Tom has never been so scared in his entire life.
He's standing in the bathroom of his house, where he came because he felt so weird he thought he was going to throw up, but now he's staring into the mirror and what he sees really scares him. Actually, it might be more appropriate to say that what he doesn't see really scares him, because he has no reflection.
When he looks down, his hands in front of him looks all weird and shimmery, like they're not quite there, but when he looks in the mirror there is nothing except an empty bathroom to be seen. No Tom. Anywhere.
"Tom," comes Dougie's voice, accompanied by a banging on the door, "you alright in there?"
"Go away!" Tom yells, confused and scared and not a clue what to do. Maybe this is all a weird dream, and things will be normal when he wakes up. He pinches himself, just to check. Nope, definitely awake. Definitely real.
"Tom, if you don't open up in the next ten seconds I swear to god I'm bringing Harry up here to break down the door! I know you can hear me!"
Damn that kid, he was always so persistent. His reflection isn't coming back though, and if he's honest with himself, Tom wants to know if other people can't see him too. That and he really need a hug right now, and maybe Dougie is less likely to freak out than the other two.
"Okay," he says quietly to the door, going over and watching his semi-transparent hand grip the handle, "but you have to promise not to freak out."
"Promise. I swear, Tom. Please, I want to help."
Tom takes a deep breath, turns the lock and pulls the door open. Dougie is right on the other side, looking wary. Just as he feared though, Dougie's eyes slide straight past him, a look of confusion painted on his face.
"Tom? Are you hiding?" Dougie says, walking slowly forwards a couple of steps and pausing, looking behind the shower curtain almost as if he expects Tom to leap out from behind it shouting 'Boo!'
Tom can feel himself shaking, as he takes a step towards Dougie, before saying "No, I'm right in front of you," watching Dougie freeze at how close his apparently disembodied voice is, and an almost realisation dawning on his face. Dougie turns round then, and walks back to the bathroom door, shutting it and leaning against it, before standing up straight again.
"Okay. Touch me then." He says it like he's giving permission for someone to give him an electric shock.
Even so, Tom steps forward, and watches his own hand move forward and grip Dougie's wrist with a strange fascination, thinking he might still be sick, the way he feels at the moment. Dougie jumps at the initial contact, but then uses his other hand to feel up Tom's arm and along his body, looking curious, but not as shocked as Tom was expecting. Not even that concerned really, which is definitely strange. At least Tom knows he isn't a ghost entirely though, if Dougie can feel him.
Suddenly, Dougie grins like a kid on Christmas morning, and throws his arms around Tom, which results in a collision of heads as Dougie can't see him still.
"Why are you so bloody happy about this!? I'm invisible! What if I'm stuck like this forever!?" Tom says, pushing a now laughing Dougie off him, almost feeling like he's going to faint with panic and the weirdness of it all. "It's not funny, Dougie!"
"Sit down, Tom," Dougie says, still smiling in a ridiculously annoying manner. He sits on the floor cross legged, and then seems to realises he can't actually see if Tom has done the same (which he hasn't). Dougie starts feeling around the floor around him, patting the bathroom tiles like a blind person that's dropped something. Tom realises what he's doing a second before Dougie's hand finds his ankle, and with a sharp tug Tom finds himself landing flat on his back, then being manhandled by his bassist into a sitting position next to the bath, facing Dougie. He still finds it unnerving how Dougie's eyes don't quite meet his own, even though logically he knows he should be impressed that Dougie is managing to look anywhere near his head in the first place.
"Why are you so calm? Shouldn't you be freaking out at least a little bit?!" Tom says, wriggling uncomfortably as Dougie holds his knees, like he's making sure that Tom isn't going to make a run for it.
"Well, to be honest, I've been waiting for this for a while now...we all have really..." Dougie says, looking annoyingly cheerful still.
"What are you talking about? Who's 'we'?" Tom says warily, only slightly comforted by Dougie acting like this is completely normal, but still tense.
