A/N: Vein struck. So this one below is going to be appropriately bad. Just figured after watching eight eps of "The Unusuals" that there is not much interaction between Walsh (I'm a Renner-gade right now) and Delahoy-Banks duo. So have angsty fic and enjoy it as much as you can.
And point out mistakes and typos, I'll be grateful.
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, just borrowed. Cancelling this show was a crime.
Walsh was wiping the counter and still smiling after Allison's visit, when he heard the door opening. He looked up.
"Delahoy, hi," he greeted. Eric nodded and shook Walsh's hand. He sat heavily behind the counter, not looking at Jason.
"Coffee?", asked Walsh politely. Eric nodded again. "I heard you are on a leave. Holidays?"
"Yeah, k-kind of," Delahoy finally replied.
If Walsh noticed the stutter, he pretended he didn't. Walsh grabbed two mugs and poured some coffee. He put one of the mugs before Eric and sipped from the one still in his hand.
"So, what brings you here?", asked Jason. "You don't really visit unless someone tries to shoot me."
"Apolo has better f-food," Eric replied with a smile, leaving out the second part of the sentence: 'Not that I actually can taste it anymore.'
"So I'm told. Repeatedly."
Delahoy smiled again and focused on his coffee. Undoubtedly bad, since Walsh's lack of abilities to cook was a common knowledge among people who ever tried to eat anything from this diner, but it didn't matter.
He sat in silence, feeling Walsh watching him.
"You getting b-better?", he asked finally.
"Two more weeks and I'm back on track," he replied, rubbing his hands. "I don't know why so long, but Allison and Case threatened they will skin me if I show up at the precinct even one day before I'm officially cleared for duty."
"I like my skin," he added, still regarding Eric closely.
"Even if it has m-more h-holes than before," Delahoy said. He was aware Walsh must have noticed the stutter, yet he was glad Jason haven't mentioned it. Yet.
"Hey, I'm healing, okay?", Walsh protested with a smile.
"Good for you. We miss you there."
Walsh only smiled. He missed them too. He felt good among these people, even if they all had something really weird or just special in them. He was happy they trusted him to the point of making him their unofficial leader or coming to him to ask for help, knowing he would assist them and ask for nothing in return. He knew he found his place after years of looking. No-one liked when even the best detectives were clearly hiding something. Not that he had particularly dark past, he just didn't enjoy talking about himself and he loved when people tried guessing his secrets.
He also knew something was seriously wrong with Delahoy. Always somewhat laid-back and taking usually the more weird or funny cases, he have been acting strangely for the last few months, not to mention really obvious stutter that must have appeared recently. He also was familiar with That Look – when someone was collecting strength to say something unpleasant, sad or shocking about themselves.
Walsh started to prepare himself emotionally.
"You know...", Eric finally said. "I don't really know you."
"I made sure of that," Walsh replied lightly.
"I know you're a good man, g-good detective and all... You just keep everything s-secret."
Walsh realized how much work it required from Eric to not stutter at the beginning of every word. It was bad.
"So you're good at keeping secrets. Just your own or anybody else's as w-well?", Eric asked, finally looking up at Walsh.
Jason hated barely contained panic in his eyes.
"Secrets make people," Walsh replied calmly. "I respect that."
"So, c-can you promise you'll keep the secret I'm about to t-tell you now?"
"I promise," said Walsh.
Eric reached into his briefcase and took out a large, brown envelope, which contained large something that looked like multiple X-rays on one film. He handed it to Walsh, who took it and tried to see something.
"What am I supposed to see here?", he asked.
"My b-brain tumor."
Walsh felt like he needed to sit down.
"God, Eric," he sighed, circled the counter and sat heavily beside Delahoy.
"One d-day I hit my head, got an X-ray, an hour l-later I'm told I have few months to live. It was thirteen m-months ago."
"What doctors say about this?"
"Nothing," Eric replied with a shrug. Walsh looked at him with sharp eyes.
"You mean you didn't go to the doctor. You didn't try to do anything about it."
"I don't want t-to be t-tied to a bed, p-paralyzed and drooling..."
"You mean you didn't even try to fight," Walsh cut him off, suddenly angry. "You were told you have a brain tumor that's apparently eating you away and you just left it like that."
"I wouldn't let anyone r-rummage through my head..."
"So you decided to give up and die before even trying to get some treatment!", Walsh shouted.
Eric was shocked. Walsh never shouted.
"Christ, Eric! I..."
Walsh stood up and started pacing, unable to find words. Eric watched him limping slightly, breathing heavily, still in some pain.
Walsh calmed down after two minutes. He stood by the wall, leaning on it with his arms folded. He looked at Eric.
"What do you expect from me?", he asked.
Eric was speechless.
"You want me to explain what happened when you finally don't show up at work?"
"I won't show up at w-work anyway," Eric murmured.
"So it's over," Walsh said. He was still angry. Or rather frustrated. "You really gave up. What are you going to do?"
"I won't die in a hospital, that's for s-sure. I was t-told it's too late to get any t-treatment."
Walsh slid down the wall and sat on the floor with his head in his arms.
"I couldn't t-tell Leo. He's was r-really shaken with his own problems."
"Leo doesn't know his working partner and best friend is dying," Walsh said with his head still bent. "He expected to die any minute for a year and now he's gonna learn that you were slowly dying all this time."
"T-that's why I didn't t-tell him."
"What else is wrong, Eric? Beside your stutter?", asked Walsh, looking up at him.
"I l-lost my sense of taste. Can b-barely hear on one ear. Have hallucinations."
"You're lucky you're still walking."
"And you're not gonna wait until you lose that ability as well," Walsh added.
Eric didn't reply. Didn't need to.
"I should stop you," said Jason.
Jason nodded. He slowly rose, came closer to Eric and hugged him.
It took a few seconds for Eric to return the gesture, mindful of Jason's healing gunshot wounds.
He felt something wet on the back of his shirt, but didn't react. Walsh sniffed.
"You and Leo were the only people that tried to make my first day at the Second bearable, with Kowalski being an asshole and everyone else trying to bully me," Walsh whispered, still holding him tightly. "You goddamn idiot. I hate you so much for this."
"You did well, you d-didn't need my help then," Eric replied with a smile.
"Because that's what I do, Eric. I don't care when someone's trying to get to me. It doesn't change the fact you're a friend, good guy and fine cop and this is probably the last time I even see you."
Walsh pulled away.
"Don't try to lie to me," he added, his eyes wet. "This is a goodbye. You finally had to tell someone and you chose me."
"D-don't tell anyone until you hear..."
Eric didn't need to finish. Walsh nodded. Eric just stood up and left.
Walsh was wiping his tears away when Casey entered the diner.
"Hey Walsh, what's up?", she asked cheerfully, but became serious when she saw he was crying.
"Nothing," he replied.
He shot himself in the head. His body was found in his flat a week after his last conversation with Jason.
So Jason wasn't burdened with Delahoy's secret for long. He wasn't grateful for that.
Walsh didn't need to explain anything. The autopsy revealed huge brain tumor. In conclusions the pathologist expressed her surprise that Eric Delahoy was even able to hold the gun.
Walsh decided he hated secrets. At least some of them. After Eric's funeral he shared some stories from the times he started to work at the Second Precinct. Funny, warm stories about Delahoy. He even mentioned publicly his short career as professional baseball player. Casey and Allison both admitted Walsh have never talked this much.
"Just this one time," he replied with a smile. "No secrets today, because Delahoy kept his condition a secret and he shouldn't have. He died alone, being one of the most popular people in this precinct and that's unfair."
They hung his badge on the wall.