A/N: I don't own 21JS.
Tom Hanson sighed as he stepped into the tub. The steaming water engulfed him as he sat down. After nestling into the water, Tom reached for the little pink bottle sitting on the edge of the tub. He smiled giddily as he poured the whole bottle marked Mr. Bubbly's Bubbles into the tub. Sighing once more, Tom closed his eyes and soaked up the bliss of having a day off. He planned to spend the whole day relaxing and how else better to start off a full-fledged day of leisure then with a bubble bath? However, Tom's peace and quiet didn't last long.
Just as he was beginning to nod off, the sound of the apartment door opening woke him. Tom figured he was just hearing things until the boisterous voice of Doug Penhall rang throughout the apartment.
"Tommy? Tommy boy? Where are you Tommy?"
Tom sighed and squinted his eyes shut. Maybe he could just pretend to be asleep. Yes, that was it. He'd pretend to be asleep and Doug would leave him alone. Great plan Tommy, he smiled to himself as he began his masqueraded slumber.
"Tommy? Tommy boy?" Doug's voice was getting louder, closer. Tom began to curse himself for permitting Doug to have a key to the apartment. What had he been thinking? No one was allowed into his apartment without consent…no one. So why had he given Doug Penhall, the loudest, most obnoxious person in the world a key?
"Tom, are you in here?" Doug asked as he swung the bathroom door open, "Tommy!" Doug's voice was filled with eager excitement as he rushed over to the bathtub.
"Do you make it a habit of bursting into people's bathrooms when they are in the tub?" Tom asked, his voice full of acridity, his eyes still tightly closed.
"No, but it's our day off!"
"Exactly. So will you please carry on with whatever absurdity you were partaking in before interrupting my bath and leave me alone?"
"Is that…is that a rubber ducky?" Doug asked, nodding towards the bright yellow duck that bobbed up and down amongst the bubbles. Oh if the team could see this! Tough-Guy-Tom-Hanson taking a bubble bath with a rubber ducky! This was priceless!
"No," Tom answered defensively.
"It sure looks like it to me," Doug answered, kneeling down to the tub's level and sticking his hand in the water, pulling out the rubber ducky.
"What the hell do you think you're doing!" Tom shouted, scooting away from Doug's hand.
"Told ya it was a rubber ducky. So, do you want a towel or what?"
"I have a towel," Tom answered icily, "That I plan to use when I get out of the tub which will be later. After you've left. That reminds me, why are you here?"
"It's our day off."
"Yes, so it is."
"Well, I was just bored and thought why not check on my good ol' buddy Tom Hanson!"
"Well you've checked on him. You can leave now."
"But I wanted to go to Diggidy Dog."
"You came all the way over here, interrupted my nap and my bath to ask me to go to Diggidy Dog with you?" Tom's voice was rising with anger as he continued to shout, "This is my day off Doug, my day off! I spend five days a week with you, sometimes six and all I want is a break! I want peace and quiet and time to relax! I want to be able to take a bubble bath without interruptions! I wan to spend my day off by myself – not with you!"
"Oh," Doug's eyes fell as he stood up and walked over to the bathroom door, "I…I understand. I'll…I'll just go. Sorry I bugged you, Tom."
"You better be sorry," Tom spat, "Interrupting a guy while he's in the tub! Of all the harebrained things to…"
Tom glanced up to notice Doug wasn't there any more. For a moment, Tom thought, good riddance! Doug Penhall was gone, out of his bath room, out of his apartment and now he could finally enjoy his much deserved peace and quiet. Doug was the very opposite of peace and quiet. Always dragging Tom into some mess or another, always mucking things up, always in the way, always…always getting Tom into some harebrained scheme.
Tom suddenly, for some unexplainable reason, regretted what he had said to Doug. He hated losing his temper and taking it out of his best friends. He hated losing his cool and that was exactly what he had done to Doug. Sighing at, what Tom viewed as his own stupidity for feeling sorry for Doug, Tom hopped out of the tub and wrapped the fluffy green towel around his toned waist. Moments later, Tom found himself running down two flights of stairs – yes, still only clad in a towel – in order to catch up to Doug. After the second flight, Tom saw the familiar plaid shirt bobbing down the stairs.
