Life is difficult. Growing up, shaping, evolving and adapting through the years can take a toll. Experiences that break us down until the fragments of our souls that were once whole and full of light shine jagged edges onto the dim surface of our exterior. It’s this penance that creates the temperament we rely on moving forward. Different people take sanctuary from different things. Theatre, music, movies, art and literature are all ways in which the human soul seeks to move past this destruction; creating movement and light from the shattered remains. Gluing together our pieces until they form new shapes and identities.
For this group, Caitlin thinks moving toward her friends at the back table, music provides this release of inhumanity. Their weekly karaoke nights are filled with drinks, humor, laughter and love as every emotion comes out through musical interpretation. This is due in part to Milligan’s bar. Run by Adam Milligan, illegitimate son of John Winchester, and ex-meat suit for the archangel Michael, this bar is a supernatural/super-powered speak easy. There was no way in unless you were extraordinary and connected. Luckily for them, they know Felicity, who in turn, knows the Winchester brothers.
“Who’s first tonight?” Barry asks leaning his long frame against the wall behind his chair. The table that they chose to sit in tonight is situated in the back corner close to the stage on the right hand side, but separated from it by three other circular tables.
Around the room comes the booming voice of Adam at the microphone on stage. "We meet again!" He sing-songs to the crowd earning a boisterous response as the bar explodes with catcalls and cheers. "Now that is what I like to hear!" Adam laughs.
Looking around Caitlin sees many familiar faces circling them in their real world alter ego attire. At a table to the right sits the group from Camelot Management Consulting. This group is easily one of her favorites that frequent the bar. With their friendly comradery, the group of Knights of the Round Table have become the boisterous addition of friends everyone here desperately needed. Finally free to be themselves, they refer to each other as their medieval counterparts. Just last week Merlin had sidled up to their table taking a poll of ways to best help in wooing his best friend Arthur.
Next to their table is the group from Smoak Industries, whom they all work intimately with, having many projects which collaborate with STAR Labs. Not only that, but working closely with team Arrow, no matter how large it becomes is always an exciting adventure for them. Long legs cross as Felicity leans into Oliver's left side. Diggle sits on his right with his arm around Lila. Tommy throws his head back in laughter at something Felicity has just said; the two of them high-fiving each other as Oliver pouts.
“Now, tonight is a special one,” Caitlin draws her eyes away from them after a quick wave to Thea, looking instead to Adam on stage. “Because my big brother has finally worn down his girlfriend. After we all warned her not to, Jess has agreed to become the next Mrs. Winchester!” Adam leads the applauds for Sam while intermittently pointing to him at the bar. With his height no one misses him in the crowd. Adam's other brother, Dean, gives Sam a pat on the back and tosses a wink to Jess. “To begin tonight we have a very special treat for everyone. This first singer is a lovely young woman who doesn't often grace us with her beautiful voice,” Adam tosses a smile and wink her way. “ Let's welcome back Caitlin the right way!”
Morgana jumps to her stiletto covered feet to cheer properly. At the same time Merlin, next to Morgana, begins whooping like a frat boy leading in the other knights, Arthur, Gwaine, Percival, and Lancelot. From the bar Dean, Castiel, and Sam chant “Caity” along with all of her friends at her own table.
Finally at the microphone, Caitlin shushes the rowdy crowd as best she can. The strength that she’s gained from everyone here has been insurmountable to her self-confidence. Tonight, with their support, she intends to finally let go of her past. Lowering her hand to grip the microphone upon its stand, she begins to croon.
“I am a question to the world. Not an answer to be heard. Or a moment that's held in your arms,” her voice begins. Brown eyes turn downward to inspect the red carpeting which seems in need of a vacuuming. Musty scents of liquor and dust surround them as the momentum of tempo remains tepid, almost mundane. Just as she loves, the song begins to take her away.
“And what do you think you'd ever say? I won't listen anyway…you don't know me, and I’ll never be what you want me to be,”
Sitting alone in her room, the sounds of crickets her only companion to the emptiness around. Mother is on call at the hospital and even if she weren’t, her time wouldn’t be wasted at home with her daughter.
Brown curls bounce with the small movement of her head as it shakes the memories of loneliness away, “and what do you think you'd understand? I'm a boy, no, I'm a man.. You can't take me and throw me away. And how can you learn what's never shown? Yeah, you stand here on your own. They don't know me 'cause I'm not here,”
The room is empty. Faded blue paint blinks back with greater frequency the longer her eyes train themselves upon it. Today they’d finished reading The Yellow Wallpaper in class. Here, in this dark, sterile room, among its confinements her mind wanders back to the question, who truly cares?
Sure, her patients may miss her. But she’s only a child still. Seventeen. She means nothing to these people whose blood pressure she takes and bedpan she cleans. Mother doesn’t care. She barely speaks to Caitlin, let alone show affection.
