Title: An imperfect world

Pairing: Chandler/Kent

Author: Claddagh

Rating: PG-13

Summary: An AU where Kent didn't recover from the attack in series two and is left in a wheelchair, paralysed from the buttocks down.

Disclaimer: Not mine

Authors Note - This drabble occurred to me when I was sitting in a Disability and tolerance lecture on my Nursing Degree. I know I shouldn't be thinking up ideas for fan fiction when in my lectures, but when the muse strikes…make the most of it! I know this will be a little angst-y, but Hell, that is my rapidly becoming my speciality!

Kent hates paperwork.

It wasn't what he signed up for when he became a detective. He acknowledged the fact that he would have to do a certain amount, as is the way in today's society.

What he really became a detective for was the rush. The rush of adrenaline when you knew who your man was and calling up the armed response unit to accompany you to the arrest. The elation you felt when chasing a suspect through the dark streets. The satisfaction when you caught them, the peace you felt when they were behind bars, unable to hurt anyone else. Knowing that you had made the streets that little bit safer than they had been.

Kent didn't get that feeling that anymore.

The other's did, and he was happy that they got to experience that. But when the rest of the team rushed away in a flutter of suit jackets and long dark coats to apprehend a suspect, Kent was left alone in the incident room with only the victims' photo's for company.

The sole thing left to do is the paperwork, which he will gladly begin, so that when the team do return, there is less to do.

That's all Kent does now. Paperwork.

The others try to make him feel better, they downplay everything that happened out on the streets, so as to make it seem less interesting. Kent's knows that they do this, but he doesn't call them out on it. He lets them believe that they are helping him forget that he's missing out.

Riley tries to mother him all the time, asking him if he needs or wants anything. He appreciates it, he really does, but sometimes he just want to tell her to piss off. Just because he's in a wheelchair it doesn't mean that he can't still do some things.

Sure, he can't walk, run, stand, manoeuvre himself very easily, have a normal relationship. But he's not an invalid, or dead. He can still make himself tea, he can still hold a conversation, he can still detect and do his job…the intellectual side anyway.

But somehow, those thoughts don't always make him feel better. He misses being on level with everyone, he misses being able to go down stairs, he misses riding his Vespa (sold once he realised he would never ride it again), he misses the times when going to the toilet wasn't something that had to be planned out.

He misses being able to lean up and kiss Joe when the other detective wasn't expecting it. Now he'd have to ask and pull Joe down by the arm. Not that he ever does now.

Kent ended their relationship not long after he was told that his legs would never heal. Chandler had tried to talk him out of it, but the young man had offered the ultimatum of either Joe accepted the relationship was over, or he'd apply for a transfer to another team. Chandler had quickly decided that having Kent around as simply a college was better than not having him around at all. It was hard still being around the older man, knowing what they had, what they could've had, but Kent couldn't let Joe tie himself to someone who couldn't walk, who wasn't physically able to satisfy his needs. He still watched Joe through the windows to his office, he still supported him, still helped him, but only when at work. When the shift ended, Kent went to his home, and Chandler to his. Both of them able to vividly remember what their relationship had been, remembering the touches, the kisses, the words that no one had heard pass Joe's lips other than Emerson Kent.

But they were over now, just a memory. Kent's reality now consisted of paperwork and the permanent master label of 'Wheelchair user', that seemed to override all other labels that applied to him; son, brother, detective, boyfriend.

Now he was just 'wheelchair user' to both the public and the hospital professionals.

The Doctors and nurses has told him that the sciatic nerve was completely severed by Jimmy Brooke's blade, the tissue damaged beyond repair, even to the highly skilled hands of a head surgeon. He had been paralysed from the knife wound down for nearly six months now. He was adjusting, but having to ask one of the team to get a file out of the top filing cabinet draw for him because he can't reach is not only demeaning and embarrassing, for Kent, but the team as well.

He tries not to get himself into situations that requires him to ask for help. If he knows a file is in the top draw, he will let one of the others take it, and pick one that he knows will be in a lower draw. He'll forgo having a drink from the water fountain, because to get there he has to squeeze his wheelchair in between two desks, which isn't easy and can be disruptive if his spatial awareness is even a little off.

He know that the others pity him. He doesn't want their pity, he wants to be treated like he was before. He wants them to make jokes about it. Call him 'roller boy', 'Sit and spin', whatever comes to mind. Don't avoid the subject as if it's taboo.

But they do.

Kent sometimes wishes that he hadn't survived the attack. He knows that he should be happy that the only damage was to his legs, but no matter how many times people tell him that he's lucky, he just can't see it.

Emerson Kent hates paperwork. It's a pity that it's all he does now…