Toby sighed as he finished up his last report. He leaned back in his chair and stretched, his muscles tense from being hunched over for so long. God did he hate the desk duty part of being a cop. Then his phone rang. He groaned, “Please, don't be another useless complaint.” he mumbled to himself as he picked it up. “Deputy Kennish Sp-” he couldn't even finis his sentence before a woman's hysterical voice came over the line.
“Mrs Vael.... Mrs Vael.” He tried. Mrs Vael was a regular caller of his. She used to call all over the station in a panic, or screaming. She was known around the station as the crazy old lady. In reality, she was just one of the local nursing home's patients. She was very old and suffered from dementia, so she often called when she didn't recognize any of the nurses or staff around her. How she managed to get her hands on a phone is still a mystery to everyone. However, after the first time Toby took the call, he was able to handle her pretty well, unlike the rest of the precinct, who spluttered trying to get a word in, or simply hung up, only for the phone to ring again seconds later. Toby however, was very patient. He usually kept her talking long enough, distracting her by getting her to give the typical old lady stories until a nurse found her. Such as he did just now.
“Oh, I remember when that son of a bitch Johnny Frank tried to steal my fathers car.” She laughed, “I swear, if father hadn't come down in time, he would've run it off the road. Cars back then were very big and often lost control you know. Once someone crashed into our living room!” She told him.
Toby heard the squeaky noise of the hinges of the door and another voice sounded in the background, “There you are Mrs Vael. You shouldn't run off like that!” the nurse chastisized.
“Oh Son, I have to go, there's a very attractive young man here for me, I think it's my lucky day.” Mrs Vael said, whispering the last part, making Toby chuckle and laugh. The nurse took the phone and apologized again.
“It's okay, Noah, You know I don't mind, gives me a break from the serious stuff.” Toby chuckled.
“Thanks, man, bye.” Noah said over the line.
“Bye, man.” Toby replied as he put the phone back down and let his eyes wander through the precinct, it was buzzing as usual, though it would dial down soon as midnight was fast approaching. When his eyes passed the conference room he saw a familiar face.
Toby parked his car at his apartment building just as his phone rang.
“Hey, Kennish!” someone called over the line, it was one of the other Deputies, and old classmates, Simone, “You live at that building that hot Italian guy owns right? Agel?”
“Angelo, yes, I do. Why?” he asked her.
“Just got a call of a noise complaint, mind checking it out for me?” she asked pleadingly.
Toby considered it for a moment, but as he was still in his uniform anyway, he conceded. “Fine, but you owe me, Sinclair.” he told her as he got out of his car. “What apartment?” he asked.
“UH, Lemme see, 448.” she said.
“What?” Toby asked as he stopped his stride. “That's my apartment. I'm not even home.” he said incredulously.
“Oh, wait sorry! That's a 9, it's 449!” She said, “God I hate my writing.” she mumbled. Making Toby chuckle.
“That makes much more sense, I'll check it out.” he said as he hung up. It was the apartment across from his, so it wouldn't be much of a detour.
He entered the building and rode the elevator up. As he got closer to his floor, it became clear why there was a complaint. Some hard-rock like music was being played full blast. He rang the door bell and knocked three times, even though it was useless probably.
A few seconds later however, the door was opened anyway. Surprisingly a middle aged woman with long blonde hair stood before him. The music definitely got louder though, so it was the right place. He could see inside the apartment and it seemed strangely empty. With music this loud, he figured there would be a party of sorts. Though it was still slightly muffled, so it probably came from another room inside.
“Hello ma'am! I'm from the Kansas City Police Department. We've had noise complaints coming from your apartment!” he tried to yell over the music. The woman squinted at him a bit at him, then held up a finger to him, telling him to wait. She reached behind the door and he saw her scribble something down on the pad of paper. She then held it up to him. 'Please speak slower, sir, I can't read your lips.'
Toby's mouth formed an 'O'. That explained it, sort of. He motioned for the paper and pen and she held it out to him with a small smile. 'I'm from KCPD, we received some noise complaints.' he wrote down.
Toby watched her read it and frown in confusion. Then she did a silent; 'aha', and scribbled down, 'My son' before handing it over and motioning for him to come in. She led him to the door where, to him, obviously the source of the music was. She opened it and Toby flinched a bit at the volume of the stereo, or whatever was blasting it. When he stepped inside he saw a guy around his age lounging on the bed reading a magazine about bikes. He had the same striking blue eyes as his mother, though his hair was brown with only a light tint of blond in it.
