Chapter One -- Backstory

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It was the time of year that didn't matter too much to most people. Yes, there were probably a few birthdays around the world and whatnot, but to Stiles Stilinski and Barry Allen this time of year was, simply put, heartbreaking. Stiles was getting better at controlling his panic attacks when the day came around, but he was still struggling. Barry, being the caring friend he is, always wanted to help his best friend get through the tough time. But it was just as hard, if not harder, for Barry to get through the day without something tearing him apart even in the slightest way. Sometimes it would be a picture that reminded him, or it would be one of the small, solemn smiles that Joe or Iris would give him. Whatever it was, it hurt him; like cutting into an open wound with a dull blade.

Stiles would usually spend the day with his father as Barry would with Joe. The pair, Barry, and Stiles, never really spent the day together. Although both tragedies happened on the same day, 14 years ago, Barry always felt responsible for Stiles' heartbreak. It wasn't technically anyone's fault except that cop that came speeding out of nowhere. Claudia was on the way to the Allen household after Joe had rung about what had happened to Nora. Barry needed somewhere to stay and the Stilinski's offered to take him in, for however long they needed to. That was when the police car came speeding out from a side street and crashed into the side of Claudia's car. Though the cop was slightly injured, the cuts weren't nearly as bad Claudia's.

Although all odds seemed to be against Claudia, Melissa McCall just so happened to be in the car with the cop; the detective. She was in Central City doing an operation on one of Mercury Lab's staff members who had been injured in an incident. She had just finished her shift at the hospital when she was called out to a murder at the Allen property. Of course, she said she wanted to help, even though she was tired she wouldn't, couldn't, say no.

It was like karma had screwed up and was targeting any and every kind person. On tonight's list was Nora Allen and Claudia Stilinski; two of the nicest mothers to walk the planet were dead and in the short span of 2 hours.

An ambulance was called in straight away as Melissa started doing the routine CPR and cleaning the cuts and gashes as well as she could. When the ambulance arrived, Claudia was taken directly to the hospital. Melissa stayed with Claudia as the detective made his way back to the scratched up police car and got in. He promised Melissa that Claudia would be okay. And that as soon as he returned to the station and told the captain what had happened, he would come to the hospital to see them.

"Joe West, you better damn hope she's okay." Melissa scolded the detective, her eyes narrowed slightly, as he started to walk away. He turned around to face her with tear stained cheeks and dry, cracked lips. His mouth was slightly opened as he stood there, still in shock. She opened her mouth as if to say something else but closed it almost as quickly as she opened it. Enough damage had been done tonight, and she was more than positive that Joe had been through more than enough already.

In the end, Joe went back to the crime scene to find Barry sitting, alone and waiting for Claudia to arrive. His face was pale and his cheeks were a light crimson colour from the cold air. When the young boy saw how bad Joe looked, he knew something else was wrong. Joe had told Barry that Claudia would be there to pick him up over half an hour ago, and when Joe turned up instead of Claudia, Barry got seriously worried. If it was even humanly possible to be more worried and devastated than he already was.

Joe walked towards the boy who slowly got up to greet him. "Come on Bear, we're going home. Claudia..." Joe paused and looked away from the boy and up at the many stars that laced the sky. He so desperately hoped that he wouldn't have to tell Noah that Stiles' mother was possibly among the stars. "She couldn't make it," Joe said and swallowed hard, the lump in his throat making his breath hitch. Barry's extremely small smile dropped and he looked down at his shoes, playing with his hands. "You'll be staying with me and Iris now." Barry looked up and gave a half-hearted smile to Joe.

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