Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: The Flash
Character/Pairing: Barry/Iris, Eddie/Iris
Challenge/Prompt: fan_flashworks #183: Amnesty: Triangle
Warning(s): Spoilers, Cannon Character Death
Word Count: 1,189
Date Written: 28 February 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
She knows this drive by heart now; she could do it blind if it wasn't for the other traffic. She never intended for any of this to happen. She never intended to feel like a widow at such an early age, and although she knows she's not the only one -- Caitlin has lost two men she's loved already --, it doesn't really help. Nothing helps. The pain is always there, although some times, some people can make her forget it for a while. She also knows Barry's right. He even procured that video to prove it to her: Eddie would want her to go on with her life. He would want her to do what she's soon going to be doing.
But first, she thinks, pulling into the parking lot, first, she's got to talk to him or, at least, as close to him as she can get. She's got to do the truly honorable thing, as he would have done, as he tried to do for her even when she was less than honorable. She shakes her head. It's funny how a little time and too much loss gives insight into what was never seen, or properly understood, before. She thought she'd been doing the honorable thing when she had denied her feelings for Barry, but what she had truly been doing was lying to herself and the two men she loves. Nothing good, she's learned, can come from lies.
Her mind remains caught up in the past as she exits her vehicle and retrieves her flowers. It no longer feels ironic that she's bringing a man flowers; after all, it's the least she can do. She makes the last leg of the journey on her foot, aware that it no longer feels as long as it did in the beginning though he is still just as very far from her. She never intended, she thinks again, for any of this to happen.
She didn't intend to get caught up into a love triangle. She didn't intend to hurt Eddie, or Barry for that matter, and she certainly didn't intend for Eddie to get killed. But life never cares what a person's intentions are. It has intentions of its own, and those are the things that's going to happen, regardless of what anybody else thinks or even does. Life will have its way.
She stares at his name etched onto the cold, gray stone. She almost shared his last name. They came so close. He made her happy for a while. She made him happy, too, before bringing him pain. "I'm sorry," she whispers softly as she does every time she comes, laying the flowers on his grave. "I never wanted to hurt you. Barry says you know that. I hope you do."
"You made me happy at a time in my life when I didn't think anybody could. When you asked me out the first time . . . I'd given up all hope that Barry was going to come back to us, but you offered me hope I hadn't expected to find: hope that I could still be happy, hope that my Father could still be happy. You were his partner. There was nobody else as close to us at that time." She shakes her head again, aware that a light rain is starting but heedless of the drops. "There was nobody else for us at that time, period."
"I saw the way you made my Dad laugh. I felt the way you made me smile. And for a while, you were our hero. For a while, you made us both believe we could be happy again when before we thought our happiness was over. You stopped our pain, Eddie, and gave us joy, gave us love. I'll always be thankful to you for that, and I'll always love you."
"But Barry told me months ago, and I believe he's right, that you would want me to continue with my life. He showed me a video where you said that very thing." She can't see the drops of rain that are growing fatter now for the drops of tears in her own dark eyes. "I don't know if I ever deserved anybody as good as you, Eddie, or as good as Barry, but you were right. A part of me has always loved Barry, and although I'm always going to love you too, I listened to both of you. I let Barry make me happy, and now -- "
She takes a deep breath and tries to calm the shaking of her hands. She holds her own hands and sighs, her teary voice seeming to mingle with the light, wet breeze whispering through the graveyard. "Now, just last night, he asked me to marry him. I want to marry him. I wanted to marry you, and I still would have if you hadn't been killed. But you've been gone so long, Eddie, and Barry does make me happy. He made me happy, made me smile and laugh again, when I thought I would never be able to be anything but sad over losing you, just like you did when I thought I had lost him."
"I'm not saying it's right," she says, wiping at her tears. She gives a little roll of her eyes as she admits to the air, "I'm not sure I even know what's right any more. But he does make me happy. And there's a part of me that's always going to feel like a widow, that's always going to love and miss you, but there's another part of me -- the rest of me -- that's happy when I'm with you Barry. You told me you wanted me to be happy. You told me before you sacrificed your life to save the rest of us, to save the world, that you wanted me to find happiness. Barry is the only happiness I've found outside of you, so I'm really hoping you understand."
She takes a deep breath before admitting to them both, "I'm going to say yes tonight. I'm going to say yes," she says again, as if hearing her own decision for the first time. Her lips tremble into a smile. "But know that doesn't change the way I feel about you. I'll always love and miss you," she repeats, "and I'll always wish that I could have been your wife and lived out a long, happy life beside you. But life didn't give us that. It didn't give us what we wanted. It rarely does for anybody. But it did give me a second chance at happiness with you and now it's giving me a third with Barry."
"Please try to understand, and wherever you are up there," she says, peering up at the gray sky through the rain and seeing the clouds move to reveal a patch of bright blue, "please try to find your own happiness." She blows a kiss at that bright patch of sunlight, places the same hand on the top of his headstone, and then walks away as the drizzle ceases and sunlight prevails.