She waved a hand in her son's peripheral vision and he looked up in that laid about way most kids do when annoyed with their parents. When his eyes took in Toby however, he straightened up a bit in concern. He signed something towards his mother with a confused face.
Toby then looked to the woman who was signing with fervor, a chastising look over her face, brows furrowed, definitely unhappy with her son right that moment. One of the signs caught his attention though, she had her hands hovering near her head as if she was putting something on like earmuffs or headphones. Her son signed back angrily and then pointed towards his desk where a set of those crappy cheap headphones lay. Broken in half it appeared.
So the kid just wanted to listen to music. But his headphones broke. Toby could understand that, he'll just leave them with a warning then. He decided. He briefly wondered how either of them could though, but he noticed that, at this volume, he could feel the floor and air shake or vibrate in a way. So maybe that's how deaf people could 'listen' to music? The music suddenly cut off, and he noticed the guy had gotten up and turned off his stereo. Though he looked thoroughly annoyed and pissed. Toby rubbed at his ear unconsciously, they were ringing now with the silence that suddenly assaulted him.
The mother turned to him. “I...Am...So..Sorry..” she said slowly in a unusual voice. Toby smiled at her.
“It's okay, Ma'am.” he assured her, and made sure to speak slowly and clearly. “I'll simply leave him with a warning.” She smiled gratefully at him. Toby's eyes passed over the broken in half set of headphones again. He looked thoughtful for a second and then turned to the guy.
“Hey.” he waved at the guy, when he looked at him he gave him a 'come with me' wave with his hand. The guy tensed up a bit but he simply gave a reassuring smile before heading out of the apartment and across the hall to his own. He put in his key and unlocked the door, dropping them on the small table near the door where he always kept them. He looked behind him and saw the guy standing near his door, looking a bit surprised to see he lived across from them. His mother stood behind him on their own doorstep, curiously looking on. Brief surprise similar to her sons flashing over her features as well. Toby motioned for the guy to step inside as he headed to his couch, dropping his police jacket there.
The guy looked around his place, it wasn't messy exactly, but it was littered with parts of guitars and keyboards and a few wires that obviously belonged to amplifiers. The blond walked over to his dinner table, which was littered with music sheets, magazines about instruments and music in general, a keyboard sat at the end, some guitar pics and various cords. He shuffled around it and picked up a set of oversized headphones, the noise canceling ones.
He turned back to his neighbor's son. “You'll find that these won't break so easy, work better as well.” He grinned at the guy. As he held them up to him. He looked a bit surprised but shyly accepted the pair of headphones. The brunet lifted a hand to his chin letting the tips of his finger touch just under his lips and then brought it down, mouthing the words as he did the sign.
“You're welcome.” Toby replied, he wasn't good at charades, or lip-reading, but he's heard people say it enough that he could easily tell it was 'Thank you' the guy mouthed. He turned to leave, probably feeling a bit awkward, standing in his neighbor's apartment, who turned out to be a cop and had come to his house and all. He stopped mid-turn when he noticed Toby's guitar laying on the couch. He rose an eyebrow and looked at Toby, pointing to him and then briefly doing some air-guitar.
“I play, yeah.” Toby nodded, “Pretty well if I'm allowed to say.” he chuckled. The guy gave him an impressed look before he turned to leave. Toby following him to the door. When he joined the woman again in the hallway she looked like she was about to protest on something, Toby figured it was about the headphones.
“Don't worry about it.” he assured her, “I have like 5 laying around.” he gave her his most sincere smile, as she kept thanking him.
“Toby.” He said, extending a hand in greeting.
“Me-lo-dy.” she replied, having trouble with sounding it out, then she pointed behind her to where her son had re-entered their apartment. “Em-mett.”
“Uhm, How do you...” Toby said after they shook hands and moved his arms about trying to convey what he wanted to ask. She seemed to understand though and slowly did the motions for it.
Toby awkwardly copied her, “Nice to meet you.” he grinned when she gave him a thumbs up.
