A/N... This story got locked into my mind several weeks ago and I couldn't let it go. It is pretty angsty at times and the underlying theme might be difficult for some. I promise to make the angst worth enduring. This is all drama, no case. I usually write suspense but this story just begged to be told.

Pairing: Pre-B/A to B/A

Rating: It's really T, but with one chapter rated M.

Time frame: This is confusing. Pretend it's about season 5 with Deakins, Barek and Logan, but everything up to the episode Frame has already occurred (i.e., Frances, Frank, Brady and Nicole are gone).

Usual disclaimer about not owning them...


Chapter notes... Thanks to JamiW for her suggestions on this chapter. The italics/bold/centered dialogue represents past scenes that are being replayed in Bobby's mind.


Bobby's POV

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"When did you first start experiencing these symptoms, Mr. Goren?"

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

I glance up from my desk, once again seeing the closed door to Deakins' office.

Anxiety is winning, I realize, as I flick the blue pen that I had been nervously twirling onto the floor. It rolls under the desk behind me. I don't bother getting up to retrieve it.

I'm only half-listening to my partner as she talks about random things. And these are the types of conversations with her that I usually enjoy. So it's not that I didn't want to listen, I just couldn't. Too distracted.

Unfortunately, Eames was getting a little too used to this…

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Bobby, did you hear me? I said we need to interview Jeff's son again."

"Oh… right.. Sorry, Eames."

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

On top of all of that, she's been carrying most of the weight in this partnership lately.

I know I've been moody, irritable and difficult to work with, but my mind has been on overload.

This morning, Deakins promised he'd give me ten minutes before he left for lunch. There's something I have to speak with him about and it is kind of important. I'm wanting to get this over with, too.

But that ten-minute meeting which I had accepted and had been anticipating all morning should have ended about a half an hour ago.

Suddenly I hear what sounds like a door opening and closing. My head snaps up in the direction of Deakins' door.

It's still closed. Turns out to be some uniformed officer setting a heavy briefcase down on top of a desk. Probably evidence for court.

The captain is most likely on the phone. Probably something just as important.

But over the past few weeks, my patience has taken a leave of absence...

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Just a few more questions, Mr. Goren. How long have you smoked?"

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

Eames tells me she wants to go to lunch. Says something about having a craving for a Philly cheese steak.

Of course, she's expecting me to go to lunch as well. To go with her. And eat. And actually be something that resembles 'company.'

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Here is a list of foods we recommend you keep in your diet. And here's a list of foods that you should avoid."

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

I'm not hungry, and in fact, I could care less about food right now.

Just ten minutes with Deakins, and then maybe Eames and I can take lunch.

Well, okay… I could go with her and watch her eat.

The lights in the bullpen seem entirely too bright all of a sudden. In fact, they're making me sweat. Soon my necktie is off and sitting in a crumpled pile on my desk, and I'm wondering why I had kept it on for so long.

Eames mentions lunch again and is preparing to leave. I can't leave right now or I might miss talking to Deakins.

She knows nothing about this meeting. Can't find out just yet, either. At least not here. Maybe over a few drinks or when neither of us is exceptionally edgy.

So what do I tell her this time? Excuses elude me at the moment. I've exhausted the usual ones and I'm too damned tired to come up with new ones.

But I'm also tired of lying…

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Goren, this is the second time you've left early this week. You feeling okay?"

"Yeah, Captain. It must just be that flu that's going around."

x.x.x.x.x

"Bobby? What the hell's with you today?"

"Nothing. Sorry, Eames."

x.x.x.x.x

"Mr. Goren, have you been talking to anyone to help you cope with this?"

"Um… Sure."

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

My left knee is bouncing under the desk like a frickin' jack hammer. I reach into my desk, open the bottle of Xanax, pop two pills into my mouth, and with nothing on my desk to drink, I force them down.

I just need for this to be over. I'm a little tempted to go ahead and leave with Eames and catch Deakins later. But that would just be postponing it. Really can't prep myself for this kind of meeting all over again. It's not something I'm going to be able to keep quiet about for much longer anyway.

People have to be told. Plans have to be made. Talking to Deakins is really just step one...

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"We have a few forms for you to fill out, Mr. Goren. You'll want to arrive at least 15 minutes early."

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

My gaze returns to the locked door to the captain's office.

Dammit, come on Deakins!

It's not his fault. I know this.

My patience is completely gone. I can't deal with the waiting. All I ever seem to do anymore is wait…

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Mr. Goren, we need you to come in for more tests. Can you be here at two o'clock on Thursday?"

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

I just need for him to poke his head out and gesture me over.

I glance back at Eames, but look away when she catches me. She knows something's up. I can't have her figure it out on her own or find out some other way. I'd rather handle this tactfully...

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Is that all you're going to eat?"

"Oh, I'm not that hungry, Eames. Want the rest?"

"Not hungry? Bobby, you haven't eaten a thing today."

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

I suddenly realize she was just talking to me and I have absolutely no idea what she said. I just nod politely.

She had asked me a question and is waiting on something other than a nod as a reply. "Sorry, Eames. What was that?"

"Nothing," she replies in a disappointed tone. "See you in an hour." She's up from her chair and out the door before I can form the words to tell her I'm sorry.

Dammit…

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Your form is not complete. Who is your next of kin?"

"That would be my nephew, Donnie."

"We need his contact information."

"I'm afraid I don't have that."

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

My gaze returns to the DD5 in my hand. At the moment, I'm just trying to look as though I'm doing something productive. Something other than sitting here and staring a damned hole in the captain's office door.

"Goren!"

My head snaps up at the sound of the captain's voice.

It's time…

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Can you tell us more about your family's medical history?"

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

The muscles in my head tense and my stomach is in knots as I get up from the desk chair and walk over to the door. I'm starting to feel ill, but now just isn't the time...

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Is there someone who can come in with you to hear these results? A family member? Close friend?"

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

Deakins closes the door behind me. "Have a seat," he says, gesturing to one of the two chairs in front of his desk.

I decline, opting to remain standing a little ways back from both chairs with my fists shoved into the pockets of my pants. I choose to focus on the floor space between where I stand and the front of Deakins' desk. I find myself searching for the familiar scuff marks on the floor which I have fixated on numerous times before while in this office.

He sits down at his desk. "Is there something you wanted to talk about?"

I don't move nor speak. I have no idea where to start, and ten minutes pass before I get the nerve to even make eye contact.

I hear noises coming from the bullpen. A desk phone rings. Someone is complaining about the copier. Someone else is talking about having lunch at a new restaurant.

There's a smell of stale coffee coming from Deakins' ceramic NYPD mug, which is sitting on the left corner of his desk. The mug is blue, it's faded and has a small chip in it.

My fists unclench and I begin to tug at a loose thread inside one of the pockets.

The air in that office is still and although only a moment ago I was sweating, right now I'm cold.

Actually, I'm shivering.

For some reason, I can only focus on trivial things instead of the reason I'm in there.

And then I realize why.

It's because I've never actually said the words…

. . .

x.x.x.x.x

"Mr. Goren, we have the results of your lab work."

x.x.x.x.x

. . .

"Well? What is it, Detective?"

"Sir… I have cancer."

. . .

TBC…