Chapter 1 [CCPD—End of “Potential Energy”]
The precinct buzzed on that afternoon. Analysts buzzed at their computers piecing clues together on potential cases. Suspects awaited questioning and processing to trips to Iron Heights. Paperwork sat on some folks’ desks awaiting their attention. CSI cases waited for the practiced eye…..
…that is if the eye in question wasn’t linked to a particularly shell shocked person….
Barry Allen stood numbly in the midst of the bustling throng. He stared into space without really seeing anything. His mouth remained open wanting to say something but not finding the words. His mind not processing the bombshell his now ex-girlfriend had just dropped on him.
She was leaving Central City. Granted it was for a really cool position but she was leaving Central City….
She was moving on from everything and everyone including him.
He instinctively sat down in the nearest chair not knowing (or frankly caring) whose desk he was at. His knees remained jelly-like. A few tears streaked his cheeks at the unfair nature of the whole deal. Hadn’t he tried to tell her? Was it his fault that he wasn’t allowed to finish sharing his secret with her at the museum? He had wanted to tell her after the rescue but he’d been overwhelmed by the warmth of the moment….
…having her in his arms….
…a feeling he’d never have again….
I should’ve just told her right then and there. She would’ve understood. We might’ve had a fight but she wouldn’t have left. Now she’s leaving…because I couldn’t speak fast enough…Me…not fast enough. Yeah whatever. He managed to tap a finger on the borrowed desk out of agitation. He sighed deeply as his senses slowly returned to him.
A firm hand on his shoulder jarred him. He would’ve probably pushed off into the wall (and more than likely through it) if it hadn’t held him in place.
“Needed to see if you were okay, Barr,” Joe West indicated. Granted he wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of losing his second partner in under a year. Like Barry, he too was in shock by Patty’s departure. Just yesterday, it seemed, he entertained his partner for a Christmas party. Despite his barbs and teasing to the contrary, he felt glad that Barry was dating and moving on past Iris….
Still his own feelings could wait. Part of being a Dad and all that…..
“Sorry, Joe. Do I look okay?” Barry replied curtly. He rubbed his forehead in consternation. “I was going to tell her! It’s not my fault. Okay?” He put his forehead against the desk.
Seeing the eyes rotating toward them, the detective glared at the other bullpen people. Maybe the younger man was an adult and all of that. But Barry was for all intents and purposes his kid. And protecting even the Fastest Man Alive was his thing.
Again part of being a Dad and all that…..
Getting the hint, the other officers quickly passed by not wanting to stir Papa Bear in that regard.
Joe glanced at his watch and saw it was coming up on 4:30. He was at a good stopping point for the day and knew Singh wouldn’t mind under the circumstances. “Why don’t you get your coat and make sure everything’s off? I’ll wait here.”
Barry tugged himself to his feet. He nodded half-numbly and efforted his way up the stairs toward the lab. He really didn’t care about anything or if anyone saw him at the moment. Still he somehow knew he couldn’t just super speed up the stairs without undue attention. He pushed the door open and staggered into his private place. He spasmed and shook slightly. He choked back a couple of sobs.
A quick glance around the area assured him that the equipment was off. He could see that the paperwork was in order. Somehow he knew that the latest case notes sat in the captain’s email downstairs. His hand stabbed out in a blur grabbing his coat.
A deep breath returned a small measure of self-awareness to him. Cool it. Life sucks but we’re under enough scrutiny right now. He imagined that Singh would’ve noticed the Flash in the precinct after the Turtle-induced lock down and review of the security footage. Like it should matter?
At that moment, his phone buzzed at him.
Now what? He stared almost absently at the display before answering it. “Hey, Cisco.”
“Hey, Barry. We’ve got a crisis here. We need you here,” Cisco Ramon announced. Still he noted the absent and downtrodden tone in his friend’s voice. “Dude, are you okay?”
Barry exhaled deeply. “Nothing. Just some stuff. Give me a minute. I’ll be right there.” He knew Joe would be waiting. He really needed the time to himself too. Still it seemed Duty needed him too. It’s times like this I wish Oliver was closer…. He set his jaw, shut the door and sped down the stairs and out of the precinct toward STAR Labs.
Feeling the gust of air blow by himself, Joe rolled his eyes. He knew better than to call out and raise further attention to Barry. Now what? Can’t the world leave him alone for like three minutes? Damn! He grabbed his coat and stalked toward the door.
Sometimes it just stunk to be driven by Duty…..