After that night, he had looked up various online ASL courses and such to be able to communicate with the Bledsoes (as he later found out was their last name). He found that Emmett shared his passion for music, as much as the other guy could, of course. His mother Melody was a very nice lady, and often invited him over for dinner when she found out he lived alone and any family he had were pretty far out of town.
Now though, he saw Emmett sitting there in the conference room, looking scared. He seemed to be cuffed to the back of the chair he was sitting on. Toby got up form his desk and walked towards the conference room.
“What's up?” He asked once he reached the door.
“Found him after we got a call about suspicious activity, tried to assault the officer on site.” Deputy Davis said. “He refuses to talk and won't calm down. Keeps struggling and all.” he said, clearly annoyed.
Toby rolled his eyes at them, “Idiot.” he said to Deputy Davis, “He can't talk. And by restraining him like that he can't communicate at all.” He huffed as he pushed past them and into the conference room. He slowly, as not to startle, walked up to Emmett, gently touching his shoulder.
“Kennish!” he heard Davis yell from the door, “The hell are you doing?”
The brunet tensed up, but when he looked over and noticed Toby he sighed in a bit of relief, though he still was tensed up. Toby noticed a bruise and cut above his eyebrow. His cheek was a bit red and had a few scratches like most perps get when their face is shoved into the pavement. “Hey.” Toby greeted him with a small wave.
“Kennish, what's the meaning of this?” The Lieutenant demanded when he entered, “This is Davis' case.” Toby looked up, Emmett following his gaze, and seemed even more uncomfortable than he already was, surrounded by strangers, minus Toby, all cops, and having no clue what was going on, all the while feeling like he was helpless. Like he was drowning. With his arms cuffed like that. “What the hell do you think you're doing?”
“What am I doing?” Toby said, frowning, very aware he was going against his superior. “Where the hell is his translator? What's with the heavy guard duty?” he asked, pointing to Davis and another Deputy standing at the door and the other two officers on the other end of the conference room.
“Translator?” The Lieu asked curiously.
“What the hell are you talking about? The guy attacked two officers when they approached him!” Davis exclaimed over the Lieutenant, “He resisted arrest while trespassing!”
Toby looked back at Emmett, whose eyes were darting all over trying to figure out was going on. His breathing had sped up as well. Toby laid his hand on Emmett's shoulder again, as he knelt next to him, making him look at Toby. Toby signed to him, “ Did you attack the officers? ” Toby simply asked. Emmett frantically shook his head, eyes swimming with fear as he tugged on his cuffed hands.
“It's just a misunderstanding, sir.” Toby told the Lieu.
“Sir, this is-” Davis tried, but the Lieutenant held up a hand to him telling him to shut it.
“Do you know him?” He asked Toby curiously.
“Yes, sir. He lives across from me with his mother.” He explained, “They're both deaf, sir. I'm sure it's all just a misunderstanding, he was probably just trying to sign.”
Emmett frantically nodded this time, his eyes glued to Toby's lips. Following his part of the conversation easily. “See?” Toby said, giving Emmett a reassuring smile. The Lieu turned towards a sputtering Deputy Davis with a pissed look. Toby tuned them out as the turned back to Emmett.
“ You okay? ” he asked and signed at the same time. Emmett just looked at him with watery and panicked eyes. He was definitely confused. He kept vainly tugging at the cuffs, his breathing erratic.
“Hey, hey hey hey, it's okay. You're okay.” Toby reassured him. Emmett just looked at him pleadingly. He looked near a panic attack. Toby did the only thing he could think of, and he leaned in and pulled Emmett into a hug. He felt the guy drop his head to his shoulder, breaths shuddering. All the blond could do was rub his back reassuringly. His instinct told him to try and reassure the guy with words, but that would be useless in this case.
“You two, back to your stations.” The Lieutenant demanded of the two at the back of the room, “Davis, Conner, my office, now.” he barked next. “Kennish, you got it from here?” Toby gave him a slight nod. “Uncuff him while you're at it.”
“Sir.” He affirmed and watched everyone leave. He took the keys from his belt with one hand, keeping the other around Emmett and undid the cuffs restrained the brunet. He sobbed silently into his shoulder, and when his arms were free Emmett wound them around his neck.
Once Toby had calmed Emmett down a bit more they pulled apart slowly. Toby sat down next to him in one of the other chairs. The brunet closed his eyes briefly and rubbed at his eyes, taking deep breaths.
