A/N: HI YES CRISIS WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME AND THIS EPISODE MADE ME CRY IN A MILLION DIFFERENT WAYS I CAN'T HANDLE ANOTHER 8 WEEKS OF THIS AND THEN A MONTH-LONG CLIFFHANGE (and by that I mean IW/Endgame, because this is the exact same terror and depression but possibly WORSE!)


"I'm gonna die, Joe."

With those four little words, Joe's world fell apart.

Not again. God, not again.

Barry sucked in a shaky breath, looking anywhere but at Joe, tears rolling down his cheeks. "I don't wanna die. But if- if I don't, then everybody else will. You, Iris, Cisco, Jenna, Caitlin, Cecile, Ralph… I saw it happen. In a billion futures. If I live- If I fight this- I-"

He broke into a groan of pain, clenching his eyes shut and burying his face in his hands. His knees jerked up, as if he wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.

Joe wanted to fight it. He wanted to grab his gun, for all the good that ever did, and shoot the hell out of anyone and everyone threatening to take his boy from him. He wanted to grab Barry by the shoulders and shake some sense into him, begging him to stay with me, Bar, I can't lose you, not again. He wanted to march outside, look up at the cold, unfeeling sky, and scream at the universe to give his family one damn break.

He did none of that. Because if anybody deserved to curl up in a ball and cry, it was Barry Allen, and Joe wouldn't let him do it alone.

"Come here, son," Joe murmured, perching on the edge of the couch. Barry shifted to let him sit, and Joe gathered him into his arms, tucking him beneath his chin.

Barry latched onto him, burying his face in his shoulder and clutching fistfuls of his jacket. "I don't wanna go, Joe," he sobbed.

"I know," he whispered, rubbing Barry's back, carding his fingers softly through his hair when he flinched in pain. "Let it out, son. I've got you."

Barry did. He cried, and he cried, and he cried until he finally passed out, exhausted and hurting in more ways than one.

Only then did Joe let himself cry, and he kept his tears silent, his body steady. He closed his eyes and stayed strong, holding Barry close, keeping him safe for as long as he could.

He kept his pleading just as silent.

Stay with me, Bar. Stay with me.


A/N: Fun fact: I've rewritten (but never posted) two Flash episodes as an MCU AU where Peter is Barry, so yes, thAt IW reference was absolutely necessary

Whumptober Day 17 - "Stay with me" (but posted a day early because FEELINGS and also I forgot it was for the 17th, not the 16th, but mostly FEELINGS)