Author's Note: This was written to go along with a little head cannon thing I've had for quite some time. It was also written while I was in a terrible mood at school. Enjoy.
He's twenty-one when he finally gets a pretty good handle on the telepathy business.
Sure, he'll get those random bursts of voices –distress signals as Ray calls them– but other than that he's effectively able to walk down the street without being overpowered by people. For once in his life he can go outside without getting a migraine.
Not to say that he won't get a migraine. Toby thinks he's got the hang of it but he's been given unwelcome surprises before and as he's taking a walk downtown he's in no way prepared for the sudden onslaught of emotion that drills its way passed his mental blockade. A tidal wave of sadness washes over him and despite it being one of the most gorgeous summer days he's seen in a good few weeks all Toby wants to do is break down and cry.
"What the...?" The words are out of his mouth and he's cringing, surprised, before he can take in the startled glances passersby are shooting in his direction. His head starts to pound as the torrent of thought continues to attack him; the sun becomes too bright and he's squinting back tears.
Just want to leave.
Then the voice starts and that feeling that people get when they're seconds away from crying but holding it in hits him straight in the gut. A woman gives him a funny look as she shuffles by but Toby pays her no attention. All he knows and cares about is that the urge to cry is getting stronger the closer he gets to the bridal shop a little ways up the street.
So that's where he goes; taking off at a jog and not stopping until he comes face to face with the large glass doors of the shop and once there a few tears do manage to slip passed because the feeling of dread is just that strong.
Toby feels as if he's about to explode.
But once there it's evident who's been sending him the messages. He sees her through the windows, the tallest girl among among her group of friends, knows it's her the moment he sees the fake smile spread across her lips. Toby can't hear her laugh but the look in her eyes, the way they shimmer with held back tears, when she does gives away that it's completely forced.
I don't want to be here.
I shouldn't be here.
They're all staring at me. Judging me.
I can feel it.
Her thoughts are so harsh that Toby frowns, taking a moment to swipe a hand across his eyes. He doesn't understand at first, has no idea why she would be thinking like this. As far as he's concerned there's nothing about her that needs to be judged.
Why can't I look like you?
That's what's going on here.
Toby's frown deepens as everything becomes clear and the girl says says something to her friends, gesturing to her phone then to the front doors.
I need to leave.
Just get me out.
All he can do is watch her, eyes wide, as she walks right by, sparing him a quick glance before hurrying off down the street.
He looked right at me.
Probably thinks I look like...
What she says next horrifies him. If this is what all eighteen-year-old girls think of themselves then he's glad he's perfected his ability enough to not be able to hear them. That pang in his stomach starts again, the feeling of wanting to cry hitting him with all the force of a brick wall, and before he can even think about it he starts after her.
Doesn't know where the "hey" came from just knows that he needs to say something to get her attention.
It works. She halts and turns around, stares at him with wide, terrified eyes. Toby can see the tears already sliding down her cheeks.
I'm such an idiot. Why would he be calling for me? Look at him! Just turn around and walk away.
He must think I'm a creep.
Please go away.
And she does turn away from him then but Toby can't let her go.
"No, wait. Please!"
Then he's running and before he knows it he's standing in front of her, looking into a pair of bright, tear-filled green eyes. The sadness hidden within them is deep and he lets himself get overwhelmed; he can't help it.
Toby pulls her into a hug and holds her there, listening to her confused thoughts for a moment until cutting her short.
"You're beautiful." He murmurs. She looks up at him with shock written all over her face, then something inside of her breaks and she can't hold it back any longer. The tears come and for the next few minutes they just stand there, him holding a girl he's never met in his life as he listens to her cry out all of the fears and insecurities she's kept inside for so long.