“Hey!” Toby flagged one of the officers passing the door, it turned out to be Sinclair, “Can you bring me two cups of tea?”
She looked at Emmett briefly, “Sure.” She gave Toby a smile and left. The blond turned back to Emmett.
“ You okay? ” he signed. Emmett nodded, signing, “ Thank you. ”
“ What happened? ” Toby asked him, pointing to his face.
Emmett bit his lip as he sighed and raised his hands, “ I have a storage locker where I keep my bike. ” he explained. Toby knew about the bike, and how his mom disapproved of it, but let her son have it anyway. The bike was Emmett's baby, as he so often had said himself. “ I was working on her a bit, when suddenly this car drove up to me. The headlights were, like, super bright, like a spotlight or something. ” Emmett explained.
“ I couldn't see much, just shadows. Had to squint and hold my hands to see. ” The brunet signed, “ Then there were these two guys, throwing me at the ground, and holding me down. I ... I couldn't move, they shoved me against the ground hard, and I ... I couldn't ...” Emmett tried to explain, but he was shaky now, and he seamed to have trouble breathing again.
Toby laid a hand on his arm, “ It's okay. I get it. ” Toby assured him. Then Deputy Sinclair walked in with two steaming cups.
“Here you go.” She said giving them a small smile and setting them down. Emmett nodded in thanks, wrapping his hands around it, and Toby said it out loud gratefully. She gave a small wave to Toby before leaving again.
“ You don't. ” Emmett signed suddenly. Toby gave him a confused look, “ You don't get it. ” he elaborated. “ For me ... for us, deaf people, having our hands bound makes us feel beyond helpless. ” he tried to explained, frowning at himself as he couldn't find the right words, “ It's .... it's like ... like drowning. Being held under, you feel so helpless and … and ...”
“ Scared? ” Toby finished for him, “ frightened? ”
“ Like a caged animal. ” Emmett nodded and wrapped his hands back around the cup. Tears having sprung back at the thought of that feeling. A hand landed between his shoulder blades and he looked back up at Toby.
“ I'm sorry. ” Toby apologized. Emmett shook his head at him and gave him a small smile, leaning into the touch. Then suddenly Melody burst into the room looking frantic, demanding what had happened. The Lieutenant, having dealt with Davis and Conner now, followed soon after.
“Kennish, a little help?” The Lieu asked desperately, probably having been dealing with her for a few while now. He looked on confusedly at her profound signing.
“Melody, Melody!” Toby said, getting up to address her. Emmett simply kept his gaze on his tea. The blond was unsure if he noticed his mother enter.
“Toby! What is going on? Why was my son arrested?! It's that stupid bike isn't it?!” She demanded and looked at her son, and gasped, walking over to him as she noticed his face, “What happened!?” She tried to demand from her son, but he just pulled away from her, not meeting her gaze. She turned sharply towards the Lieutenant and Toby, eyes practically ablaze.
Toby held his hands out in a calming gesture, “ Let me explain, okay? It's okay now. Just a stupid, stupid, STUPID, mistake. ” He signed, frowning hard, letting her know he was just as upset about this.
The Lieutenant cleared his throat, making Toby look at him, “Not all of us can follow the dialogue...” He suggested calmly.
“Oh, right, sorry, Sir.” Toby apologized, switching to signing and talking simultaneously now. “This is Melody, Emmett's mother.” Toby explained signing so Melody can follow, “She wants to know what happened, and why her son was arrested.”
“Right.” The Lieu started, Toby following his words with signs as Melody watched him, “Your son was believed to be trespassing on private property by two of our officers.” he stated. Melody seemed about to sign something when Toby stopped her.
“Sir? If I may?” He asked, still signing his words at the same time. “I talked with Emmett, and he told me what happened. He owns one of the storage units where he was arrested.” Toby explained to both, “I don't know what the deputies on sight told you, sir, “ he directed at his superior, “But from what Emmett told me, he was simply working on his bike, which he keeps in the storage space. The deputies on sight drove up to him, and when they so violently arrested Mr Bledsoe, here, he was simply trying to see through the blinding headlights of the squad car and sign towards whoever approached him.” Toby told them.
