David looked down at the list that sat in front of him, and the army of pill bottles he retrieved from the top shelf of the medicine cabinet, and for a moment let himself feel completely overwhelmed. Throughout his life and to that day, he had only ever taken two prescription medications on a regular basis, one for his anxiety and one for his insomnia. His medications were kept in his bedside table where he could easily reach them directly after waking up or before going to bed. Looking down at the numerous prescription bottles on the table, he understood suddenly why it wasn’t that simple for Hartley.
How does he handle all of this , he wondered as he took one last look at the list before reaching out for the yellow pill case labeled “Mornings” with seven compartments. He popped open each compartment and referred to the list again, grabbing the two pill bottles with names that matched the morning section of the list.
Hartley had left an hour before, leaving a small peck on David’s lips and a request that he fill up his pill boxes for the week since he was going to be busy all morning picking up the newest antipsychotic his psychologist was wanting him to try and running a few other errands. David had the day off work, but that hadn’t exactly been the reason for his quick and almost egger compliance.
Hartley had been quiet about his medication from the start of their relationship. In the beginning, he had taken it completely in secret. That was until they had a conversation about why it scared David when he did that. After that day Hartley understood it was safe to take his medication in front of David, and reassured him that everything he took was completely legal and prescribed, and he never took any more or any less of what his psychologist and physician told him to. Still he was self conscious about it, and even expressed to David that he preferred he not bring up the medication.
The fact that Hartley outright asked him to fill up his pill boxes for the week meant that they had taken some kind of step in their relationship. Maybe not a big one, but still an important one. Probably the most important one since Hartley entrusted him with a folder filled with information that had almost gotten him fired from STAR Labs a few months before. Right before the Particle Accelerator exploded.
David looked up pictures of the pills with the names on the bottles and list, just to be sure that Hartley’s doctors absolutely were giving him the correct medication. It was an irrational fear, but a fear nonetheless that someone important like that would betray his trust in that important of a way. Hartley had been burned before, and David would do everything in his power to prevent it happening again, even if it was just fact checking and reviewing the medications his podiatrist and doctor had him taking.
Despite the delay doing the background research put on filling the morning pill box that sat in Hartley’s bedside table, the task was done quick enough and he was on to the nighttime pill box, repeating the same process. By the time he reached the lunchtime medications, the process had become easier, slipping into muscle memory of dropping seven pills in his palm, dropping them in their compartments, and double checking he had done it correctly. He was able to relax as he finished up the lunchtime medication research and started to drop the pills into the compartments, enough that he was able to start humming and tune out his surroundings.
He didn’t notice when the apartment door opened, too focused on the task at hand until a pair of arms wound around him from behind and a chin perched on his shoulder.
“Hey there handsome,” Hartley mumbled, placing a kiss on his cheek as he set a new orange pill bottle in front of him. “I hope you don’t mind going back and adding that to the morning box.”
“Not at all,” David hummed, tilting his head to catch Hartley’s lips for a brief kiss. “How were your errands?”
“Uneventful, thank goodness,” Hartley said. “How has filling up pill boxes been?”
“Tedious, but a bit calming,” David said.
“Thank you for doing this for me, it means a lot,” Hartley said.
David only gave a hum as a response before doing his last check of the box and closing it up. He reached for the new pill bottle, but stopped when he heard Hartley drawl in a small gasp.
“What’s wrong?” he asked quickly, turning back to look at his boyfriend. Hartley’s eyes were wide with a slight panic as he reached out for one of the white bottles in front of them, checking it over with shaking hands.
“Hart?” David tried again, his own anxiety spiking.
“You didn’t put this in any of the boxes did you?” Hartley asked, his eyes still frantically searching the bottle.
“No, I didn’t see it on the list,” David said. “Why? What is it?”
Instead of answering Hartley left out a relieved sigh and set the bottle back on the table mumbling a, “Oh thank goodness.”
“Hartley what’s in that bottle?” David asked again.
“Cyanide pills,” Hartley said as nonchalantly as he could, but he refused to meet David’s eyes as he said it.
“Hart,” David said slowly, reaching out to take his hands. They were still slightly shaking, and Hartley still wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Love. Why do you have a bottle full of fast acting poisonous pills?”