"Me and the guys: Danny and Harry. Thing is..." Dougie says, awkwardly lifting a hand to push his hair out of his eyes, "thing is that we could all do unusual stuff, so we were wondering why you couldn't yet."
"You can all do stuff and you didn't tell me?! What can you do?" Tom says, even more freaked out by the image of any of them flying or teleporting.
"My power is sortov hard to explain...like this at least. Just...watch me, and try not to pass out, okay?" Dougie says, patting Tom's knee in what he probably hopes is a reassuring manner.
"Can you hear me now?" Dougie says. But hold on, his lips didn't move and so what the hell was that?
"Do that again," Tom demands, almost thinking he is going to faint it made him so lightheaded, though he's trying his best not to.
"What do you want me to say?" Dougie tilts his head to the side, voice sounding inquiring in Tom's head, but no actual noise in the bathroom.
"That is seriously weird, Douglas Lee Poynter," says Tom, scrambling backwards in spite of himself, making Dougie crack up again. "Can you do anything else?"
"I can hear your thoughts, if you want me to," Dougie says, and this time it's out loud. Tom is grateful, because he thinks that maybe Dougie realises that he has a bit too much weird to deal with for the moment, without voices inside his head.
"What do you mean, 'if you want me to'?" Tom says, genuinely curious now, even though he still feels sick, like he's on a boat in a storm.
"You have to think them like you're speaking them out loud to me, just without using our mouth. It's pretty cool actually!"
"Yeah," Tom agrees weakly. Pretty cool that you can have mental conversations with another person. That's one way of putting it. Then he remembers, "Am I stuck like this forever: invisible?"
"Nah, you'll just need to learn to control it. You're probably still like that because you're panicking. Come here again," Dougie says, holding out his hand expectantly. Tom crawls forward again, and takes Dougie's hand, letting himself be pushed to lie back on the bathroom floor with Dougie sitting behind him, his head on his lap.
"Now shhhhh. Close your eyes and think of your happy place. This is all fine and you can control it, it just takes practice." Dougie starts stroking Tom's hair, pulling his fingers through it and humming a random tune softly under his breath. Tom does as he's told; breathing deeply and thinking of being downstairs with the rest of his band, his best friends around him. He listens to the sound of Danny and Harry laughing at something on TV downstairs, and how he can feel Dougie's heartbeat slightly under his head.
"There you are," Dougie says, and Tom opens his eyes to see Dougie looking at him, right at him! He's visible again! Tom jumps up, and stares at himself in the mirror, twisting to look at himself from all angles and running his hands over his now definitely visible body. Dougie is back to giggling on the floor, laughing at how strange Tom looks, twisting round in front of the mirror like an idiot. Tom can feel sweat from his panic cooling on his body.
"Done yet?" Dougie asks, recovering his breath and getting up to push Tom gently away from the mirror. "We have some bandmates who need to hear the good news."
Crap. Danny and Harry. Who can do crazy stuff too. Oh god oh god oh god what can they do that he doesn't know about?
"You can talk in my head," Tom gasps out, suddenly remembering what he heard earlier, and not using his ears.
"Yup," Dougie says in his mind, "and I'm gonna use it as much as necessary to get you down those stairs."
Tom lets himself be pushed downstairs by Dougie, almost scared to go down and find out what the others do, but eventually they arrive in the living room, and Danny and Harry turn round to see what's going on and it's too late to run. "Don't panic. Deep breaths. Remember they're your friends."
It takes him a second to realise that it's Dougie's voice in his head and not his own, so he sends a "Shut up" back, as aggressively as he can without showing it on his face, and Dougie starts giggling again, pulling him forward so that they're standing in front of the sofa the other two are sitting on.
"Tom has something to tell you," Dougie says excitedly, bouncing off the balls of his feet with anticipation.
Harry looks back and forth between the two of them, and Danny just stares at Tom expectantly. The silence lengthens between them. God, this shouldn't be so hard to say if what Dougie said about them being able to do stuff is true, but it's just so weird!
