I am so terribly sorry for the long wait! Like 2 months! Sheesh! Sorry. A lot has happened, if you haven't heard. My baby Blaze (my little orange kitty) died in February and earlier this month my mom had a bad heart attack, so...life kinda sucks at the moment. Bear with me.

Again, sorry for the wait. Hope this sounds okay :)

Onward!


Chapter Seven: Corbin's Analysis pt 1

~Taylor's POV~

"Everything's fine."

"Are you sure?" Taylor asked, sitting on the bed he shared with Lo. The blonde was currently in the kitchen, cooking dinner – another odd gesture but sincere enough and Taylor wasn't complaining – while the emotion taster called Blaise.

"Yeah," Blaise assured him. "The case is fine. We haven't exactly found any leads, but there haven't been any other reported incidences, either."

"Well that's good," Taylor said, before biting on his lower lip. He wasn't sure if he should tell her about the incident at the restaurant or not. Maybe he would after he spoke with Corbin, but right now, perhaps it was better she didn't know.

"How are you?"

"I'm okay."

"Taylor."

"I'm fine," Taylor sighed. "Jeez, between you and Lo, it's like you think I never tell the truth. I'm fine. I feel fine."

"I know this is a big deal," she said quietly, "but if you want to talk…"

"Okay, thanks, but I'm fine." He scrubbed a hand over his face. He had stomach cancer but it was manageable for the time being. He was supposed to get in touch with a local doctor within the next week, and he wasn't exactly looking forward to that meeting.

The scent of…

"Oh, I love you," he sighed happily.

"What?" Blaise asked.

"Not you – Lo made steak. Steak."

"He's cooking?"

"Yeah – he fixed my breakfast too."

"Well aren't you spoiled," Blaise said, a grin evident in her voice.

Taylor smirked. "I could get used to this if it didn't mean he was worried." He didn't like it when Lo was worried. He hated it. Especially hated that it was because of him. Sometimes he wondered if he did the blonde more harm than good, but he'd tried bringing that up with Lo before, only to be shot down immediately, the idea dismissed. He didn't try to bring it up again.

"Everyone's worried," Blaise said.

"Gee," Taylor sighed, "that makes me feel so much better."

"Sorry, but, you know, you kinda scared us, and then disappeared on us. You should just get some rest, okay?"

"Yeah, sure."

"We'll take care of the rogue."

"Okay."

"Did you have any trouble getting home?" she asked, and Taylor paused because there was no way she could know what happened.

"Nah," he said, biting his lower lip. He didn't like lying to Blaise, but if he told her what happened, she'd only worry more, and Taylor knew from experience it wasn't good for the job if one was preoccupied with worry and whatnot. Later. He'd tell her later, hopefully when the job was done. "Hey…what all did the doctor say to Lo?"

"I don't know," Blaise said. "We left them alone to talk."

"Que didn't hear anything?"

"If he did, he's not telling me. Why?"

"No reason."

"Taylor."

He sighed and scrubbed a hand across his face. "I just…he's being really nice to me. Like…startlingly so."

"He's just worried."

"I know – but…what if the doctors told him something they didn't tell me? Did they like…" A knot formed in his stomach and for a moment he felt sick, but swallowed the bile down. Just nerves. It was just nerves. He was fine. "Did they like…give him a date? A time slot?"

"Time slot?" Blaise asked, a frown evident in her voice. "Time slot for what? What are you talking about?"

"Like…what if they gave him a number? You know, of…of how long I have left to live." There, he said it.

"Taylor," Blaise hissed, and he flinched. "You're not dying, okay? You're going to be fine! And you know Lo wouldn't keep something like that from you, and the doctor would have to tell you before they told anyone else – you know that."

"Yeah," he sighed, shaking his head. "Yeah, I guess. Sorry."

"Don't worry so much. Just take it easy."

"Yeah."

Easier said than done, though. While he could tell his mind to not think about it, his mind was disobedient and his thoughts would wander in that direction anyway. Already his stomach churned just thinking about it. Maybe it was better there wasn't a time slot. Or, at least, if there was, Blaise didn't know about it, therefore he didn't know about it either, which was good, probably. He didn't want to know.

Ignorance was bliss, after all.

Stomach cancer.

He scrubbed a hand over his face and sighed.

"I need to be going," Blaise said apologetically. "Que fixed me dinner."

"Yeah, mine's probably almost done," he said, even though it felt odd to say. Lo rarely cooked, especially for him. It wasn't bad, just…unexpected. In a good way, really.

"I'll talk to you soon, okay? And please don't worry! Everything is going to be fine," she said, "you'll see."

