"It's nice to meet you, Aeryn," Toby said with as real a smile as he could pull off. Oz on the other hand gave a facial expression that mimicked, "hey how ya doin?" and then put his hands in his pockets to hide their fidgeting. When it came down to it, Oz was terrible at keeping secrets. Nobody had to be a mind reader to figure out what he was thinking. And Oz was struggling desperately to hold everything he knew and not blurt it out right then and there.
Toby wasn't much better. Sure he could pull off a lie here and there, but whenever someone was close on his trail, sniffing out his secret, it usually didn't take long for Toby to just tell them. He was quite proud of himself for how normal he seemed right now. No fidgeting, no hands in pockets to hide something; he seemed normal.
But he too, was anxious for answers.
Aeryn was calm and composed. A business smile plastered on his face, his eyes innocently flickering between Oz, Toby, and lingering on Olivia for a split second longer. Toby didn't miss it and felt a pang of jealousy spike through him before quickly suppressing it. What was more important now was figuring out this strange enigma that was Aeryn Monroe. The only part of Aeryn that didn't seem to fit his calm composure was his head of crazy dirty blond hair. It was short, but long enough to stick out in different directions and completely contrast with the rest of Aeryn. Crazy hair wasn't fitting the doctor look.
"Paramedics eh? Did you just get back from the crash site?" Aeryn said with a glint in his eyes, not missing the slight jump of surprise in Oz's stature before he clumsily said,
"Crash site? What crash site? Oh right THE crash site!" Oz snorted and then laughed looking down at his shoes before looking up. Olivia looked at him strangely and Toby started inspecting the wall to his left.
"Right…yeah of course. We just got back actually. It was a pretty hectic morning," Oz said, nudging Toby for some help. Toby cleared his throat.
"Yeah…real hectic," Toby added. Oz nudged him and Toby could practically feel Oz's eye roll and unsaid 'real help you are, buddy.'
Toby tried to continue saying something.
"Uh…In fact, I swear I saw you there this morning. But y'know, it was pretty chaotic…so maybe I've got you mixed up with someone?" Toby asked Aeryn.
The glint in Aeryn's eye got brighter asthe small game between them continued.
"Yes, yes, Aeryn was there this morning," the Chief pitched in. "He was on his way here when he got stuck in the traffic caused by the crash." The chief chuckled before continuing, "In fact I was beginning to worry that I would have to fire him on his first day for being so late!" He said jokingly and clasped Aeryn on the shoulder. Everyone smiled in response, out of courtesy for their boss.
"Huh," Toby said, breaking the silence. "So I guess I did see you then," he added as a statement rather than a question. His eyes narrowed in suspicion as Aeryn tried to hide the forming of a small smile.
"I guess you did," Aeryn said, his eyes full of laughter. Toby squirmed as he realized he was being played with; that strange, fearful feeling he had for the guy returning almost instantly.
Oz bravely cut in to the awkward staring between Toby and Aeryn.
"So! What's your field of specialty?" he said.
"I work in general surgery. I uh, finished off my internship at Trinity, spent a couple years there and then decided I needed a change," he said smiling.
"We are very glad to have you," Dr. Lang said, once again patting Aeryn on the shoulder while pushing his glasses up his nose. Those glasses were notorious for their constant tendency to be persuaded by gravity.
"Well, we should get back to Stryder before he comes hunting us down," Toby said slapping his hands together in declaration of his decision. He was done with this awkward, 'I know you know I know something about you,' situation and it was beginning to give him a headache.
"Of course," The chief said folding his hands behind his back. "Well then Aeryn! Should I show you the rest of the hospital?" The chief said looking up at Aeryn. Aeryn turned his attention to the Chief, but gave Olivia a quick smile, who blushed and gave a small smile in return. It was in this moment that Toby realized then that Aeryn was a good few inches taller than he was, and he quickly stood up straight trying to seem taller.
"Oh! Sir I know how busy you are. Perhaps I could show him around instead?" Olivia said hiding her hopefulness behind a stern look. Toby sniffed it out instantly and once again became profoundly interested in the wall next to him. Oz caught the change in Toby's demeanor and began to smile but tried to hide it by inspecting his shoes. If Aeryn caught it, he didn't let on, and the chief was completely oblivious.
Aeryn ran a hand through his hair and smiled at Dr. Fawcett and she flirtatiously smiled back.
"I think that's a wonderful idea," Aeryn said and Toby's head snapped up, just in time to catch Oz's eye rolling. Toby felt the familiar feel of jealousy begin to swell in his chest and he quickly looked away once again, pretending to not see anything.
"Yes it's a good idea. And while you're at it Dr. Fawcett, can you begin introducing him to a few of his patients? The list is upstairs in my office, if you don't mind. You guys can run by and grab it after the tour of the hospital," the chief said waving his hands in the air, motioning to the hospital around them.
"…Well we should get going. It's been a pleasure to meet you," Oz said, reaching his hand out for Aeryn to shake.
It was a small, barely audible sensation in the back of Toby's mind…but Toby could almost hear the distressed alarm bells that began ringing in Aeryn's head. Toby studied Aeryn's features for discomfort of any kind, but there were no signs of pain on Aeryn's face.
"I guess I'll see you guys around then," Aeryn said as he shook Oz's hand. Aeryn's arm flinched minutely, and Toby's attention immediately focused on the handshake. Aeryn's mouth had formed a thin line and a in split second Aeryn's eyes flickered away from the eye contact with Oz.
The handshake ended and Aeryn calmly dropped his arm to the side subtly clenching his hand into a fist. Aeryn released a slow breath, before a small smile returned to his face.
"So? Shall we get going?" Olivia said chirpy. Aeryn grinned.
