A/N: It's been aaaages since I've produced a fics-for-icons fic, but here it is! Prompt requested by the lovely iwasalwaysaromantic, who wanted to see a teen westallen fic where teen Barry takes care of drunk teen Iris after they've switched rooms so she could sneak out after curfew. I hope you enjoy!
*Many thanks to sendtherain for beta'ing. :)
*I own nothing. No copyright infringement intended.
Barry Allen was not a rule breaker.
In kindergarten, while other kids were sneaking candy from the teacher's desk drawer when she stepped out of the room, he refused. When the 'no phones' policy was implemented in school, he turned his all the way off and kept it zipped up in his backpack in his locker all day long. When fifteen and a half was declared the age you could start temp driving, Barry refused Joe's offer just a year prior to practice in cemeteries and empty parking lots and country roads, even with his insistence that "I'm a cop, Barry. No one is going to pull you over."
Because, nope, he was not a rule breaker. He took rules very seriously.
The few times he had actually broken rules were all under Iris' influence, and he made her pinkie swear she'd never tell a soul, especially when things went awry. Like when Iris had convinced him to try a cigarette with her at the last party they'd attended, and he'd promptly choked on the stuff and sworn never again.
So, when Joe said 8pm was curfew, 8pm was curfew. Barry had no problem with that because truthfully, he wasn't a very social person – except with Joe and Iris, of course. He read, he researched, he conducted experiments, he played chess, all for fun. The only way he'd find himself at a party was if Iris pushed him all the way there.
Tonight was not one of those nights.
"Come on, Barry," she'd pleaded earlier. "I did not convince my dad to switch our rooms due to your hatred of street noises for you to bail on me when I want to sneak out of the house."
He looked up at her and narrowed his eyes.
"That was your idea, not mine. I just…went along with it."
"Rules are there for a reason, Iris," he said, trying to refocus on his book, which was near impossible with Iris sitting on his bed just inches away from his knee.
"Eight pm is a ridiculous curfew, Barry Allen, and you know it."
He looked up at her again and sighed, flipping his book over his leg to read when the conversation had concluded.
"I don't understand why we can't just stay in, Iris. We see people all day long. And come summer, there will be plenty of parties that I will reluctantly let you drag me to."
"You're gonna wait till summer to go to a party, Bear?" She placed her hands on her hips and raised an eyebrow.
He shrugged, unmoved by her theatrics.
She gawked. "That's not till next year!"
"I like it being just the two of us now," he defended.
He felt a little embarrassed saying that, especially since she appeared to be opposed to it always being just them.
"Who else gets to say they hang out with their best friend every night of the week?"
Iris bit her bottom lip, and he knew he'd unintentionally hit her with a guilt trip.
"Barry, it's not that I don't want to hang out with you. I love hanging out with you. But…don't you think we should be hanging out with each other…with other people too?"
We wouldn't be hanging out together though, he wanted to respond. I'd be standing in the corner playing with the house dog, and you'd be in the middle of a crowd of people having the time of your life.
"If you want to go, Iris, then go," he said instead.
She pouted and folded her arms.
"Don't be like that, Barry. Don't try and make me feel guilty about wanting to have fun."
He held back a huff, but she was starting to test his patience.
So, he stood up, walked to the door and opened it for her.
"I'll cover for you," he said.
Annoyed, she stood up and walked over to him.
"So what, now you're kicking me out of your room? Just a week ago it was my room, remember?"
"How could I forget?"
She stomped out, slamming the door to her room when she got there. The next noise he heard from her was the open and shut of her window before she slithered down the side of the house. He didn't look out to see her go, but he listened carefully for the sound of her shoes hitting the ground and breathed easier once she ran down the block.
Annoyed with himself and her, he went to bed at 8:30pm. He could've probably spent the evening playing a game or watching a movie with Joe, but there was a reason Iris tended to call him blabbermouth. He was afraid he might slip about Iris' whereabouts. Joe was the one person that could override Iris to him, especially if it was something his subconscious wasn't sure was all that necessary to keep secret. He feared this might be one of those things.
And of course, it would devastate and infuriate Iris if he told Joe where she was, deliberately violating her trust and the secrecy he'd vowed. But she was spending more and more time with the popular crowd, and he was getting more and more annoyed every time she enthusiastically tried to rope him into it. Like she pitied him for not being able to achieve what she could. Which he knew wasn't true, but he couldn't help what he felt. It was bad enough he didn't think she shared his deeper feelings, but having to share her with other people that couldn't care less about him was irritating on a whole other level.
Sleep solved a lot of anxiety for him though, so he figured an early bedtime would allow him to keep his secret at the very least and maybe even improve his mood.
At just after midnight, Barry heard a thumping noise along the side of the house. He thought he was imagining it, that it was coming out of some sort of dream, but it came a second time and then a third. When it was accompanied by some huffing and grunting and whining, he knew it was no dream. His eyes snapped open, and he sat straight up just as Iris tumbled over the side of his window into his bedroom on the floor.
"Ow," came the muffled sound from where she lay, seemingly immovable from her awkward position.