"Doug!" Tom called after the shirt, "Dougie!" He ran until he finally caught up to his partner and grabbed on to his sleeve.
"Shouldn't you be getting back to your bath?" Doug asked, completely unfazed by the sight of Tom only in a towel, his hair still dripping wet and some bubbles clinging to his pale, toned flesh.
"Shouldn't you be…" Tom tried to come up with a good comeback but found none, "Uh…"
"What do you want, Tommy?" Doug asked impatiently.
"I wanted to apologize. I shouldn't have snapped at you. It…it just isn't everyday that a grown man comes barging into my bath room while I'm still in the tub. It was kind of…a different experience for me. I know I shouldn't have lost my patience with you…"
"Nah," Doug shook his head, "I should have known that you'd want to spend your day off alone. It's bad enough you're stuck with me at work, why be stuck with me on your day off?"
"Dougie," Tom looked down at his bare feet. The concrete steps were freezing from the December air and it was at that moment, Tom was unkindly reminded that he was only clothed in a towel. The cold air stung his exposed skin, "I…I didn't mean that. I…I don't feel stuck with you."
"Sure you do, Tommy. I know you do. I'm always loud, in the way, obnoxious, and you even said I once had the intelligence level of a toothbrush."
"Well you do," Tom stated simply, "But you are also my best friend, Doug. Sure, you might be a pain in the ass but you are my best friend. Besides, I am sure there are things about me that make you just want to strangle me."
"Well, you are always on time…for everything! You are always so…neat! It's aggravating how everything has to be prim and proper with you. You are always so…uptight about things, about work and stuff. You…you're a horrible cook. You could burn water! You…you are twenty-five years old and yet you still check your face for breakouts ever hour or so. You are paranoid about long term relationships and you dump every girl – even if she's a looker – for no reason what so ever. You think you're so cool but you're not. You think you're so tough and call people pansies and yet you take bubble baths – with rubber duckies – on your day off. You…"
"Alright, alright!" Tom glared at Doug, "I get your point."
"I'm sorry I bugged you, Tommy. I didn't mean anything by it."
"I know," Tom sighed, "I know. I'm sorry I yelled at you. Sometimes I just get so…uptight about things."
"So we cool?" Doug asked.
"Yeah," Tommy grinned, "We cool."
At that moment, Doug took it upon himself to wrap Tom in a bear hug and squeeze him until his head practically popped off. Ironically, ol' Mrs. Higgins chose that exact moment to come out of her apartment to fetch the morning paper. Upon seeing the two boys – one of which was only in a towel – embrace, her eyes widened.
"Oh my…" her sudden intrusion caused Doug to quickly release Tom and Tom to look down, once again at his bare feet. For some reason, he felt his cheeks grow warm.
"Uh…hi Mrs. Higgins," Tom greeted sheepishly.
"Good morning, Thomas," her voice was uneasy as she scurried back inside her apartment.
"Yeah, that wasn't the least bit embarrassing," Doug laughed nervously.
"Ya think?" Tom found himself grinning, "Tell ya what. I'll go upstairs and get decent and then we can head over to Diggidy Dog."
"Really?" Doug's eyes lit up, causing a smile to crack the edges of Tom's lips.
"Yeah," he nodded, "It's my day off and I personally can't think of anyone else I'd rather spend it with."
"Even Kiberly Kane?" Doug asked, referring to the hot new girl working in forensics.
"Well…" Tom smirked.
"Just hurry up and get dressed before you change your mind," Doug grinned, shooing Tom back up the stairs.
As Tom pulled the gray sweatshirt over his white t-shirt, he couldn't help but smile. If Doug hadn't showed up, he would still be in the tub turning into a prune. Now, thanks to Doug, he had something to do. Sure, Doug was loud, obnoxious, and a total pain in the ass, but to Tom Hanson, he was his best friend and he couldn't change Doug for the world.
"You ready yet?" Doug asked as he barged into Tom's room, not the least bit fazed by the sight of Tom in only a sweatshirt and boxers.
"Does it look like I'm ready?" Tom hissed. Okay, so maybe there was one thing he wished he could change about Doug – his untimely interruptions.