Breakin' Up

June 26, 2015:

Ronnie and Barry break up after the latter receives an envelope that throws her lies out into the open.

Some Gym

A gym where Ronnie teaches crossfit


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: Breakin' up, Violent Femmes

Fade In…

Friday night in NYC! People are out doing all kinds of things, living and learning and laughing and loving. And some people are wrapping up a day at work. Ronnie Hautzig, professional crossfit instructor, is emerging from the women's locker room at the gym where she works. Her hair is wet, and she's wearing jeans and a jacket — not a heavy one, since it's summer and all. Her gym bag is slung over her shoulder, and she's thumbing a few things on her phone as she walks down the hallway. She's got a lot on her mind, so she's not quite looking where she's going.

At the end of the hallway, Barry Allen is waiting for her. He's got one hand shoved deep in his pocket and the other around a manila envelope. His head is downward, but as she approaches Ronnie will be able to tell by the look on his face that isomething is terribly, terribly wrong.

It looks like someone died.

But no one died. Not literally, anyhow. The mail just came. He got it direct, even had to sign for it. Like he was being served or something. As he looks up to her, his face looks as though his teeth are clenched. He isn't crying, but he isn't far from it.

There's a probably agonizing few seconds of Ronnie not seeing Barry, probably just texting innocently or whatever. (She's actually moving some stuff around in her bank accounts, but.)

Ronnie looks up and spots her man. "Barry!" she says, excited by the surprise, but quickly zeroing in on the fact that something is wrong. "I— what's up?" Her brows are furrowed and she's trying to get a read on the exact Bad Feeling Barry is radiating. In the back of her mind, she knows something is about to explode but she's trying to tell herself that that's not the case.

Barry doesn't respond; not immediately. Instead he holds out his arm to brush the envelope towards her midriff, clearly implying that she should take it. As he does so he has difficulty making eye contact with her.

"Were you ever going to tell me?" he asks quietly. "Or was the whole thing a set up?"

The look on Ronnie's face is stunned but clear-eyed — like Barry just announced he was going to remove his own head, and then did so, as promised. She takes the envelope but robotically, not opening it just yet. The look on her face is like she's just been told her family died.

"Barry," Ronnie starts to say, clearly struggling for words. "I— I was going to. I really… I really was." There's no 'what are you talking about?' and no 'it's not true' — she doesn't patronize him, doesn't lie to him. But that might be too little, too late.

Was the whole point to find out my identity? Was that what this was all about?" Barry asks, keeping a stiff upper lip. "What's SHIELD going to do with that knowledge, Ronnie? If Joe or Iris get hurt," there's a hatred that burns in his eyes. He's not one to threaten, but he's about to reconsider a lot of what he's about. He can't remember being this mad since they told him they were moving his dad to New York."

Ronnie's actually taken aback for a second there — nothing rattles a person's cage like seeing hate in the eyes of the person they love. "It… was a coincidence. Barry. Remember where we met? I was… I was teaching, you were there as just… you, not the… It wasn't business. It just…"

Ronnie puts her hands to her temples. She's not crying — she's not the crying type — but she's clearly feeling her blood pressure go haywire. She looks at the envelope and then has to scrunch her eyes shut and flutter her eyelids. "I was going to quit," she says, quietly and weakly.

Apparently that doesn't seem to steer Barry, whatsoever. "You lied to me. You fed them information about me, and that's probably what you're doing right now. Well give them a message for me, if they come after me, or anyone I love," Barry says as he steps closer towards her. "They will regret the day they ever found out about me."

"That's not a threat. That's a promise."

Ronnie's expression is dumbfounded. She's hurt, but more than that, she looks helpless. She's like a spectator at an air disaster — but she's also the pilot.

"Barry…" Ronnie says, almost a whisper. Words have failed her. "I love you. I do. That's… that's real. Please…" Please what? Forgive her?

"You love me?" Barry asks, incredulously. "Is that supposed to be a joke? You decide that you want to be truthful about that, but you've lied about everything else?" He does a little head shake thing he does only when he's really angry. "Even if I wanted to believe you, and I don't, how could I even believe that this just wasn't part of your plot. I'm sorry, Ronnie. We're over."

Actually, what Ronnie really looks like is someone who's been shamed. Because that's what she is. She meets Barry's gaze long enough to realize that he means what he's saying, and then her gaze goes to the floor.

"I'm sorry, too," Ronnie says, mournfully. Her body is so mighty, but she's weighted down now, sagging under the weight of the decisions she's made with her life. "I don't know what else to say." Her voice is small.

"Don't say anything."

Barry takes a few steps down the hall and erupts into a shower of sparks and a zephyr of wind and in a split second, he is gone.

In more ways than one.

Ronnie stands there, her hair disrupted by the wind, and once Barry is gone — in all of those ways — she finally lets herself release a tear or two. And with that tear comes everything else she'd just choked down.

A long, shuddering breath ends in a cry of rage, and Ronnie kicks a water fountain so hard that the dent is like a tank shell hit it. She has to slump against the wall, quivering, to keep herself from smashing up more of the place. Not that it'd matter, part of her thinks, because now, well, it's not like this is her job anymore.

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