Chapter 4

"Caitlin, Come quick! She's waking up!" Cisco called out to Caitlin, as he sat beside Astrid's bedside. "Her vitals are stable. Astrid. Astrid, can you hear me? It's Caitlin and Cisco."

Astrid opened her eyes to see her friends standing beside her. "aww my head... You guys found me. Wait, where's Barry?" She sat up and realized that she was in Caitlin's med bay and no longer in the CCPD elevator. "Is he ok?"

"I take it Barry was the guy they found you in the elevator with..." Cisco assumed

"Yeah, he had a seizure or something. Where is he? Is he ok?"

"Astrid, Barry's in the hospital. He's in a coma." Caitlin told her, making Astrid gasp.

"Hey, why am I all wired up here, Caitlin? I'm ok, really. I need to go find him." Astrid told her, while removing the ECG tabs and trying to get out of the bed. She realized that she was dressed in only a hospital gown and tried to cover up.

"Woah, Woah, Woah! you need to stay there..." Cisco placed his hand on Astrid's shoulder in attempt to stop her from moving. "We need to tell you something, that will more than likely make you freak out a little."

"You have been in a coma for four months now. The meteor that your dad was researching... well it wasn't the only one that landed." Caitlin told her, "There were quite a few that landed. There was a meteor shower that injured a lot of people and some people were even killed... It wiped an entire state of the map.

"Four months? I can't believe it!" Astrid was in shock, "Where's my dad? Did he make it? Why isn't he here?" Cisco took Astrid's hand and looked at Caitlin to continue, who paused for a moment.

Astrid heard the words clearly in Caitlin's mind before they even fell from her lips. She could only pray that they weren't true. "Astrid, your father was one of the casualties."

"No! No! No, this has to be a mistake. My father can't be dead!"

Her friends didn't utter a response. She rested her face in her hands to try and make sense of everything. Her world was spinning. The pain in her head was unbearable. She wiped a few tears from her eyes and refused to let herself cry.

"I need to run a few more tests and alert the rest of the medical staff of your progress. We should also be mindful of the media. The news of your father's death and you slipping into a coma have been all that they have been talking about lately." Caitlin told her.

"Of course it has." Astrid replied in a huff. "I need to check up on Barry, please! We need to transfer him here. We need to make sure he recovers too. We can't just leave him at the hospital."

Her friends looked at each other. Astrid could imagine in her mind just what Caitlin was thinking, she heard it as clear as day, 'There are protocols. We also need the permission of his parents. This is not a hospital.'

"I know this isn't a hospital, but we have the best doctors here! Barry is my friend and we won't be able to get his parent's permission! His mother is dead and his father's in jail. He only has Joe and right now they need us to help him!"

Caitlin looked at her with a surprised look on her face. It was as if Astrid had read her thoughts word for word. But that was impossible, right?

"Look, I know right now I am just deflecting my emotions and focusing on getting things done, but right now I cannot deal with how I feel. I need to focus on Barry... and what about the animal testing problems? Did that even get sorted out?"

Cisco smiled, finally something he could help with, "When the emergency crew found you they were able to locate your phone. I was able to go through it and use the pictures to launch an investigation. The animals were moved to rehabilitation centres and the staff involved were fired by your father's board and charged for animal cruelty. They won't be working for a very long time."

As if a light went on in Caitlin's mind, she jumped into action, "I need to call the board and let them know you're awake. If you want to go to the hospital I can take you but we will need to be careful. Once the media gets wind that you have woken up from your coma they will want to get their story." She left Astrid's bedside and headed towards the phone.

"How are you feeling, in general?" Cisco asked.

"Ask me when everything sinks in," Astrid replied dryly, "right now, none of this is making any sense, and my head hurts like crazy." She paused for a moment. "Can you get me my clothes?" Astrid asked him, noticing her bag of clothes on the chair. He fetched them for her and left to give her some privacy. She still changed under the blankets, nonetheless.

When Caitlin and Cisco finally returned, Astrid was standing beside the bed tying up her shoes. She had assumed that Caitlin had collected her clothes from her house as they were matched very nicely.

"if you want to visit Barry, we should do it soon." Caitlin told her, "I'll drive you. We will need to be quick and not draw too much attention." 

"I can maintain things here..." Cisco told her, "chances are the rest of the medical staff will be up here any minute now."

When they were ready, Astrid and Caitlin took the elevators to the underground parking lot and took Caitlin's car to the hospital. So far so good. They made it to the hospital where Caitlin began chatting to the staff at the reception desk.

Astrid spotted Joe pacing outside one of the doors in the corridor. "Joe!" she called out and ran towards him. He was surprised to see her. His eyes were wet from crying recently, he hugged her tightly. "You recovered?" he questioned her, as if she were some sort of miracle.

"How is he?" Astrid asked him, pointing her gaze to the door and deflecting the subject from herself. "he... he... it isn't looking good." He sighed. "but if you recovered, that must mean there is hope for him, right?" Joe was desperate.

"That's what I've come to ask, I want him transferred to Sutherland Labs. We have the best doctors around and I'll make sure that we do everything we can to help him."

Joe looked uneasy for a moment, he shuffled from one foot to another as if he was weighing up both options. "Please, Joe!" Astrid pleaded.

They were suddenly joined by detective West's daughter, Iris, who immediately embraced Astrid in a hug before she could speak. Astrid had only really ever seen Iris in the office when she was visiting Joe or Barry.

"It's so good that you're ok!" Iris announced. Once, she let go, she looked at her father. "Has he made any progress?"

"Not since yesterday, Astrid wants to know, if we want to transfer him to Sutherland Labs." Joe told her.

"Yes we do!" Iris told Astrid excitedly, "Dad, they are known for being the best. They have the best equipment! We need to accept her offer!"

