Author: Making Marla PM
Neil Perry is dead. Charlie just has to figure out a way to tell the rest of the boys the news.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - Words: 1,100 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-05-05 - id: 2425143
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The first thing Charlie thinks to say is, "Stop fucking around, it's too early in the morning," except he's speaking to George Dalton, and it has to be joke because Neil still owes him twenty bucks. Someone had obviously made a mistake.
Except. He's speaking to George Dalton, and his father doesn't make jokes.
"Yes father, I'll speak to you tomorrow. Yes, sir. Goodnight, sir."
He doesn't remember hanging up, or walking back to the dorm rooms.
Somehow he makes it to Knox's room, where he's stashed his cigarettes, though he has a suspicion that Knox steals a couple. Still, it's better than having Cameron whine about getting demerits. He digs a half empty pack of Malboros from under the unoccupied bed across from Knox's and lights up, not bothering to crack a window.
For the first couple of cigarettes, he tries to philosophize about death: maybe Neil is just worm food or matter, floating around in space. Maybe he's in hell for—you know. Maybe Neil is at the pearly gates, reading Shakespeare while waiting in line. Then Charlie remembers that he doesn't believe in that crap.
By the fourth cigarette, Charlie thinks it's better not to think at all. He's sick of maybes.
There really is cigarette smoke in the room. "Oh, shit," he says, feeling panic edge its way toward his chest. "Charlie, you're going to get us both suspended!" he says, because it's probably true. And then he would never be accepted to a good college, or become a lawyer, or marry Chris Noel.
Charlie doesn't answer, which is odd because Charlie always has some smartass remark that is largely inappropriate and always makes him laugh. "Charlie?" he asks again, and sees the other boy sitting still on his bed, covered in ashes.
"He fucking did it." Knox can't decipher the tone. "Jesus, he's the only one who would. I mean, we talked about it, but Jesus! He actually did it."
"Charlie, slow down. What are you talking about?" Knox asks, nervous at the blankness of Charlie's eyes.
"Neil," he says, voice breaking.
For the first time in months, Knox doesn't think about Chris Noel at all.
"What?" Richard demands, glancing at the clock. 5:13. Damn it. It is way past curfew and don't they have any respect for the rules? Except this is Charles Dalton and of course he doesn't.
Charlie pauses, and Richard notices Knox standing at the door. He frowns, as Charlie struggles(!) for words. "It's Neil."
Richard blinks, clearly not understanding. Knox, his voice quiet and shaking, says, "He's dead."
"That's not funny. I'm going back to bed," he replies curtly and hates Charlie a little more for making fun of him. For getting Knox to make fun of him. He wonders if the others are listening in the hallway.
"Damn it, Cameron, I'm not kidding! Would you get the hell up?" Charlie practically shouts, with Knox gripping his arm. He pulls away and cards his hand through his hair.
"No," Richard says back, and turns over. Maybe Neil will get them to apologize tomorrow, he thinks before falling asleep.
"Meeks," Knox manages to say with a slight nod. They're both disheveled and tired and angry, which isn't surprising in itself. But Steven thinks he sees tear stains on Charlie's cheeks, and Knox's hands are trembling. "Charlie. What's wrong? Knox?"
They trade a heavy look and Charlie says, "You better wake up Pitts first."
With a slight yawn, he sits up and waits for someone to speak (someone usually will).
"Pittsie. Meeks. Last night—"
Gerald is used to people filling up the silence. He's so used to it that he's shocked when Charlie hesitates. He glances at Steven, who shrugs back with a worried frown creasing his brow.
"It's Neil," Knox says, and Gerald can see his Adam's apple working up and down.
"My dad called earlier," When Charlie looks away, his voice is raw and his eyes wet. "He said Mr. Nolan called him. Wanted to say that the Perry's found Neil. That he's dead. Neil—he's dead."
Gerald doesn't speak, because it's easier that way. He studies Steven who is working his jaw quietly, while Knox clasps and unclasps his hands, and Charlie wipes his nose with the back of his hand.
"Are you sure?" he asks, and immediately knows it's a stupid question. He hates looking stupid in front of Steven, and fuck, he shouldn't be worrying about that. Not now.
Charlie and Knox nod, and he nods back. "Have you told Todd and Cameron yet?" Gerald asks, because he doesn't know what to say and tells himself shutupshutupshutup as Charlie spits obscenities about Cameron. It would almost be funny, except Neil isn't there to say, "Would you cut it out, Charlie?"
Todd feels the weight of Charlie's gentle shove, but he attempts to shrug it off and replies "Oh, no. Charlie..." as if that would deter Charlie Dalton.
He blinks and opens his eyes; thinks, Oh no, Charlie, for entirely different reasons. Charlie has pulled up a seat next to his bed, and Knox, Meeks, and Pitts are lingering at the doorway. "What is it?" he asks apprehensively, seeing the tears that trace the curve Charlie's cheek.
Author's Notes: So I was curious about how the rest of the DPS found out about Neil, since most of them were crowding around Todd's room when Charlie gave the news. Hence the missing scene. Please review.