AN: I know I have a zillion unfinished stories on here. But blame the evil plot bunny for this one. Its also pretty much my first angst story, soooo enjoy....

Disclaimer: I've written over ten stories and guess what? I still own nothing!

I hate it. I hate the way they look at me. It makes me feel guilty, almost as if I chose to get sick. I didn't and they know it. But that doesn't stop the looks. Sometimes, I just wish I had never told them, although the effort of keeping such a huge secret would soon exhaust me. Mostly, I'm just ready to leave it all behind, and that may be why I feel so guilty. Dying can't be as bad as being treated like a fragile china doll, but I hate wishing the end of my existence on those closest to me. My best friend is trying his best to pretend the sickness isn't here, but its fake and I can't stand it. I'm sure he'd hate being babied like this if it were him.

I used to love that he almost never left my side. Yesterday though, I yelled at him. I told him to go away, if a bit more colorfully. He was hurt deeply, I could tell, but I think it affected me more than him. This disease is turning me into a monster. And I don't want to admit it, but I'm afraid. Not of death, or what comes after, but of dying, and of those I will leave behind. Abigail heard me yelling and says I need to talk to him, but I can't bear it. Every conversation I have with them now is short and awkward. When I first found out about the cancer, I decided I'd try to live life to the fullest and hope for a stroke of luck. Instead, I'm confined to the house by their stares, and they worry if I leave. I am not helpless, so why do they treat me like I am? And so far, nothing's working for me. I guess between Cibola and the Templar Treasure, I've had enough luck for one short lifetime.

The bell on the coffee shop's door dings softly. I look up and groan. He followed me here! Why does he care so much? If he wants to help me, he needs to leave me alone. The sympathy is a constant reminder of my looming demise. His concerned eyes scan the shop. I try to sink down in my seat, become invisible. It doesn't work, and I notice how the man's eyes light up as he sees me alone in the dark corner. I tear my gaze away as he makes his way to the table and sits across form me. I don't look back up. Why should I? Instead, I sip some coffee, keeping my head down and waiting for the accusatory statement about my earlier behavior. It surprisingly doesn't come. I want to talk to him, to apologize so badly, but I can't. Instead he sighs, shakes his head, mutters something that sounds a lot like my name, and goes for the counter. I know exactly what he will order.

"Grande Strawberries and Crème," he says, as I've heard him do a million times before. He hates coffee, I've never know why, and I don't suppose I ever will now. He returns and reclaims his seat. How strange we must look, two people sitting here, not talking, not looking at each other, inside a lively coffee shop full of normal people with normal lives. I hear a long slurping sound. Suddenly, he collapses to the floor. He's lying there, clutching at his head, and no one else notices. I gasp and spring up.

"B-b-Brain Freeze!" my friend moans. I release an involuntary chuckle, relieved that he's just doing a brain freeze act like usual.

"Can't freeze it if you don't have it," I respond. As always.

He looks at me guiltily as I help him up, and I wonder why, but pass it off as our strained friendship over the past weeks. "Ben…" he says hesitantly. I'm ready to throw my arm around him and tell him it will be okay, as if he was the dying one. "Abi's pregnant," he blurts. I slowly feel consciousness slipping away with my last remnants of calm, and my world crashes down before me.

AN: So... how much did you read before you guessed it was Ben who was sick and not Riley?