Hartley finally met his eyes, a smile on his face though David could see the strain from it being forced, “Well, you do know poison is my murder weapon of choice. You told me yourself it was a concerning thing to tell my police captain boyfriend.”
“And then I kissed you, I remember,” David said, pulling his boyfriend closer until there was no room between them. It still didn’t feel close enough, David still felt he wasn't close enough to calm his own anxieties, to protect Hartley from the threat of that little pill bottle.
Hartley only let out a small startled yelp as David pulled him down onto his lap and wrapped his arms around him. Hartley’s arms went around David’s neck for balance as he quizzically looked up at him.
“You didn’t answer my question,” David said. “Why do you have cyanide pills stored with you usual medication?”
“Dr. Wells gave them to me,” Hartley admitted, ducking his head. His head only stayed down a second as David reached out and gently took his chin between his fingers, raising it so he would meet his eyes again.
“And why did Dr. Wells give you poison?” David asked.
“It was a failsafe,” Hartley said. He took in a shuddering breath, and David wondered what it was Hartley saw in his eyes in that moment. “I’m one of the lead scientists at STAR Labs. I know a lot of things, I’ve created a lot of things that can’t fall into the wrong hands. After General Eling started kidnapping scientists in an attempt to get knowledge on some of our bigger projects, Dr. Wells started putting fail safes in place. He told me that as his right hand man, Eling is bound to target me one of these days, and we can’t risk me breaking and giving away something he could use. So… he had me start to carry Cyanide pills on me at all times along with my lunch medication.”
David could think of anything to say in response to that. They had started dating a little over a year before, and over that year David had uncovered pieces of information regarding Dr. Wells that only ever furthered his distrust of the man and dislike of Hartley being around him. Working under him. The worst bit he had learned up to that point had been that ever since he found him when he was sixteen, Dr. Wells had been mostly in control of Hartley’s finances until Hartley was told by an ex that that wasn’t normal and it needed to stop. Harrison Wells had done a number on Hartley, and still was as Hartley refused to leave the Labs and his only friends, but David never would have thought even in some of his worst moments of anxiety and paranoia related to the man that he would have Hartley carrying poison on him, saying the information Hartley carried was more important than his hope of rescue and his very life as it was.
“Love,” David whispered, something broken rising up in his chest asit always did when it came to this kind of topic. The topic of Dr. Wells. “You understand why that's wrong, don’t you?”
“I-” Hartley cut off and hesitated. After a moment he said “I do” but David could tell he was more saying it for David’s benefit than out of actual belief in the words. God he had so much work to do in untangling all that Dr. Wells had done to his love.
“Hart, why don’t you rest for the rest of today,” David suggested. When Hartley made a sound of protest David gently shushed him and continued, “You didn’t get home until late last night, and I know you didn’t sleep until even later. You need rest.”
“But I want to spend our day off together,” Hartley protested.
“I have a quick errand to run, but after that I promise we can,” David said. “We can curl up in bed and listen to your favorite record and just rest. I think it’s what we both need.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Hartley said.
“Maybe,” David raised an eyebrow.
“Maybe,” Haryley repeated with a laugh.
David snorted at his boyfriend’s antics, and in one fluid movement stood from his seat at the table with Hartley still wrapped safely in his arms, and nudged the chair in with his foot. Hartley continued to laugh, clinging a little closer with his head ducked into the crook of his neck. David pressed small kisses to his head as he walked back to their bedroom and laid Hartley on the bed, pressing a kiss to each knee as he took off his lover’s shoes and socks.
Hartley curled up under the covers without bothering to change his pants, the exhaustion becoming more clear on his face by the second.
“I’ll be back soon,” David mumbled, pressing one last kiss to Hartley’s head before walking back to the door.
Before he could full close it behind him though, Hartley’s soft voice calling his name stopped him. He peeked his head back in the room and hummed his question of what Hartley needed.
“You’re not mad, are you?” Hartley asked, voice already drifting away from consciousness.
“Why would I be mad?” David asked. He was sure to keep his voice level, and calm.
“The poison,” Hartley simply answered.
“No Hart, I’m not mad,” David promised, lied. He was mad, just not at Hartley. But Hartley didn’t need to know that, he needed to rest.
“I love you,” Hartley said, so quietly it barely reached David’s ears.