“The officers were not aware, the suspect was deaf.” The Lieutenant tried to clarify, “And I was told he was wielding a tool.” Toby translated it for Melody.
“Do you not speak with objects in your hands, sir?” Melody signed, Toby translating it once more.
“Even us deaf people can talk with one hand.” Toby translated next, “Just because he was holding a tool, sir, doesn't mean he 'assaulted' anyone.” Toby added of his own.
“And look at him! Was that necessary?” Melody signed angrily as she pointed at her son's face.
“Ma'am, he resisted arrest when my officers thought he was to attack. They just followed protocol-”
“Protocol?” Toby said affronted, “Nothing from what I've heard is protocol, sir. With all due respect, when a car pulls up in the middle of the night, and two grown men suddenly push you against the floor without warning, you struggle.”
“They identified themselves and received no reply.”
“He's deaf!” Toby exclaimed loudly, Melody stared at his angered face in surprise, but turned to the Lieutenant to keep track of what was being said.
“They didn't know.”
“Did they even care?!” the blond said angrily, having stopped signing altogether.
“Deputy! Need I remind you who you're speaking to?!” His superior said loudly. Some heads outside in the bullpen turned towards them. Toby glared at him but held his tongue. “Now, I know this has all been one big misunderstanding.” he turned to Melody, “On behalf of the police force, I sincerely apologize, Mrs Bledsoe. I will see to it personally that the officers responsible will get punished. You and your son are free to go now.”
Melody gave the man a calculating look before nodding, seeming to be satisfied with it for now.
“Kennish,” He said next, “You can clock out early. Davis and Conner will take the night shift. See to your friend. We'll talk about your regard for superiors later. I'll let it slide for now.” He stated, “Also, I want to talk to you about some extra duties seeing as you know how to sign.”
“Yes, sir.” he nodded. “Thank you.” The Lieu nodded at him before stepping outside.
“You drove here?” Toby asked Melody, who shook her head and spelled out cab with her hand, “Want a lift?” he asked. She smiled at him and nodded. Toby put a hand on Emmett's shoulder, who hadn't really been paying them any mind and quietly sipped his tea during everything. “Ready to go?” he asked. Emmett nodded and got up so they could head out.
As they walked to Toby's car, Melody tapped his arm, “ Thank you. They said you stepped in. ”
“They're idiots.” Toby signed back, looking behind them to Emmett, who had his eyes cast downward at their shoes, “Claimed he attacked them, and then put him under heavy guard.” Toby explained, “Assholes couldn't even tell he was panicking.” He signed angrily, “He would've had a panic attack if I hadn't calmed him down. Melody, you should've seen him, he was scared as hell.”
She looked back at her son in concern. Toby tapped her arm, “ I sometimes forget how much you guys rely on your hands and sight. ” She waved his apology off before he could sign it.
“You didn't know he was there.” She signed, “Besides, you were there at the right moment, that's all I care about. Thank you, truly. For everything.” she told him. Clearly not just talking about today. About that first night, and other times he's helped the Bledsoe's out.
When they arrived at their apartment building, she repeated her gratitude, even gave him a hug before she opened their apartment. As she fumbled with her keys, Emmett turned to him to.
“Thank you.” he told the blond, hugging him too, which surprised Toby for a second.
“Don't worry about it.” Toby signed as he gave him a reassuring smile. The brunet gave a small wave before he followed his mother into their apartment. Toby turned towards his own and unlocked the door, dropping the keys on the side table and closing the door behind him. He hung up his coat, and headed to the couch and plopped down with a heavy sigh. He channel surfed for a while. He ordered take-out for dinner and relaxed a bit. After dinner he got up to take a shower and wash away the day's stress.
Once done, he dried himself and got dressed in a pair of sweats and a hoodie that was 2 sizes too big. He put the towel over his head to finish drying his hair when he heard a knock on the door. He walked over to the front door and swung it open. “ Hey .” he greeted in surprise at seeing Emmett standing there.
“Hey...” Emmett replied timidly, “Can I...come in? Mom's being a little.... Too much for me right now.” He signed, looking a bit nervous and timid.
“Sure.” Toby said, opening the door wider to let him in. He ran the towel through his hair one last time before throwing it into the bathroom as he passed it on his way to the kitchen. He took two sodas out of the fridge and went back to the living room. Emmett had sat down on the couch. He handed the brunet one of the cans and sat down next to him.