"Harry is asking me to tell them, can I? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaase?" Dougie says, hanging off Tom's arm and sounding like a kid begging for sweets. It's all Tom can do to nod, not sure if he can say it out loud at the moment.
"Tom can turn invisible! Isn't that just soooooooo cool?" Dougie says, bouncing up and down for real now, cheeks flushed with enthusiasm.
"Awesome! About time too, mate!" Danny grins, getting up and hugging Tom so tight it feels like he's having all the air squeezed out of him.
"Was that what you two were doing up there for so long? I thought Tom must be being sick!" Harry says, pulling Tom down onto the sofa as soon as Danny lets go of him, rubbing his knuckles into Tom's hair like he knows is annoying.
"Came damn close," Tom grumbles, batting Harry's hands away but staying sitting next to him, as Danny and Dougie squeeze onto the other half.
"How much did Dougs tell you then?" says Danny, nudging Tom's foot with his own.
"He said he could talk in my head, and I could talk back...in a way. And that you two can do stuff too, but he didn't say..." Tom trails off, not feeling he knows how to continue the conversation.
"Didn't say what we could do?" Harry finishes helpfully. After Tom nods, he gestures to himself and says "Well...I can make force fields. They're magnetic or something I guess, but I'm not sure. It means I can levitate a bit though, if I make a strong enough one below me..."
"We think he might be able to learn to fly!" Says Dougie, bouncing up and down on the sofa so he almost lands in Tom's lap a few times.
"I've only known what I can do for four months or so, so I'm still learning," explains Harry, looking faintly embarrassed.
"I can feel people," Danny says ignoring Dougie's snort of suppressed laughter. "I mean, I can sense people's emotions, and control them a bit, if I want to...like...I knew you were scared upstairs, but I thought it could be something else..."
"So if Harry's only known for four months, how long have you two known about your powers?" Tom says, shifting round to look at the other two better, suddenly feeling over-conscious of his thoughts and emotions, worried one of them will pick up on something.
"Well, I've known for a bit more than a year, and Doug here found out a couple of months after that. Stop it you two," Danny says then, smacking Dougie over the head.
"What? What did I do?" whines Dougie, eyes wide with mock innocence.
"They're having a telepathic conversation," Danny explains to Tom, "you can see the way they look at each other and go quiet."
"I was just asking," says Harry, having the decency to look sheepish at being caught out, "if he had seen you go invisible, and if he thought you could do it again."
"And I was partway through saying, before we were interrupted," Dougie said, sticking his tongue out at Danny who gave him the finger in return, "that I had, and that I didn't know if he can decided when he does it yet."
All three turned to look at Tom expectantly, as if he could tell himself. "I don't know," he blurted out, wondering whether he should, if the others had been able to do those things deliberately in the first day of discovering their powers.
They leave him be then, realising it's a lot to cope with for one day. Harry and Dougie eventually go up to bed, so it's just Tom and Danny left, watching ridiculous late-night TV.
"Stop worrying, it's going to be okay," Danny's voice comes through the semi-darkness. Tom turns to him, seeing the light from the TV reflected in his eyes.
"I'm fine, just tired," Tom lies, hoping that it doesn't show on his face.
"Don't try that, you can't lie about how you feel with me, remember?" Danny says, tapping the side of his head like that's where he gets his powers from.
Tom groans, realising how much more complicated things are now that he's in the know. Then he has an idea.
"Hey, Dougie, you still awake?" Tom thinks, trying to aim it somehow to where he knows Dougie's room is above them.
"Mmmmm?" comes the response, and Tom hears the tiredness even in Dougie's thoughts, knowing he must be on the edge of sleep.
"Tell Danny to bugger off with his emotion sensing thing," Tom thinks, smiling as he hears Dougie's snort in response.
He knows when the message comes through, because a second later Danny cocks his head to the side like he's listening to something in the distance, then laughs.
"Dougie says you say to stop using my power to be annoying, and he says to tell you that he's not a bloody messenger pigeon!" Danny grins.