"Yeah, I guess so. Talk to you later, Blaise."

With that he ended the call and tucked his phone away in his pocket. He scrubbed a hand over his face again and sat heavily on the bed, sighing. He honestly wasn't sure what to do, what he wanted the news to be. They were going to be going to the library soon – probably tomorrow morning, to see Corbin. Corbin thought it was his monster half acting up, but it wasn't. Taylor was in more control now than he'd ever been in his entire life, and while he wasn't happy about how that happened, he couldn't help but admit it was useful.

As it was, though, he was worried. A part of him didn't want to go, wanted to tell Lo no, or have the blonde go without him, but he knew it wouldn't work like that. If he refused, Lo would become suspicious and would make him go anyway. Lo said it like it was a choice but Taylor knew better.

He also knew the blonde was just worried about him, and didn't mean anything by it. So it was okay.

He startled warm hands landed on his shoulders. His eyes snapped open even though he was unaware he'd closed them. Lo blinked back at him, standing directly in front of him, arms outstretched to grab his shoulders. He was shaken lightly. "Hmm?" he asked.

"Are you okay? I called your name like three times." Intense blue eyes scanned his face.

"Sorry – just thinking," Taylor said with a faint smile as he got to his feet. Lo stepped back somewhat to give him room. "Food done?"

Lo nodded and Taylor turned away before the blonde could speak again, because he was pretty sure he already knew what the words were going to be.

He felt more than saw Lo open his mouth as they entered the kitchen. Swiftly he turned around to face the blonde.

"Yes, I feel fine. No, I don't feel sick. I'm fine. And if you ask me if I'm okay one more time…Lo…I'm going to go out and buy the loudest dog whistle I can find." He smiled. "Understand?"

Lo snorted but there was an upward quirk of his lips. "I wasn't going to say anything. I was just going to sneeze."

"Mm. Bless you for that non-existent sneeze, then."


Taylor stared at the entrance to the library, nervous even though he wasn't sure why. He'd been here hundreds of times before – why did it bother him now? Maybe because he knew Corbin called him here for a reason. Maybe because he could potentially be going 'monster' again, and he did not want that to happen. Especially around Lo. He didn't want to hurt the blonde.

That was the last thing he wanted.

He tried to talk Lo into staying at the apartment, but the blonde was stubborn and refused. Now Taylor walked toward the familiar entrance and was startled when Corbin pushed the door open and greeted them.

It wasn't often their boss greeted them. It was even less often he actually opened the door to greet them.

Taylor wasn't sure what that said about this situation, but it left a knot in his stomach. Already he could feel bile rising in his throat but he quickly swallowed it down because if that happened here, he'd never hear the end of it. Corbin would complain about his precious books and Lo would pester him even more about being okay and everything. It was touching, but annoying, because he was fine.

Just…sick. But fine. Right now. He was okay, just nervous. Yeah, that was it.

"Come this way," Corbin said as he led them down a long hallway. Honestly sometimes Taylor wondered if there was someone around here who made the place look small and unthreatening from the outside, because it seemed so much bigger once one got past the books and up the stairs.

He led Taylor and Lo into a room and gestured for Taylor to sit on the bed. Scowling, Taylor did as he was told, feeling very much like a little kid getting sent to the doctor's office…even more-so when Corbin stuck a thermometer in his mouth.

"Was that really necessary?" Taylor asked once the instrument was pulled away.

"No fever," Corbin reported.

"I could have told you that."

"Logan tells me you are sick?" Corbin cocked a brow at him, and Taylor shrugged.

"Well…um, sure. But it's not bad. I'm okay."

Maybe if he told himself that enough, it would be true. Because a lot of the time he felt just fine.

"Don't listen to him," Lo said, giving Taylor a look. "He's sick."

"Oh? And how so? You never did specify, Logan," Corbin said, glancing at the blonde.

Lo shrugged. "You never really asked and there wasn't much time."

"Very well – what seems to be the problem, then?"

"Just throwing up," Taylor said with a shrug. "No big deal."

"Could be the flu."

"That's what I said."

"It's not the flu," Lo said.

"Oh?"

"He passed out in the middle of a Denny's bathroom so we took him to the fucking hospital." Sharp blue eyes narrowed at the emotion taster. "Don't downplay this. It's serious."

Taylor sighed and nodded. "Apparently I have, um…" He squirmed uncomfortably. "I have, uh…stomach cancer."

Corbin's eyebrows lifted. "Stomach cancer?"

"So they tell me."

"Who is they?"

"The doctors," Taylor told him.

"Hmm."