“I love you too,” David said, though he wasn’t sure if Hartley had heard, as by the time the door fully closed, he was clearly asleep.
David went back to the table and quickly dropped the new pills into their correct boxes, and left the pill boxes on the table. He put away all of the bottles as neatly as he could on the top shelf on the medicine cabinet besides one, which he slipped into his jacket pocket after he pulled it on.
He grabbed his keys and left the apartment without further staling, his attention focused all on getting to one destination.
STAR Labs wasn’t too far of a drive from their apartment by design. When they had moved in together, David and Hartley had been careful to only look for apartments that had reasonable commute times for both of their jobs. Hartley’s commute was usually limited to walking, biking, or taking the bus, so their apartment was just slightly closer to STAR Labs, though Hartley had brought up the possible desire to get a motorcycle. All in all, the drive was short and there was little time to really think before he parked in the almost always vacant parking lot these days and walked into the Labs.
“David,” Caitlin greeted when he entered the cortex. Before the Particle Accelerator exploded with her fiance inside, Caitlin would have smiled at seeing him, possibly even given him a quick hug. His boyfriend’s friend becoming so closed off, so cold compared to what she used to be, was just another of the hundreds of reasons David had to hate Harrison Wells.
“Caitlin,”he nodded to her, offering a smile he knew wouldn’t be returned and didn’t expect to be.
“Hartley isn’t here, it’s his day off,” she said carefully, knowing full well that he knew. “Is there something the CCPD needed? Or are you here to check on Mr. Allen?”
“I’m not here to check on him today,” David said. “If there were any changes I know you would have called. Hartley needed to drop something off with Dr. Wells, but he started a new medication today and didn’t get much sleep last night, so I thought I’d do it for him.”
“Well, Dr. Wells was in his office last I checked,” Caitlin said.
“Thank you Caitlin,” he said. David wasted no more time, nodding his goodbye to her and walking to Wells’s office. He knew the way, had visited it once before and been sure to memorize the way for future reference.
Sure enough, Dr. Wells was sitting behind his desk reading over some sort of report when David walked into the office.
“Captain Singh,” Wells said as he noticed his presence. “To what do I owe the pleasure this afternoon? I was under the impression that this was you and Hartley’s only day off together.”
David didn’t answer with words. There wasn’t a need. He simply sat the bottle of cyanide pills down on the man’s desk a little harder than necessary with a very pointed look of distaste.
“I see,” Dr. Wells said slowly. He pulled off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “I assume Hartley didn’t tell you about this himself.”
“He didn’t,” David confirmed monotone. “I was filling up his pillboxes and accidentally grabbed the bottle. If it hadn’t been for my careful checking of each pill and Hartley getting home before I finished, he would have died when he went to take his medication next.”
“Thank goodness for you,” Dr. Wells said, and David could detect the hint of sarcasm the man tried to hide. “I told Hartley to keep them separate from his usual medication.”
“You shouldn’t have been telling him to keep them at all,” David said. “You’re lucky I didn’t go to the chief of police for an arrest warrant. Telling your employees to carry poison on them to kill themselves with is a gross misconduct in the workplace.”
“And why didn’t you Captain?” Dr. Wells asked. “You have made your distaste for me clear from the beginning have you not?”
“Only because you have made your own of me much clearer, specifically to Hartley,” David said. Carefully he placed his hands flat on Well’s desk and leaned in just a bit, his eyes narrowing into a critical glare. “Hartley cares for you, but one more slip up like this and I will forget that.”
“Is that a threat Captain?”
“No. It’s a warning.”
David pushed back up from the desk and turned away, leaving the labs without further interaction. The ride home passed in a blur, and before he knew it he was back at his apartment.
Hartley wasn’t awake when he entered the room, too out to even stir from his sleep for a moment. Still David changed quietly and climbed into bed behind him carefully. He wrapped his arms around him, and let his own eyes drift closed with the knowledge that at least one danger had been eliminated from his love’s life.
Hartley only asked once where the cyanide had gone, about a week later and in a small and careful voice. David had shrugged as he pulled on his shoes, saying they must have been misplaced or mistaken for one of the empty pill bottles while they were taking out the trash. Hartley was the smartest person David had ever met, and he was sure Hartley knew the truth, but neither spoke of it and Hartley seemed lighter without them weighing down his pockets.