Title: What Happened
By: St. Minority
Disclaimer: I don't own 21 Jump Street or the characters. I make no profit, etc.
Warnings: Angst, hints/references to violence, m/m snuggling
Summary: There was only a handful of times when something rattled him so severely. This was one of them.
Doug knew when Tom was shaken up over something. The younger man would enter the apartment with an exhausted, grieving look written on his unusually pale face, and every movement was languid and a little clumsy – from shrugging off his coat to simply walking the short distance to the nearest couch. He wouldn't say anything and sometimes had trouble realizing that Doug was even there. His mind would be far away from the present, casting a distant, lonely appearance to his brown eyes.
There was only a handful of times when something rattled him so severely, and from what Doug could see the moment Tom walked in the door, this was one of those instances.
Tom removed his coat, not caring or noticing that it fell on the floor when he aimed to toss it on the back of the couch. He shuffled toward the table in the middle of the living room and didn't acknowledge his partner sitting on the opposite couch, watching him. His head was lowered as if defeated, and for a minute, he merely gazed at the carpeted floor.
"Hey, Tommy," Doug said gently after a short time. "Do you want to come sit by me? Can I get you anything?" He did not expect to get an answer, which made it surprising when he actually received one.
"No," Tom answered faintly. "I'm gonna take a shower. Lay down. Do something. I don't know."
Slowly, he turned and headed to the bedroom. Several minutes later, Doug heard the bathroom door close followed by the sound of running water. With a heavy sigh, he made his way into the bedroom to pick up his lover's clothes that were left lying scattered on the ground. As he made to put them in the hamper, he frowned at the sight that met his eyes. On the white t-shirt and light blue flannel button-down shirt, there were drops and smears of red. He was no idiot; he knew exactly what the substance was, causing him to better understand why Tom was so detached and distraught. Someone had died today. Whether it was by Tom's hand or Tom had just been in close proximity when the event happened, Doug didn't know. All he could infer was the sight of whatever had happened was enough to make Tom deeply upset.
He dropped the two stained garments and socks into the hamper and stood up. It was then that he heard an unfamiliar sound coming from within the bathroom. Silently, he went to stand in front of the door and listened carefully. It was rather soft and sometimes muffled – no doubt due to Tom placing a hand over his mouth – but Doug could clearly make out what it was. Tom was crying. No, not crying. Sobbing. Doug's heart broke a little as he pictured his lover standing almost perfectly still under the shower head, getting drenched with water, and trying to stifle his uneven breaths and whimpers. He was tempted to open the door to go comfort him, but he knew better than to intervene when it was plainly evident Tom wanted to be left alone, and he'd probably end up embarrassing him because Tom never liked Doug witnessing his moments of utter vulnerability such as this.
Instead of barging in, Doug went to the bed to turn down the covers and to sit on his side of the bed, waiting patiently for his friend. Fifteen minutes later the water shut off, and five more minutes passed before the door opened and Tom stepped out, wearing a pair of blue boxers and a very large, faded Grateful Dead t-shirt of Doug's. He met his lover's gaze and gave a saddened smile. Doug returned it and wasn't sure if he should break the heavy silence or not. The debate ended when Tom beat him to it.
"Hey," he mumbled shyly, running his fingers through his wet hair.
"Hey baby," Doug replied equally as quiet. "Feel better?"
Tom shrugged indifferently and started toward the bed. "I guess. Maybe." He crawled onto the mattress to sit next to Doug and stared at the bed sheets absently. "I just want this day to be over," he said with a deep sigh. "I want to forget it ever happened."
"What did happen?"
"I don't wanna talk about it."
"Okay. You don't have to."
Doug placed a hand on Tom's back to rub affectionately, but mere seconds after he did, the younger man emitted a trembling cry of pain and arched away from the touch. Immediately, Doug retracted his hand and fixed his worried eyes on Tom's countenance.
"What is it?" he whispered. "Are you hurt? I'm sorry."
Tom shook his head and sniffed. "It's fine. Couple of bruises, that's all."
Not entirely believing him, Doug took a hold of the bottom of the baggy shirt and raised it up to the smaller man's shoulders. He was horrified at the discovery. The officer's back was wholly covered with ugly splotches varying in colors from black to purple to hints of blue.
He lowered the garment and uttered in disbelief, "Jesus Christ, Tom. That's a hell of a lot more than just 'a couple.' What the hell happened today?"
"I told you I don't want to talk about it," was the firm response.
"Come on, baby. Open up to me."
"Not right now. Maybe later, okay?" His voice quivered, and Doug could tell he was trying not to cry.
"Can you turn off the light?"
"You going to sleep?"
Tom laid down on his side, his back facing Doug, as his lover switched off the lamp. Doug brought the sheets up to cover them from the waist down and rested beside the other man. He wasn't really tired, but he didn't feel like he should leave his distressed partner. He desperately wanted to know what his lover had gone through, though he already knew it would take time before Tom felt well enough to re-live it all verbally.
The stillness of the room was suddenly gone when Doug heard a tiny breath mixed with a whimper come from the man at his side. He waited until he heard another one and saw Tom shaking before he rolled onto his side and shifted closer to his partner. Tom's visage was shining with tears that were quickly falling from his eyes, and he kept his hands near his mouth to quiet himself.
With great care, Doug wrapped an arm around Tom's slender frame, rested his hand over his partner's heart, and gently kissed the back of Tom's neck and head.
"I love you, Tom," he whispered tenderly, closing his eyes and burying his face in his lover's damp, brown hair. "Everything's going to be okay. I'm always here for you and always will be."
He cradled Tom to his body, occasionally murmuring soothing words until the younger man was finally asleep. They remained pressed against one another for the remainder of the night, neither one wanting to be separated from the other.
Tom was given five days off from work, and on the day before his leave of absence was up, he at last felt strong enough to confide to Doug what had happened.