A/N: What Wendell might have been thinking during 9x13

Dancing to the Song That's Playing

I have a lot to think about.

I knew it was bad when Doctor Brennan's eyes filled with tears and Booth looked like he was going to puke. But the word cancer never entered my mind until Booth took a deep breath and said what my mentor couldn't.

It's strange, what goes through your mind when you hear that word. I immediately thought about my mom, losing me like she lost Dad. How she wouldn't survive it. How I'd felt back then when we realized that he wasn't going to make it. The helplessness, the irrational feeling of being abandoned. I tried to remember the last time I'd had sex, the fleeting thought that it might actually be the last time making my insides clench. The memory of Doctor Brennan's tears made me think about the lab and the team, about how they've become a second family to me and how sorry I was that I was going to hurt them.

And then I got pissed off. Which is why I had to leave the diner before I said something I'd regret because neither of them deserved that.

I walked for awhile, all the things I thought I was going to miss flipping through my head like discarded Polaroids being tossed onto a table, sliding off the edge and onto the floor face down. Fleeting glances of a life I'd wanted to have some day. I didn't feel the loss I expected, just a detached sort of numbness that spread throughout my body.

Once I had doubled back to my car outside the diner, Booth and Doctor Brennan were long gone but the feeling of dread remained. It probably will, until this is over…one way or another. I know my odds and I know the fight that lies ahead of me, if that's what I choose to do. My dad did the whole chemo and radiation thing and his last months were nothing but sickness and weakness and existing without really living the life he was fighting for. More than once, while he was in the middle of dying slowly and painfully, I'd wished he had just decided to go out with his dignity intact. Fighting is admirable and I know why he did it, but it's also ugly and sad and lonely. It was the last thing I wanted for him.

And for myself.

Dying is essentially a lonely process. No one else can do it for you or with you. Your family and friends are losing you, but you are losing everyone. It's unfair and filthy and wrong, and even so I couldn't help but think that I was a little lucky. Unlike poor Vincent, I know what's coming. I have time to do most of the things on my bucket list, to travel and see the world, eat exotic foods, and sleep with beautiful women…to get my little world in order.

To say goodbye.

Or I could go ahead with whatever treatment the fancy oncologist suggests. Chemotherapy. Weeks and weeks of poison being pumped into my veins to eliminate the enemy. Radiation to finish it off. And in between, constant throwing up and hair loss and headaches and exhaustion and probably the loss of my arm. And the love and support of my family. The team.

My team. Our team.

I don't want to let them down, but this isn't about them. It's about me and what I want and what I think is best for me. How I want to be remembered and how I want to remember.

I have a lot to think about.