"Iris?" he whispered, pulling back the covers and climbing out of bed.
"Barry?" She blinked and managed to look up at him. "What are you doing in my bedroom?"
"I'm not-" He stopped and took in the stench radiating off of her. "Iris, are you drunk?"
"Oh my God." He ran a hand through his hair.
He couldn't decide whether he was relieved she hadn't convinced him to go or whether he should've tried harder to get her to stay so she could avoid her current condition.
"I think I'm just gonna sleep here, Bear," she said, closing her eyes.
"No. No. Mm-mm." He went over to her and picked her up easily.
"Barryyyy," she whined. "What are you do-"
He put a finger to her lips to silence her.
"If you wake up your dad, we're both going to be grounded until we graduate."
"Why will you be grounded?" she asked beneath his finger.
"Because I'm an accomplice," he whispered harshly.
Slowly, she pulled his finger away. "I'm sorry, Barry," she said.
He sighed. She wouldn't remember this in the morning. Maybe he should relish in the apology.
"It's all right. Just…" He adjusted her weight in his arms, then quietly crept across his room to the door. "Don't say anything."
She nodded and pursed her lips as he stepped out into the hall.
"Ohhh, Barry," she whispered hurriedly.
"Iris, shh, what is it?"
As if in response, her eyes widened and her hand went to her mouth.
He sped-walk as quietly as he could to the bathroom just in time for her to empty the contents of her stomach into the toilet. He held her hair back until she finished.
"God, I feel so sick." She leaned back against the bathtub. "I'm never having another drink again."
He doubted that, especially with her current crush having the biggest party of the year at his house next month, but he didn't comment. Instead, he handed her a wet washcloth to wipe her mouth, which she used there and all over her face.
"You ready?" he asked, after she handed it back and he rinsed it out, leaving it on the towel bar to dry.
She nodded and held out her hands for him to lift her up. He was tempted to just help her to her feet and make her walk down the hall to her room now that she was sobering up enough not to talk loudly or walk in potentially creaky spots. But she looked exhausted, and he never missed an opportunity to hold her in his arms if she let him. So, he picked her up, shut off the light, and expertly carried her down the hall to her room.
"Oh, right, we switched rooms," she commented when they got inside.
He wanted to laugh, but it stayed mostly behind closed lips.
"You good now?" he asked, setting her down beside her bed.
She sighed loudly, and he took the direction, quickly pulling out some pjs and setting them on her bed. She looked over to them and nodded at the pile.
"Goodnight, Iris." He turned for the door.
He spun around. "Drink water, and…I don't know what else. Tylenol? I can google what you take for a hangover. But if you're still throwing up in the morning, maybe you just want to pretend you're sick with the 24-hour-flu. Your dad will buy it, I'm sure."
He met her eyes. He knew that tone. "I'm rambling."
She winced. "A little."
He walked over to her and took her hands in his.
"It's going to be okay, Iris. Joe won't find out."
"I know that," she said softly. "I wasn't going to say…" She stopped abruptly and looked up at him. "Thank you for taking care of me."
His heart swelled, though he knew it had no reason to.
"Tomorrow we'll just stay in. Have a movie night maybe?"
His smile spread into a wide grin, his teeth shining brightly.
He tried not to sound too enthusiastic but knew he had failed. The sparkling look in her eyes and gentle giggle that accompanied her smile was a dead giveaway. He didn't mind.
Hesitant for only a moment, he bent down and pressed a quick kiss to her forehead.
"Goodnight, Barry," she said softly, watching him as he walked into the hall and closed the door behind him.
He wasn't exactly sure how getting drunk worked, how much of the night before Iris would or wouldn't remember, so he decided not to bring any of it up just in case. But ten minutes after they got home from school, she plopped on his bed with five movies splayed out between them.
"So. Which one should we watch?" she asked excitedly.
He looked over at them, saw that none of them were ones she liked – or at least none that she would choose over any of her personal favorites, and yet she was so excited to watch whatever he picked.
"Iris. You don't have to-"
"You don't pick one of these, Barry Allen, and I'm going to force you and my dad to suffer through my cooking for the next week."
"Your cooking isn't that ba-"
She raised an eyebrow.
"Fine. You pick one."
She reached for his favorite of the bunch and held it up gleefully.
I love you. On the tip of his tongue, but he was careful not to say it, even if she would've likely returned it in a different way.
She snatched the movie – and the others – into her arms and slipped off the bed, coming around to kiss him on the cheek, sending his heart hammering a mile a minute.
"Thank you for last night, Barry." She straightened. "I don't know what I did to deserve a best friend like you, but I promise I won't take you for granted anymore."
Shell-shocked, Barry couldn't form words in his head, let alone find his voice to vocalize them.
"I'll put the movie in the DVD player for after dinner," she said, then skipped out of the room.
"Okay," he said, but she was gone. He leaned his head back against the headboard, trying to regulate his breathing and his heartbeat again. Alone in his room, he let himself touch the spot on his cheek she'd pressed a kiss to and linger there. "Okay."