The tempo begins to pick up as the chorus rings out. “And I want a moment to be real, wanna touch things I don't feel, wanna hold on and feel I belong. And how can the world want me to change? They’re the ones that stay the same. They don’t know me, 'Cause I’m not here,”
Countless nights pretending to be invisible so mother doesn’t become upset with her mere presence has taught her better than to fool herself. What is her real purpose in this life? And who would care whether or not she reaches it? Maybe this is where she’s meant to be. Alone. In an empty dark room. Staring at the wall until someone begins to stare back in her imagination.
Lifting her head to find her friends in the crowd she continues toward the family she’s finally found, “and you see the things they never see. All you wanted, I could be. Now you know me, and I'm not afraid. And I wanna tell you who I am. Can you help me be a man? They can't break me. As long as I know who I am”
“Caitlin, this isn’t you. We can help you control your powers!” Barry states looking distraught toward his friend.
Whisps of cold wind swirl around her raised left hand menacingly in the near darkness. “It’s too late for that Barry,” she drawls in a manner reminiscent of their other Cold acquaintance. “There was never any hope for me. This is who I am. Who I was meant to be. The bitch with a heart made of ice”
Cisco growls from behind her, appearing from nowhere. “This was never meant to be you! No matter what you’ve been through, or what you feel right now, I know and you know that there is nothing inside of you but warmth and light,” the pitch of his voice, deep and hard, causes a momentary stir inside of her. “Every time that you walk into the room brightens up my day. You’re my best friend! I won’t let this sadness consume you. I won’t leave you”
“Neither will I” whispers Barry on her other side. “Now don’t move while I hug you” with a flash, Barry was hugging her from the back as Cisco strode to encase her from the front.
“And I want a moment to be real, Wanna touch things I don't feel, Wanna hold on and feel I belong. And how can the world want me to change? They’re the ones that stay the same. They can’t see me, But I’m still here,”
“Can you help me control the ice?” Brown eyes worry from the floor back to the ‘villain’s in front of her only once. Determined to stay until she gets the help that she needs.
Appraising blue eyes roam her body in a once over, landing back on her eyes. “I’ll help you,” Len says in an endearing tone that she’s only ever heard in whispers when Barry is around.
“Really? Just like that?” she asks, hope filling her cold body, sending a chill of warmth down her spine.
“Just like that,” he agrees. “We have a similar acquaintance that I’d like to keep unfrozen… well, from you anyway” he smirks. “There is one catch though. I’ll need to employ certain methods to turn up the heat. And sometimes you won’t like my methods, but they will be necessary. I don’t waste my time with frivolous matters. Do you still want to do this?”
There was no question about it. Len knows how to get results and if Barry trusts him enough to sleep next to, then that’s good enough for her. Without hesitation she answers, “yes”.
“Then let’s begin. Mick! Get in here!” he calls into the warehouse.
“Wait. We’re starting now?” she calls back as a shot of flames lick at her shoulder.
“They can’t tell me who to be, ‘Cause I’m not what they see. Yeah, the world is still sleepin’, While I keep on dreamin’ for me. And their words are just whispers And lies that I’ll never believe,” eyes turn to Mick sitting next to Cisco as she croons the words.
Sitting against the cold wall, or maybe she makes everything cold, to catch her breath from the latest course of practice. Mick has been helping her on his own recently. Len was called away on some sort of business in Keystone City, but informed her that Mick had volunteered to continue alone in his absence.
Falling into the spot to her right, Mick lifts one knee to dangle his arm across lazily. “Sorry about that hit to the leg,” he says much quieter than normal.
Both sets of eyes turn down to glance at the singe marks surrounding a circular burn to her right calf. The red swollen skin was a sight for eyes, but feeling? She felt nothing. With her medical knowledge she knows it should burn and make her writhe in pain, but she didn’t feel anything. The ice in her body negates the burn the wound created.
“Don’t be. I can’t even feel it” she answers. It seems that the only time she feels heat lately is when she’s around the pyromaniac. He brings a furnace like heat everywhere he goes setting her body on fire, desperately needing more.
Brown eyes looking into her own sadly he states rather than asks, “let me at least patch it up”
With a wordless nod they both rise to their feet. The resulting morning when she’s wrapped inside his warm arms there isn’t any part of herself that regrets it.
“And I want a moment to be real, wanna touch things I don't feel, wanna hold on and feel I belong. And how can they say I never change? They’re the ones that stay the same. I’m the one now, ‘Cause I’m still here,” rings out through the bar. Each set of eyes outside of this bar may judge her for this song, her clothes, the way she speaks, but they don’t matter to her. They never have mattered to her. She has finally found understanding, acceptance, and, as corny as it sounds, love. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of her because she has people who truly care about what makes her happy.
“I’m the one, ‘Cause I’m still here. I’m still here.” She finishes to the sound of resounding applause. And a few whistles from Barry, Cisco and Mick.
Mick jumps to his feet, hands cupping his mouth to shout above the applause “Yes! That’s my doc!” to which Caitlin proceeded to blush smiling broadly. Taking a minute to curtsey on stage before sauntering off the stage. Adam holds out a hand to help her from the stage at the bottom he whispers, “That was amazing Caity”.
On stage once again, “The lady of ice does it again!” Adam calls out. “Next up is the ever handsome Merlin”