(A/N) This is for a Tumblr prompt from abandonedideas:
"Bit of an evil one here.
Cisco has cancer and is hiding it from everyone.
It's discovered when someone (Dr. Wells/Barry/Caitlin) answers his phone when he's out of the room and it's his doctor reminding him he has a chemotherapy appointment next Thursday.
People react badly
Bonus points if Dr. Wells isn't a completely evil dirtbag, or at least cares, because he's totally grown fond of them in the show."

WELL OKAY THEN.


Generally Harrison Wells wasn't the type to answer other peoples' phones, but Cisco had a call out to somebody he'd known in school, an expert that could shed quite a lot of light on the metahuman they were currently dealing with. So when the caller ID flickered "Dr. Washington", he picked it up. "Hello?"

"Is this Francisco Ramon?" a man's voice asked.

"This is his phone."

"You're not Francisco Ramon?"

"I work with him. Are you calling back about the bidirectional transmutation question?"

"No," the man on the other end said slowly. "No. I'm not."

Equally confused, Wells asked, "Then what are you calling about?"

"I'm sorry, sir. I need to talk to Francisco Ramon. Is he around?"

"I told you, I can take a message."

"Well, he needs to call the office here before the end of the day. This number will be fine."

"What is this concerning, exactly?"

"I can't tell you that."

"Why not?"

"Sir, HIPAA guidelines prohibit me - "

"HIPAA?"

"Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of - "

"I know what HIPAA stands for," Wells broke in. "Why the hell is it part of this conversation?"

"I'm hanging up, sir. I'll call back and leave a voicemail. Please don't pick up." And then just emptiness in his ear.

He put the phone down at Cisco's desk. Stared at it. Watched it light up again, buzz gently three or four times. Watched it go to voicemail.

He reached out for his tablet, pulled up Google, and searched, "Dr Washington, Central City."

It was a generic name, a broad search, but with a few added parameters, he narrowed it down to a couple of doctors. An internist (maybe), a gynecologist (almost certainly not) and …

An oncologist.

He stared at the screen. Dr. Washington's face, broad and comforting, looked back at him. He closed the window, a rock in his stomach.

A few minutes later, the children (no, he shouldn't think of them like that; they were grown adults, but it was very difficult sometimes) came noisily back in, debating possibilities for dealing with their metahuman. It was the kind of scene that played out every day, comforting and normal.

He watched Cisco. Were those shadows under his eyes? Was his hair lank and dull because he'd forgotten to wash it for a day or two, or for some other reason? That dry cough - was it just allergies like Cisco claimed?

"Hey, there's my phone!" Cisco said.

"You got a phone call," Wells said. "They left a voicemail."

He watched as Cisco picked up his phone and looked at the screen. He went momentarily still, then tucked it into his back pocket. "Nah, it wasn't her. I'll listen later." He plopped down in his chair, at his computers, hard enough to make it creak, and started working on some random task while Barry and Caitlin continued debating. About ten minutes later, he slipped away.

Wells followed him.

Cisco went to the control room, as if being surrounded by switches and electrical panels was a comfort to him. He sat on the floor and leaned back into the chicken-wire partition, letting it cradle the curve of his back like a hammock. "Hi," he said. "You guys called me earlier." Pause. "Y-yeah. I know. It's on my calendar. Thursday. Two o'clock." He swallowed. "Thanks for the reminder. I - what? Okay. Okay. No, I get it. Yeah, I read all the stuff you gave me. What? No, I'll be on my own. Nobody's coming with me. Oh, no, I'll be fine. I don't live far." Pause. "Look, I'll be okay. If I'm super-whammied, I'll get a taxi, okay? It'll be fine."

Cisco's goodbye was perfunctory, almost curt, and he stabbed the screen so hard Wells thought it would break.

Wells had known this was coming, of course.

The Vibe of the future talked about it easily, frankly. He did bilingual PSAs about getting checked and spoke passionately to Congress about the need for public outreach, education, and access to health care, because a diagnosis rate among Latinos like one in two men and one in three women was - "well, I shouldn't even have to explain, the numbers are right there, Congresspeople, are you seeing this, seriously, okay, my wife's glaring at me, I'll get back to my speech."

He showed off the scar on his chest where they'd removed the topmost lobe of his right lung because of the nest of tumors that had proven resistant to chemo and radiation - stubborn bastards, I called 'em Los Lobos. Get it? he chortled.

He speculated that his powers were the result of his exposure to the particle accelerator explosion, combined with the radiation that had blasted his body on a regular basis for about three years.

He shrugged, that wide Cisco grin on his face, and said Who knows?

The Cisco of today wasn't grinning. He was curled into a ball, forehead pressed to his knees, smaller than Wells would have thought possible. His harsh breathing echoed around the room. Now that he knew to listen for it, Wells could hear the slight wheeze.

He stepped back to where he'd parked his chair so the noise of the wheels wouldn't alert Cisco, sat down, and waited.

While he'd always known that Vibe had faced a life-threatening illness in his younger days, he'd always been fooled by his frankness, by his jokes, by his general Cisco-ness about it all, and never considered what that threat meant to the Cisco first facing it.

Ten minutes later, Cisco strode out of the control room. When he saw Wells, he skidded to a halt. "Hey. Sorry. Call ran long. We hear anything?"

Wells looked up at him. "I'll clear my schedule for Thursday."

Cisco's shoulders went stiff for a moment, but he shook his head, making an incredulous face. "Thursday? What are you talking about?"

"Your appointment. Two o'clock, correct? I agree with your doctor, by the way. Someone should drive you. I will."

Cisco went white, but whether it was with horror or rage was hard to say. "You listened?"

"Do the others know?"

"No. I kinda wanted to keep this the fuck to myself." Definitely rage. "What happened to privacy?"

"How long did you expect to keep this from us, Mr. Ramon? Didn't you think we would notice?"

"I -" He put his hands over his face, breathing into his palms. "The chemo is outpatient. Some people don't have bad reactions. I wanted - I - I -"

Compassion battled with anger in Wells' chest as he watched the younger man. Cisco didn't want it to be happening. If he could wall this part of his life off into its own little room, it wouldn't be happening.

Compassion won. Wells put his hand out. "You will get through this. It will be terribly difficult, but you will."

Cisco dragged his palms down his face. His eyes were damp, but angry again. "See. That's the kind of thing I don't want to have to listen to. I know it's well-meaning and all, Dr. Wells, but I just - you don't know that. You can't know that."

How could he say, Yes, I do and not have to explain? Instead, Wells told him, "If you truly don't want me to say anything, I won't. But I recommend that you tell Caitlin and Barry. Sooner rather than later."

"I don't want to put this on you. Any of you. We've got enough, you know?"

Wells' fingers worked at the armrest of his chair. He swallowed a few times. "If there's one thing I've always admired about you, Cisco, it's your unswerving loyalty and support toward your friends. You've been there for me, for Caitlin, and for Barry. Please. Don't deny us the honor and the privilege of being there for you."

FINIS

(A/N #2)

And now my PSA. Those are actual numbers, taken from this report: /research/cancerfactsstatistics/hispanics-latinos, and the sick part is Latinos aren't even the ethnic group with the highest rate of diagnosis and death. That dubious distinction belongs to African Americans. Are you guys seeing this I mean seriously.