective claimed that they worked too hard and didn't eat enough or get enough rest.
(Caitlin knew that those comments were really directed at her. It wasn't often that they didn't see Cisco with some kind of snack or energy drink in hand, so they all knew that he was taking care of himself. Joe was very perceptive and while he knew what had happened to Caitlin—everyone knew that she was the girl whose fiancé died in the particle accelerator explosion—but he didn't ask questions. For that, she was grateful.)
Surprisingly, Caitlin found that she was actually kind of hungry. Her stomach growled as she wondered what kind of delicious food Joe was going to bring. Having raised two children on his own, he was actually quite good at cooking.
Right on time, Joe West entered the Cortex at S.T.A.R. Labs, carrying a dish that was obviously still warm. She smiled in greeting at the older man. He had kind of become a father figure to all of them over the last six months. Dr. Wells was a wonderful mentor, but he didn't watch over them the way that Joe did.
"I brought one of Barry's favorite foods," Joe said. He set the casserole dish on the table and pulled the tin foil off of it, revealing a delicious aroma that had Caitlin's stomach growling again. Curious, she stood up and wandered over to the table, eager to see what food Joe had brought.
"Barry's favorite?" Caitlin asked. It looked like there was salsa verde poured all over the top of the casserole, which was one of Caitlin's favorite types of salsa.
Joe chuckled and scooped out some of the food, putting it onto a plate for Caitlin. "Well, one of Barry's favorites. The kid loves food. These are enchiladas, by the way."
"Well it looks fantastic." Caitlin eagerly pulled the plate towards her and dug in. Joe filled his own plate as well, but instead of eating, he watched Caitlin. She paused with her third forkful halfway to her mouth. "What?"
Joe shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing. I think this is just the first time I've seen you excited about food."
Caitlin bit her lip and looked down at her plate. She pushed the food around with her fork, contemplating her answer. "I guess my appetite has come back," she stated as matter-of-factly as she could.
"It's okay, you know," Joe said. "To begin to move on."
Caitlin sucked in a sharp breath and stared down at her plate. Was that what was happening? Was she moving on? It was hard to acknowledge such a concept, but she supposed it started happening without her noticing.
Pressing her lips together, Caitlin swallowed hard in order to stop the sudden tears that sprang to her eyes. When she was certain that she wasn't going to cry, Caitlin sucked in a deep, calming breath and finally looked back at Joe.
His eyes were kind, and he nodded his head. She didn't need to say anything else, because he understood. Joe looked over Caitlin's shoulder to where Barry was laying still on his bed. He sighed heavily, and Caitlin pushed her fork across her plate.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
Joe's eyes darted back to her face. "What for?" he asked in a shocked voice.
"For not figuring out how to make him better." It was one of the things that frustrated her the most. She was part of the team that was responsible for the explosion with the particle accelerator. No matter the fact that it didn't make much sense, Caitlin felt partly responsible for the state that Barry was in.
"Dr. Snow." Joe waited until Caitlin looked back at him. "It's not your fault. Actually, I wanted to thank you. Without you, Barry might not even be alive right now."
Caitlin bit her lip but didn't say anything else. She didn't feel like she had saved Barry Allen, but she was going to do everything in her power to make sure that he would wake up.
"Caitlin, please get some rest." Cisco's normally open and friendly face was very serious, but he had reason to be. It had been just over eight and half months since Barry had fallen into a coma, and Caitlin hadn't stopped since then. Cisco was getting really worried about her.
Caitlin barely managed a smile, and she didn't look up from the tablet that she was studying. It was Barry's most recent readings, and she was determined to find a change in them. "I'll be fine, Cisco," she said. "I promise I'll get some rest."
Cisco made a noise of disbelief but left the Cortex anyway. Caitlin was too stubborn to argue with, so he figured he might as well quit while he was ahead. Caitlin didn't look up from the tablet until she was sure that he was gone.
She set the tablet aside and sat in the chair by Barry's bed. It was frustrating that it had been over eight months and nothing had changed. There had been some success when they had gotten his seizures under control, but Caitlin still had no idea how to wake him up.
Caitlin sighed and ran her fingers through her hair as she studied Barry's still form. Despite the professional façade she put up when others were around, her heart was breaking for Barry Allen. He didn't deserve this. None of them did.
Caitlin couldn't stop herself from reaching out and touching the back of Barry's hand. This was the most physical contact Caitlin had allowed herself with a human (other than the occasional hug Cisco forced upon her). She had spent so much time of the past eight and a half months trying not to feel, but suddenly, she couldn't take it anymore.
One tear rolled down Caitlin's cheek, and it was quickly followed by another. She took Barry's hand fully in her own and laced their fingers together, holding on tightly. It was as if he was her anchor as she fell apart.
Caitlin sat beside Barry's bed, grasping his hand tightly in her own as she cried. She was sobbing so hard that her body was shaking and silent gasps kept escaping from between her lips. Caitlin didn't bother to wipe her tears away. Instead, she pressed her forehead to Barry's mattress and continued to sob.
She didn't know how long she sat there, holding Barry's hand and crying. Eventually, she must have tired herself out and fallen asleep. When Caitlin woke up, it was in the early hours of the morning and she was still slumped over Barry's bed.
Her hand was still tucked in his, and she could have sworn that his fingers were curled around hers.
Caitlin tried not to watch as Barry pulled his sweatshirt over his head. Sure, the lightning must have given him a very impressive six pack, but that didn't mean she should stand there and stare at him the way that she was. She tried to tell herself that she was just being a good doctor and that she was doing nothing more than observing her patient, but that sounded like a weak lie even to herself.
So Caitlin turned away from the exam room just as Barry called her name. Turning on her heel, Caitlin went back into the room and tried to keep her face as blank as possible. "Yes, Mr. Allen?" she asked.
"Please, call me Barry." He gave her an easy, open smile—the kind of smile she had always imagined him having. "And I just wanted to say thank you."
Caitlin leaned against the exam table. "For what?"
Barry joined her by leaning on the table next to her. Their shoulders brushed, and Caitlin tried to ignore the sudden tingle that shot down her arm. "For helping me," Barry said. "For keeping an eye on me for the past nine months. It couldn't have been very easy."
"I didn't have much else to do," Caitlin stated. She tried to brush off Barry's praise, because, quite frankly, it made her uncomfortable. "It's not like I have much of a life, anyway."
Barry cleared his throat and chose not to address the statement. Still, he directed that smile towards her once again. "Well, I'm going to thank you anyway."
Then, to Caitlin's complete and utter surprise, Barry's arms were wrapped around her and he was holding her tightly against him. For what was only a few seconds, Caitlin remained tense. For some unexplainable reason, Caitlin suddenly relaxed in Barry's arm and slid her arms around his neck, resting her head against his chest.
The embrace lasted longer than it should have. Caitlin couldn't explain it, and neither could Barry. It made Caitlin feel better, somehow.
Barry pulled away and squeezed Caitlin's shoulder. He smiled at her and then left the exam room, leaving Caitlin alone with her thoughts.
She had a feeling that Barry Allen was going to change her life.
I'm hoping to delve more into The Flash universe soon, because I'm really enjoying it so far. Thanks for reading!