He wasn't sure he liked that 'hmm'. "What?"

"Interesting."

"How so?"

Corbin walked around him for a moment, eyes on him the whole time, a concentrated expression on his face. It was odd to see, since Corbin was usually so calm and relaxed. For a long moment, nothing was spoken. Lo watched in silence – even his emotions were on hold. They both just watched their boss.

Finally Corbin paused and frowned before he glanced at Lo. "Logan, please give us a moment."

"What?" Lo asked.

"Please leave for a moment. I need to speak with Taylor alone."

I don't think I like the sound of that.

Lo snorted. "I think I'll stay."

Corbin shook his head. "You do not have to go far, but I do need to speak with Taylor privately."

"It's okay," Taylor said, causing Lo to glance at him. "Go ahead. I'll be fine. The worst he could do to me is poke me with a needle." He smiled and gestured toward the door, noting Lo's hesitance. "It's okay."

Finally Lo sighed and nodded, scrubbing a hand across his face. "You get five minutes."

"Ten," Corbin said.

"Don't push it."

With that, Lo was out the door and it was just the two of them alone in the room.

"So, um…" Taylor started nervously, as Corbin watched him.

"Do not be alarmed, I am merely observing," Corbin said calmly as he stepped toward him and placed a hand on Taylor's chest, right of his heart. Taylor swallowed, confused, and held still as Corbin blinked.

"What?"

"You say you are sick?"

"That's what they tell me. Why?" He wasn't sure he liked Corbin's tone. Suddenly he hated the fact he was alone in here, because he could really use a distraction right about now. A part of him wanted to call Lo back in here but Corbin spoke before he could think about it too much.

"Your energy levels are unusually high, especially for someone who is supposed to be sick."

Taylor blinked. "Um…okay? And that means…?"

"It is just odd, that is all. May I?"

"May you what?"

Corbin gestured at his stomach.

"Oh, um…okay?"

He wasn't sure how it would help, but whatever.

Corbin placed his hand over Taylor's stomach and paused for a moment, concentrating. Taylor could have sworn he felt the light tingling of Corbin's energy abilities racing across his skin like little pinpricks of electricity, but by the time he processed this, the feeling was gone and Corbin pulled his hand away.

"Something is definitely there that should not be," Corbin said, frowning somewhat. "Do the doctors believe it is something? Have they said?"

"They, um…they think it's a tumor."

Tumor. Cancer. Fuck.

"I see."

"Why?" Taylor asked, watching his boss, because Corbin was really starting to confuse him. None of this was normal Corbin behavior. Nervously, he shifted on the small bed and wondered what was going to happen next, because try as he might to get a read on the guy's emotions, Corbin was the best at keeping them from him. Even now all he could taste was this light veil of calm, even though it didn't seem to be the usual kind of calm his boss had.

The knot in his stomach grew.

"If it is a tumor, it does not act like one."

"What do you mean?" Why couldn't the guy just speak English for once, and not talk in riddles?

"Like I said, your energy levels are abnormally high – off the charts, in fact. As an energy alter, I am very in tune with these things." An odd look crossed his face before it disappeared. "In fact, I can see why the rogue attacked you."

"You…you can?" This was new. "How so?"

"Because of your energy levels. Energy alters thrive off the energy and are drawn to it, in a way. Since your levels are so high, you are attracting the rogue to you, and it is very hard to ignore."

"You're ignoring it."

"Only because I am very disciplined," Corbin said, and there was a certain inflection in his voice which left Taylor snapping his mouth shut. "This rogue is not. He craves energy, from what I understand. It is good you are away from the case, then. I admit I had my doubts at first, but knowing this…well, it's just good the rogue is no around at the moment."

"Okay…"

"Until your levels return to normal, I suggest you stay home and rest."

"So…why are they so high?"

Corbin cocked his head to the side somewhat, which was another odd thing from him. "I do not know yet, but I will run some tests. There is definitely something in your stomach, but if it is a tumor, it is not like any tumor I have ever come across before. How about I start with a blood test?"

Taylor shrugged. "Whatever floats your boat, but they already did a blood test and said my count was off and whatnot."

"I will be testing for different things as well."

"Like what?" Taylor asked, narrowing his eyes at his boss.

Corbin shrugged and shook his head. "I will get the needles and will tell Logan he may come back inside."

With that, he turned on his heel and left the room.


And there's that :) Sorry if sounds odd or anything...I'm really tired at the moment and lately my mind has been elsewhere. I have barely been able to write anything since Blaze died, so :/ Yeah. Bear with me. Thanks for reading and please review!

~Averick~