"Sure," he said and they began walking away, Olivia beginning to ask questions about Aeryn's last job, while Aeryn stole a quick glance back at Oz, before tucking his hands into his pocket and walking down the hall with Olivia. The Chief gave a small nod of acknowledgment to Oz and Toby before wandering off down the hall humming.
Toby's shields were still standing strong. He was only able catch a few things from Aeryn, but they were so distant and quiet that he could barely hear them. Out of fear of what would happen if he lowered his shields, he decided for the best to leave them up. Which meant if he wanted information, he'd have to find out the hard way.
Shame, he thought sarcastically, excited by the future prospect of figuring something out like a true detective. Charlie would be proud, and he would have to tell her later all about it. Unless, of course he decided to just ask Aeryn. Which for Toby, wasn't exactly a normal thing to do either. Sure he often asked people out of kindness and respect whenever it was required of him to do so, but he often already knew everybody else's little secrets. He often knew everything there was to know about a person, and whenever he wanted to know, all he had to do was look. He understood that this was something people feared. And his shields were often good, but sometimes when he would get tired, or would zone out the shield would drop for a split second, and other people's secrets were suddenly no longer a secret to him. Very rarely, and becoming more frequent on occasions with Charlie, did he begin to voluntarily see into people's minds. He had spent a whole lifetime trying to block out thoughts, and now he was undoing everything he had learned.
However, he was discovering that in this moment without his ability on full blast, everything was suddenly eerily quiet. He felt blindfolded, and for the first time in a long time, he was beginning to puzzle at how human beings made it through everyday life without knowing things. Without the comfort that other people were there, struggling with similar life lessons and every day hardships.
"Well. That was awkward," Oz finally said after the two had been standing there in their own worlds. Oz turned to Toby with a wide grin, and Toby stared at him for a few moments expecting him to say something. When it was clear, Toby lost his patience and finally asked, "What?" Oz just continued to stare. Then Oz laughed out loud before turning to walk back out to the pumpkin.
"Well… I dunno about you…but the whole," Oz stared at Toby with a small smile to emphasize his point. "It was beginning to freak me out. I mean seriously, if he likes looking at you that much he should just ask you out already, get dumped and get over with it so all our minds can be put at ease!"
Toby shook his head and sighed.
"Yeah that was kind of strange wasn't it?" He said. Oz snorted. "You don't say! At first I was all freaking out like…Oh my god it's that dude!" He said stopping and widening his eyes for dramatic effect. "And then I was like…DUDE! He's giving the, 'I'm going to eat you look' that I give when I'm about to eat a sandwich—"
"You do not look like that," Toby said rolling his eyes and continuing to walk through the hallways of the hospital.
"pfft then you haven't seen me eat a sandwhich!" He said catching up to Toby. Toby just shook his head.
"…ok…I guess you have seen me eat a sandwhich. But that's not the point! Aeryn, that guy, was the THE guy right?"
"That's the guy," Toby said in a monotonous voice.
The instinctual reaction to a possible threat was beginning to subside in Toby. All he felt now was excitement due to the prospect of something being different about Aeryn. Toby knew it. Aeryn's reaction to Oz shaking his hand was good evidence for Toby. The only reason it sufficed was because of the tingly sensation Toby got in the back of his mind when it happened. He knew was picking something up.
Oz groaned, and Toby looked at him strangely, waiting for an explanation. Oz sighed.
"Well, it's nice and all we met him and everything…but we still don't know what's up with that guy! When the heck are we going to find out? I'm curious now!" Oz said flinging his arms into the air. Toby grinned.
"You and me both," Toby said. "Any speculations?" Oz asked. Toby thought for a moment.
"Well…If you haven't noticed, there aren't many people I know with abilities in this world. You're the one who read all those comic books when you were young, so you probably have a better idea," Toby said.
"When I was young! Heck I still read them now!" Oz said exasperated that Toby suggested comic books were just for kids.
Toby knocked on Ryder's door, told him they were headed back out and surprisingly escaped without being yelled at before joining Oz and sitting himself down in the passenger's seat.
"Something happened when Aeryn shook hands with you," Toby said as he buckled his seatbelt. "His arm flinched and his facial features tensed…almost as if it hurt him to touch you," Toby said. Oz made a very audible humpf noise before smacking his thigh with his hand.
"Ah!" He said. "Ok well that's definitely like touch telepathy or something, you know? Like Spock or something. You ever see Star Trek?"
"No." The glare that Oz gave him sent shivers down his spine.
"You've NEVER seen Star Trek?" Oz asked, as slowly and as calmly as he could manage.
Toby shrugged. "Nope."
The glare intensified. "OH MY God! My dear friend WHAT have you been doing for the odd 30—"
"Whatever- years of your life? Alright our plans this Friday night are Star Trek marathon." Oz said as he turned the keys and started the engine.
Toby sighed. "And I guess I don't get a say in this?"
"Not when it comes to Star Trek."
Toby loudly plopped his head against the window, making sure his attitude was apparent. "So as you were saying Oz?"
"Oh right! Well basically, Spock is like this Vulcan…right? And Vulcans are touch telepaths. So basically you, but only through touching somebody. And whenever Spock touched people he would get all squirmy like you said Aeryn did."
"So a touch telepath? Really?" Toby said, excitement beginning to bubble up inside of him at the prospect. Oz shrugged. "Who knows, I guess we'll have to ask later. In the meantime, I'm hungry. What do you want to go eat? Hot dogs sound good to you?"
Sorry for the months it took for me to update this. I can't be sure when the next time I'll add something to this will be. My life is getting quite hectic. But I hope you enjoy this new chapter! (I know, I know, I'm really dragging out the whole Aeryn mystery, but perhaps I gave you a little insight, no? :D )