As the other toyed with the can a bit he noticed Emmett's wrists. “Dude...” He said, taking hold of his arm and holding it up, pulling up the sleeve a bit he saw the red skin around his wrists where the cuffs had been.
Emmett pulled back his arm, abruptly, “ It's nothing, I struggled too hard. ” he signed, shrugging it off. Toby knew Davis though, and the ass probably put on the cuffs extra tight on purpose. And he saw there was more to it that simply that looking at the brunet.
“You okay?” Toby asked him again, he seemed a bit pale, still. This time he just shrugged. The blond gave a small nod and grabbed the remote to turn on the TV and put on some random channel. They watched TV in silence for about an hour or so before Toby felt a tap on his arm.
“I...Just...Thank you. For today. You didn't have to.”
“Are you crazy? Of course I did. You could have been in jail for nothing if I hadn't stepped up.” Toby told him incredulously.
“That too, but... I meant the other thing.” Emmett elaborated.
“Oh.” Toby said in realization, “Same thing applies.” he told him, “I'm here if you want to talk, you know?” he told the brunet.
“I'm not too good at that.” he replied with a brief smile.
“Me neither.” Toby told him with a grin, gently pushing his shoulder. Emmett shoved him back with a silent laugh. Silence fell over the two and they turned back to the TV again. Halfway through another episode of some hospital show Toby noticed Emmett rubbing at his wrists. He put an arm around the guy and asked, “They hurt? Need some ice for it?”
Emmett shook his head, “ They just ache a bit. ” he said shrugging it off. He leaned into the embrace though, still seeking some sort of comfort from the blond. Emmett rested his head against Toby's shoulder and closed his eyes.
Toby held the other against him. Patiently waiting to see if he wanted to talk, and if not, content in just taking in the silence. The episode ended and they switched channels until they found a movie running somewhere and continued to watch TV for a while.
Emmett tapped Toby's leg and pulled back to turn to the blond so he could sign to him easier. Toby mirrored him and looked at him expectantly. The brunet hesitated for a moment.
“I'm scared.” Emmett admitted. At the confused look he got from the blond he elaborated, “Of feeling like I did at the station. When they arrested me.” he signed, “I'm scared of how easily I can feel so... so powerless.” he ended it as he looked down at his lap. “I don't ever want to feel like that again.”
A hand gently fell onto his knee and he looked up hesitantly. His eyes meeting Toby's ocean blues.
“I don't know what to say.” the blond admitted.
“You don't have to say anything.” Emmett signed, “Just listening is enough.” the brunet shrugged, “You know what I mean.”
“I do.” Toby smiled at him gently. He reached out and gave the brunet's shoulder a gentle squeeze. Emmett smiled back at him, silently trying to convey how grateful he was for everything Toby's done for him.
He suddenly noticed how close they were. Unconsciously he leaned in more, and it seemed like Toby was doing the same. Their lips brushed gently against one another and they both stilled and stared at each other. Then Toby grinned at him. Emmett couldn't help but smile back before the blond leaned in and sealed their lips. They were warm and soft against his own. They simply pressed their lips together for a while before Toby tentatively opened his mouth and ran his tongue gently over Emmett's bottom lip.
The brunet gave a small gasp, and opened his mouth to grand the other access. Things slowly started to heat up. Emmett slowly pushed Toby until he was laying on his back on the couch as he hovered above him. Their mouths never breaking contact. Emmett felt the vibrations of a moan coming from the blond.
When it became apparent that eventually, they'd need oxygen again, they ever so slowly pulled back. Pecking each other's lips a few times before Emmett pulled his head far enough away so he could look back into Toby's eyes.
They each stared at the other, smiles on their lips. Toby leaned up again and pecked the brunet's lips gently. Emmett returning the gesture. They went back and forth like that a few times before Emmett's arms started to ache as they tried to keep him up. So he settled to nuzzle Toby's neck instead, lowering himself so he lay completely on top of the blond.
He left a few butterfly kisses on Toby's neck and then settled his head against the other's chest as he let his eyes find the TV again. Toby draped his arms around the brunet and held him tightly as he relaxed into the couch. They watched the rest of the movie like that, and half of the next one before they each slowly started to drift off.