(A/N) For my musical prompts series on Tumblr, "Something Just Like This" By Coldplay/Chainsmokers. Has nothing whatsoever to do with current canon.
Cisco braced himself on the handle of his suitcase, pretty sure that he would fall right down the escalator if it wasn't there to hold him up. His flight from New York had been delayed five hours. Five hours of sitting in the airport, feeling his butt go numb on the thin vinyl seats, watching the board, pushing his departure time ever further away with every update.
And then when it had finally taken off, the flight itself had been the usual nightmare of being squashed into a seat like a cow into a milking stall, surrounded by fussy children and snoring seatmates. He'd managed to doze a little, but he could never really sleep on any kind of transport, and he felt sick from tiredness.
Cisco considered himself a pretty upbeat guy in general, but modern air travel could ruin anybody's day.
He took a deep, steadying breath. You're back in the CC, he reminded herself. You're a half-hour car ride away from your own bed. With maybe a slight detour to somewhere that serves pancakes twenty-four/seven. Or maybe waffles. Yeah, waffles. Hang in there, dude.
He'd kept everyone up-to-date with his travel woes, and had just sent out a "back on the ground finally" text, so they wouldn't be expecting him at Star Labs until tomorrow afternoon. He could sleep in as late as he wanted.
He fiddled with his phone, wondering whether he should request an Uber right now and have to wait, or just hope there was a taxi out front at this hour. But it was so late it was early, and maybe there wouldn't be any cabs out front. Or maybe he would walk outside with an entire family of seven including a small baby and an elderly nana, and he would be the actual worst if he didn't at least offer them dibs on the only taxi at the stand.
The girl in front of him was on her phone. "Hi, baby. Yeah, I'm on my way down the escalator right now. Okay. Okay. Baggage claim three. I'll see you in a few. I can't wait to kiss you hello. I love you so much."
He rolled his shoulders, trying not to envy her. Your honey meeting you at the airport with a big smile, a kiss and a hug, ready to whisk you home, was probably about the best feeling in the world. But he was honey-less and had been for awhile, so it was a feeling he was going to have to think about wistfully tonight.
He'd just decided that it couldn't hurt to at least check the Uber app for nearby cars when he looked down at the base of the escalator. Off to one side, there was a little cluster of comfy chairs where people hung out waiting for their loved ones.
And Caitlin Snow was just pushing herself up from one of the chairs.
He goggled. Seriously, he did. For a moment, he wondered if the airplane air had just dried his brain right out and this was some kind of dehydration-related hallucination.
She was in schlubbies, for her - yoga pants and some kind of soft drapey green t-shirt under her coat, and her hair up in a ponytail. But she looked like a million dollars, honestly, and only Caitlin would look that pretty and put-together at this time of the night.
Her eyes skipped over the people getting off the escalator in front of her, and then they met his. She smiled up at him.
Something funny happened in his stomach.
He almost tripped over the bottom of the escalator. "Caitlin," he said, wrestling his carry-on out of the way of the old man behind him. "What are you doing here?"
"Picking you up, of course," she said. "How was the flight?"
"Oh, you know," he said meaninglessly. "Is everything okay? Do we need to go, like, save the day? The night?"
"The night is perfectly fine and in no need of saving. I just decided to come pick you up."
"At - " He glanced at his phone. "- three forty-three in the morning."
"It is a little later than I'd originally planned to be awake. I'm sure you're starving. We'll find some absolutely disgusting twenty-four hour place for you on the way home." She wrinkled her nose, looking all kinds of cute. "IHOP or something."
"You love their french fries, don't front," he said automatically. "Seriously, what are you doing here? I could've gotten an Uber."
"I know that," she said. "I just wanted to, that's all. Do you have anything to pick up at baggage claim?" She reached out for the handle of his carry-on, apparently with the intent of wheeling it around for him.
He held on tight, not letting her take it. Her eyes lifted to his. She looked a little stubborn.
He looked her in the eye. He could make her do or admit just about anything with that look. "Caitlin," he said.
"I missed you," she blurted.
He frowned at her. "Is everything okay?" She'd sounded okay over text, but that was just words on a screen.
"Everything's fine. It's just that you were so far away. And for so long."
"New York," he said. "For a week."
She shrugged. "I missed you," she said again, dropping her eyes. Her cheeks had gone pink.
"Yeah, you said that," he murmured, thinking about how often on this trip he'd checked his phone for a text from her, and how it always sank his spirits when there wasn't one. How he'd called her from JFK just to hear her voice in his ear, and how even though the flight had gotten pushed back twice as they'd talked, he'd still hung up smiling.
How his stomach had felt when he saw her waiting for him.
How he'd felt right now, just a second ago, when she'd said she'd missed him.
"Baggage claim," she said brightly. "Do we need to go? You never answered my question."
"No, nothing," he said, patting his carry-on. "Got it all packed in here."
She looked both astonished and appalled. "For a week? How do you do that?"
"Skills," he said absently. "And only one pair of shoes, not twelve. Hey, wait up a second - "
"What?" She turned back to him.
He took enough of a step toward her that he could put one hand on her cheek, lean in, and kiss her on the lips.
For a split second, her mouth was slack with shock under his. Then, right as he was deciding he'd made one of the most catastrophic mistakes of his life and was going to have to hide for the rest of his life in a cave in the Utah desert -
- her arms came around his neck and pulled him close, and she started kissing him back.
He was travel-sore and tired in every cell of his body. The corner of his suitcase was digging into his kneecap, and he could seriously murder a stack of waffles. But for all that, it was still about the best first kiss he'd ever had.
Several minutes - hours? days? - later, they separated. "Wow," she said, breathless. "You must be really grateful for the ride."
"Well, yeah. Have you seen cab fares lately?"
The little exchange could have deflated the whole moment, except that they were still plastered together, chest to knees, and her eyes were big and bright, and her mouth was soft and pink and man, he wanted to kiss it again.
Instead, he reached up and tucked her bangs behind her ear. "I missed you too."
She smiled, a slow, blooming, sweet smile. Her eyes were shy and filled with tenderness. He wanted to pinch himself. Or maybe not. Keep this going as long as possible, now that he'd just suddenly realized he wanted it.
"Come on," she said, sliding her hand down his arm until it covered his hand where it curved around her hip. "Let's go find you some waffles. And - and we can talk."
Talk. Talk could be bad, it could mean things like that was an impulse and I don't want to ruin our friendship - but looking at the expression in her eyes, he didn't think so, somehow.
"Waffles and talk, I'm in," he said, turning his hand over and tangling their fingers together.
She smiled at him and started for the doors out to the parking lot, pulling him along by his hand. And even though he was still a good twelve miles and change away from his own bed, Cisco relaxed into the feeling of coming home.