Joe nodded at Astrid, "Ok, yes. I will speak to the staff. Would you two like a coffee? I'm going to go get some." Astrid nodded and told him 'thank you,' as he left.

"Have you been in to see him?" Iris asked.

"No," she answered softly, "I haven't seen him since... since it happened."

Iris nodded and pushed the door open, "follow me," she said.

They walked into the room and sat on the chairs beside Barry's bed. It was hard to see him this way. He always seemed so nervous and somewhat dorky. But also so full of life. Not like this. The machine beside his bed beeped softly and his breathing was soft and slow.

"So you and Barry, huh?" Iris probed at Astrid.

"Me and Barry, what?" Astrid asked, raising her eyebrows, not getting what Iris was referring to.

"How long were you two dating before it happened?"

"I'm sorry... what? Me and Barry. No! he's just one of my friends." 

Iris instantly regretted her words. "Oh, sorry. I just thought, never mind." Iris glanced awkwardly at her phone.

"Look, my boyfriend, Eddie just messaged me. I am going to step out for a minute, you can stay with him, if you like." Iris turned and left the room, closing the door behind her.

Astrid sat in silence. She tried to recall anything from being in her own coma but she couldn't recall a thing. It was just like being asleep. She wondered what Barry might be seeing, dreaming or even thinking.

A vision came into her mind. She saw darkness. But in the darkness she saw lightning bolts flickering and then live electricity running through cables. The darkness faded and she saw the color red. The lightning flickered still. The scene then changed and she saw Barry. She saw him running faster than any normal person could run, surrounded by the same lightning bolts.

Then just as soon as it had appeared, the vision disappeared again. Astrid felt a sharp headache occur. It was intense for a few seconds and then it dulled down again to a light throb.

Astrid thought she saw Barry's leg move. Like it had twitched, though she assumed that it was her imagination. His hand sat above the blanket, she focused on it. She willed Barry to move his hand. Then it happened, His hand twitched.

Astrid placed her hand on his. She tried to tell herself that she had only imagined it. That her eyes were playing tricks on her. She told him in her mind to move his hand again. But then she felt him twitch his finger from under her hand. She jumped back, startled.

"Barry," she whispered. "Can you hear me?" though he didn't talk back or even move his face in the slightest. So she thought the same words to him using her mind. 'Barry, can you hear me?'

She imagined his voice, as clear as day in her own mind. 'Yeah, Astrid. I hear you. What's going on? Where am I?' Her imagination was beginning to run wild. She wondered if this was a side effect from her coma. But she couldn't help but mentally respond back to him.

'You're in a coma, Barry. There was a meteor storm while we were in the elevator. You're in hospital but we will be transferring you to Sutherland Labs.'

There was no response, she wasn't sure why she was even expecting one. She needed to stop letting her imagination get the better of her.

Her head began to hurt even more than before. It was excruciating! She sunk back in her chair and grasped her head in her hands. "Astrid, are you ok?" Caitlin had found her.

"It's just my head. I need something for the pain... my head hurts." She told her friend.

The pain had died down again. It continued to come in waves. Once it had hit its peak it mellowed again, giving her a chance to think clearly.

"Astrid, there are a few reporters outside the hospital." Joe had joined them and was handing her a coffee, "I can give you two a ride back in the police car if you like." Astrid thanked Joe, sipped her coffee and nodded. 

"Yes please," Caitlin answered.

"...In breaking news, sources say that Dr Robert Sutherland's daughter has awoken from her coma. Word has yet to confirm if she will be taking on her father's legacy of running Sutherland Labs..." Cisco turned the television off as Astrid, Caitlin and Detective Joe West entered the room.

"...Girl, you've barely been out for two hours and you've already brought the police home to our door." Cisco joked.

"This is who you want me to leave Barry in the care of?" Joe asked Astrid.

"I can assure you, detective that he is not on our medical team." Caitlin began, "Cisco's just our mechanical engineer, technical advisor and a friend of ours."

"Francisco Ramon," Cisco held out his hand to shake Joe's hand.

"Detective Joe West. I think we met briefly a few months ago when the CCPD investigated Sutherland Labs for animal testing." Cisco nodded and then picked something up from the desk.

"This came for you while you were out, Astrid." He handed her a business card that said 'Clarks and Sons', making her freeze in her tracks.

"That's my father's lawyers." She said softly. She sat down slowly at the desk staring blankly at the card. "This is about my father's will... me inheriting the business." She told Cisco.

He took the seat next to her and placed his arm around her shoulder comfortingly, while Caitlin, led Joe to her med bay to discuss Barry's transfer.

"I don't know what I need to do. I don't know where I need to start. My father's dead. My friend's in a coma. I just woke up from one, and now I'm supposed to take over an entire organization." Astrid felt the tears begin to fall down her cheeks, but she wiped them away with her sleeve and sniffled a little.

Cisco pressed his cheek into Astrid's shoulder and waited for her to go on.

"I am not going to break. I need to remain strong. I shouldn't be falling apart right now." 

"Astrid, we've been best friends since high school. So it's safe to say that I know you better than anybody. I remember when your mother passed away. You felt as if your whole world was crumbling. Do you remember what you did? You toughed it out! That's what you do! And that's what I know you'll do this time. And I want you to know that I believe that you will get through it. I want you to do whatever you need to get through this. Just remember, Caitlin and I will both stand by you, through whatever you choose to do. We're like family!"

Astrid rested the side of her head on Cisco's and smiled. This was exactly what she needed to hear. She wiped the fresh tears from her face. "Ok. Let's call the lawyers. I know what I need to do! And we're going to pour Sutherland's Labs resources into researching the meteor storm!"


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